It's a couple of month's since the last newsletter and what a lot has been going on!
The end of July saw a calm session at Beech Hill followed by us heading off to Om and Bass Festival the following morning. One of our pals currently plays at this festival but is thinking of giving it up - so he gave us a couple of tickets to go and check it out.
In the middle of this trip we had to shoot off to deepest Hampshire to do our thing at a Woodland Soundbath hosted by Thrive events. This event was well attended and held in a beautiful woodland location, with exquisite food and time together in community around the campfire afterwards.
Early August, Paul headed off in Claude the van to spend time in mid wales where he spent 5 days alone in silent retreat, no people, no gongs, just the flute, the hills, the forest and the whisper of the wind in the trees. From there we took a trip to check out the Sun and Moon Festival down in Guildford as another 'possible' for next year.
Then we girded our loins and got ready for the 'biggie' of the year - Soul Circus Festival. Soul Circus is a young, vibrant, yoga and lifestyle festival doubling in size each year. Last year about 4000 people went along and we were offered the contract to run the Sound Healing Tent for three days. This year the festival had around 7500 attendees and we returned to do the job again.
Over those 3 days we managed to provide 13 sessions using 3 different practitioners. These events are always intense, unpredictable and hugely stimulating. Each year we build a small community of practitioners and friends in the campground - our 'Sangat' - sharing community life and much laughter together.
The gong sessions at Soul Circus were absolutely packed; on occasions we had over 100 people trying to squeeze into a tipi big enough for 50. People's responses to the gongs were equally enthusiastic with many keen to re-introduce themselves, returning to our sessions from the year before. One lady told us a wonderful story about how her experiences with the gong last year had been the trigger for her to completely change her life over the last 12 months! You'll see that story on our Instagram and Facebook feeds if you are interested.
If Soul Circus and our little Sangat is something that you would like to be a part of next year we are able to get discounted tickets for attendees and will post here as soon as our contract for 2020 is finalised.
At the end of last week we were invited to hold a session in the Community Centre in Hook. As humble as the location might have been the acoustics were very good and of all the sessions that we have held this year, this was the one which really helped us realise how well aligned we have become with our original vision for the business:
When Paul first heard the gongs he felt a deep calling to share their sound as widely as possible, particularly in the 'wider community' outside of the yoga/meditation/alternative space. The gongs are relatively unknown here, but he felt that the depth and immediacy of their impact was desperately needed.
At the Hook session, no one had any form of meditation practice, only 2 people had ever done any yoga, and no one had ever heard anything like the gongs before - the whole experience was completely unfamiliar to them. And the impact was profound! People simply could not move afterwards and without fail said they were deeply calmed. This is the kind of 'outreach' work that seems so worthwhile and we really enjoy doing.
It has been good to get through the summer. Organising Soul Circus is always demanding and tends to take over our thoughts coming into August. As we face Autumn there is a sense of having found our place, planted our garden and moving into a phase of maintenance, growth and nurturing. Much has happened to remind us why we are doing this work and who we are trying to help, things seem to be on track...
Paul is off to the Outer Hebrides for a spell next week but we have Beech Hill events scheduled right through to the end of the year. You can find all of them on eventbrite, our website 'Whats On' page and our facebook page. In particular we have a session this Friday which looks quite sparse so if you are thinking of coming along please do book in advance - to make sure we don't cancel!
In addition, you'll see that we now have a session booked at the delightful Stoweway Community Centre, in Swindon which all are welcome to and might be a little more accessible for those living further west.
Last, but by no means least, we have teamed up with the delightful Alice McGuigan of Alice May Yoga once again, to hold a session at her Earth Living Retreat this November. This looks to be a really interesting few days with a wide range of practitioners from Tai Chi, to Storytelling as well as Gongs and Yoga. There are 2 or 3 spaces left so if you are interested in coming along please contact Alice here.