I’m at that magical age, or stage, where nothing seems too silly to try anymore.
I no longer care what the people who may see me think. So, I may ride my bicycle down a path with my arms out wide and a big smile on my face. I definitely can be found singing along to the music in the grocery store, and maybe even sneaking a dance move.
I laugh with my whole face these days, despite an overbite that I spent a lifetime trying to hide.
It’s a freeing time, and I’m embracing it. (It’s 45, if you’re wondering. I’m 45.)
The point is, this is how I finally ended up participating in a sound meditation workshop in the Harrison Festival of the Arts. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for some time, but put off because it seemed at times too precious, too pretentious, too expensive, and just too … hippie.
But this year, with the restrictions ripped away from festivals and my newfound self-appreciation, the moment I saw it on the schedule of events I knew I’d jump in with both feet.
I drove out to the lake with the sole purpose of seeing what the big deal is. People have been using sound to heal themselves for millennia, so I knew there must be something to it. I could imagine what it would feel like to be in a room with gongs, bells, and sound bowls, but it seems like something you need to experience to really understand.
I took my seat in the darkened Harrison Memorial Hall and eyed up the instruments. At first glance, there were more than I had expected and they ran the gamut from tiny loops of hand bells to a what appeared to be a tall box topped with chimes.
I expected a line of bowls, but the two healers had set out a whole assortment of instruments that promised to sound amazing.
After all the introductions and guidance, the small group of about eight people settled in. Some had spread out yoga mats. Others, like me, sat in chairs with our feet stretched out to chairs in front of us.
It started with some gentle singing and quiet, sonic fusions of bowls and chimes.
But as I drifted away into a pre-hypnotic state, which is to say I was fully relaxed, I sensed sounds getting louder. And closer.
I couldn’t resist opening my eyes, just a bit, and beside me was one of the healers holding an instrument over my body. The soft hum focused in and out on my skin, then my nerves, then my muscles.
My shoulders dropped a bit. I took a deep breath. I thought about all the opportunities I’ve passed up in my life to do this before, and then I bring myself back to the moment.
An hour flew by, and soon it was time to open our eyes, gently adjust, and join the world again.
I smiled at the ladies who had run the workshop. I said thank you, and let them know I had been waiting years to try this.
And I floated out of the hall and into the sunshine once again. I thought I would feel tired, but a new energy was coursing through me. It was something resembling happiness and carefree wonder, like a child but with more confidence.
It was the ideal way to kick off my summer, to remind me to try new things, and experience the people, places and events that are close to home.
I only had to drive a few minutes to find a whole new world, and there is still so much summer left to discover.
Jessica Peters is a reporter with the Abbotsford News.