Have you ever fantasized about your ‘paradise’? Like where it would be, what the surroundings would look like, what kind of people would be there with you, what kind of activities they would do on a daily basis, what kind of a ‘perfect life’ you would experience there? I came across a paradise last month. It was very close to the paradise I had always imagined: a stretch of beautiful beaches, an island where the sun shines all-year long, a place that is both culturally and spiritually rich, a bunch of wonderful people who radiates positive energy and beams with smile and enthusiasm.
Experiencing ‘paradise’ is fantastic. I could say that it was the most magical thing I have ever experienced in 30 years. But do I want to live there?
That paradise came to me by end of August through an event called Awesomeness Fest. I wouldn’t explain further about the event here, because you could actually go to their site and check it out if you’re interested to know more. To make the long story short: the experience was life-changing.
Imagine this: you are stranded in a beautiful place, surrounded by beautiful people–inside and out. People who are constantly trying to make the world a better place to live. Everyday, you eat delicious healthy meals, work out through a series of wonderful activities (involving mind, body, and soul), hang out by the beach from midnight until dawn, pour your hearts out to the people sitting next to you, write some love-notes to appreciate other people’s kindness. Everyone is genuine, friendly, warm, and open-minded. You dance. You sing. You laugh. You cry.
It’s like a dreamland where you’ll feel so loved and liberated because you can simply be yourself. Because no one will judge you. The positive energy flows so strongly–that even in your down times, you can’t help but feeling much better in an instant because an overflow of wonderful people is always around to hug and comfort you, hold your hands, crack some jokes to make you smile, or simply sit there in silence with you.
Do you know the movie The Beach–from Alex Garland’s novel with the same title? If you’re not familiar with the novel or haven’t watched the movie, you can read the summary (spoiler alert) by clicking here, but in one and other way, Awesomeness Fest feels like The Beach to me. Well, not to that certain extreme, but it felt like I had found my beach. My paradise.
However, just like all the characters in The Beach, we all needed to go back home–wherever that is. It was hard to do so after experiencing such a blissful moment. I had to confess that a part of me wanted to ‘stay’ there forever, but one of the things I learned in paradise made me decided to leave that place with happiness and gratitude.
I have had my fair share there. As tempting as it would be, for me, once is more than enough. I have been lucky to experience something so profound, and now it’s time to share the paradise with others, and it’s time for me to extend that bliss and touch more lives. It doesn’t matter where I am today, because I have carried the paradise inside of me. It is no longer a place. It has manifested into a feeling. I am carrying The Beach around, now, inside my pocket. And I want to share it with you.
Because reality is wonderful, too. And I do want to live there.
And me, I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and when you find that moment… it lasts forever.
– Richard, in The Beach
*)written with love and gratitude to my fellow AFesters. you are all wonderful souls. I am honored to have crossed path with all of you. I see you. I am here.