This is a snapshot of life that is universal, a festival held anywhere in the world.

There appears to be a whole new era of ‘hippie style’ culture – the original look adopted and adapted by the youth and a more sophisticated version adapted by the not so young fashionable brigade with the equally fashionable ‘Guru.’ There is a sense of following a fad, a fashion rather than a path. Find a cure, be healed, find the elixir of life and a sense of people looking for their own reality, their identity! And why not. Anything that helps us chill out and feel more at ease on life’s journey is to be applauded.


In Cape Town as in many cities or towns, the holistic festival is a means to an end, as people struggle to make a living, selling the power of the gemstone; the light and power of the crystal; the music of the soul; the guide to the inner being; the words of wisdom; the touch that heals; the water of life. And you will find what suits YOU. The aroma of lavender or rose oil. The cool touch of gemstones and crystals. Music that calms or uplifts you. A powerful word that motivates you. The touch that heals you. Just allow!


I was immersed in an array of colours, sounds, chants and chakras, therapies and talks, stones and feathers. There are workshops on how to increase wealth, power, self-esteem, inner knowledge, flexibility  –  decrease problems, fat, fluid, flatulence, balance the increase with the decrease, stand on one leg, swim with the current, go with the flow  –  stand on both legs, learn to be strong against the current,  fight the tide, don’t flow!  AWAKEN the inner you, the outer you. Who are you?



OM is a word familiar to most people. Sit and close your eyes. Repeat OM continuously. Feel how it resonates through your whole body, then your mind. Cleansing and uplifting. All over the world people have their own version of this cathartic method. For example, in Ireland, saying the rosary, a repetition of prayers which resonates inside one can only be beneficial. The sound of church bells, the Islam call to prayer, sounds that make you pause. You don’t need to be religious to chant or pray. Choose any word or set of words that have meaning for you and repeat, chant slowly. Or use sound instead of words. Create some moments of peace in your day.


The lilt and lull from note to note, soaring, swooping, seeking. Seeking that place within you that vibrates, a curling wave of sound that just for a moment quietens the mind. Stop and listen to the Pan Pipes being played on the street. Go to a concert. Close your eyes and let the sounds flow through it. Go with the sound, allow the lyricism to take over and be one with the music.


The power, the power of the people who know and hold in their hands my body, my life, to pummel and prod and poke, pull out my thoughts , re-invent then and re-insert them, should I choose to hand myself over, should I choose to hand over my power and cash.

I sit within my inner glow, halo straight, smiling my happy smile at the happy people, stall holders willing us all to stop and buy; sitting passively, pretending not to care and inside, the turmoil, the stress   –  “buy from me, buy, buy!” So, treat yourself. There is something here for everyone, something that will be of benefit. The secret when you find it is not to put it away for some other day. Read it now. Listen to it now. Place your gemstones in a place you can see them, touch them. Hang the crystal in your window allowing the sun to filter through creating a dance of colour. Make the smile on your face a real one.


I watch the passing fashion parade of the pendant people, the flowing oldies, fixed-smile brigade, the feather strewn, the white robed crew, the bejeaned- belly-buttoned youth, the bejeaned-belly-buttoned pensioners.

The ‘I am forever young brigade’ and fair play to them. I’m absorbed in the perfumes and colours and auras, generally befeathered, bejewelled, bedazzled – begorrah, what a life. Yes, there is something for everyone and anything that gives you serenity if only for a few minutes can only be beneficial.


food market

So, from gemstones and dream catchers and the call of inner music, I wander to a local market where more folk are equally struggling to make a living. I find myself humming tunes from My Fair Lady as I listen to one stall holder’s call. She draws people’s attention to her basket of rusks with her musical call – “Freshly Baked Today, Buttermilk Rusks, Linseed and Bran” and always “Freshly Baked.” Being ignorant about rusks, I’m fascinated to see the excitement as people stop and buy, slobbering at the gills, but rusks? Aren’t they for teething babies? I’m happy to say I’m proved wrong.


I listen to the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs!’ and see people’s faces light up. I know I’m missing out, so buy them I must! I will learn the art of ‘rusk dunking’ as apparently that is how this South African treat is eaten. My only experience of dunking has been with a ginger nut biscuit and most of it ended up in the bottom of the cup. A new take on ginger tea. Recreate this experience for yourself with or without a rusk. Make a pot of tea or coffee. Set the tray with a cup and saucer. Sit and enjoy. A small but effective daily ritual. It’s more than making tea or coffee in a mug. It’s about the ritual of setting the tray, placing the cup and saucer on it, pouring hot water into the teapot, allowing it to infuse, filling the cup and allowing the aroma to lift your spirits and the first sip which will make you inhale deeply and relax. It’s about giving yourself more time. Make the time.


I too want to get that look on my face that the Rusk Lady elicits from her customers, with her call of “Freshly Baked Rusks,” – a look of wonder and glee and satisfaction and inner peace and so I dunk and dunk again. My prayers have been answered. I’m in Rusk Heaven.

Sometimes it’s a happy memory that softens our gaze, the taste of a certain food bringing you back to a joyful time and place, a particular song or the sound of laughter. Daily we encounter these elements but, allow them to seep through just a bit longer. Slow down and let it be.

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