complicated negotiations – bargaining – bartering – mutual back-scratching
It is some time since I went to anything that could be remotely described as New Age in the formal festival style. I exclude from this the phenomenon of Glastonbury about which I wrote yesterday. There is an organisation, if you can call it that, that has been going on for to my memory at least 20 years called One World and they organise seven-day events in the country where the whole family can attend, camp, and the children can run and jump and swim and play hide and seek to their hearts content.
This years event was in Carrington West of Bridport in Somerset at a school called the Bymore Academy. We decided to visit for the day. With all these type of events it is necessary to strike a balance between organised / disciplined situations and allowing the individual complete free rein to express themselves and do what they have to do in the realm of creativity, spirituality, the psychic realm in general. This works only with people who are self disciplined.
On offer on Thursday, 3 August was Protein Energetics, contemporary butch (yes really) dance, the gift workshop, play craft therapy, Doterra essential oils, Pilates for everyone, Falun Gong, Family constellations, mindfulness and law of attraction, Palmistry, shiatsu massage, mindfulness and drumming, football and sports, super nutrition with super foods, sound journey, body art, meditation in clay for all, costume making, movement as medicine for all.
That is one section of four 90 minute sessions taking place during each day. There are two in the morning and two in the afternoon providing between 60 and 70 lectures per day. There is evening entertainment, sitting round the campfire et cetera. It may have been the weather, but I would say there were only between 150 and 200 attendees – and that includes children. Such events are intrinsically popular so I do suspect lack of investment in advertising.
Whilst Francoise went to the family constellations talk I decided to wander around. The wind was blowing from the South West, clouds scudded across the sky, and the atmosphere was very peaceful. Even the noise of children dispersed somehow.
There is never any shortage of interesting people to meet. I met a young man who had come with his mother. She was giving a talk about EFT. He was working in New York and has done so for the last 10 years, his speciality being IT. I asked him about visas; the lucky fellow has two passports, one American passport due to his American father, and an English passport due to his English mother. So he is a genuine English person who can float around America as an American citizen – well good luck to him I say. A cooler and more laid-back person you could not ask to meet. he said his mother had tried to explain EFT ( emotional Freedom technique) to him but he just found it ‘amusing’. He thinks that his mother is too close to him to have any effect.
There was also a man who has set himself up in a tent in wizards costume. His name was Stanley Stewart, not sure that’s the right type of name for a wizard, but he gave a talk to Francoise and others called “Art of modern wizardry”. She walked out after 10 min because what he was saying she knew it anyway so she found something else to go to which she would more likely enjoy.
Informal events like this stand a higher risk of being less focused than ones that are possibly slightly over structured for some but addressed by people are qualified and know what they’re talking about. Within all events however, even if all the lectures are dull you can at least find some interesting people to pass the time with as I found.
I met up with an old friend who had been at the show since Sunday. She is of fairly senior years and knows the New Age field pretty well. She said that she came along with an open mind but had been disappointed with each of the four talks she had attended. Basically, the people who were running the talks knew less than she did but more astonishingly, one of them turned up and boldly announced that she hadn’t prepared anything and she was waiting for inspiration, what did people want. My friend walked out after 10 min on the excuse of looking for the toilet.
In discussions, I said that she was obviously attracted to this event for some reason, and it could be to realise that she didn’t need more elementary input but should be developing her own advanced skills.
Anyway worse was to come for me. I attended a talk at 11.30 in the second section of the morning called “is reality virtual?”. It was run by someone called Danny Shine. I remember saying to my friend beforehand, I don’t quite trust this name so I will have to keep a careful watch.
I turn up to the event to find one other person there. Just before the start, 7 people showed up. Danny surprised me by saying to someone that sat in a particular chair, “if you sit there, you’re going to moderate the event”. He had previously to said to his son who was playing a videogame and looking rather bored, “you know you’re going to be leading the talk don’t you”. Anyway, the event started with 5 min of meditation during which we were encouraged to relax our body, shake about a bit, and resolve any tensions. All well and good. He then said that he has not prepared anything and this was going to be dependent on the quality of people who turned up and he said from the look of you, it doesn’t look very good.
This is going to sound like an old-fashioned rant now but I cannot remember anyone uttering such a brazen statement of rudeness and disrespect. I was about to challenge the speaker when two more people enter the room. He said to them “on the one hand I’m glad that you came, on the other hand my ego is upset because it diminishes the time we can spend with others”. At this moment I blew my top, fairly quietly I must admit, and left the room. No one followed me or made any comment. I never heard what happened.
I went over to the office and related what had happened. There were about eight staff in the room who all saw I was visibly shaken. I said that I didn’t want to have anything more to do with the day and I wanted my money back. I explained that this sort of behaviour I heard was unacceptable. I got a very large hug from one of the girls which I believe was heartfelt. The organiser came in who was I think the Rastafarian and a genuine guy. He said you realise that he is not us and realising my distress asked what he could do for me. I said in so many words nothing, I appreciate the fact that you have come and listen to what I have to say though. We had a hug also. The organiser said he would have a word with Danny. I did look him up on the Internet and found that he is some sort of rabble-rouser and performance artist who tries to provoke people by rather weird and strange questions. Anyway, I did get my money back.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for my partner to attend another workshop and in this regard she had far more success than I did. I think without some sort of discipline it is more than likely that the event will be invaded by egoists and partly educated people who have nothing but themselves as a reference point. Anyone can say they meditate but what are the principles, what’s the history of meditation, how does it affect the energy field of the people? Without some sort of academic background the talk can easily devolve to a set of personal ramblings.
As I said to my friend afterwards, there is no law guaranteeing that all events and activities you attend will be right for you. I’m sure I have some lessons to learn which may include the fact that I sometimes take things too seriously, or maybe the whole thing was a setup designed to induce evidence from us but in any event I shall be 100% alert when listening to any person that I have not had recommendations about.
I spoke to my friend who said that a dance event arrange for 8:30 PM had been changed to 11 PM without any notice and she declined because 11 PM is far too late to start something energetic. Also on the last day the breakfast time had been changed from nine o’clock to 11 o’clock and the closing ceremony had been changed to 10 o’clock prior to that event, both without giving any notice to the campers.
On the way home, we popped into Aldi for an excellent bottle of wine to compensate for the day. After about three hours I had recovered or mostly recovered and found the day how shall we say, different.