Soul Food – Melbourne, Australia

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You know when you when you when you do any kind of event and for as long as we have, for 10 years, things can become mechanical or feel like they become too systematic or you know too repetitive.

But the great thing about this event is that you know every month there'snew people in the audience you know we get people to come here and they're from different countries and different cities and they say to us "We love this, can we go and do this where we are?" And so those outcomesjust make you realize that this isn't just an event like this is areal service to the community and there's a real need for it and it's resonating with people.

Soul Food's an initiative of the Baha'i community and it's has held once a month atthe State Library of Victoria.

Its main purpose is to provide a space where where people could come together and reflect and be inspired.

So we have readings from all differentreligions, the major religions, philosophers and indigenous writers and poets, and they usually follow a particular theme.

And so it's very thematic.

But it allows a space where people can relax and reflect.

And the idea is that it leads to more than just that.

It leads to people talking about these issues and then leads to action forthe betterment of society.

So we're just setting up the playlist for the music and the slides so obviously there's a lot ofvisuals and pictures and so we're just kind of coordinatingwhich one goes where.

There's a lot that we haveto sort of juggle, so there are you know lengths of readings and combining those with images that will will hold the viewer's interest for the length of that reading.

There's the challenge of making sure that the spirit of the reading andthe reader and the music are always aligned.

So today's program is called "Footprints in the Sand" and it's about the creator and how we connect with our creator.

What Soul Food does is just provides a forum and almost sort of guides you on a topic or an idea.

And what I do in Soul Food is I find the musicians.

I think the fact that it's live music adds a great deal.

It's just – it kind of enhances the beauty of the program, it gives you a moment to sort of sit and reflect and think about the things that you've just been hearing.

So every program we have 4 readers which interweave the readings in between the visuals that are showing and the music, the live music that we have.

So usually try and find readers who kind of can be expressive and can really, I guess have even a very mild "theatre" in the way that they present the readings and the stories.

To be honest I just really enjoy being here.

I think its got such a nice feeling.

I guess I try to present that feeling across in my speaking.

We want them to come awaywith some sort of positive inspiration that will allow them to bepositive in their environments.

And will also lead to betterment of their environment.

So we actually now provide a discussion after Soul Food for those whowould like to discuss the program and that allows more reflection and it also may lead to action.

It creates a space for people to get together and to really start talking about things that are important.

So what it means to be human and it's a great place that brings peopleof all walks of life, all age groups together.

So I think it's really important whetheror not you are actively engaging in conversation with each otheror if you're just reflecting quietly looking at inspirational writings.

It just creates that space which is so needed.

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