What do you get when you put a whole bunch of spiritual masters and teachers, gurus and seekers, new agers and shamen, devotional musicians and excstatic dancers, crystal shops and hippie wear seamstresses, yogis and yoga junkies, chai lovers and chakra healers, Christian mystics and earth scientists all in the one gutted David Jones building?
The Bodhi festival.
The Shanti mission headed by a normal looking housewife and mother come spiritual guru - Shakti Durga - put on this event in the heart of Newcastle and made it amazingly, entry by donation. A pretty huge effort.
And it was pretty beautiful. There were peace angels roaming around (or as a friend put it - ladies in white with lights up their dresses) blessing people, as well as streetfront shop windows featuring live yoga, henna application, rose weaving and gorgeous people meditating. The Rimmel cosmetics counter was artistically draped in pure white cloth and huge pots of peacock feathers glinted in the light. There was a food court with chai, the delicious Hare Krishnas and as any festival worth it's salt would have, poffertjes! (You know, those little dutch pancakes - not sure how 'holistic' they are but I'm sure they were blessed in some way...)
There was a floor of 'markets', a floor of yoga, a floor of music and a floor of workshops/panel discussions.
It was actually, pretty mega.
I enjoyed a chakra sweeping workshop (as always, it's all about forgiveness and love) as well as some great kirtan thanks to the Satyananda crew (LOVE THEM). Gav actually ended up playing guitar for them (in half lotus don't you know) which was random and extremely fun....Flex was dancing ON his ripstick.....wiggle board bliss!
I learned that we should spend half and hour every day AT LEAST barefoot on the earth as this grounds us and allows excesss electrons to drain away leaving us more health-full. Pseudo science or not, makes sense to me and sounds like fun....
However, I must say the highlights for me were the panel discussions on "How to Awaken Humanity" and "Is Peace Possible?".
These were great.
Four amazing individuals on each panel, from all sorts of backgrounds and currently practicing various faiths and there was NO argy bargy! They spoke with the utmost respect to their audience and to each other - a FAR CRY from our politicians and so called 'leaders'!!! There was a Christian Mystic priestess who had an ipad and mentioned the fact that she had been to the Grammys last week (!!!) next to a yogi who spoke in deeply poignant and often hilarious soundbites. A midwife and mother turned MOTHER who spoke of babies coming out and mooning their parents to illustrate reincarnation. Their collective wisdom was palpable, but what really struck me was their poise. Their dignity and complete lack of judgement. Both discussions boiled down to the same ultimate answer - find peace yourself/awaken yourself - as being the ONLY way to have any effect on anything else. SO consistant that it sent a really deep and clear message, leaving the audience with a sense of awe and a real ability to move forward. It was authentically empowering - for me anyway!!
And then there was the other face of the weekend - camping at Stockton beach with our great buddies. The kids had a ball riding their ripsticks and pennies around the smooth caravan park roads, having showers all in a row, swimming at the local pool, going driving on the sand dunes and getting bogged, and pulling the barbs out of dead washed up stingrays on the beach. Us 'grown-ups' swam in the ocean, got some 'sun up the asana' (code name for yoga on the beach!!!), ate cheese and drank wine while 'debriefing spirituality' around the camp table. It was really, really wonderful.
And now we carry it all back into daily life. Carry the love, the good intent, the health, the beauty and the little bit of magic.....thank you universe!