After leading the Celebrate Life Festival for fourteen years in Germany, Thomas Hübl brought the festival to the U.S. for the first time in August, 2018. The theme was Restoring a Fragmented World. It was held on the beautiful campus of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Like previous festivals in Germany, it was intense, innovative, inspiring and challenging!
Thomas and other guest teachers offered the more than 300 attendees (and 200 livestream participants) a range of potent topics that included intimate relationships; creativity and purpose; the healing of conflict; and race and white privilege in the United States. Workshop leaders provided spaces to practice integrative tools of movement, voice, nervous system resourcing, and transparent communication.
As one participant shared with us, “My experience is one of transformation, in the sense of what Thomas and Terry Patten talked about as ‘an emerging miracle’ — something I had no idea was coming and could not have predicted, yet experienced as a miracle.”
By the end of the festival, many participants shared a sense that something new and essential had emerged in our collective field of practice and inquiry. The feeling of new ground being broken was especially vivid during the sessions on race and white supremacy, led by Konda Mason and the Rev. angel Kyodo williams in conversation with Thomas Hübl.
These conversations challenged us to expand our awareness of white supremacy not as a behavior of an extreme segment of U.S. society but as a broad system embedded in our culture, our economy, and our language, in which each of us participate.
Many attendees left these sessions feeling awakened to a new level of personal and cultural responsibility for this profoundly needed restoration, with the commitment to continue this exploration and integration of new possibilities in their daily lives and in their communities.
In the words of Rev. angel Kyodo williams, “Our collective liberation is bound up in race in this country. We have been cleaved away from each other… How do we allow ourselves to reconnect to our love by connecting to our whole truth?” And in the words of a Celebrate Life participant: “The discussion and exploration with Konda Mason, Rev. angel Kyodo williams and Thomas Hübl was an experience I’ve longed for for over 30 years. At last! More of this in a conscious spiritual context is needed. Thank you!”
We were also moved and inspired by Terry Real’s conversation on Intimacy as a Spiritual Practice, by William Ury’s sharing about mediation and the healing of conflict, by Yehudit Sasportas in her powerful presentation on the creative life, by Terry Patten’s exploration of A New Republic of the Heart, and by the generosity and gifts of all of our workshop leaders, movement teachers, artists, assistants, and volunteers.
In the evenings, this powerful learning and restoration was beautifully nourished by joyful performances from Sweet Honey in the Rock, cellist Jami Sieber, vocalists Michaela Harrison and Joy Clark, Band Together Creative Liberation Network, pianist Brian Haas and other artists in creative collaboration.
We are deeply grateful for all who joined Thomas for this exploration and contributed to such a powerful first year for the festival in the U.S. We look forward to being with you again in 2020!
For more images and stories from the Celebrate Life Festival 2018 Visit the CLF Facebook page.
The 2020 Celebrate Life Festival will take place in New York – click here for more information.