Photo by Stefan Poulos Photography
Guest Written by Jillian Love
From the moment I drove in, I could tell this was going to be something special. The fairy tale tree lined road winding its way to cozy little camping areas amongst the groves of redwoods. The smiling faces along the way saying “Welcome Beloved” warmed my heart and hinted at what lay ahead.
I arrived early and pitched camp with friends and then strolled over to Sansara. Sansara is a tradition at Beloved, an interactive experience that available for 2 hours every day. It’s an opportunity to partner up with a different person about every ten minutes, gaze into their eyes, and share truths. I think I was three rounds in when I began to feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas in the scene where his heat expands 10 times its size. Something about looking into the eyes of another human that makes it nearly impossible to not see their fragile humanness, their desire to love and be loved, to feel this in yourself, and be moved. This is a perfect way to take a deep dive into this unique festival culture right from the start. Drop into your heart and see everyone as the Beloved.
Photo By: Zipporah Lomax
After Solsara, I activated my body with a Primal Vinyasa Yoga class. We danced, moved, toned, and got primal with creative Asanas. Saturday I joined what seemed like half of the festival attendees in the Ecstatic Dance experience that took place at the shaded yoga pavilion at the top of the hill. Two hours of non-stop barefoot dancing to the delicious tunes of Shamans Dream with live drum and vocal accompaniment had the entire crowd on their feet the entire time. I was feeling so good to be in my body that I stayed for the next class which was The Church of Reggae Yoga with Adam Tree. His inspirational dialogue combined with funky reggae beats and a fusion of yoga poses and dance moves was the icing on my cake for sure. Daily yoga classes plus daily ecstatic dances fed my love for movement, dance, and connection-and facilitated my deep dive into reconnecting with the pure joy of being in my body…
Photo By: Stefan Poulos Photography
As the sun began to fall on these eventful days, I would head over to the oasis shower station where me and up to about a dozen other sweaty bodies enjoyed spontaneously singing sessions together in the wood fired sauna constructed inside of a modified airstream trailer. These 30-minute sessions combined with intermittent visits to the cold shower were probably the best $5 I have ever spent. It was so good that I made it a point to do this every day! These are the types of priceless experiences that absolutely feed the soul.
I attended some extraordinary workshops. One of my favorites was called “Meeting on the Ecstatic Road” with Michael Meade. Michael is an east coast guy who sat on stage reciting Hafis in a New York accent to the tunes of a live african cora player. The word “Eclectic” just barely touches the surface of this experience. In case I never mentioned this to you, I’m not only a hopeless romantic but also a native new yorker, and Michael was for sure speaking my language. Both the words and their delivery had me captivated it the most charming of ways.
Photo By: Jillian Love
Saturday night was the big night for music, it was the one night of the festival that the music goes all night instead of closing down. In general, I tend to prefer the daytime experiences and like to have enough sleep to enjoy them, but Saturday night I was easily seduced staying up past my bedtime for long enough to see Dey Dova perform her set at 1:30 am on the main stage. I had attended her workshop earlier in the day at the intimate Purple Star Temple stage where she discussed the Planetary grid, energetic vortexes, and shared a slide show of her visits to them along with stories of the inspirations behind her songs. Attending her workshop really added an extra dimension to her music that greatly enhanced my appreciation for her art, her heart, and her ethereal performance later that night.
Overall the music was exceptional. Tubby Love and Amber Lily are always a good time. Jah Levi put on an excellent performance. A new performer I heard for the first time at Beloved and particularly liked was Femina – an all female trio of Patagonia singer-songwriters that captured my attention with their playful stage presence and engaging hip hop beats. This is definitely a group I will add to my Pandora Stations after the festival.
Photo By: Zipporah Lomax
Beloved is a truly special event. The loving intentions were palpable and I found myself falling more in love with each passing experience. From the mindful website to the thoughtful workshops, to the inspiring music and lovely grounds. I was seduced from the beginning. Top it off with the romantic little gestures that seemed to wink at me in unsuspecting moments. Like the flowers in the bathrooms, the cinnamon mist at the hand washing station, the inspiring quotes as i walked along the path between activities or the sweet quotes on the bathroom doors like love notes left in secret hiding places by a lover. Ahhh I never had a chance…. This unique festival not only captured my heart, it swept me off my feet.
Photo By: Jillian Love