Self Actualization and Imagination at Music Festivals!

Festivals aren't a new thing, but they are gaining momentum and recognition in the larger picture of the United States, community and the role they play in our lives. 

If you have never or only recently have been introduced to the idea of festivals and community arts gatherings,  you may not know what to expect. Alchemy is the only word that comes to mind.  Festivals are about community, openness, sharing,  and the purest form of love. They are about sharing each others' unique nature in a communal setting to celebrate life and expression. Authentic. Pure. Free.  These are the expressions you see throughout the festival gatherings which are unique and recharging to the soul.  

If you haven't attended a festival, go to one as soon as you can! They truly will allow you space to become free from any bounds you've been imposing on yourself. Here are some tips:

  1. Leave technology behind and throw yourself into the music, expression and sharing nature.  

  2. Bring plenty of nutritious food to care for your body.

  3. Remember to hydrate.

  4. Bring sunscreen and reapply frequently.

  5. Follow traditional food safety and preparation guidelines. 

  6. Be ready to share your intellect, artistic expression, expressive nature or whatever else you may offer to help boost yourself and the festival community into a charged state of health, healing and bliss.

Stay tuned for details about experiences and showcases from Sonic Bloom - a wonderful festival held in the little mountain town of Georgetown, CO.   

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  Einstein

Imagination - it truly is what "encircles the world".  Festivals are full of imagination, expression, creativity and open expression of love and acceptance.  

At Sonic Bloom and other festivals like ARISE in Loveland, you'll be greeted by large art installations and artists of all varieties actively creating beautiful pieces ranging from glass work and bead work to paintings and videography.  It's awesome, inspiring and truly freeing to be surrounded by such a wonderful display of talent and beauty. You'll also notice and be surrounded by amazing displays of visual and performance art via musicians, dancers, acrobats, hula-hoopers, fire spinners, yoga practitioners and more. 
 
It's amazing to witness...but what happens when you leave? Try following up on your favorite vendors, artists and performers. Get inspired by them to find your own light and spark.  We all are as creative and capable of expressing our creativity as those you come across in the festival environment. 


Start by making a list:


1. What are your best features or skills? Are you a problem solver? Do you like puzzles? Do you like to draw? Sing? Move? Are you analytical? Good with people? Do you have good humor? Etc...


2. Take your favorite skills and features and think of 5 ways you are able to apply them to your life - family, friends, work, self, and the world.


3. Go forth and conquer! Put your unique expressions and capabilities to work not only for yourself, but so you may impact others and be a source of inspiration in their lives.

Enjoy all the changes that you witness in your life and shine your spark for all to see!


 

self-ac·tu·al·i·za·tion
noun

  1. 1. the realization or fulfillment of one's talents and potentialities, esp. considered as a drive or need present in everyone.




Festival Culture allows people to come together to see, experiment, discover, and share their gifts.  It puts the intention out to help individuals manifest their dreams and realize that we're not cookie cutter people. We are not created as the same even though we consist of the same "stuff" - energy.  We all mirror an innate need, desire, strength, weakness, passion, drive, and beauty of those around us and the greater picture of nature, energy, and existence, but represent our own individual perspectives and experiences. 

My first festival, Sonic Bloom, was full of open hearts making gentle eye contact, having discussions about ideas and life and supporting each other when it was needed.  I was able to teach my first class (pictured above) to and serve a group of international individuals, which is one of my dearest dreams-changing the world through kindness, precision, movement, and love.  How amazing the experience was with a full class in a gorgeous domed room full of artwork and energy sharing! To have people from all over come up and discuss the art, their struggles, their gratitude....there is just nothing better that I can imagine. 

Manifesting and reaching self-actualization is open to all. Yes, even you.  If there is something that you have been longing for or that hasn't been going right in your life, I encourage you to look at yourself at this moment.  What is it that you've been putting out to the world? What is it that you think about the most, desire the most, and wish to accomplish? 


Here's a secret-the universe doesn't understand "I don't want" or "please no".  All it understands are the vibrations, thoughts, and intentions you put out.  So again, look at what your thought patterns - can you change them around to be exactly what you do want?  Do you even KNOW what you do want?  If not, don't worry, simply do a little soul searching and start with the broad things like "Financial Security" and "Safety".  Once you have some clue, try the following "How To" for manifesting and actualizing your true potential:

1) Write down and verbally state exactly what you want and where you want to be down on paper.
2) Visualize every aspect of what you want, as if it's already true and real.
3) Actually try to FEEL how it feels for those desires to become reality.
4) Don't worry about the "how", often times that turns into worrying, but rather think of the end result and make sure your daily actions are acknowledging all of the opportunities and growth experiences along the way.
5) Trust that you will get there.
6) Repeat each and every day.

Being Authentic in Your Movement

Whoever said that we should "Dance like no one is watching" was a smart cookie. Life is a dance and we should dance like no one is watching us, judging our actions, and expecting a certain outcome other than the ones that make us thrive in a sustaining and beautiful way. 

Dance, or I even like to think of it as authentic movement, is one thing we don't have to teach to babies. They hear music and they move in their own way. Little kids? They dance like ridiculous, free, happy souls and don't care what anyone has to think about it. They express themselves.  Somewhere some of us forget this. We forget how to dance our dance and be ourselves. I personally think this happens from experiences we are taught to label as "bad" or "inappropriate".  We are molded into the expectations of others instead of listening to the music beating in our own hearts. 

If you feel like you've lost touch with your dance, or you don't like the movement you're in right now, I encourage you to take charge and do these few things for yourself:

  • What patterns (footwork) do you see in your life?

  • What is the rhythm of your life and actions?

  • Are you connected to your life, actions, breath


Then once you figure out where you are and what you're doing try these next steps to move a little more freely, authentically, and in touch:

  • Write a list of what actions make you feel free

  • Plan a few different goals (your big moves) that will incorporate the above actions

  • Figure out the first step to each goal

  • Indulge in that first step

When you try the above things, remember that in dances sometimes there are missteps and moves that end up not feeling great. I encourage you to learn from those steps and pivot off of them to something greater, something recovering, something with your own flair, and something we visualized and maybe didn't even know we were capable of. 

Each of us has a unique dance.  It is our individual responsibility to put our flair in the dance---our life. Dance your dance, your life, and make it feel great. 

Common myths of aerial dance, unlocked!

By: Alexandra Nikolova

Being an aerial instructor and performer, I have often heard a lot of similar perceptions over the years from people about why they believe they could never attempt or be successful at trying an aerial class. To their surprise, however, many of their preconceived ideas are nothing more than false misconceptions. In this brief blog, I will unlock some of the main myths most commonly seen in the aerial arts.

1. You already have to have a lot of strength, including upper body strength, to try aerial.

 Though a certain amount of strength is needed to lift up into the air, what most people do not realize is that aerial is just as much about technique as it is about strength. By learning proper technique, you learn how to utilize the whole body including legs and feet to help assist your arm strength when trying to lift the body off the ground; you learn tips on how to become more efficient when using arm strength, and how to save upper body energy when needed. 

Example: Straight vs. bent arms when trying to climb aerial silks- Bent arms

requires more strength in the biceps to keep you lifted as you climb. Often times beginner level students who are still building this strength have that "freak out" moment that they can no longer stay engaged, and so, they get too mentally frantic prohibiting them from thinking of and executing the correct mechanism to wrap their feet to continue climbing. Should we try this approach from straight-arm, we no longer have to be engaged in the biceps and are relying primarily on our grip & lat strength as shoulders maintain engaged on the back to hang. This approach is much less intimidating as we usually are able to hang much longer from straight-arm vs. bent arms. Thus, this technique provides the student with enough time to think calmly (and logically) on how to wrap their feet up in the silk to continue gaining height).

 By virtue of coming to aerial class, you gain the strength needed to advance over time! This alternative method of fitness is, what I believe, a much more functional way of building strength and getting fit; you're learning how to use the whole body (core, arms, legs, back, shoulders, chest), and you learn how to lift your entire body weight with complex and dynamic movements (working in all planes of motion). Plus, an added bonus.... it’s SO FUN!

 If you are really starting from "ground zero" and aerial acrobatics truly intimidates you, perhaps the new, emerging trend of aerial yoga is a great fit for you. This is a wonderful way to explore the air and build strength in a scenario that may be a bit less intimidating for students just stepping into the world of aerial arts and fitness.

2. Aerial dance is only for women.

 Hello you men out there, you are woefully mistaken!

Though the aerial world certainly has a number of male aerialists, I feel this type of dance/art form is has become more popularized and welcomed by the female community (most popularized apparatus being the aerial silks). I'm not sure if it's the pretty, long draping fabric that turns men away, but quite honestly, for the guys who simply turn aerial dance down purely on the basis of, "it's a girl thing", I think they are missing out on an incredible way to train their bodies, build strength and flexibility, and explore a whole new realm of expressing themselves.

Like I mentioned before, the amount of energy needed to execute high level/advanced maneuvers requires an immense amount of strength and muscle, especially when you begin to get into duo/partner work (so come join us!). If silks aren't your thing, perhaps try corde lisse (aerial rope) or straps as it could appear a little less "pretty"without the draping fabric....

3. I'm too old to start trying new things, especially something as hard as aerial.

 Contrary to this stigma, I've had many students well beyond their 40's who have taken my  classes, and came out successful when trying aerial. I believe if there is a desire and curiosity to try it, along with an open mind and playful heart, it's definitely achievable!

Additionally, I know numerous aerialists in our Northern Colorado community that are well into their 50s and 60s who began training aerial in the later years of their life, and yet, they still perform some of the largest drops seen in aerial...all with a smile, of course!

4. I am too scared to try aerial because I don't like heights.

 This is a valid concern, however, I want to stress to all these readers that when first beginning your training, all skills are practiced over and over again very low to the ground with a crash pad underneath you. In fact, this kind of methodology continues in your training, including for students of the advanced level.

The format in which I teach all my classes is to demonstrate the trick at hand, then walk students step-by- step through the movement on the ground, and finally allowing students to try the maneuver aerially (but only a foot or two off the ground as I spot them). 

Aerial classes should provide an environment of safety and encouragement, so that when we do gain more strength and confidence in the air, we can take our tricks a bit higher into the air and feel comfortable about it! Additionally, if something truly doesn't feel safe to you, you can always choose to continue practicing the maneuver on the ground until you become more comfortable.

So there you have it - the common myths of aerial dance, unlocked!

Are you ready to bust through your misconceptions of aerial and fly with us?