Envision Festival: Building Bridges

Photos By: Amanda Cosenza
Written by: Shaun Michael

As I embarked on my quest towards Uvita, Costa Rica, I couldn’t have imagined the profound shifts that were about to take place, the clarity I would gain or the love I found. We’ve been preoccupied people, comfortable and complacent. We often have conversations about our personal experiences, relationships and the condition of our world, but that’s where it ends. There’s work to be done and NOW is the time for action. It starts with building bridges.

The most important bridges to build are within ourselves, between our mind, body, and spirit. Envision Festival provides endless opportunities for us to do just that. Whether you were tapping into your body through yoga, shifting pent up energy through ecstatic dance or tuning into your inner voice through guided meditation, experiences abounded for us to become more self-aware. By doing this we discover the everyday behavior patterns, mental loops, and scripts we exist in. Healthy patterns like a fully balanced diet or self-discipline can be reaffirmed and strengthened, whereas negative patterns like playing the victim or feeling inadequate can be identified and broken down. We can then use the same tools that made us aware, to construct healthier patterns in their stead. To connect all parts of ourselves and continue our inner work, we sharpen our intuition and influence our reality in a way that allows it to unfold more authentically and magically than we could ever dream.

When our inner bridges are strong, it allows us to healthily connect outside of ourselves. Instead of taking from others in order to fill an inner need, we can give from a place of happiness and joy. You could see it in the random high fives, the exchange of smiles or the gifting of crafts and jewelry. All of this, solely for the sake of reminding the other human being of the light they come from, the light we share. Artists like Nicola Cruz, GRiZ, CloZee and Deya Dova created phenomenal soundscapes for us to tap into something universal. Instead of allowing the constructs that society imposes to modify our engagement with each other, we connected. In all of our beautifully unique glory, we experienced no separation. When we see ourselves in others, we are able to connect and activate each other in powerful ways! Who knows? You might even fall in love with a French Canadian who shares deep self-love and commitment to humankind, who you look forward to growing with and who’s existence inspired much of this article.

These connections and this activation are what will allow us to mend the bridge between humankind and our abundant, yet fragile, planet. Earth is an organism that we need to live with, not on. Its resources provide everything we need and we share responsibility in its stewardship. Sitting beneath the jungle canopy, watching sunsets turn the ocean into crimson pools and sipping rich hydration from fresh coconuts made clear the intention of our natural world. Learning about permaculture with Julia Forest brought our relationship with Earth inward, illuminating the need to give ourselves sustainable resources in order to understand the importance of giving those same things to our planet. A workshop by Marc Tobin spoke on dynamic governance and how sociocracy might help us actualize a more cohesive lifestyle, one that allows the best and brightest ideas to lead us forward. Obviously, macro shifts in agriculture and government can seem daunting, but when we start with the inner work everything unfolds with ease.

Bridges aren’t built overnight. Each piece is a breath and a decision at a time. By strongly building bridges within ourselves, we can identify happy, healthy, humans with whom we can share an external connection. Hopefully, this strengthens our bridge with Mother Earth, who is always willing to meet us halfway. Reciprocity is the practice, gratitude is the goal. Thank you Envision Festival, Costa Rica and all of the communities that made this experience so powerful. May we heal our way home.

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