Hearts for Harmony
by Lori Petruskevich (on behalf of Lori and Kelli)
If we want to live in a world where there is beauty and joy, peace and harmony, kindness and compassion, the first thing we need to do is to cultivate these qualities within ourselves. If we do not possess these qualities, we are limited in what we can offer to the world; as the expression says, “You cannot give from an empty cup.” Because all of life is interconnected, what we nurture and increase in ourselves also increases in the world around us. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “True love is boundless like the ocean and, swelling within one, spreads itself out and, crossing all boundaries and frontiers, envelops the whole world.”
With everything happening in the world today, we and many other people have said there is a need for more joy, compassion, and peace in the world. Seeing and hearing about the division and conflict around the globe, some people feel an increased desire to come together with others in safe, caring community. In this space, people can open themselves to share their hopes and dreams, and encourage one another to work towards realizing these goals of nurturing more beauty and joy, peace and harmony, kindness and compassion within ourselves.
It is to achieve this goal that the vision for Hearts for Harmony was conceived. Despite the trepidation some people are experiencing about gatherings and coming together, we felt called to create a program which calls people together in caring, sacred space. In this space, the beauty within each person can be honoured, the compassion can be celebrated, and the harmony can be nurtured. Within the warm embrace of a supportive, safe community, we can open ourselves to becoming vulnerable, which allows us to heal and transform any negativity or wounds that are creating obstacles to realizing joy, peace, and kindness (for ourselves or others). In addition, once we heal and nurture these positive qualities, we can then share them with our family, friends, neighbours, and the world.
In this way, we can create a sense of community that not only reduces feelings of loneliness and separation, but calls on the synergy of people working together toward common goals, which results in outcomes surpassing anything one person can imagine on their own. In groups, it is amazing how when one experiences a transformation, it can be felt by all. By coming together with kindness and compassion, we can support one another to achieve each person’s individual goals and the goals of the group.
We also feel that holding a gathering in the warm embrace of Nature amplifies the potential benefits of coming together in community. Recognizing that all elements that make up the human body also exist in and upon the Earth reflects the truth of interconnectedness and interbeing. Thich Nhat Hanh underscores the increasing evidence that mindfulness helps people reconnect with others and the Earth, by slowing down and honouring with gratitude the bounty we receive from the natural environment. Thich said that, “The practice of mindfulness helps us to touch Mother Earth inside of the body and this practice can help heal people. So the healing of the people should go together with the healing of the Earth and this is the insight and it is possible for anyone to practice.” (Beyond Environment: falling back in love with Mother Earth by Jo Confino, Guardian Professional Network)
Rhythmic music and movement are universally practiced for celebration, healing, and connection. Swaying our body, bouncing, or rocking back and forth recreate the movement of a fetus while inside the mother’s body and can be very calming and nurturing. Similarly, the steady cadence of a drumbeat or stomping feet evokes the memory of a mother’s heartbeat from inside the womb. Over the past few years, Gurdeep Pandher, a Bhangra dancer who lives in a cabin in the Yukon, has made videos of himself dancing to share hope and joy around the world. In one of his videos, he posted the following message: “Sometimes you feel pain in your heart because everything looks uncertain, difficult, and unmanageable. Practice patience and let your mind think of something else! Find nature around you! From the frozen lake near my cabin, I am sending joy, hope, and positivity.” And he danced Bhangra, his body adorned with vivid colours, radiating with joy.
Inspired by the universal wisdom of coming together in community, practicing mindfulness, connecting with nature, playing uplifting music, and moving rhythmically, we have woven these aspects together in a program called Hearts for Harmony. Our vision is to come together to cultivate hearts that will be nourished with the qualities of beauty and joy, peace and harmony, kindness and compassion. Although many people sit idly by, hoping the world will change, there are some people who feel part of the process of change. We heartfully invite those who wish to be part of this change to join us to become hearts that will help spread harmony through the world.
We have begun by developing a series of four gatherings (see the display ad on this page), involving various activities such as setting intentions, meditation, drumming, movement, breathwork, yoga, nature walks, creative expression, and chanting. These gatherings aim not only to re-awaken our hearts, but to offer practical, profound practices that we can carry home to incorporate into our daily life to reduce stress or anxiety, and to enhance our well-being and inner peace. Following these gatherings, we hope to continue to learn and grow together as a community of sisters and brothers of hearts for harmony, developing meaningful programs and events that will help decrease suffering and increase harmony and happiness for all living beings.
Lori Petruskevich is a holistic counsellor and healer, who has practiced meditation and mindfulness for over 20 years. She works with diverse populations, including Northern indigenous communities, walking with them through their anxiety, pain, and trauma to help them cultivate happiness and well-being. She is passionate about her work, and has great love for people, animals, nature, and the cosmos.
Kelli Welk has been an entrepreneur most of her adult life, making drums as Earth Beat Drums since 1998, with teachings and interests in many types of spirituality and natural healing modalities. Being passionate about drumming and connecting with heart-based teachings, her goal is to live a life from the heart and to bring “heartfulness” by planting Seeds of Love. To contact them see the display ad on page 17 of the 28.1 May/June issue of the WHOLifE Journal.