LIB Story Ticket Winner #4 – So Many Options
I frequently brush up against those times of having so many options that, whatever I choose to do, I am forced to miss out on an infinite number of equally wonderful things. Lightning in a Bottle exemplifies such a scenario: everything is compelling, exciting, mysterious, intriguing, life-affirming. You want to experience every bit of it – you want to be in all places at once, all weekend, but this is just not possible. Last year, I had a few private moments reflecting on this universal truth and its implications. Even though every single instant of my own experience was wonderful, now and then I wondered longingly about the all other moments that were happening without me.
On Saturday night, I was walking with my best friend. At this time, we were particularly saturated with awe and delight as we looked around at the thousands of people creating thousands of vastly different yet equally joyful moments. It pierced my heart to see so much happiness. I moved through the people in wonder, feeling immense gratitude to be part of this magical sea.
It was right then that I was able to release myself from even a small need ever to be having a different experience. I put it in words to my friend, something like this:
There is no possible way that a single person can have all of the experiences that there are to be had, or even all that are desirable to her. But I realize why that is not something to worry about. It is because, all the time, there is SOMEONE having each of those experiences. This is not a jealous thought; it is a welcome, ecstatic truth. If we recognize ourselves as not just individual beings, but rather cells of a collective creature, we can rejoice in the immeasurable glow created by the energy pouring in from all these different sparks of joy. Even though my small self cannot participate in everything, I am not missing anything because the energy flows to the same, single pool in which our spirits all swim. Life is much more vast than one little body – we share it together as this beautiful, colorful, expansive creation.
Thank you to Lightning in a Bottle for being a catalyst to this understanding. And thank you to my best friend for looking me right in my eyes and with her whole heart in this moment, as she has done many times before and since.
submitted by Monica Filippenko
LIB Story Ticket Winner #3 – Fun for the Family
It was 4 am and cold, and I didn’t want to leave the tent, but I had to pee really bad. So out I went, and returned as quick as I could to my lover’s warm arms and bare chest. But, damn if I could not fall back asleep. My mind was now being baited by a groove trickling down from the Temple of Consciousness to the Family Camp. With gentle, mesmerizing, ethereal layers, the DJ was building a hunger in me… a yearning to join the pack and set myself free. It had been my turn that night to stay with our girls and make up fanciful stories until the three of us passed out. All the while, my husband freely explored, connected, and blissed-out all over the ariel shows, the LED music mash, the new friends, the glowing art,… the savage beauty of it all! This was our first time to LIB and we were hoping it would be our Burning Man, because as a family with two young kids, we thought, “here we could all SAFELY enjoy ourselves.” We want to continue living our lives in technicolor and not be penalized because we are parents. And with two venues with kids in mind and rave reviews from fellow families we thought LIB would be great for us. And we were right. By day three we were all overflowing. My daughters, 5 and 8, had fused seamlessly into this artistic culture: holding tree poses beneath the yoga tent, finding solace atop the meditation temple, creating art with recycled goodies, paddling boats in winged dresses, hooping on grass with masters who viewed them as equals. And now, 45 minutes after my bladder pulled me out of my sleep, I acknowledged where I was supposed to be. I zipped up my sleeping family behind me and skipped up the hill towards the music. I felt like a bird molting out of her roles of mother and wife, in order to remember why her heart beats, why her soul soars and why her arms freely hug strangers who smile pure smiles at her.
Once at the edge of the Temple, I took off my shoes and flitted my way into the middle of the dancing throng, absorbing the glow of others as I did. Their buzz became my buzz. Their rhythm pulled me into the whirlpool. I was consciously reconnecting my body parts to each other. My body was remembering how good it felt to move as one. With complicated layers, the Dj lifted us up, only to strip the music back to a raw simplicity. And then load it all up again. He took us around corners, into clearings, up steep cliffs, into deep waters and back out again. Though the night was still dark, the waking songbirds added their own tracks to the mix. After about an hour or so, some bodies began to depart for far away tents or mats on the sideline. My body, however, kept climbing, gyrating, spinning,… and surrendering. I shed layers of years and clothes, tying them onto my belly-dancing hips. I shared deep stares and smiles and avoided the people grazing for the late, late night tent partner. And since those of us remaining were intrinsically connected, we all felt the growing pull from the east. Where there was once dark and stars, the sky was now blushing blue and violet. Where there was only one hulking shadow, a lake seamlessly separated from the mountains. And finally, at the moment when mother sun rose over the edge of one peak, we all exhaled in kind: arms dancing above heads, eyes closed, palms pressed in prayer, each finding a way to say thank you for her ballistic blessing. As if in the church of my childhood, everyone began to hug whomever was closest. These were deep and real hugs. And like dominoes handing off potential energy, we all turned and hugged someone else. And then someone else. There was nothing sexualized about honoring our existence and joy at experiencing it all together. We were equals, praying at the same temple in our own ways. And because we all knew we had attained our final destination, the music drifted into a poetic ending. There was applause and accolades for the Dj.
Many of us lingered at the overlook, still reveling in our personal moments, as we collectively watched the tendrils of magic mist hover and curl out over the water. I found a pen at the coffee tent nearby to capture a spontaneous haiku on my hand. And after the Dj gave me a disc of delights in exchange for my gratitude and haiku, I headed back to my soon-to-be-stirring family. I was incredibly full of riches that I would attempt to share with them all. I had come to LIB and found one of the best parts of myself.
submitted by Jessica Deltac
LIB Story Ticket Winner #2 – Finding Your Other Half
Before Lightning in a Bottle, I was a closet yogi living in lack. I had been since the age of 14 when I began discovering my inner strength. However, I was embarrassed at how connected I was with everything because those types of people seemed to be at the butt of every joke. Especially in my family. So I remained chanting and meditating behind the confinement of my bedroom door hiding behind designer clothes and a thick layer of bronzer, usually complaining about how broke I always was.
By the time my friend showed me a Youtube clip of LIB, I knew I had a divine appointment waiting for me. It was time to break out of my cocoon.
Arriving at LIB for the first time
As soon as I arrived in the parking lot, my heart both relaxed and pattered with excitement. I was meeting people left, right, up, and down who were the embodiement of my dreams and exactly who I wanted to be: free. Totally free. I met people travelling the world, living out of busses, throwing judgement and caution to the wind in honor of that something indescribable. That something that makes sea shells grow, that nectar that we taste when we have a first kiss with someone we love….that wordless experience poets lose their mind over describing, and what the West has long forgotten. I saw it in all their faces and I was hungry for it.
So, like I planned I ditched my friends, and asked the festival to show me everything I needed to become who I was always scared of. I was on a mission of discovery, of enchantment. And boy did I find it. I found it over. And over. And over again. And over again once more.
On the first night, I was by myself running. I didn’t know where to or why but I couldn’t stop running and laughing through hula hoops, passing gypsies, jumping over blankets of people, I felt like I was a 5 year old squealing with joy all over the place. When I suddenly felt the urge to stop.
The Meeting – She was actually glowing pink
There was a couple sitting on a blanket and before I know it, we’re not only talking, but the girl grabs my arm and we run to the front of the Bamboo stage swirling in more joy than anyone told me existed. And the most beautiful indescribable thing happened: I swear to you, all around her turned pink. She was actually glowing pink. And besides a shot or two of vodka I was totally sober. But there this girl was, totally pink and oozing the type of presence that made Marilyn Monroe famous. This smile that is probably one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen to date. After we danced and laughed together over nothing, we kissed a kiss I will never forget. It still makes me shiver when I think about it, 2 years later. We did not sleep a wink that night laughing and exploring one another, watching the artists paint at Lightning in a Paintcan…we watched this one artist, Christina Angelina, paint the most alive painting either one us had ever seen. At the time we saw it, it was just a pair of eyes and the beginning of the rest of a face. We stopped and stared at this painting of this face. How did she look that alive, but still just be a sketch on a canvas? We were blown away. After listening to all the different types of music and watching the sunrise, we parted ways and promised to see each other later that day to give each other our clothes back and to, of course hang out with one another. We had found our other half. We could relax finally, so it seemed. The first night was worth the price of admission.
Unfortunately, that’s now how life would have it. I did not see her that day, nor that night. Instead, I was again, on my own exploring and having fun with everything and everyone around me that I ALMOST didn’t notice her not being with me.
I proceeded to come out of my shell further, dancing on stage with Panty Raid, (after being ushered off by a man on stilts that is), I laid in a chair and had toning bowls placed all over me to realign me further, I was continuing to be blessed by volunteering at the Awesome Sauce kitchen eating the best food serving the most beautiful adventurous souls I had never thought of… so that by the third night I was flying so high I just took some time to relax and look at all the finished paintings.
And there she was. The painting by Christina Angelina we had watched being created two nights prior. It was finished and it was more beautiful and straight up more ALIVE than I could stand. It was just of a girl looking over her shoulder with a smirk of knowingness. Of Knowing who she was and where she came from and where she was going that her simplicity was its message. She just WAS. I had to have it. So I went straight to the silent auction table and put down my bid for $510 (a number I quite basically pulled out of my ass, especially since the starting bid began at $300 and no one else had even put down their name down…) plus my name and number for her painting. After another gorgeous night, I woke up at 6 am wondering if I had actually won that painting, slightly freaking out because I did not have $510 to my name. Not even close to it. I worked at a coffee shop minimum wage paying for college and rent for chrissakes…
I went to the paintings and found out I won it! I was shocked. But surprisingly happy. This epic painting was mine!! I just had to figure out a way to pay for it now…
Monday at 4 o’clock rolled around and the entire campsite was packed up. Nothing was left where my soul mate once stayed. I was both crushed but at peace with her gone because I knew what we had no way could survive outside of a festival. After all, neither one of us were gay, let alone ready to share what we had with the world. On top of it all, there was no way of tracking one another down even if I wanted to. All I knew was her first name was Lorraine and that she worked at a Starbucks in San Diego and all she knew about me was my first name, Alahna and that I too worked at a coffee shop but in San Luis Obispo. So that was it. Now I had to figure out where to come up with $510.
Or so it seemed…
The Phone Call
Several days later, I was working at my local coffee shop when I answered the phone.
“Hello, Nautical Bean Café, how may I help you?”
“Hi, who is this?”
My boss walked in. “Hey Dee, did you just call to see who was working?”
Several hours go by and the phone rings again to which my boss answered. I over hear him repeating himself.
“But if this is not an emergency, then I cannot interrupt her. She is working. Call her on her cell phone. Thanks. Bye…hey Alahna tell your friend Lorraine not to call you at work again.”
My heart dropped to the floor and I put down the drink I was making.
“What did you say?” I could barely move.
“I said tell your friend Lorraine or whatever her name was that you cannot take personal phone calls at work and to call you on your cell phone.”
I was absolutely speechless. I turned bright red and purple and could not stop laughing. There was no way I could explain to my coworkers what had just happened so I had to wait an agonizing 3 more hours until my break when I could call her back. Of course that meant I had to go through the hundreds of take out numbers that called in those past few hours to guess what time she had called. I had a good feeling about one number. I pressed dial.
“Hi….uhhh is this Lorraine?” I asked absolutely feeling like a blind person in the middle of a busy street.
“Yes…is this Alahna!!”
“Oh my god yes! HOW DID YOU FIND ME?”
“Of course I looked you up, I just googled coffee shops in San Luis Obispo on my break and had a good feeling about the first one that came up…then you actually answered the phone! I couldn’t believe it so I hung up.”
“That was you!! I thought you were my boss…oh my god, it makes so much sense now.”
We laughed like crazy blown away that we got to reconnect.
She tells me she’s moving to Paris for the summer but wants to visit me when she comes back. I am again, blown away, as I used to live in Paris. I took French as my major in college.
As I am sitting on my best friends’ bed recalling her this magical story, I tell her I also have some bad news. That I put down $510 for a painting and won it…so now I have to come up with $510 and have ZERO idea where to come across it.
She explains to me that my disappointment is not from not having the money but in the discord I feel from abundance. If I want the painting, then the Universe will rearrange itself for me to have it.
I decide to listen. To act from that place of abundance that I felt when I wrote down that number.
I call my dad up and ask him if I have some sort of savings I don’t know about, half way joking because I know his broke ass doesn’t have any saved up money for me. He tells me it’s funny I should ask him because he does have $500 that he had started for a college savings account he never got around to tell me about since I started getting financial aid.
Oh my god! When is the magic ever going to stop?!
“Well, since I am getting financial aid…do you think I could use that money for rent and food since I just spent a weekend away…?” I cringe. I know my dad. Once when I asked him for $1 in high school he asked what for. I told him it was to get some milk at the cafeteria. He tells me we have milk at the house and if I want to take some to school we have water bottles I can fill up…asking him for $500 point blank for no real reason is like asking the principal to have recess all day.
“Sure. Why not? It’s your money anyway. I will transfer the money tomorrow, if that works for you.”
When she returns from Paris, she has all my clothes from the festival in hand and the moment that we reunited eradicated any thoughts that we couldn’t be together in the real world. We were wearing nearly the same exact outfit: a short floral dress, multiple long necklaces, more glitter than any college graduate should wear, and we each were wearing a headband. We embraced and she has been adopted into my family, and I hers. While she has moved to Austin, Texas and I have moved to North Shore, Oahu, we are still very much and always will be, together. She is hands down my soul mate (one of them at least) and I have been honored and humbled by our connection. Lorraine has broken open my heart for good and my life has not been close to the same without her. As for, Ananda (the painting by Christina Angelina we named her) is a constant reminder of the abundance I am steeped in. I since have not had any complaints of lack since I’ve realized we can ask for whatever we need
Thank you for having the space for abundance, TRUE love to happen, form, and continue to ripple through the galaxy. You guys are important people. And do not forget it
submitted Alahna Caughey
LIB Story Ticket Winner #1 – A Story of Tattoos, Love and Transformation + Generosity
Our first featured winner is kind of a double feature of transformation and generosity. Cory, who wrote the poem below, offered her story with the knowledge that she would not be able to make it to LIB this year. But even still, she wanted to share her story, and offered to donate her tickets if she won. Tonya was one of our first submissions, but she had never been to LIB so instead of telling a story, her submission was more of a heartfelt request for a chance to experience her own LIB story.
So we matched the two up so one incredible story can help create another! Read below for Cory’s inspiring story of transformation followed by Tonya’s request for an amazing story of her own.
A story of tattoos, love, and transformation. With extra special thanks to Nick Warren.
By Cory Kantin
We had a choice.
We could break up
Or go to a music festival
Electronic. Yoga. California
Heaven. Here we come.
carrying all the confusion that is
4 months of losing
to the black hole
of our differences
Even if it was her trip, that she invited me one day when her arms wrapped round tightly.
But I’m a fighter
and a lover
and we needed
a vacation more than
we arrived on two rockets
aimed as far from the new york we were living
maybe there we could
connect the void,
And arrived she did
To this utopic make-believe
Forest of new friends, pretty lights
I saw it all
Through a tv screen
Divided by an ultimatum for joy
or bust heart
I knew no one, but her and I wasn’t sure
she knew me, my love as she watched me awkward
as a cut/copy image from
New York. Thrown into California
Pain is so obvious in the sunshine
And is especially unattractive
when it was once yours
Despite me. She was calm, charismatic.
Connected as a deep breath
She couldn’t understand
how I could acknowledge Disneyworld
Yet I could not enjoy the rides
She encouraged me, with polarizing grace
She had her whole life to find a seatmate.
But! I’m a lover and a fighter
A meditator. A yogi. A visitor
of the temple of consciousness
The dance floor. At the top
of the ferris wheel with an open mouth.
No hands. I begged my body to join the consciousness
But my energy collided each time the wheel
And I kept on spinning,
Further away. My frequency,
Out of sync. Vibration, Spectrum
Till it was obvious. I was vanishing from the picture
There she was Harmoniously
Blended within the costumed tattoo clad
Freaks, gasp. I sat alone.
Stirring, within a bottle of my own shit
Judgement. while the others, played
Alone I saw the strife was ME
Lurking deep in the roots of my eyes
I saw we were not losing to a black hole of our differences
I was losing love to judgment
She was a garden full of weeds
A body full of tattoos
A woman walking away
My love, I saw her as she was walking away in a beautiful crowd of freaks
Did I mention, she’s tattoo clad
But not looking for attention. Not silly. Not vain and immature.
Just expressing. I wanted to tell her,
“Babe! Come back! I get it”
But it’s not so easy this moment
you realize the problem. The rotten you smell
comes from inside of you
you have to touch it.
cut the diseased thoughts like a cancer
Without killing yourself
Skip shame. Find liberation.
I returned on the final night.
Pumpkin on the Woogie Stage
An ultimatum for my vibrance
I started dancing as hard
As I could to shake it out
into the songs I knew
I broke free beneath-my-sunglasses-tears-as –I- saw –you-see- me –return-and –dance. All-the-faces-recognized-me.
But, my love was sleepy
The all night before filled her limbs
And on this eve, she retired.
Me. Awakened. Released. Connected.
I needed no one. I danced
Everywhere I could feel everything
The highest high of a ferris wheel
How my vibration had been too low to connect
Too compromised. Now contrasted
like a sunrise
And then the universe itself greeted me
Outside the port-a-potty
“What’s up? Where are you from?”
“Brooklyn,” I reply.
“That’s so cool– do you want to come back stage? I’m a friend of Nick Warren’s”
Sidenote: Nick Warren was my favorite DJ at LIB
I wish I had a photo but it can’t be captured. Transformation. Raw energy.
The music emanating to the crowd, to the mountain
The crowd, the nature flowing back
filled my openness completely
This night. For me. The festival. The name. The lightning.
And the black man with heart shaped glasses standing beside me
As I danced watching the energy swirling the crowd into one
In the end. The last set of LIB.
Nick turns around. Picks me up
and spins me
into the whole world.
I shit you not. I let the negativity out
and lightning came
to release me
from the bottle.
On the busride home the next day. I looked at my love and thought.
She’s gonna break up with you now. She doesn’t see you yet.
You’ve stained her bottle and it will take time for her to see past it.
But don’t worry. She will. You’ll get her back
And you’re going to marry her.
Tonya Kinchen’s request for an LIB story of her own:
I don’t have a story, because I have never been to a festival quite like this. I am 31 years old. I am recently single. I have experienced great loss, as my Grandmother whom raised me has recently passed. I live alone, in a small town, and am a big promoter. It comes with quite a bit of angst as other promoters are constantly trying to take me out. I do my best to stand above it and push my events in a positive way. I work at a very small indie rock bar that caters mostly to UC Merced students, The Partisan. I don’t make much money, as I do it more for the passion, and to keep myself going through the months. I have never been someone that has experienced life on the right side of the tracks. I have never been on a vacation. I may not deserve to win with some really great story about my past experiences at Lightning in a Bottle, but I would be ever changed if I did win. I would be grateful and feel extremely blessed to be able to get out of this town, and experience new people, and a life altering music festival such as this seems to be the medicine to cure this wounded soul. I would really like consideration to win, but am happy for those that are chosen if I am not qualified. Thanks so much for your kindness and time.
Thanks so much for sharing your stories and congrats to Tonya for her pair of tickets to LIB 2013. Stay tuned and keep those stories coming as we still have 3 more pairs of tickets to give away!
Tell Your LIB Story and Enter to Win Tickets!
Lightning in a Bottle is not just an art and music festival. LIB is really about being a catalyst for change; for triggering transformation in peoples lives so that we all may have a more positive impact on the world. For 5 days of magic we gather together to create, celebrate, smile, and love in a space that elevates the connection and wonder our everyday world often lacks. And we’ve heard many stories now about how the space Lightning in a Bottle creates changes peoples’ lives in beautiful and powerful ways.
We have heard stories about people meeting, falling in love, and getting married. People discovering the creative spark to leave a corporate career and embark on a life the produces sustenance from art and independence. Or people finding creative partners for new endeavors that take them on journeys they never thought possible. Transformation. From the normal to the beautiful. From the broken to the mended. From the dull to the shining brightness of a new dawn.
We’ve heard many of these stories, but we want more people to hear them. We want these stories to wake people up to what’s possible when we take a chance and believe in ourselves and each other. Please tell these stories to the world! Share your stories of love, creativity discovered, and positive transformation catalyzed. This is why Lightning in a Bottle exists. This is the crazy spark of electricity we are always trying to capture for a weekend and share with the world.
We want to hear your story. The world wants to hear your story. It can be a written story, a short video, a painting, a photo essay – however you feel best expresses the story of transformation you need to tell. We will read all your stories, share them, and every 2 weeks through May, select a story to be featured on the LIB website. All featured stories will receive 2 full weekend passes to this year’s festival. That’s 4 chances to win! So tell us your LIB story and tell it beautifully. Share it in a way that inspires and connects us all to that powerful spirit of positive change within us all!
Share your story
Tell Your LIB Story
Tell Your LIB Story: Smash LeFunk Tells His Through Power of Film
Since first shooting video at Lightning in a Bottle in 2010, Smash LeFunk has continuously grown as an artist and become one of the most sought after video producers in underground festivals and beyond. Smash’s experiences at Lightning in a Bottle have greatly inspired, resulting in the most ambitious and beautiful LIB video to date.
“It’s those irreplicable moments of pure beauty and bliss that keeps us enamored.
That dream that drops you in Never-Never Land where all your worries and troubles are left behind – leaving us no other option than to learn, to play, and to love. We are all dreamers at heart. This is where the magic lies. ”
Tell Your LIB Story: Josh AKA Ooah 1/2 of PANTyRAiD and 1/3 of Glitch Mob
Josh (Ooah) here, 1/3 of The Glitch Mob and 1/2 of PANTyRAiD. Memories of LIB are of plenty filed away in my brain, it’s just a matter of sifting through and picking out the best. One of my fondest memories of LIB would be the first time Marty and I ever played music together as PANTyRAiD in a little pop up shade structure with about 75 of our closest friends. It was a random late night renegade party that we just created out of thin air after the Do Lab boys told us not to, haha, sorry guys but we were making history! Marty and I had met down in Costa Rica about a year before that on a beach somewhere in Mal Pais and found ourselves talking obsessively about bass music, even more refined, about sexy hip hop bass music and how we both come from different parts of the world that can both be called “the south”. Marty from South Africa and myself from New Orleans. From there once we got back to the states we started sharing music sessions that we both had started messing around with on our own, compiling the best ones and flushing those out which would end up becoming our first PANTyRAiD album called The Sauce.
That night at LIB while the festival creatures were crawling around in the dark Marty and I found ourselves blasting all of these new songs we had been working on for a few months now, having the biggest smiles on our faces because this was literally the first time we had ever played any of these songs on a big sound system. It was a real late night party, sexy, fun, filled with whiskey and coconut water with god knows what else mixed in there. It was the essence of why we do what we do, why we make weird dance music, why we spend endless hours slaving away in studios in front of computers. It was love at first sight for all of us, the love of spontaneity, the love of freedom to dance under the moonlight, the love of community and the love of dirty fucking bass music.
Thank you Do Lab, thank you for doing what you do so passionately and letting us music makers share our hearts.
Tell Your LIB Story: Marty Folb aka MartyParty – 1/2 of PANTyRAiD
I first met the Flemming brothers at my music festival on the beach in Costa Rica in 2007. Lightning In A Bottle was their vision at that point and was all they could talk about. In 2008 Ooah and I both went to LIB but didn’t know each other yet. I will never forget how they had manifested their vision exactly as they had dreamt it and described it. Truly impressive. So impressive that I actually volunteered and was part of the crew – and got to experience the incredible Do LaB family and their magical community. In 2008 – I met Ooah at the same festival in Costa Rica where I invited him to DJ. We hit it off immediately! That was the beginning of PANTyRAiD.
In 2009, we both went to LIB as friends and as PANTyRAiD but we had only written music at that point and had not performed. We decided to throw our first PANTyRAiD show in an underground art gallery tent past curfew at LIB. We didn’t know what to expect but when we arrived at the army style tent where the gallery was it was PACKED. We threw down as we do, a sexy dance party, and people loved and it and we had the time of our lives. The rest is history. In a strange way, LIB and the Do LaB inspired and facilitated the creation of PANTyRAiD.
Through the years, as my careers grew, I got to perform as MartyParty at LIB, got to throw some historic backstage parties after curfew but still hope to reunite with Ooah at LIB for a proper PANTyRAiD set.