Feature

Transformational Festival Centered around Spring Equinox.

Transformational Festival Centered around Spring Equinox.
Bree Melero

Serenity Gathering is an annual Transformational Festival held in Southern California. Centered around the dates of the Spring Equinox, it is an opportunity to celebrate the time where night and day, dark and light, are in perfect balance – representing the balance within us.

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

Balance.
We hear this word tossed around loosely, or see it plastered across various mediums, everyday. Whether it be in reference to well balanced meals and diets, or well balanced checkbooks, the term balance has become a mantra of the lives of many people. But balance is such an abstract concept. One that we all have different definitions, thresholds, and strategies for. Yet there is one thing we can all agree on, and this: balance is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.

Many of us can agree that finding balance in life is not only a realistic goal, but an important one. We find a magical sense of harmony within ourselves when we are able to achieve moments of balance, and who doesn’t want that?

Of course we all want to feel whole and complete, so it’s no wonder we find ourselves spending a lifetime to achieve it. Living a balanced life is about integrating the components of our lives that are truly important to us and realizing that sometimes we need to make choices about what has to come first in order to stay mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually stable. The correlation between a balanced lifestyle and an all around well-being is not a new age ideology, however, the notion has certainly progressed over recent years, continuing to spread globally as society as a whole continues to awaken.

The importance of balance in life has become a trend of sorts, becoming more evident every day. If the daily influx of Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram images being shared doesn’t make it obvious, then maybe the sudden emergence of lifestyle blogs, websites, health and fitness centers, businesses and technologies dedicated to the same might put things into perspective.

As a result, conscious thought and communication about how to achieve balance has spread and activities such as yoga, music festivals, meditating, traveling, etc. have become more popular, and commonly accepted as activities that promote a fruitful life. Serenity Gathering had it right when they put together this year’s 4-day festival.

 

 

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

The hope of Serenity is that we take this time to honor this balance and experience the feeling of ONE as a whole, rather than as individuals.
A blissful weekend under the spring equinox.
The good people at Serenity Gathering did an excellent job curating the perfect balance of workshops, music, art and nature. The feeling of oneness was very much alive as the gathering brought together a force field of progressive creatives whose energies made for 4 divine nights in the desert.

Now in it’s 3rd year, Serenity Gathering took place at the stunning Joshua Tree Retreat & Events Center on March 17-20 – aka the exact same weekend as the magnificent spring equinox. It is tradition for Serenity to take place during this time of year, so you better believe the brilliant minds behind Serenity were well aware of the perfection of this time of year.

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

The atmosphere of the entire weekend was quite literally down to Earth. That’s truly the only way to describe it. I don’t know if it had to do with Earth being in her most perfect alignment, but there was a positive energy revolving around everyone in attendance. There was an honest sense of community at Serenity that didn’t feel one bit forced. When we needed to borrow a pump to blow up our air mattress our neighbors immediately lent a helping hand and proceeded to share their delicious homemade pasta with us afterwards.

It was a breath of fresh air to be among such a mindful collective of people. The level of respect for one another and the land (which was great as Serenity is a “leave no trace” festival and too often people tend to “forget” that part of their festing experience) was as clear as the sky was blue. It was a beautiful feeling to be amidst truly conscious individuals. Serenity really brought out the very best in everyone.

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

The Serenity effect.
Sunrises were pristine; sunsets were cinematic. It was never too hot during the day time, nor too cold at night. But my favorite thing about Serenity was its grassroots ethos, which carried over into the hearts and souls of all who were there to experience it. The Serenity effect (as I started to call it) left everyone radiating in the best versions of themselves. Everyone looked effortlessly supreme! It didn’t appear as though anyone was going too far overboard to make an impression as the community really made you feel as though they could be unapologetically yourself 100% of the time. Serenity reminded me how liberating it is to be comfortable in your own skin, and how just being yourself is the hottest look you can rock. Own it!

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

There was an aura of honesty over Serenity, and it began with the incredible energy everyone brought in with them. You truly felt the oneness and the support in the air. It made for a very cool balance of “I’m totally comfortable right now and not even trying but I look and feel hot af just being me while everyone else is being them.” The depth of coexistence at Serenity was unlike any other festival I have ever been to. It was a happy, confident bunch of people that gathered at Serenity, and it set an amazing tone for the entire weekend.

Music, workshops and art.
Positive music soundtracked each day from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. (Friday-Sunday). There were 3 stages: Serenity Stage, Bridge Family Stage, New Moon Stage, and each had it’s own unique character. The Serenity Stage featured an eclectic roster of artists such as Big Wild, Ill.Gates, Desert Dwellers, Shpongle, Mr. Bill, Thriftworks, Emancipator, Bleep Bloop and Random Rab, and many more, The New Moon stage supplied tunes from Stickybuds, Defunk, Nominus, Tribone, Kev, the late Pumpkin and a few others. The third stage, Bridge Family Stage, popped off with the sounds of Nico Luminous, Echophonix, Lafa Taylor, Govinda, Soul Scratch, and Trevor Kelly among others who styled the weekend with impeccable performances that had everyone on the dancefloor.

Serenity Gathering 2016 Teaser Recap from Serenity Gathering on Vimeo.

Several yoga sessions, workshops and family driven activities took place consecutively throughout the day. There were opportunities to experience the power of sound healing with Shane Thunder. As well as opportunities to learn about attracting and repelling energy, the duality of intimacy, raw food and enzymes, ancient cosmology and more. You could get your vinyasa flow on, get a palm and tarot reading, or get in on the light action with flow art workshops. The Nova Family & Community Dome made sure the little ones were having their own fun with daily family yoga, family lunch with stories and songs, and BUBBLES! There were also children and family driven workshops that educated the youth in teamwork and happiness.

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

Finding Serenity.
Serenity prides itself on being an environment that enriches the lives of all who gather to experience its magic. Here, you undoubtedly find a space for freedom of expression. There are no judgments, and no fights. Everyone encourages each other to be bold and pursue what makes you happy. It’s a place where passion is born and elevated to new levels. It is a place where you can take the love and positivity you found and channel it back into the real world. Serenity is where you find balance in dreams and reality.

Many of us spend lifetimes trying to establish the perfect ratio for our lives. Everything from work and sleep; school and a social life; donating to charity and “treating yo self”; giving in to your partner’s needs or standing up for your own; the number of vegetables to cupcakes you eat requires some form of balance in order for us to maintain positive well-being. Sometimes it all feels like one giant, slippery slope that we’re about to fall off of at any moment. But that’s okay! All you need is to revert back to the basics and regain your control. Sometimes you need a little fun and chaos to break up the hardships and stresses in life, and the balance is all for your best interest.

Other times, Earth aligns just right and a collective of conscious aesthetes gather in the desert for a weekend of love and coexistence. There is a time, usually around the spring equinox, where we all fall into a state of being encompassed by a tranquility sent to us from the Universe. It is in this time that we find peace within ourselves, and this state of peace is then projected into the hearts and souls of everyone around us. We find ourselves in this serene blanket of balance without even trying, or realizing it, and the oneness we all hope for becomes a reality. We see ourselves growing closer to each other, and finding new parts of ourselves in the process. In the midst of spending our entire lives shooting for stars and balance, there are times when balance just happens naturally – on Earth and within ourselves. And as long as we are open enough to let it, we can, and will be, the change we wish to see in the world. Serenity Gathering taught us that we can do it together – as ONE.

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Photography By: Jamal Eid

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