I took in the scent of paint and candles as the group closed its eyes and drifted off. Some of us sat on the floor, pillows under our butts, our feet were bare. A few others perched on couches behind our backs.
After meditating to live flute music performed by Laura Sue Wilansky, the sound of a gong brought us back to reality. It was time to sit in a circle to share what we'd all experienced at the Silver and Velvet Musical Meditations. This being my first time, I wasn't quite up for sharing, but I listened to others talk about what they'd felt or seen while meditating or painting to the live music.
Some had experienced specific colors during their meditation and purple seemed to be the color of the day because a few people chimed in about having a very purple meditation. There was talk of peace and changing the world. A few griped about the woes of watching the news and seeing the mess we're in, not just locally but globally.
One woman had been in another part of the gallery, close to the meditation area, painting to the music and reflected on how the music had inspired her creatively. There was a lot of red in her artwork, so I'm not sure how peaceful she was feeling, but either way it got her juices flowing.
Silver and Velvet Musical Meditations are a semi-monthly event created by Laura Sue Wilansky, aka the Silver Nightingale, at the Velvet House gallery in Dania Beach. Anyone can come to de-stress and get comfy on one of the couches or a yoga mat while meditating to the live music of Wilanksy's flute. All Wilanksy asks for in return is a suggested $10 donation.
Wilansky credits the Fab Four for getting her into this calming groove. "I think I first heard about meditation when the Beatles started talking and singing about it. I really don't remember when I started meditating myself. I don't meditate in one specific way or on a specific schedule (like every morning) but when I do, it helps me to be more serene and less reactive, and handle things better in life," she says.
Wilanksy has been playing the flute since the third grade, so it's safe to say her skills are sharp. She also attended World Music Summer at the Creative Music Stuido in Woodstock, NY, where she learned from some noteworthy musicians, among them Latin Grammy winner, the late Paulo Moura.
Deciding to combine her musical talent and her love of meditation, she created the Silver and Velvet Musical Meditations. While she doesn't take credit for the ancient practice of playing music while others meditate, she offers an emotionally charged event where the focus is on the music itself.
When asked what she loves most about these events, Wilanksy told us, "A couple things. When I can really get into the music and play 'in the zone,' it's wonderful -- very creative, satisfying, and also meditative for me personally. It's not always like that when I play, but when it is, it's great!"
She also loves hearing what people have to say about their experiences during the "closing circle." "People often report having profound and meaningful spiritual or emotional insights during our Musical Meditations -- all kinds of experiences. It's so interesting to see where people go with this! Of course, anything people choose to keep private and not share in our circles is fine as well, spiritual experiences are not always something one wants to -- or can -- put into words," she shared.
So if this sounds like your cup of herbal tea, then you can find some peace or at least enjoy a little flute action on September 28 in Dania Beach.