I had a pretty intense experience over the weekend at the festival, and there’s a lot I can’t and won’t talk about, but what I will is about safe spaces and how they can, in very short periods of time, change everything. The festival I was at was basically one big hippy gathering – there was art, music, meditation circles, music, amazing food, music, drumming classes, aikido lessons, music, mud baths, wood fire heated steam tents and showers, and did I mention the music? In a several thousand strong camp (consisting of some of the best of people I have ever met) you could not walk anywhere without music at pretty much all hours of the night.
I watched, I danced, I tranced around the bonfire and participated in the ecstatic dance workshop, and I spent a lot of time just talking and walking… mostly I let go.
The environment here was safe in the sense that there was no pressure, no fear, no concerns about being judged. Everyone was there for the same reason – to enjoy themselves. I wore what I wanted, I didn’t think twice about ditching excess clothing when dancing the bonfire because there was no concern that I would be touched in appropriately or be harassed, I told a complete naked stranger she was beautiful and hugged her…
Bonfire… topless… in the centre of a circle of 50+ people I danced topless with absolutely no shame or fear.
The result? By the time we left that place I had pretty much done a mental three sixty.
I feel connected with myself and the world around me. I’m in love with everything all over again. The city delights me, I breath the colours and the movement, sunrise is incredible and I’m blessed to be faced with it of a morning. I’m excited to create and dream and I want to change – myself and my world.
The things about depression and anxiety is that you get stuck in it, and you do begin to fear change. Change is scary, it can be the thing that sets back months and years of work. Even outside of that there is so much fear – what if people don’t like me, that thing I do isn’t socially acceptable people will judge me, I can’t do that I’m not good enough.
Places like Confest, people like the attendees of Confest, break you away from that. There’s the encouragement to dream big and go for it, to be an authentic and alive you. To live, love, communicate and collaborate with the world around you. And in a very small space of time that kind of place, where you’re free of judgement at the same time as being actively encouraged to chase dreams, can change everything.