Dream In Your New Year 2018
THIS PAST SUNDAY, 200 Chicagoans gathered together to "Dream In" the New Year in celebration of community, self, and, of course, our city's amazing parks. Our third annual sound meditation event at the beautiful South Shore Cultural Center was indeed an "exceptionally magical night" just as our partner Shu Shubat of GongLab had promised. The event is quickly becoming a Chicago Parks Foundation favorite - this sold-out year marked our largest turnout yet!
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This year we tried something new, extending the event hours to allow for a pre-meditation reception of local wellness partners just outside of the main ballroom space. After checking in, guests had time to mingle with Dave's Down to Earth Rock Shop, Gemstone Wellness, Gold by Vicki Cell, Peace Power Napping, TeaGschwendner, and Zen Yoga Garage.
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Before entering the ballroom, each guest removed their shoes and lit a tealight candle as a symbol of the intention they hoped to "dream in" for the New Year. Coupled with the natural blue light of the surrounding foggy woods, the guests' candles created a gorgeous glow throughout the ballroom.
Guests began to settle into their personal spaces, cozying up with mats, blankets, and pillows brought from home. As the outside light grew dimmer and the meditation drew closer, each prepared in their own way - stretching, reading, chatting with friends new and old, or just laying quietly.
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Each year, the creative group GongLab presents a unique meditation experience. Drawing on "a palette of energetic sound" to connect to deeper states of relaxation, GongLab uses a 38" Earth gong, vocals, chimes, drums, and more to guide participants through a healing sound journey. Over the course of the 90 minutes, Shu's voice and the instruments moved from low hums to intense crescendos and back again. Most guests remained laying flat on their mats for the duration, though they were free to experience the movement however felt best.
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Guests emerged out of their relaxed state feeling refreshed, renewed - and hungry! Light bites and herbal teas were enjoyed as the guests spread throughout the Cultural Center's main floor rooms and shared with each other about what they'd just experienced.
As light returned to the ballroom's grand chandeliers, guests leisurely began rolling up the many mats and blankets that had covered the entire tiled floor and left with a mindful gift from the Chicago Parks Foundation - a hand-painted name card and CPF embossed sleeping mask. The warmth and calm among the group was palpable.
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THE MAGIC LIVES ON...
We loved hearing from so many guests that they'd be interested in seeing the sound meditation become more than just a once-a-year experience. Stay tuned on more events like this one! And remember, the magic we felt Sunday night lives on in all of our 600+ Chicago parks every day. Proceeds from Dream In help us continue our work to spread positive, productive energy throughout the parks. Thank you for sharing in the Park Love!