The first festival Dinny and I went to as presenters was NZ Spirit. I still feel, while recalling this adventure, how excited and scared we were. Stepping out of our comfort zone of Kawai Purapura and stepping into a new environment, new people, a new stimulus was a huge achievement.
Once we arrived in Dinny’s little car we felt at home straight away.
Personally, I did not have any experience with festivals, so I had no idea what to expect from it. It turned out to be an amazing life experience. A big community of people smiling, laughing, walking bare-foot, simply enjoying life with friends and family. The vibes were amazingly high.
We spent a little bit setting up our camping spot, we were about to finish when we realised the open ceremony was about to start. So without even finishing to blow up the mattress we ran to the main stage.
To open the festival we all take part in a Pōwhiri (welcome ceremony) which provides a special opportunity to experience Māori traditions in action. It began with a Wero (challenge). A warrior from the Tangata Whenua (hosts) challenged the Manuhiri (guests), checking to see whether we were friends or enemies. He was carrying a Taiaha (spear-like weapon), and laid down a token for the visitor representative to pick up, to show we came in peace.
After this action, an older woman from the host side performed a Karanga (call) inviting us to move forward. We all moved slowly and silently until we reached the center of the main stage where we listened to Karakia (prayers) and songs alongside beautiful dances.
It was marvelous to experience it and made Dinny and I ready to share our love and passion for Art Yoga in this festival.
The day of the workshop arrived!
Once we arrived at our stage, which had the perfect name “Star Space” was perfect, we started setting up everything, from our granny table-cloth on the floor to the recycling cardboard, to create the circle for people to join.
I was starting to feel a bit anxious, lots of judgmental emotions:
Will we be enough? Will people understand our purpose and benefit from it?
Dinny’s body language was telling me the same, so we decided to practice a bit of mindfulness breathing, long deep inhales and exhales to clear the mind and affirm our potential within ourselves.
I felt so grateful for sharing this moment of growth with her.
When I decided to leave Italy and went to live in Scotland, I made the decision to not engage too much with Italians, I didn’t like the way they behaved, how loud and full of drama they were and so on. I was, in a way, rejecting my roots and projecting so much negativity. Then I met Dinny and connected with her. We both recognized what it was that didn’t make us proud of being Italian sometimes, but together we let go of any Italian Society conditions and kept just the beauty of our culture.
Looking at what we created together made me appreciate even more the moment we were living even more.
Closer to the time, a few children arrived, sat down and started drawing on the cardboard.
I immediately turned my face to see Dinny’s reaction and to assure her it was ok to let them explore the space and get familiar with what we offered.
This attracted more kids and families. Also a good friend, who we met at a festival, stopped by and after noticing our crowd decided to go pick up his musical instruments and kaleidoscopes.
Before starting, I whispered to Dinny: “Just follow me!” since I felt we needed to make the class more interactive, so the children could get engaged with us until the end.
I started asking what making art meant for them and this little blonde girl replied it was a way to express emotions and feelings.
We gave each other an amazed look, it was exactly what we wanted to hear.
The dynamic of the class we prepared remained the same. We went on a journey through the first 5 Chakras, reflecting on each of their qualities and aspects .
It was incredible to hear and watch what their little pure mind was creating. Some of the answers we got from them confirmed our theory that children don’t need to be taught to be mindful, what we need is to encourage them to keep that authentic energy they have around them instead.
As the class continued, Dinny and I relaxed and completely enjoyed the moment.
We reflected on emotions and what color we associated with them, coming to the conclusion that we all have a different perspective. For some people red can be connected with passion, courage whereas for others is fear, danger.
We agreed that what we define as good or bad might not be the same for someone else and so we need to accept other people's point of view without being judgmental.
The time flew by and when it was time to finish the class, we all joined our hands together and took a moment to feel grateful, we shared our piece of arts and the sharing mandala.
After everyone left Dinny and I fully satisfied from the class, we gave each other a big hug ready to completely enjoy the rest of the festival, joining a variety of workshops, from learning more about Māori culture benefiting from sound journeys and so on.
Once the festival was finished we were already prepared and excited to make the next Art Yoga workshop amazing for the International Yoga Festival.
To be continued...
LOVE & LIGHT