A-Fest and My StrAnger Friends
In the fall of 2014 at age 39, I began what I like to call my “Treadmill Transformation” after listening to “The Theory of Awesomeness” on Youtube by Vishen Lakhiani. I recall the exact moment after my run when I told myself that one day I was going to attend the event he founded named “Awesomeness Fest.” At the time of that not-so-fleeting thought, it was an impossible proposition. My extremely successful real estate and volunteer careers were eating me alive and my failing marriage was a deep dark secret I tried to deny even to myself. Over the next year of Youtube inspired runs and Vishen’s “6 Phase Meditations” (I had never meditated before), I also remember the moment in my company parking lot when I asked for a sign that I was on the right path. I walked into my office, opened my laptop, and found an A-Fest acceptance email from Mindvalley. Since then, it’s as if the universe invited me on the journey of my life. Every single day I encounter signs that it’s not me in control and that I’m just along for the ride and apparently living my life “accidentally on purpose” (as I’ve come to call the often unbelievable reality that I now call my own).
I have the A -Fest experience and my amazing A-friends all over the world to thank for keeping me on this path that is helping me make my dreams come true. I’ve created a life I don’t need a vacation from, and I keep my A-Fest bracelets on my wrist (I now have 6 and will sport another next week when I travel to Bali for my 7th) to remind me that ANYTHING is possible. They will only come off when I provide a scholArship (note the A stands for A-Fest) to others who desperately need this amazing Tribe like I did.
I was a small town, shy, sheltered girl from Virginia, a big fish in a small pond who literally lived a life that was the epitome of the “American Dream.” I had a wonderful life, but was secretly suffering because I knew that there was something else I was supposed to do. Now I still have an amazing life at home but also travel the globe, have best friends all over the world and within the next year will launch the first phase of a global fundraising platform that will nearly effortlessly raise millions for their favorite causes all over the world (Dollar Dream Download & TheShout-Out.com).
I left my hometown for A-Fest East in 2015, landed in Cancun, met my first “strAnger friends,” was hypnotized by Marisa Peer (during which I told my little girl self that she deserved to be happy, not just successful) and the “old me” never returned to Virginia. For 39 years, I thought I had the perfect life. I’ve had no traumas, little adversity, financial stability and uncanny success in nearly everything I’ve attempted. But I realized at my first A-Fest that my beliefs were an underlying tragedy—I was not living, I was a robot merely doing, and I was dreaming too small. A-Fest has taught me to truly LIVE and dream BIG.
I remember the moment when I surprised Vishen Lakhiani’s mother by asking her to autograph his amazing book, “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.” If it weren’t for her encouragement of him to think outside the box, ask questions and take action, I’d be a successful, loving “normal” mother secretly longing to follow a calling that I ignored. Now I’m a mother that’s going to change the world and help put my small hometown on the map and be recognized for the amazing place that it is. Before A Fest, the highlight of my travel was a trip to the neighboring town’s Costco Warehouse to stock up on household supplies. Now I have an open invitation to every continent and a Tribe to remind me (on the days I wish I could be content as a normal mom with a Costco list) that everything happens for a reason and that even little ‘ole me is extraordinary and can change the world.
I’ll be giving my first “ScholArship to A-Fest Portugal in 2019. If you or someone you know would like to apply, please have them contact me for an application.
Below is from the Mindvalley website about the event:
Launched in 2010, A-Fest is an event that gathers an extraordinary community of change-makers and visionaries who are driven by epic ideas to impact the world – entrepreneurs, employees, artists, leaders, innovators, visionaries and more.
The festival takes place in paradise locations around the world. Here you will receive powerful training, profound mind shifts, bio-hacking techniques, deep and lifelong connections, incredible adventures and unique opportunities to multiply your impact and expand your game.
Each A-Fest is limited to 350-400 spots, creating the most intimate yet authentic experience. With around 3,000 applications annually, we have expanded globally to two events each year.A-Fest was started by Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley in 2010 as a way to connect with like-minded individuals around the world. It was simply a way to overcome loneliness and to find an excuse to step away from the daily grind so one could get inspired and excited about life. From a simply idea to solve Vishen’s own dilemma, A-Fest grew into a global movement.
About A Fest:
The Theory of Awesomeness by Vishen Lakhiani
A BETH Poem:
Far away but close in heart,
strangers who now are friends
Kindred spirits we have met,
along life’s many bends.
Some of them we’ll meet again,
and some of them will stay
Forever trapped in memories,
of past’s lost present day.
But all of them we will recall,
With pleasure in our mind.
And reach back to the time we shared
Forever to remind.
Remind us of a hidden truth,
One which we can’t deny
Each passer by’s a future friend.
If we but start with, “Hi!”