The Summer Festival of Love is an event that you will experience on many different levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. During this week-long event, Dr Marc Gafni gives you the very best of his heart, mind and being when he passionately brings the Dharma. His teachings have their roots in cutting-edge scientific knowledge and developmental theories. The mind, soul and body work that you will do throughout the day will help you digest all the impressions. This personal story gives you an idea of the effect the Festival can have, helping you to discover and live your Unique Self, and create a better world. Ineke from the Netherlands shares her experience.

This feels like the truth to me

Ineke is a participant in the Summer Festival of Love from the very beginning. She has seen it develop to the unique experience it is today. “The very first Festival took place at Venwoude, a Dutch community where I used to come quite often for training and education. When I heard about the Festival and Marc Gafni’s presence there, I looked him up on the internet. That man is rollercoaster! Back in time, I had a hard time listening to him online. But when I experienced him at the festival, that was a different story, I was in. I find him inspiring and to the point.”

The Festival is unique and allows you to go deep within and connect to the current state of the world

“I have participated in all editions of the Festival and although the bottom line is still the same, each year it presents a new development. In me, in Marc and in the workshops, in the other participants. That makes each Festival new and inspiring. Marc is giving us the very best of him and what I really appreciate is that he includes the current global developments and the ‘state of the world’ in his teachings. His story feels like the truth to me, the best of what is offered, and the daily workshops at the Festival are supporting the integration of his teachings in a magnificent way. That’s really unique and you don’t find that at any other festival. There may be other festivals with a similar message. But the Summer Festival of Love is not about just one single topic such as meditation, tantra, bodywork, grounding, yoga or qi gong. This is not a standalone thing, not comparable to a week of – for example – meditation training. It is both a broad and a deep, a very comprehensive experience. This combination of teachings, practice and the framework of the narrative, allows you to go deep into the experience within yourself and to connect to that narrative, to what is happening in the world at this very moment. I think that is very important, because in the end everything is interconnected in this world.”

We can only grow and get even better

“One of the effects of the Festival is that I am even more in touch with my feelings. The more I am committed to the Dharma, the deeper I am feeling the pain and joy of life. Yes, you learn and practice the Dharma further and further, but that does not mean that it is getting any easier. If I combine Marc’s best with the best of me, we can only grow and get even better. But it’s quite a stretch, to digest the ongoing flow of feelings. I am feeling the world in which I live, and life is not all peaches and cream. This is it. There is nothing else. All the pain and sorrow are not mine alone, they are also other peoples’ pain and sorrow. We cannot bypass pain, polish it away, we have to experience it and live through it. That requires attention and only after all has been felt, something new can be born. That’s part of life, part of the duality, and also joy, love and gratitude are part of life. In the end, I am feeling gratitude that I can feel into this. It adds a greater depth to life, another dimension that is actually fantastic to experience, even if it hurts. Marc describes it wonderfully when he says: “Everywhere you fall, you fall into the arms of the beloved, the broken and the whole.”. I feel grateful that I have the luxury, time, money and energy, the opportunity to go to this festival. While others in the world are busy surviving, we get to take that next step, for ourselves, but also for the greater whole of all of us. Looking at the world with new eyes, a sharper vision, a higher consciousness, with joy, love and pain, that is what I am going for. Every one of us has their own path, in their own unique way. I have my things to do, you have got yours. I am but one voice in the Unique Self symphony. At the Festival I am invited to go through my experiences of pain and joy, embedded in the love and energy of the community.”

This experience is enriching the relationship with my husband and other people

“During the Festival it is as if I can experience everything more profoundly. We’re surrounded by nature and I can see the trees and the clouds much brighter than usual. I am tasting the food in all its aspects, more than when I am at home. I am diving into a deep attention for everything around me, opening my heart, myself, widely, sensing more, feeling more gratitude and that provides a special quality. My husband and I are going to the Festival together and that is very enriching for our relationship. For a full week, we are immersed in the same atmosphere, and we each resonate with different aspects of that. We are experiencing things on our own and by sharing our insights together, comparing notes and impressions, we get even more out of the Festival and that is deepening our relationship. I also feel more quality in my relationship with him, we’re seeing each other with new eyes, have more attention for each other, a renewed curiosity. That is so wonderful!”

“Since I started going to the Festival, I have felt a different connection with the people around me. Perhaps it’s that truth that I feel in Marc’s teachings that makes me engage in more open and loving way? During this week, I feel it even stronger, a universal love for all that is, the people, nature. In daily life, I can feel this too, but I am a bit hesitant about expressing this feeling of love, as it seems to make so many people a bit anxious. So, after this week, my heart closes again. Noticing this difference between this state of ‘heart open’ and ‘heart closed’, that’s so special that it makes me cry. I want to keep it open, but that seems to be impossible, at a certain moment it simply closes again.”

I am bringing the teachings and the Dharma to South Africa

“I see the same with the children that I am working with in South Africa. Each year, I am volunteering for Yabonga, an NGO that is supporting teenagers in the townships. There, I am working with youngsters that have to deal with poverty, HIV, AIDS, drugs and gangs on a daily basis. Yabonga has developed an empowerment programme for these kids, helping them navigate their life, supporting them with trainings, education if they cannot go to school, small loans if they want to start their own little business. We’re showing them movies, taking them on walks through nature, having lectures, doing body work and meditation to experience silence in the overcrowding of the townships. We’re helping them realize that they matter, that they are their own person and that they can do something and make a difference in their own unique way. Every year, this programme is getting bigger. This year, I’ll be working with 40 kids and in my work with them, I am including everything that Marc and the Festival are bringing me. It all is starting with dreams. Their dreams, my dreams. They are experiencing so much suffering and trauma, I cannot solve that for them. But knowing that I can help them relax for a week, help them open their hearts for a brief window of time, until they go back into the township and they need to be alert again, if they want to survive. I want to help them feel safe for a moment, feel their emotions. Make them aware that they do not have to be ashamed of crying, that – as some people say “tears clean the windows of the soul”, that they are healing. Give them a glimpse of their own potential and beautiful qualities, showing them a different perspective on how they can deal with other people and the difficulties that life may bring upon their path.”

I want to stay in touch with the Dharma throughout the year

“Every edition of the Festival is bringing something new. The opening of my heart, being more in touch with everyone and everything around me, feeling the pain and the joy, realizing that this is life… Realizing that life can be lived from that opening of the heart. In the end, I always fall back into my daily routines, but there’s a subtle change, time and time again. Whether it is an increased honesty toward myself, a new view of my relationship, feeling gratitude, setting a new step on my life path, it all is impacting my life. And not only mine. My work for Yabonga has grown in the past ten years. Had I not developed myself on a personal level in those years, I would not have been able to continue this work and help those children. The work is never finished and that is why I find it important to stay in touch with the Dharma throughout the year. My way of doing that is my weekly session of Evolutionary Church – activating humanity, giving me a boost to keep on walking my path, feeding myself, so that I can make a difference in other people’s life too. Also, I like to meet up with other Festival participants during the year and share this common ground of experience to stay focused.”

Come and experience for yourself

“If you are considering coming to the Festival, I hope that you feel inspired by my experiences. Regardless from which point in life you’re coming from, it will always bring you something positive. Don’t believe everything that is said about Marc online. Do watch the videos in which he is sharing his wisdom, and feel what that does with you. How do you know if this is for you? You will feel something triggering you, feel the allurement, something drawing you in. Some people are not yet at that point, others are. Don’t be discouraged by a feeling of insecurity about the unknown. You are welcome just the way you are. Before my current activities, I worked for 40 years as a meteorologist, in a very masculine and scientific world. From there to the Summer Festival of Love and the Dharma may seem like a tremendous leap, but the Festival is for everyone, also for you. Feel welcome!”

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