Soundscape Reaches "Seventh Heaven" After Seven Years at Welsh Hospital
(Merriam Webster dictionary definition of seventh heaven: "a state of extreme happiness and joy")
Soundscape's seventh annual offering at Nevill Hall Hospital in the heart of the beautiful Welsh town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, was a resounding wonder and the project really did reach "seventh heaven".
This year's Soundscape, was a magical inroad for sound healing within our health system. Soundscape offers sound healing on two levels. It offers peace and tranquillity for patients, doctors, nurses, porters, hospital visitors and anyone passing through the evolving Soundscape, but it also creates a deep healing space for members of the Soundscape team themselves!
36 people from all over the UK and Ireland, from of all walks of life, including the holistic and healing world, gathered for three days in October for a workshop which helped them bond and come together in a loving and healing space. The group, guided by Chrys Blanchard, worked with their voices to bring out pure tones and harmonics interspersed and interwoven with a variety of unusual and magical instruments, to create healing sounds to be offered up for all who visited the Soundscape. The actual live event or ‘installation’ in the hospital's bright and airy atrium which is the main Outpatient's Waiting Room, is directed beautifully by Chrys - following a formula that the group has been working with over the weekend - the whole offering is spontaneous and improvisation is the essence of it all. Soundscape creates a safe, loving space.
Along with the team of participants, which included a significant number of students and graduates from the College of Sound Healing and several of the tutors, Chrys was joined by fellow musicians and sound healers, Brigid Brightfire from Hereford, and Aaron Meli from Bridgend (both College members) who have supported Chrys for many Soundscapes and have become core professional musicians for the holding group for Soundscape which we now call Resonant Collective.
Soundscape transforms the waiting area into a rich tapestry of colours, with the display of stunning instruments and gongs enhanced by areas draped in beautiful silks, cushions and materials and the participants are dressed in soft turquoises purples and whites. A team of twelve ‘ushers’ hold the space and gently support the process and interface with the public, guiding them as they wander through, sit and watch or wait for a soundbath.
Many of those who were watching decided to step forward to receive a Soundbath during the event. There were 54 soundbaths given that afternoon, to young and old. One of the most moving was with two young mums together lying on the floor cushions, each with their young babes on their chests... receiving a shared soundbath. The mums looked relaxed and peaceful and at one point one babe stretched out his hand and held on to the hand of the other babe. Also, sitting in the harp chair and receiving total vibration as one of the team gently strums the strings, was very popular! Somehow Chrys has found a beautiful way of helping people to melt away their barriers and inhibitions and step in to their own higher healing energies.
After a soundbath (lying on a treatment couch and being sung to by a group of seven people) one person said "It was the closest to heaven I have ever been!"
Another said "If I had to take my last breath in a bed, albeit in a hospital, I would like my departure breath to be in a soundbath"
One patient who came down from the wards said after the event finished she was "still in bliss..." after receiving her soundbath.
Somebody returning specially after experiencing Soundscape two years ago said "I felt great peace and much love and kindness. I also felt a great weight lift from my heart".
Soundscape like many other sound healing ways reaches the parts many other traditional healing experiences do not appear to reach. No-one knows the whole answer to why resonance and sound heals - it just does. Ask anyone who uses it regularly.
Chrys feels that we have completed a cycle with the 7th Soundscape and is going to take time in 2016 to reflect on the project so far and see what is to come next... She will write soon of her visions for the development of RESONANT COLLECTIVE, the next phase of her work.