Guest post provided by Isabella Blackwell
We are literally buzzing from the excitement of the past three days! It could be from the beats of thousands of drums or dancing alongside ten thousand dancers – the melodies still echoing throughout our bodies, or perhaps it’s the lingering resonance of heightened vibrations from meditating with hundreds of thousands of others. Any of these solitary events would have been more than we’ve ever experienced before, but together, along with so many others, they were life-changing. Together. If together is one word that represents the belongingness we felt at the World Culture Festival, another would definitely be family. The overarching theme throughout the festival was that together, we are a one world family. We felt that every step of the way. The World Culture Festival was not an event of the year, or even the decade; this experience will last a lifetime.
A Kids’ Cultural Kaleidoscope
WCF allowed us all to embrace our inner child; yet, there were so many exciting opportunities just for children to celebrate! There were no limitations on FUN! In addition to the games and frolicking galore, children explored the Kids Wellness Exhibit to learn about the SKY Kids Programs, learned how to access their intuition, and participated in well-being activities. Our children loved taking part in the breathing exercises and learning how to use them at school, during their extracurricular activities, and at home.
I Belong to You
The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monuments weren’t the only monumental elements at WCF. Teens showed up for the World Culture Festival in a colossal way! The ‘I Belong To You’ Youth Chorus extended the theme of the festival, reminding us all that no matter what our backgrounds, cultures, or religions may be, we are united and we are family. Teens not only had the chance to test their lungs in the chorus, but also by learning breathwork. They experimented with best practices and tips to prioritize their mental health with real-life successes shared by their peers at the Teen Well-Being Exhibit in Festival Village.
Helping Hands - Keeping it Real
Juggling wasn’t part of the festival that I saw, but I certainly did my fair share of it. This event was incredible; moms, let’s keep it real though. Three kids, three days, and hundreds of thousands in attendance. Yes, my mom-radar was on overload! There were no shortages of temper tantrums, moods, and all the shade-throwing – and that’s just from my three year old. Throughout the World Culture Festival, our new one world family took care of my family. There seemed to be a sea of volunteers available. They checked us in, guided us to the locations we wanted to visit, helped us find seats, and offered us water bottles. Volunteers even helped with childcare for my self-care moment at the Ayurveda Health Spa and to attend the meditation.
The Ripple Effects
Volunteers at the World Culture Festival walked the talk! It was clear that service was at the heart of every activity, and through that connection and our observance of their dedication to serve, we were empowered to do the same. As a family, we learned ways that we could contribute to the betterment of our communities and our planet, both as individuals and as a family. The World Culture Festival instilled a sense of service in us and inspired us by their humanitarian and relief programs already in place that we could volunteer with too! Service was a key element that united us all. Whether we want to join in disaster relief initiatives, stand up for peace, demand equality for all, or explore environmental restoration efforts, we only had to say, “YES!”.
A Brush with Stardom!
Everywhere families celebrated at the World Culture Festival. You couldn’t help but witness the families connecting with each other, exploring new things, and a sense of wonder that enveloped the festival grounds. Parents played guitar side-by-side with their children in the 1000-person guitar ensemble. In that moment, dreams came true, and new dreams were made. Novice and expert guitar players alike, experienced stardom when they performed the legendary ballad “All You Need is Love” and the World Culture Festival’s theme “We Are One,” written and performed by Micki Free on stage with him. The audience thundered with applause at the first notes of the sing-a-long and erupted again at its final melody.
If becoming a rockstar wasn’t the rise to family stardom you sought, dance was also a claim to fame on hand at the World Culture Festival. 10,000 dancers of all ages joined together, encircling the National Mall for a record-setting Garba performance. Families danced together with simple yet mesmerizing fluidity. Garba was an appeal to our senses with its powerful rhythm that left us entranced.
An Incomparable Peace: Meditation with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Our host and founder of the Art of Living, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian dedicated to uplifting and empowering individuals and communities – and we definitely experienced that first-hand! Wow. To meditate with thousands of others is an unforgettable experience, but to be guided by Gurudev was beyond my wildest dreams. I touched an inner peace and clarity that opened my eyes to what is possible, and I’ve carried that remembrance with me ever since – it’s even helped me stay calmer managing my little ones! And to feel united in deep meditation with everyone around me and truly know at my core that we are all connected and totally one has given me a new lens on life. I’m just so grateful!
A Monumental Shift
There are moments in life that shift the trajectory of the path ahead, and I can say that for my family and I, we’ve had our eyes opened wide! We’ve tasted new foods (even the kids!) from faraway lands, explored our creativity in new ways, learned how to use breathwork to manage stress, and experienced SO many different cultures. But ultimately, we felt united with those around us – an experience that will continue to enrich our everyday lives beyond the festival.
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!