BANDON - If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... it's not necessarily a duck. At least, not in this case.
In this case, it's the Bandon Afterlife Meetup, a free monthly event at the Bandon Public Library that started out in the small conference room, but eventually moved to the Sprague Room, where attendance fills the room every time.
And what happens there might not be quite what you’d expect.
When Heidi Connolly, author, writer, intuitive coach and medium, began hosting the Bandon Afterlife Meetup, she didn’t even know what a meetup really was, or that anyone would be interested, or even exactly what she was going to talk about.
“All I knew was that it was important to share what I’d been learning and that it was up to me to take it on," said Connolly. "So, I reserved the little room, put up a few flyers, and showed up. When two people came, I was thrilled. Then I knew I’d keep doing it - and make no judgments around what ‘success’ might look like. Whoever came would be perfect.”
Some may know Connolly as the owner of Harvard Girl Word Services (writing, editing and self-publishing consultation) and flute player, and she admits that her journey from Harvard University graduate and professional musician to her current undertaking has been an interesting one.
“I could not have imagined this path, not in a million years," Connolly said. "But now that I’m on it, it’s the most brilliant, fulfilling work I could ever do.”
Success, at least in the way many might describe it, is not Connolly’s goal. Her only motivation is to talk from experience about developing her intuitive abilities (following her “IGS,” or Intuitive Guidance System) over the last five years since the death of her husband Randy.
“When Randy died, I thought my life was over,” she said. “But it turns out that the gifts he has since invited me to embrace have brought me to a place I would never have arrived at otherwise— a place of renewed hope, joy, freedom and spiritual connectedness. The Bandon Afterlife Meetup is my way of reintroducing people to their true selves so they can experience more self-acceptance and appreciation, more conscious awareness around their potential as ‘Vacationing Angels' in human form, and an increased sense of kinship to their community and loved ones.”
Exactly what happens at an Afterlife Meetup? Although mediumship is a part of the event, it’s only a small portion of what she offers, Connolly said.
First and foremost, people are assured that they are not alone. That being intuitive, or spiritually connected, or “highly sensitive” is not a curse, but a blessing, as long as they can understand how their gifts work so as not to be afraid of them. Connolly provides techniques to stay centered, to know one’s sensitivity “triggers” and “indicators,” and to know that fear is only a form of resistance to who people are and what they want to manifest in their lives.
Connolly also offers inspirationally guided flute music that “bypasses the usual filter of human resistance and opens the door to self-love.” Many of her clients report that her recordings are not only soothing and beautiful, but help them curb their smoking, alcohol and sugar addictions, experience physical improvement and feel release from the emotional pain of stress, depression and anxiety.
“I can’t tell you exactly how it works,” Connolly said, “but I don’t have to know. All I need to do is listen, create what I’m guided to create and send it out with a loving heart. God and the spirit world does the rest.”
The next free Bandon Afterlife Meetup is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in the Bandon Public Library Sprague Room. Connolly, her services and her music can be found at VacationingAngels.com where her monthly meetups are also listed.