It could not have been a more perfect day for me to try out the “You, as instrument” workshop than this rainy autumnal Friday. “The House of inspiration” studio, tucked away in the Wassenaar  woods, felt like a haven of warmth and cosiness from the pouring rain and blustering wind outside.
The feeling of space, the cushions and blankets, the hot tea and apple cake, the chairs in a circle and the warm smiles of the other attendants felt like a cool hand on a fevered brow after my hectic start to the day. To be honest, I had been very tempted to cancel, there was so much going on, I was hyperventilating at the thought of the number of hours “lost” by driving to Wassenaar for a 2-hour workshop. But I had met and liked the organiser, Evelien Fokker and her description of the course using the metaphor of us as instruments, in harmony or not, as solo or ensemble and how we directed the symphony of our lives had really resonated with me, and once I commit, I see it through.
Once seated and  having communally delighted in the shower of colourful leaves visible through the huge bay windows practically encircling us, Evelien welcomed us with the first few strums of her beautiful cello before sharing her passion for psychology, music and transformation, the concerts she gives here, and how she coaches her clients to finding inner harmony and taking the steps they need to take.
Settled in a circle, in comfy clothing, some making use of cushions and blankets, we followed her voice as she invited us to relax and plant our feet firmly on the ground. Shutting my eyes as she played the cello, I felt the vibrations travelling up my body through my feet and finding a cavity somewhere around my stomach, heart and chest heart where it seemed to resonate, filling me with peace and warmth. I marveled at how fast I had got to this feeling of calm. Evelien’s melodious voice guided us through some deep breathing as we let go of the stress we had brought with us (which in my case was a lot) and traveled back to the present moment by quietly, factually, reliving our morning, step by step from the moment we awoke to now.
I felt firmly anchored and could feel my stress still buzzing around me, but no longer IN me. Palms open, utter calm, in this safe circle.
We were told to set an intention for our two-hour session. Personally, I would like to anchor this feeling of peace and “groundedness” to be able to call on it at times of need. At the risk of sounding weird, the thought crossed my mind that these vibrations seemed to connect to something far older than me, maybe some ancestral wisdom locked into my DNA over the generations.
Evelien invited us to see ourselves as instruments and question our harmony. Usually I find these sorts of questions relatively hard to relate to but I immediately was aware that I needed to tone down, slow down, quieten down in order to be better heard and leave more silence and space for those around me to express themselves.
We then had 15 minutes and free rein of the room to think about where energy streamed and where energy blocked in our professional and personal lives. It was interesting to see how we all chose different ways to go about our assignment. Evelien played the grand piano, one woman spontaneously started singing, I started by swinging in the hammock whilst making notes, then did some yoga, some sat or lay, all very melodiously busy with our assignment in our own unique ways.
What a privileged place to be, I feel I am accessing a level of calm and inner wisdom I have not visited in a very long time. Lesson learnt, the more stressed, the more reason to make time to reconnect with oneself in sessions such as these. They bring the big picture, the insights which lead us to go through our lives from a position of connection, of values and that is what gives us purpose and meaning.
We shared our insights after each exercise, the atmosphere was safe and open and we all shared for a position of authenticity. Evelien flowed effortlessly between her two passions, this beautiful music which was soothing and inspiring us, and her very acute, at times challenging questions, urging us deeper in our thoughts. It was interesting to notice we had all achieved something concrete. We had worked hard yet it seemed to be there just waiting for us to ask the right question and be in the right state of mind to simply let it flow straight out.
Next was utter bliss…we moved to the half circle bay windows where you genuinely felt a part of nature and settled ourselves down on mats with as many cushions and blankets we felt we needed and lay, cocooned in ourselves whilst Evelien played the cello, her voice guiding us through deep breathing. I felt in utter peace, entirely present, deep within myself yet connected to the whole, to the nature around us, to the music streaming  through us, to the other women breathing around me, and to life as a whole. Utter gratitude swelled up. Gently we came back and started stretching our body to yoga exercises, feeling the deep harmony between body, heart and mind.
Hard to leave that blissful pace, I was tempted to crawl under the mat and stay there all weekend.
It was then time to rejoin in the circle, each one of us in a very different place than 2 hours previously.
We were encouraged to formulate clearly:
          What had happened
          What had come out of the session
          And what the first step to incorporating that change was
Once we had shared that, we committed this to paper on a card that some chose to decorate and highlight.
This was a deep, enjoyable but also clearly impactful session with practical and concrete outcomes.
An original cocktail of coaching, music, yoga, mindfulness with a clear goal-oriented outcome. I wish all of you the opportunity to witness it yourself, especially if you think you have no time for this!

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