The concept for the Awakening Festival and the larger community, Designing Transformation, started with my own awakening process a couple of years ago when I lost my husband to cancer. His death sparked an unquenchable desire in me to explore my own path of meaning, spirituality and purpose. This path lead me to the other side of the world with my two young boys to visit the place where we were married – Bali Indonesia.
I was drawn back to this place, as I had the first time, by its beauty and by the Balinese’s unparalleled reverence for life, nature, spirit and culture. I even considered living there for a while to help us heal, a la ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. But, on the way home I felt a bit like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, realizing that ‘there’s no place like home’.
I realized that my own community was calling me back. It was my own village and among my own tribe where I needed to heal and eventually thrive. Our beautiful rural community on the outskirts of Montreal is a very unique place. Not only is it a model of conscious sustainable living, combining a natural, organic, and slow-paced way of life, but it is also a progressive community rich in art, culture, music and community engagement.
I had experienced first hand the deep generosity of spirit and kindness that lay within this community when the people wrapped their arms around our family throughout our grieving process.
I soon realized that the fastest way to heal was to take my own gifts, expertise and passions, and direct them back into the community in a positive way.
Ghandi’s mantra “Be the change you want to see in the world” became my beacon through many a dark night. Not only did I want to give back to the community that had given me so much, but I wanted to honour my husband’s memory and continue the path of community service that he had lived as a town councillor.
But, I couldn’t do it alone. None of us can. So, I turned toward my close circle of friends and family, many of whom were experiencing their own awakening journey. The diversity of their awakening processes were as varied as the hues of a rainbow, but the common element in everyone was a yearning for a more meaningful, harmonious and balanced way of living.
And so, I sent out the call, “Who wants to join me in this crazy, wild, unknown adventure”? The answer was surprising, but unanimous, “We all do!”
To my delight, I found within this group a treasure trove of talents that included: artists, musicians, writers, activists, social entrepreneurs, teachers, healers, spiritual practitioners, naturalists, health and wellness experts, parents and more, all willing to pitch in.
From there, we created a vision for this first Annual Awakening Festival: To Create an unforgettable experience full of love, wisdom, creative expression and joy to unite and inspire our community and others toward positive transformation and purpose.
Each one of these beautiful and immensely talented individuals are giving in their own way, partnering with me to make this project a tremendous success. I am sincerely grateful for their support and loving guidance.
The festival, this celebration of life, is bound to be an extraordinary event. We hope you will join us!