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The Story of Our Mindfulness Festival

September 26, 2017

My mother Marina, step-father Steven, and I started Modern ŌM about 2 years ago (Nov 2015) as an intentional product company. We wanted to make objects that carried the energy of the 7 chakras and believed that we would create a company for people who were conscious (and mindful) in intent. The company was in alignment with our family mission... so we went for it.

One day in March of 2016, I found myself in a booth at The Miami Flea... trying to get people's attention and sell (!) some malas. It's there that I realized that people who didn't already know me or Modern ŌM weren't connecting with our objects the way I expected... and why would they?? I needed to tangibly connect people with intention -- to share the EXPERIENCE of Mindfulness with them.

All this literally played out in my head at that booth -- and it was there that I decided to rip a page out my Green Monkey playbook (another company I'd started) and start meditation programming out of my loft near Wynwood. Yes, in an hour, I decided to turn my home into into an unofficial mediation studio - welcome to entrepreneurship ;). Between my ONE day slinging malas at the Flea and our first meditation class in April was perhaps one month. Since then, 1,200+ students have sat at my Loft since then! Crazy. 

As we started our first classes, Vanessa Scotto, one of our founding instructors who was at the time working with Jugo Fresh confided in me -- Jugo was considering a festival. Maybe, she suggested, I should talk to Matt (JF's Founder) about a collaboration. Hm. A FESTIVAL? Sounds complicated. Do I really want to do a festival?? Obviously, I started obsessing over the idea... 

I met with Matt, and we immediately realized that while we had alignment, we different visions for what we wanted. Such a dope human, he told me on-the-spot that he loved my enthusiasm, so Jugo Fresh would sponsor my (make-believe-at-this-point) festival. Awesome, I had my first sponsor... but nothing else, ha. 

In comes Karla Dascal of the Sacred Space. I'd met with her as I prospected  venues, and shared my idea for a Miami Mindfulness Festival. Karla loved the idea. So much that she offered on-the-spot to be my partner on it. Note: Karla is the OG of Miami Wellness. For over a decade, Karla has been renowned for her support of all things conscious & holistic. She also happens to be one of the most in-demand event producers in town. So in the span of a week, I found a partner / venue / production company in Karla & the Sacred Space and our 1st sponsor (Jugo Fresh). 

We're in June at this point -- the festival was set for October. Most people plan events of this scale out 12 months... we had 5 months (if that). I texted all my ŌMies from Miami, NYC, and LA and somehow convinced my favorite, most authentic, fun-loving experts to come to Miami for a weekend to share their wisdom. And Karla, working the event side of the equation, took care of the (literally) heavy lifting with support from Telsys, our uber-competent event producer. 

AND... we did it. We brought over 500 souls together for the best-produced large-scale Mindfulness event ever in Miami. NY Observer wrote "This is What a Mindfulness Festival Looks Like." Well & Good noted that we are leading the Mindfulness charge in Miami. Multiple people that attended, said that it had an impact on their lives. We made something that was demonstrably important to people (check out our testimonials). That's major. 

Oh, and this is the short film from 2016.

My insights from the Festival:

  1. Often-times, plans aren't built from a blue-print. You can't know what will happen. (How the hell did we end up making a beautiful festival?)
  2. The most inspired ideas come unexpected places. (Thanks Vanessa and Matt for lobbing this idea to me.)
  3. When you set a goal or objective, DO THE WORK. (Just setting an intention is not enough, obviously.)
  4. Partners and support come to you when your idea is timely and well-intentioned. Having Karla appear at the right time and put her time, effort, and resources was a big deal. 
  5. Being grateful to people and events that support you is vital to a flow of energy. So, in no real order... these are the people that made our 2016 Festival possible. Karla Dascal and the entire Sacred Space Team. My parents and the Modern ŌM Team. Ellen Marchman and the Get Ink Team. Amy Zakarin and the ZM-PR team. Telsys Tarallo. Camila Franco. The speakers that flew to Miami (Andrea Brook, Biet Simkin, Alyson Charles, Quentin Vennie, Jared Matthew Weiss) the local teachers (Paul Toliuszis, Andrew Clark, Jennifer Pansa, Jennifer Grace, Luchi Estevez, Anand, Tony Cho, Michael Capponi, Amy Dannheim, Ebony Smith, Teresa Cesario, Miami Made). Jugo Fresh. Epic Hotel. 1 Hotel. Exhale. South Motors. Spider Development. Knight Foundation. Della's Kitchen. Artichoke Kitchen. Finally: Zymbop (Henry and Andy) and Xynn for the movie that proved it all happened.

This year, expect more magic similar to last year. The theme this year is Gratitude (chosen after Irma)... there will be more thoughtfulness. More love. Better (if you'll believe it) execution. 

And if you attend, you may even have a transformative experience. Hope to see you on October 14th at our Mindfulness Festival. 


  • Myk Likhov

Comments on this post (1)

  • Sep 26, 2017

    Love this story! Thank you for sharing. A friend of mine and I are coming down from West Palm Beach and we could it be more excited!

    — Chris

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