It’s a busy world out there. We plan our day while simultaneously scrolling on our phone and prepare and rush our meals to get to the next task.
But in the rush to accomplish our daily routine, we may find ourselves losing our connection with the present moment and living mindfully.
Wellbeing By The Lakes is a 3-day festival exploring what it means to be mindful and how to live well in this fast-paced modern world.
These 3-days of mindfulness are a curated blend of experts talks, meditation, movement sessions, art, live performance and healing therapies that will open your eyes to fresh experiences for wellbeing.
Wellbeing By The Lakes also happens to be set in a true natural haven of peace and reflection at the picturesque Sculpture by the Lakes nestled in 26 acres of breathtaking countryside just outside of Dorchester in Dorset.
This post is reflecting on Thursday, the first day, that I attended however altogether the 3-day pass would have been such a dream in hindsight as each day contained a wide-ranging programme that is each as inspiring as the next. But until next year, here’s everything I got up to on Thursday alone!
The Main Stage at Wellbeing By The Lakes was the hub of inspiring talks and a wealth of wisdom from a variety of daily experts. This included a curated blend of expert talks from authors, academics and professionals to help you explore the many facets of wellbeing.
The talks covered everything from mindfulness, holistic wellbeing and healing, creative journaling, Chinese Medicine, food and nutrition, aromatherapy and so much more.
The first talk I enjoyed was by the Herbalist and Naturopath Rachel Shackleton called ‘The Energetics of Dis-ease, Creating Balance‘. This enlightening discussion by Rachel discussed how that in our societies today, the system of our bodies are constantly challenged by internal factors, such as stress and diet, as well as external factors, including electromagnetic radiation, pollutants in the air and water as well as toxic ingredients found in plastics, household chemicals and others.
In Rachel’s experience as a Herbalist and Naturopath, Rachel examines the structure of ‘dis-ease’, that includes a balanced look at the physical, emotional and spiritual body, and then provides naturopathic tips for creating and restoring balance, health and wellbeing.
As someone who suffers from a variety of chronic illnesses, I found Rachel’s discussion so helpful and inspiring with a truly rich discussion of how I can achieve more balance in my life, and thus giving me the knowledge that I can implement immediately. If you’d like to find out more about Rachel’s work head here.
The next talk was titled, ‘Creative Writing for Healing and Meaning’ with poet, author, radio dramatist, journalist, award-winning filmmaker Caspar Walsh.
The discussion on the power of writing was so inspiring for me, as a writer myself, and it was so special to be in the presence of other writers also feeling the spiritual and healing effect it has.
Caspar’s own story is incredibly inspiring, and one of true strength, perseverance and courage who has been involved in the British prison system since he was a child; as a visitor to his father, an inmate and finally, a highly regarded and skilled workshop facilitator. Caspar pours these experiences onto page in his writing, who has regularly written for the BBC and The Guardian on life in the criminal justice system.
In 2008 Caspar founded the award-winning charity ‘Write to Freedom’ working with young men whilst supporting them in their ‘rite of passage’ into adulthood. His powerful work ‘Tribe Warrior’ was written in collaboration with hundreds of serving prisoners and is an evocative exploration of dark, contemporary issues through the long lens of history.
Caspar believes the answer to our current crisis in youth crime and addiction can be healed through a unique mix nature connection, sharing personal stories and building resilient, accountable communities. As a result, Caspar sustains his love for sharing the power of writing for wellbeing, mindfulness and healing in workshops such as Words From The Earth.
The final talk I went to was Essential Oils for Mindfulness & Meditation by the author Heather Dawn Godfrey. I’m hugely passionate about essential oils and aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is a powerful bond that can directly impact your overall well-being and has a variety of therapeutic and a multitude of healing benefits. Holistic healers such as Heather have been using the powers of specific aromas from nature’s flowers and herbs for centuries in order to enhance health and well-being.
And in this talk, with Heather’s passion and wisdom, I experienced the scent dynamics of serenity essential oils who explored the use of essential oils to support meditation. Through this discussion, Heather explained their influence on the limbic system, on concentration, memory, mood and emotion, as described in her book Essential Oils for Mindfulness and Meditation, that afterwards, I was able to get signed by Heather herself.
As you entered Wellbeing By The Lakes you were greeted by the Marketplace that was home to a vibrant collection of pop-up stalls, food and drink vendors all focussed on enhancing your experience of peace and serenity. From a fantastic range of wellness books, natural cosmetics, local artisans, eco-fashion and delicious plant-based focussed healing foods.
As you relax and browse the stalls your senses will also delight in hearing live acoustic and instrumental music, inspiring talks, and hands-on workshops.
Some of my favourite sellers included Freddie’s Flowers, with their bloomin’ beautiful stall that are a subscription service with a difference that chooses the best flowers for you and then delivers them each week.
Another subscription box with a different in attendance was ‘The Sunshine Box’, a monthly wellbeing box using techniques from mindfulness, meditation and positive psychology that was a dream stallholder for Wellbeing By The Lakes. Each month ‘The Sunshine Box’ has a theme where you receive at least 5 wellbeing products and two techniques to try out.
One of my favourite stalls was The Owl & Apothecary who create a unique range of wellbeing products designed to help you live a happy,
high-vibe life. Blended and dreamt up in Dorset, I particularly loved their expertly blended oil blends. Created with the purest essential oils to help you balance hormones, stay calm and stress less or boost your energy and lift your mood all of their products are also 100% organic, vegan and cruelty-free.
It was also so lovely to see Green & Grainy, who I spy at a lot of wellness and vegan in Dorset and who produce such divine healthy and sustainable food that is all gluten and wheatfree and 100% Vegan.
Healing Hands Tents
A truly lovely, sacred part of Wellbeing By The Lakes was the ‘Healing Hands Tents’ created for the experience of deep relaxation at the hands of experienced therapists in a dreamy dedicated healing zone about 5 minutes walk from the main marketplace.
As you walked into this sequestered secret garden esque environment with prayer flags and a line of white glamping sized tents, you will be able to listen to the birds singing and the river flowing and feel such peace and serenity.
Treatments included Shiatsu Massage, Reflexology, Emotional Freedom Technique, Deep tissue massage with vibrations of Singing Bowls, and Flower Essence Therapy which was the treatment I picked.
Flower Essence Therapy Treatment
After browsing through treatment options, there was just something about Flower Essence Therapy lead by Emma Dixon that truly held so much intrigue for me. Seeing as I’m already so passionate about essential oils and aromatherapy, I thought this would be a wonderful area to explore.
Flower Essence Therapy (by the way, if you know of Bach’s Rescue Remedy then you will already be aware what this is!) is a gentle way of releasing blocks in your life by clearing the path for realignment with your authentic self, in balance and harmony. And this in itself was everything I was seeking.
Another reason why Flower Essence Therapy interested me so much is because of the amount of daily medication I need, I was seeking something that wouldn’t disrupt that. And because Flower Essences does not contain any physical part of a flower, plant, tree, mineral in them, it is therefore completely safe to use, whilst being extremely effective. They can also be used by all ages, during pregnancy and alongside medication.
I truly don’t think I could begin to capture how special I found Flower Essence Therapy in this post alone lead so beautifully by Emma. Not only just simply recommending flower essences for the individual, but it also has such profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health and I am in a total state of awe about how much this all resonated with me. So special in fact that it truly does deserve a post of its own I’ll work on very soon!
The final part to Wellbeing By The Lakes that I experienced was The Retreat, an intimate sanctuary of stillness overlooking the water where you can try sound bathing, meditation or mindfulness practices with experienced practitioners and teachers.
On my wellness journey, these are all practises that I really want to pour my heart and soul more into, and indeed this festival was the perfect opportunity to dive into this light, healing and medicine. It was truly the perfect opportunity for me to explore what it’s all about and experience the benefits for myself.
Because meditation is something, in particular, that I really want to dive into more, I attended the Guided Meditation led by Lama Chodrak. In 45 minute session, I learnt the basic aspects of posture and a variety of techniques that truly helped me to work with my thoughts and emotions, enabling me to transfer these skills to deal with the challenges and stresses of modern living.
My day at Wellbeing By The Lakes came and went so quickly but I left with an abundance of serenity, peace, wisdom and understanding that I will continue to shape into my daily life.
If you weren’t able to attend this year and would like to, it’s probably no surprise to hear how much I would recommend this experience. Whether it’s trying a new fitness class, seeking support on a health issue, broaden your knowledge on wellness, sample innovative and traditional practices for wellbeing and to enjoy a playful, restorative day out then this is the festival for you.
Wellbeing By The Lakes offers a truly unique experience for you to explore every area of health and wellness in the most tranquil spot imaginable at Sculpture By The Lakes and I’m so thankful I got to experience at least one day of it this year alone.
The way we feel, both physically and mentally, is the essence of living. After all, it is our perception and our ability to observe our thoughts and feelings is what makes us human and separates us from other creatures. We truly owe it to ourselves to nourish our soul, mind and body in the most healing and special ways we can and I couldn’t recommend Wellbeing By The Lakes for this more.
Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QU