Monday, January 17, 2011

A lovely weekend at Lewes Wellbeing Fest ...

 photo by Sean M. Madden, © 2011

Dear Friends,

Thank you for stopping by the Mindful Living Guide table at this weekend's Lewes Wellbeing Fest.

There were more than a few exhibitors who were disappointed in the number of folk who attended the festival, particularly yesterday.  And I understand their concern, the likelihood of their losing considerable money after paying for their stalls and investing at least a few days in preparing for and working the event.

That said, however, I felt grateful throughout the festival that I had made the rather last-minute decision, just this past Thursday night, to participate as an exhibitor, as my partner Mufidah and I met so many wonderful people, exhibitors and attendees alike.  And as I wasn't selling a product or offering a service during the festival, I was just happy to talk with folk who stopped by our table, whether they're already active writers, are interested in taking their writing further -- whether, ultimately, for publication or simply for themselves -- or interested in exploring the possibility of taking a creative writing class for the first time, to perhaps nurture an ongoing writing practice, and to see what might come of it.

As I had no expectations for the weekend, everything came as a gift, a bonus.  In fact, I had told Mufidah on Saturday morning that I felt that the exhibitor's fee was already more than accounted for prior to the start of the festival, as it had inspired us to pull together so many things beforehand that would continue to be of benefit well beyond the festival itself.

And, then, we were touched by so many folk ...

Beyond those who stopped by the table to talk with us, we were touched by many healing hands over the course of the weekend.  I shared a lovely conversation with Mia Sampietro, an animal healer whose life story resonates with me, her leaving the world of television to train as an animal healer.  Mia listened to my story of this past year when I came upon a dying sheep on the Downs between Lewes and Mount Caburn after having been meditating on a hillside with Mufidah.  After looking to see whether there was anything I could physically do to help the sheep, I simply stayed with her as dusk faded to night and the cloudy weather shifted to a downpour, and stroked her ears, her face and her body.  After about fifteen minutes or so of being with her, I felt a really strong surge of energy moving through my right arm.  As a longtime meditator, I'm used to being highly aware of the sensations running throughout my body, but this was something new, an involuntary, unconscious flow of energy which was flowing through me, down my arm and between the sheep and myself.  It was as if there were an almost unbelievably strong magnetic force between the dying sheep and myself, a feeling which was particularly strong when I moved my hands over various parts of the sheep's body.  This was the beginning of my awakening to the energy which flows through all of us but which, I guess in most of us, goes unnoticed.  And, so, it was good to talk with Mia about this experience.

Right after I said goodbye and walked away from Mia's stand, Shirley, from the Brighthelm spiritual healing group, graciously offered herself as a conduit for a healing treatment.  This was a beautiful, relaxing and spiritually opening experience.  Afterwards, I talked with Adele Penn, founder of the Brighthelm Healing Trust, who promised to look for an exhibitor's place for me at their Spirit of the Millennium mind, body and spirit festival at Hove Town Hall in February (Saturday and Sunday, the 26th and 27th), and by Sunday she had come through.  She also invited me to attend their group meetings at the Brighton Friends' Meeting House on Ship Street, the venue at which I regularly teach my creative writing classes in Brighton.  So this was a real honor.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Sarah Yearsley gave Mufidah a Bowen Technique treatment to help her with her rather chronic shoulder and neck pain.  And Miranda Wilson offered Mufidah a Trinfinity8 healing treatment on Saturday, and then offered the same to me on Sunday.

Earlier in the day yesterday, I had walked over to Stuart Gardiner's Chinese Medicine Acupuncture stand, and talked with him about my ongoing knee injury which has put a real damper on my walking these past few months, an activity which is a crucial part of my daily practice, fulfilling both my need to engage with nature, to be in wide-open spaces, and as an integral part of my meditation practice.  I had intended simply to talk with Stuart about how acupuncture might be able to help.  But he immediately asked if I had the time for a treatment, then and there.  I had never had acupuncture before, but had long wanted to try it and have been told by countless friends recently that I should try acupuncture, specifically, for my knee.  Stuart was brilliant, asking all the right questions, taking the time to carefully explain his diagnosis, what he was looking for in checking my pulse in both arms, and what he was doing each step of the way while putting needles in me.  The immediate effect was amazing.  My knee felt better right away, and, as importantly, I felt that Stuart had really listened to me and took an unbelievable amount of time to try to understand the underlying issue and to both offer and explain his diagnosis and treatment.

Also on Sunday, Magnus the Masseur worked his magic on both Mufidah and me, and ended his treatment with a great big, loving hug.  I recalled while he was holding me firmly from behind during the massage, with his chin resting on top of my head, that another healer, Maya Morgan, who is also one of my writing students, told me on the last morning of the writing and yoga retreat which I co-organized/led at Tilton House this past August that she felt I needed a really big bloke to stand behind me and hug me for a long time, to have someone big and strong enough to hold me, to nurture me as one who nurtures others in my own work.  And that's exactly what Magnus did for me yesterday, and for this I am most grateful.

I'd also like to thank John Bailey and his Cashew Catering folk for the gorgeously prepared food throughout the weekend, as well as for the lovely touch of bringing a free glass of hemp milk and some chocolates by our table yesterday afternoon.  I first met John in his capacity as chef at Tilton House during the aforementioned writing and yoga retreat.

Finally, just before beginning to pack up our things yesterday evening, I stopped by Dathan's Aromaire stall on my way back from buying a slice of carrot cake from Seasons of Lewes.  Earlier in the day I had been pulled like a moth towards his glowing rock salt lamps, and he had taken a lot of time to tell me all about them, how the rock salt formations came to be, what some of the known benefits are, etc.  I had no intention of buying one of his lamps -- not because I didn't want one, but because I didn't feel like I could really afford one -- but by the time I was back at our table eating the carrot cake something switched in me, and I decided to do what I rarely do, buy something like this for Mufidah and myself.  And not only did that decision come unexpectedly and with clarity, I ended up deciding to buy the most expensive one he had on offer, the pure white heat lamp (rather than one of the reddish orange ones) with the massage therapy stone which had been cut from the same piece of rock salt.  Dathan gave me an exhibitor's discount, and threw in an additional therapy stone, a jar of bathing sea salts, and a few bottles of his AromaCel air and fabric therapy sprays.  And he gave me a good deal on a beautiful cherry wood bowl to place the rock salt lamp in.  It's glowing just a foot or so away from where I now sit writing this.

And so, in summary, a splendiferously nurturing weekend, a sort of working retreat for which I am grateful.

For those who are interested in joining us for either this Saturday's four-hour Writing Marathon or the next 6-week Spring Write into March creative writing course, both held in Lewes at the Subud Centre on Station Street, please click here to go to the 'How to Register' page of my Mindful Living Guide website.  You're all on my mailing list and, so, will be kept apprised of all future course, workshop and retreat offerings.  You might have seen, too, that in addition to my writing classes, I offer one-to-one Mindful Living Guidance, both locally and worldwide via telephone or the internet.  You can learn more about this by clicking here.

Thank you for a wonderful weekend.  I look forward to keeping in touch, and please let me know if there is anything which I might be able to do for you.

Until then, I wish you all the best ...

With warm regards,

Sean

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