If you’ve read any of my previous blogs you will know by now that I am super in love with the Bali Spirit Festival, and as I write this I have still not managed to make it to any yoga, dance or music. I have spent my brief moments off from child-related activities wandering around the dharma fair and indulging myself in healing sessions, engaging in wide-ranging conversations with people from across the world.
The fabulous sense of community that exists at this festival nurtures and nourishes my soul in inestimable ways, from the no hesitation grins that spread across the face of strangers as they look across the lawns and meet eyes, to the sharing of information, excitement and glee over a coconut or on the mats.
In this way the Bali Spirit Festival lives up to its original inspiration. Conceived as an opportunity to give back to Bali whilst simultaneously invoking the spirit of this extraordinary place in people from around the world, the three founders of the Festival, Megan Pappenheim, Kadek Gunarta and Rob Weber are all active, engaged leaders of their communities, all of whom have time to greet you by name, look into your eyes, and enquire after your latest project, share perspectives and share a laugh.
So what is it to be a member of a community? I was enjoying a chat with Communications expert and oft-times Alaskan based writer Tom Lang on Thursday (some of you may know Tom from Daniel Aaron’s Radiantly Alive Teacher Trainings in which he teaches teachers about the power of communication, how to inspire and lead to better practice) and the subject “community” came up.
Whilst it is fantastic fun to revel in our sense of common values and purpose at festivals such as this, both Tom and I agreed that ‘community’ was something far more. As Tom put it:
“Its all very well to sit around talking about community but what happens once you are outside this room, this space? If I was to set a task for everyone here I would say to them: ‘Your homework for the first 48 hours after the festival is to meet the eyes of, and say hello to, every person that comes within 8 feet of you.’ ”
Community is not just hanging out and sharing inspired conversations with people on the same wavelength as us.
In the same way one can talk about yoga. Because as every teacher here will attest, yoga is far more than what happens on our mats. In fact, many will probably agree with me in saying that if you can achieve a yogic heart without asana, you already have yoga…
By Harriet Gaffney March 2011