My Experience at the Osho Music + Meditation Festival Portugal

Snapshot from Netflix’s Osho documentary series: Wild Wild Country.

Snapshot from Netflix’s Osho documentary series: Wild Wild Country.

Osho (also known as Rajneesh, Acharya Rajneesh, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) was an Indian spiritual guru and philosopher. Apart from seeing a few Osho quotes here and there on the internet, I became most familiar with Osho thanks to the controversial Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, a multi-part series that chronicled Osho’s journey from India to America, and the cult following he developed around the world. The documentary was mind blowing, and albeit probably not shining the best light on the whole ordeal— it was still incredible to see everything they achieved in Oregon. Being very aware that all things have a shadow, it was clear that the series exposed mostly the shadow part of Osho’s legacy and seemed to leave out a fair bit of the beauty and light he shared with the world. While watching the documentary I personally thought to myself damn, that looks awesome. The wild meditations, the freedom, the land regeneration, meditation, the community, the love. One of the biggest realisations I’ve had along my path to awakening is that all things have a shadow. The good comes with the bad, and the bad comes with the good— Osho as a human being, as a movement, is no different. Labeling people as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is a delusion, and when we choose to bask in the light, honoring the shadow that all light casts, we find magic.

I love this world because it is imperfect. It is imperfect, and that’s why it is growing; if it was perfect it would have been dead. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection. I would like you to remember again and again, I am imperfect, the whole universe is imperfect, and to love this imperfection, to rejoice in this imperfection is my whole message.
— Osho

Apart from the docu-series, the next time I really heard about Osho and the first time I learnt about his modern following was in Portugal. After a couple of week loitering the beaches of Lagos in the southern Algarve, I had my first experience with tantra and starting exploring the tantric path.Very quickly I started attracting wonderful beings into my life, and next thing you know I’m sitting in a sacred shamanic circle with 20 other divine humans on a beautiful property off the grid, in southern Portugal. It was a transformative weekend ceremony and it was there that I first heard about the upcoming Osho Festival that would be taking place while I was supposed to be spending the month in Spain.

My plans to spend July in Spain quickly changed, and I decided to head back to Portugal to experience the Osho Festival for myself. One of the biggest drivers for my return was Shamim, a woman who I met prior to the festival and who facilitates a few workshops at Osho. She was leading the women’s circle and a workshop called Bioenergetics— and I knew in my heart and soul that I needed to experience these workshops with her.

So I left for Spain for 10 days, passing through Barcelona, Granada, and Sevilla, before B-lining it back to the Algarve to attend my first ever Osho Festival. Apart from knowing a few (fantastic) people going, I didn’t know much about what this festival would entail. From the documentary I had a vague recollection of meditations that involved a lot of shaking and sounds and blindfolds— all of which peaked my playful curiosity. So with my tent and sleeping bag in tow, I hopped on the train from Faro to Santa Clara Saboia, and embarked on a journey I had no idea would change my life so profoundly.

Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.
— Osho

The Property

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The festival takes place on 33 hectares of forestland on a natural reserve overlooking the rolling hills of Southern Alentejo. I believe the technical area (well, according to Google) is São Teotónio, but the property itself is definitely as off-the-grid as it gets. A wonderful stranger picked me and another woman up from the train station and we drove a handful of km’s through winding roads up the hill past many “Osho Festival” hand painted signs, to Nartan and Harida’s land— a couple who have been running the festival here for 10 years, and live on the land year round.

Cotton candy sky setting over the hills of Southern Alentejo.

Cotton candy sky setting over the hills of Southern Alentejo.

My tent set up!

My tent set up!

Views of the main workshop dome peeking out of the trees.

Views of the main workshop dome peeking out of the trees.

The land was vast, and had various fruit trees, wild mint growing, hammocks, a small lake, a large hiking area, and various spots for camping, cars, and RV’s. The bulk of the workshops, dances, meditations, and events were held in a large dome overlooking the property, about halfway up the ridge of the hill. A smaller Buddha temple was on the way, and various structures being used for 1-on-1 therapies like Shiatsu and massage.

Bathrooms were mostly compost, showers were hot water (but I’m willing to bet most people took them cold!), and all in all the property and facilities were truly divine. This was clearly not their first rodeo!



The Food

Family-style meals at long wooden tables and benches.

Family-style meals at long wooden tables and benches.

I didn’t keep my phone on me during the festival so I cannot relay any images of the food, but it was abundant and delicious, vegetarian food. I am personally allergic to eggs and all milk products, making it a vegan-only option for me (which if you know me at all, doesn’t really work). When it comes to being in vegan situations for more than a day or two (like during my 3 month stint in Hawaii, click here to read more), I plan ahead and bring my own snacks. For this festival it means Epic Venison bars, and cans of sardines and mackerel. Although many of the guests weren’t vegan, I opted to have these animal products off away from the group, as to not offend any hardcore vegans.

Breakfast was lots of fruit, cereals, toast, spreads, eggs, oat porridge. Lunch was vegetables and starches (pasta, rice, couscous, polenta, etc), and dinner was similar to lunch. Lots of different flavours, and the food was without a doubt made with so much love. They had gluten-free options and dairy-free alternatives as well. Coffee/ tea was available all day, as was fruit, and they also set up an (added cost) juice bar for ginger shots, and beet-apple-ginger-lemon or watermelon juices. The best part: all the water on the property came from the well. AKA no nasty tap water poison (heaven!!!).

We ate family style, on long tables. Which was a great opportunity to get to know other people and talk about the amazing workshops that we had experienced together.

Views from the kitchen/ dining hall.

Views from the kitchen/ dining hall.


The Festival

The line-up for the week (click to expand).

Having never been to anything like this, I think I hit the jackpot for my first ever conscious-type festival. The vibe was incredible from the very start: most people were nice and smiling, welcoming, inviting. Although I came alone, I did know about 5 people from a previous sacred circle weekend held down in the Algarve. Like I said, it was actually in meeting this handful of people that I was inspired to come back to Portugal for the Osho Festival. After meeting this crew and getting a taste of the pure unadulterated transformative powers of Portugal— I knew I had to change my plans and head back to this sacred land.

The festival started at 7am every morning with one type of dynamic meditation (meaning that there is more going on that just sitting in silence). Unlike paths such as Vipassana, Osho roots his journey towards enlightenment in tantra. Tantra is the path of conscious pleasure and play; it’s a path that honours the body and the senses, and teaches you to interact with yourself and others mindfully. Unlike monastic paths that promote repression of things like pleasure, tantra honours what is. These meditations are guided by one or two facilitators, and straight up were LIFE CHANGING. I’ll explore some of my favourite workshops below in the Journal part of this article.

Nothing was mandatory, and in fact some of the workshops overlapped one another. I can’t imagine anyone attended all the workshops, because they ran almost back-to-back from sunrise to late at night. Some event were workshops, others live music, others yoga, etc.

Many of the participants at Osho Festival Portugal actually lived with Osho back in the day. Some of the facilitators actually created the active meditations for Osho himself, while another was actually Osho’s primary yoga teacher. These people came in direct contact with the man himself and their devotion and love for Osho and his teachings permeated their beings to this day.

That being said, the festival was not at all “culty”. Cults have attempted to poach me in the past (again, read my Maui experience), I am very well aware that many of these guru’s gain a cult-like following. Unfortunately I find these types of exchanges problematic, because people tend to follow the messenger instead of the message. Here, none of that. Their love for Osho could be seen most obviously in their love for life, this group kept the guru in their heart but most importantly they walked his walk, and talked his talk.

Apart from one large image of Osho in the dome, there wasn’t all that much talk of Osho. A nightly discourse would play tapes of Osho (and attendees wore white to this event), and the Sanyasas celebration (in which individuals got their Sanyasa name) was also a very Osho-rooted celebration— both of which I found to be beautiful and truly touching. But there was no talk of converting anyone or any of that— just love for a man whose teachings were indeed wonderful.


Osho Music + Meditation Festival Portugal July 11- July 17 2019

Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.
— Osho

Thursday Day 1

Arrival

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As the train pulled into the station in Santa Clara Saboia just before 5 pm, I stepped off the train and noticed an older woman behind me with a big suitcase. I reached back to take her suitcase down the awkward old train steps, and as she gave me a big smile we started walking towards the road. A man whistled our way and as we both looked towards the beat up car with Flower of Life stickers on it, we realised we were both going to the same place.

We drove through the Southern Alentejo hills, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I had no idea where we were going or what I was getting myself into, but my heart felt full, and it felt right. We eventually turned off the main road and drove towards a big hand painted wooden “Osho Festival” sign. Winding up the hill we eventually arrived to the property, and pulled up in front of the Welcome Tent— which was a main hub for any questions throughout the festival.

Having arrived on the later side, I quickly registered and tossed my tent/ backpack in the camping area before heading to the large dome for the first meditation.

The huge tarped geo-dome mid-way up the hill, where most of the events happened. It was a great wake up having a little hike up to the dome every morning before the first meditation.

The huge tarped geo-dome mid-way up the hill, where most of the events happened. It was a great wake up having a little hike up to the dome every morning before the first meditation.

17:30 Tribal Meditation: 4 elements, water to earth to fire to air

This was a transformative experience for me, mainly because it was my first time at any sort of ‘ecstatic dance’. As per my definition, this is essentially conscious group dance, with intention behind it. Movement is so deeply healing, but so often we get into our own heads (‘I’m not good enough’ ‘I can’t dance’) and we build up our armour. Children dance freely, but as we grow our ego’s take over and a combination of fear and shame usually means we stop dancing.

I danced (ballet, modern, etc) growing up, but it was generally choreographed— and I stopped abruptly after high school. From there my experience dancing was essentially confined to being very drunk on club dance floors and the occasional bar table across Montreal throughout university. The alcohol (and drugs) helped with losing inhibitions, but I wholeheartedly believe that you cannot heal or grow simultaneously while inebriated. Anyways, this experience at Osho was my first time freestyle dancing totally sober, in a room full of people, in the middle of the day. And it rocked my god damn world.

This dance specifically was to the elements, and the music reflected it. ‘Water’ was fluid dance, ‘earth’ was actually a grounded seated meditation, followed by ‘fire’ which was an energetic, fiery dance, and finally we finished with ‘air’ laying down in silence. I literally cried at the end laying on the floor, feeling more alive than I had in a long, long time. This was the start of a life-long love-affair with ecstatic dance.


Dinner

Dinner was an epic veggie tagine, with rice porridge, and salad. I was satiated and ready for bed after dinner.. but forced myself to the sound madala. I had the vision of attending absolutely every event (which I quickly realised, was physically impossible).

22:00 Concert- Sound Mandala

Having woken up at about 5am in Sevilla, Spain to make the trek back to Portugal— I didn’t have it in me to stay long at the Sound Mandala. It was beautiful to start, about 5 person band. The music was divine actually, but as my eyes started to shut on me I climbed back down the hill and into my tent, so excited for the next day.

Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.
— Osho

Friday Day 2

I slept in my tent, directly on the ground. I ditched a pillow in March (4 months ago) and am keen to eventually sleep on a much firmer ground-style sleeping pad (a la Katy Bowman), so these opportunities to camp directly on the ground and wake up feeling great is a reassuring sign that my body is in good condition.


7:00 Dynamic Meditation

This is probably one of the most classic Osho meditations out there. The Dynamic meditation goes through 5 phases, and was led by Nartan (the powerhouse of a woman who runs the festival/ owns the property). The whole meditation was done blindfolded, which was awesome. Such a powerful tool to let go of expectations/ comparisons, and just surrender to the experience.

Nartan explained the 5 phases (with vivid, wonderful demonstrations). A gong sound let us know when we were to move to the next phase.

5 phases

  • 1: Exhale with no rhythm: you use whole body to exhale non-stop with no set rhythm, with a focus on the out breath. So that can be like 10 hyperventilating breaths followed by two long deep exhales, one quick exhale, two slow, 6 super quick. It’s so odd/ unusual… but was surprisingly fun. I laughed a few times.

  • 2: Emotions: let out any emotions your body is called to release (scream, cry, laugh). If you get stuck, just make noise with your mouth and surrender to the emotions. This section was wild, I mean wild. You could hear gut-wrenching screams, uncontrollable crying, manic laughing. Lots of animalistic growls and howling too— it was wonderful. Thanks to the blindfolds I reckon, people really just let the fuck go. It was so fun and liberating.

  • 3: Jumping flat footed with your arms up until you hear STOP. This lasted a long time and damn, it was exhausting and yet empowering. Knowing what step was coming next I was a little worried about my arm stamina, but I survived.

  • 4: Hold arms up for 15 minutes, like a statue.

  • 5: Dance in celebration of life: straight up party time. People just went wild, the music was lively and everyone just had the best time.

Overall this meditation was a god damn blast. It was so unconventional to my notion of what a meditation could be. It truly opened the floodgates of potential for me when it comes to meditation. I felt alive, grounded, energized, inspired. It really drove home the message of tantra for me as well: that you can live in meditation by embodying yourself, by living mindfully. Although I love Vipassana silent meditation retreats, I have a really hard time sitting down for an hour to meditate Vipassana style. This, however, was my jam. Hours had passed and I was just enveloped in the experience, totally present, totally alive.


8:30 Breakfast

Breakfast was the same every day: oat porridge, fresh fruit, toast, spreads, eggs, coffee, tea, cereal. As I’m allergic to eggs and am not too into refined wheats— I stuck to mostly fruit for breakfast, occasionally a bowl of warm oatmeal. I also had a can of sardines or mackerel if I still felt I needed it. Oh! And since I ditched all caffeine, I travel with a kilo bag of chaga tea, which I made every morning too.

10:00 Satsang- Music and Silence

I arrived late to the satsang, but it was beautiful live music.


11:30 Bioenergetics with deva shamim

Two hours of insanity. INSANITY! We danced, to a blend of techno/ tribal music like wild people, and then stillness standing just being grounded, a few rounds of dance (elevate) and stillness (grounded), then walking around making eye contact with other people as we moved around the room, semi-dancing.

The eye-contact transitioned into conscious touch (small playful touch with others as we walk around), which was already so out of the normal for me. People are so afraid of human touch that most people apologize when we graze another person on the street. Here we purposefully brushed up against one another, held hands for a moment, stoked someones head or arm. It was great.

Conscious touch was followed by long, deep, meaningful hugs (with an emphasis and intentional connection of the hearts). I love, love, love hugging. Hugs are such a powerful way to connect and mutually heal— these hugs were powerful. Then walking again playfully but more energized, the music was more electric.

After the walk/ dance we continued to walk slowly and had some self-touch/ hugging. Basically gentle strokes to your own arm, face belly. Giving yourself love.

We then formed a large circle around the room with eye contact held for like 15 minutes with the person directly across from you. This was so incredible. I felt like I got to know the guy I eyegazed with so deeply, and yet to this day we never spoke and I don’t even know his name. The eye gazing was followed by Kundalini shaking, then hunched over + more shaking. That part is hard to explain, but having explored the power of shaking both to release trauma and also to wake up the kundalini let me say: wow. Just wow. Honestly I’m pretty sure you can give yourself a full-body (non-sexual) orgasm just by shaking like that— it awakens all the senses in an inexplicable way.

Next we got on the ground heart centred breathing for like 30 minutes, followed by fetal position with intention of healing the inner child. In the fetal position I was instructed to tell that inner child that I’m there for here. The message was knowing that fundamentally you can give yourself everything you need in this life. The inner child healing work made me cry, a lot. I really connected with younger me during times when she felt alone, sad, afraid, confused. I felt a genuine bridge between her and I, between the past and present. And in a way I haven’t yet really found words to explain, I felt like I healed my future by healing the past. It’s almost like that pain is happening simultaneously in a parallel universe, and by connecting with it— you free all the selves, past, present, and future— simultaneously. I’m still working on the best way to express that… but damn, it was magic.

15:30 ARUN Conscious Touch

This was a workshop where we learnt to work on a partner, through conscious touch. Highlights included the concept that “we are touching beings; we touch not only physically but with our eyes and our words. Everything we touch, touches us.”

Conscious touch is the meditative touch that heals. We then did 2 hours of partner conscious touch, with focus on sacral area, lots of gentle rocking. It was beautiful and a powerful experience. Very empowering session that was a strong reminder that everyone is a healer when they navigate the world with mindfulness. Although I enjoyed my session being massaged, I actually preferred being the one touching— it was really wonderful engaging in touch so mindfully and seeing how truly healing these hands can be.

23:00 Stargazing

I was fast asleep by then, and it was cloudy anyways so I can’t imagine I missed out on too much star gazing.

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The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.
— Ohso

Saturday Day 3

9am- morning hike

Not a part of the itinerary, but I heard you could to the top of the hill and all around a loop of the property. My friend Rafa and I took off after breakfast and scaled a steep part all the way to the ridge, and walked along it with views of the back hills of Monchique. It was magical. The descent was more like scrambling down on our butts, but we survived.

Sun blasting through the heavens onto this sacred land, views halfway up the hill.

Sun blasting through the heavens onto this sacred land, views halfway up the hill.

11:30 Breath Meditation with Anasha

After the great conscious touch workshop I had the intention of attending this breath meditation, but after the mornings hike and knowing I wanted to be in full form for the women’s circle that afternoon— I was skipped it and opted for a little solo kirtan chanting/ nap in the hammock.

15:30 Women’s Circle with Deva Shamim

- 3 hours, 2 with women then men joined. Eye gazing, dancing, namaste, Shania Twain, sharing circle, shower of love, men joined the womb, eye gazing, lots of crying, hugging, spiral into a big circle, fell to the floor, love, hugs (shared like 5 minute hug/ gaze w a stranger. so beautiful. 

When the men’s circle joined the women’s circle: we embraced them into the ‘womb’ of our temple— they faced each other and then turned around to face the women. We then walked slowly and eyegazed (which prompted me to cry, and cry, and cry).


Sunday Day 4

7:30 Yoga in Buddha Temple

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-life changing class— so important while camping (on ground) but in general the small class was so alive and fun. Breathing “into the lake” of your body, letting the rivers flow into every point of your body.

11:30 Heart Dance with Pratibha

This singing session was awesome. Pratibha stood in the middle of the dome with a few other people who played instruments and sang. We formed 3 circles around them (a small circle, a larger one around it, and a huge one around that), and Pratibha gave us the song lyrics before each song. She also gave us a mild instruction on when to walk left/ right, when to come inwards, when to eye gaze with your neighbours, etc. So we sang, moved, hugged, laughed, cried a bit. It was really a heart warming experience and so much fun. Some songs were english whilst others were kirtan style with mantras. Wonderful and uplifting.

15:30 Laughing Buddhas

Although I walked to the dome for this workshop, I felt the whole time walking that I wanted some quiet time. I got to the dome and looped back down the other way to take a nap. I could hear the laughter from down in my tent where I was laying down, it made me smile.

16:30 Sannyas Celebration

In Hinduism, Sannyasi is the act of abandoning all claims or family standing. It’s renunciation of the past life, in the name of this new spiritual path. In these Osho ceremonies, as far as I can tell, is the act of letting go of your birth-given name, and adopting the name given to you during the ceremony. As far as names go, a label is a label is a label— so I don’t really understand it conceptually. BUT it was pretty cool to witness four women get fully ushered into Osho-ism. Each woman sat in the centre of the circle and was sung to, given her new name, and then had a bit of a dance and a cry. Everyone wore white. You could feel the joy radiating off of them, and it makes me happy to see people happy. So thumbs up.

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Monday Day 5

7:00 AUM Meditation with Geetesh

ended at 10:30 am (3.5 hours) going through 13 stages of emotions; anger to asking for forgiveness to love, celebration, wild side, teenage sensuality (blindfolded), deep sadness, laughter, etc. released so much deep deep emotions. Concept of finding the emotions in this safe space so that you can tap into them in your daily life.

Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.
— Osho

17:00 Heart Connection 

This session was intense. In retrospect, nobody there has any idea how deeply tantric and intimate this workshop would be. But being in a room full of open-minded folk, everyone dove in and it was a technique I cannot wait to explore at some point again, with a partner.

Essentially this was a tantric practice where you synchronize your breath with a partner. A male and female come together and can engage in any 3 levels of connection; one simply sitting in front of one another, the other with their legs intertwined (but the cores of their bodies touching completely) and the third with the woman sitting on the lap of the man (face to face). Note: we were fully clothed!

After that you start to breathe, but in a cyclical motion whereby the woman inhales from her root chakra and up to her heart while the man exhales from his heart into his root chakra— and then the breath circulates from there. The breathe basically does a circle into the women’s root and out her heart, and into the man’s heart and out of his root chakra. It’s very intimate and so beautiful.

I had only met my partner about 5 minutes prior to the workshop, but needless to say we bonded quite fast. Workshops like these (and well, in life in general) work when you surrender to the experience.

21:00 Mantra Night

Nitya and Ninad are a partner duo from Italy and oh my goodness, they are so lovely. I spent the following day chatting to them for a couple of hours during lunch and genuinely the most wonderful people. I was exhausted so I didn’t stay too long but they dished out two versions of Ram Ram Sita Ram which is one of my favorite mantras.

Something else they shared which I loved was that we don’t need to know the meaning of a mantra for it to work. I feel this deeply, and in fact I reckon we are drawn to the type of mantra that we need to heal in that moment.

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When we realised that music is our natural way to connect ourself with the divine, we were asked to share this experience with other friends on the path. This is how the strong and clear calling to meet in sacred singing and grow in awareness and devotion began. It is a melting of our own voice with the silence and the passion for bhakti, devotion, which keeps opening our hearts, again and again.
— Nitya & Ninad

Tuesday Day 6

7:00 Sufi Chakra Breathing

This 7am breath-based meditation as powerful. It reminded me of Wim Hof a little bit, in that there was a very active breath that took to you another dimension. Sufi is a mystical Islamic belief, and the breath work basically went through all 7 chakras, stopping for about 1 minute per chakra, where you should focus on the exhale while concentrating on the particular chakra. Most of us were blindfolded, all of us standing up with feet hip-width apart. There was Sufi chanting in the background, and the sound of the Sufi’s also doing the breathwork. After we reached crown chakra we went back down all 7 chakras to base chakra and took a short break before doing another two rounds. The meditation finished by laying down on the floor for some live singing bowl music. It was divine.

The blindfolds really do a lot to help you surrender to the experience and give it your all. As soon as we are tempted to glance around, it removes us from the inner journey. We lose the ability to experience the subtleties of the work when we look around.
Breath work is one of my favourite ways to start the day, I really ought to do it more often. It energises you and yet is deeply grounding. You can read more about my experience with Wim Hof breath below.

11:30 Drum Circle

I was very much looking forward to this, despite the fact that someone warned me it gets a little chaotic. I love drums, and the idea of a wild drum/ dancing circle had me quite excited. There was a big set up of Harida’s drums, maracas, and a few other instruments. Harida started the beat with a simple rhythm and invited people to clap along to his beat, he then passed the drum to someone in the circle to keep it going. He then introduced a new beat, and passed that drum/ beat along to someone else. It continued this way for about 20 minutes before I became super overwhelmed by all the noise and had to leave the dome.

It was probably a combination of the entire week thus far, but I think the Aum meditation really hit me especially hard. I hadn’t had enough time to process it (truthfully, I’m still processing it weeks later)— and the craziness of the drum circle put me into fight or flight. I could feel my heart racing and my body just saying “Wait what? I’m still stuck in some other dimension trying to figure out why I yelled and cried and laughed and loved so intensely yesterday back-to-back… get me out of here!!!” And so I left, and sought refuge in a hammock, with a peach.

Leaving Osho Festival

I actually left around dinner time of this day, because I had a ride and a generous offer to stay with the wonderful woman who ran the women’s circle (and a cosmic sister of mine), and it felt like the right time to go. Many people had packed up their tents already (the largest amount of participants without a doubt came for the long weekend and left back to work on monday). Anyways I felt like I had had such a deeply life-changing-soul-shaking experience that it was time to ground myself and start integrating the lessons I learnt.

I left on the night of the full moon to stay one night in Lagos, and then the following night back to the Shamanic Circle on an off-grid property near Barao de Sao Miguel, in the wilderness of the Algarve (not too far from Lagos). The moon was absolutely insane— first an eclipse on the night in Lagos and then a full, brilliant gold coloured moon on the second night near San Miguel. I got to share the moon magic with a friend Rafa, who guided me unknowingly into the property around 10pm and told me simply to turn around. The moon shined on us, beaming cosmic wisdom into every pore of our body. As I stood there I knew I was a changed woman, and indeed this experience is one I will remain in awe of for the rest of my life.

Take chances, say yes to the flow. Surrender to all the possibilities for expansion and growth, because this human life is a gift— and it is your duty to heal yourself, to take back your power, to thrive.


Post-Festival Grounding

Having never experienced a conscious festival like this, nor knowing what I would be experiencing during such a festival— I had committed to attending the Awakeland Dance Celebration Festival just one day following Osho. It was happening in neighboring hills of Monchique, and many participants from Osho (including many of the facilitators) were going to Awakeland for this 4 day ecstatic dance celebration.

After two nights of rest post-Osho, we drove into Monchique and into Awakeland, a large property/ community that runs various conscious gatherings (dance celebration, Tantra festival, etc) throughout the year. Although I was super excited to experience this place, I knew as soon as I set up my tent that this second festival was too much for me to deal with energetically.

The property was beautiful, with four lakes, a huge air conditioned dome for dancing, and lots of excited people ready to dance. And despite the nudie swims, I wasn’t able to cool off physically or emotionally. The 30+ degree days had very little opportunities to cool down, the property had very little shade and most of the tents (mine included) were blasted with sun all day. With nowhere to retreat/ cool down I felt so agitated and overwhelmed. After any deep spiritual journey, the process of integration is what turns knowledge into wisdom. Having had no time to really sit with my Osho experience, I dove right into the next thing and my mind/ body literally could not handle it. I felt trapped and overwhelmed and had to escape.

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Despite having paid in full, I reached out to a friend who was down in Portimao (about a 30 min Uber drive away), and I returned back to the property near Barão de São Miguel with him for a cool, calm, and quiet night away from the agitation of the dance festival.

The lesson here: give yourself time to integrate.

As a do-er, I have the tendency to go all in, all the time. I’m learning with time to be patient with myself, to listen to my body, to find moments of stillness. Stillness is not weakness, in fact for those of us who are go-go-go: stillness can actually prove to be the task that requires the most strength.

 
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Spiritual growth allows us to fly high, but we are having a human experience. Unless your feet are on the ground, you won’t be able to bridge the physical and the metaphysical worlds. Take time to ground yourself after these journeys. For me that means nourishing meals (meat, root vegetables), time barefoot in nature, swimming in the sea, sunbathing nude. Connecting with the root chakra (the colour red, and simple mantras like “I am grounded” “I am safe” “I am enough” and simply “I am”). Take time to allow your body to process these magical experiences, to convert it into a language it can use to better your daily life.

Take hold of your own life.
See that the whole existence is celebrating.
These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious.
The rivers and the oceans are wild,
and everywhere there is fun,
everywhere there is joy and delight.
Watch existence,
listen to the existence and become part of it.
— Osho