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After almost exactly four years of hosting hundreds of individuals seeking creative or meditative ways to cope with the stress and tribulations of life, a spiritual gathering place in Hawleyville will fade away like gentle echoes across a vast expanse.
Jennifer Aurélia, musician, founder, and owner of Sound — A Center for Arts & Mindfulness, has announced the business will close with a very special healing event on December 15. The center, located in the historic chapel at 31 Hawleyville Road, was established after Ms Aurélia bested several daunting personal challenges, and sought to express her “passion for education, arts, celebration of the human spirit and conscious evolution.”
In an open letter to the Newtown community, her supporters, and the many who flocked to the peaceful grounds and meeting place near the Brookfield town line, Ms Aurélia also detailed that even on her planned grand opening day, she along with the entire community, was torn off track by the shooting at Sandy Hook School.
But her journey to establish Sound actually began a half-dozen years ago, as Ms Aurélia explains in her emotional missive.
In August of 2010 she suffered a traumatic fall attempting to prevent her daughter from having one herself. If breaking her tibial plateau in three spots, spraining her ankle, damaging tendons in her knee, and watching her daughter screaming as she fell unprotected was not bad enough, about a month earlier, Ms Aurélia said she suffered a miscarriage, her house was burglarized, and she and her daughter were hit by a car as they were going to the park.
“Needless to say I felt like an utter complete failure as a mother and a human being. The guilt that grew inside minute by minute was insurmountable. I failed at protecting my child,” she said. “I cried every day for months. It was just two years before that, that I dealt with an extreme case of ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease, which effected my ability to read, remember words, and even music notation.”
Strength To Continue
But despite these repetitive setbacks, and accompanying bouts of sadness, Ms Aurélia found a way to muster on — her as yet undefined destination still out beyond the horizon.
“I seriously didn’t think I could handle anymore. But I did,” she declared. “One pathetic minute at a time. I crawled around my house with my full leg cast for five months until my surgery and physical therapy started, which helped me learn to walk again.
“This was the journey, it was a way for my soul to experience loss in a big way and for my ego to break and let go on many levels,” Ms Aurélia realized. “It is only when you allow yourself the courage to break, can you create more light and strength then you can ever imagine. You grow the most when you are uncomfortable.”
It was nearly seven months later when Ms Aurélia says she experienced a random vision followed by a vivid dream with a chapel or church in it. She was accompanied by her daughter and a little boy she later realized was her son, not yet born.
Eventually, she woke up to the sound of her daughter crying from her bedroom.
“As I turned on the lamp on my night stand the light bulb exploded. Sound was born my head the next day,” she said.
In the summer of 2012, after her son was born, Ms Aurélia with the help of her “former husband, hard work, our life savings, and my retirement fund,” was issuing invitations for the grand opening of Sound — scheduled for December 15.
On December 14, 2012, she was outside the chapel with the sign company “when I received the call that my daughter was in lockdown at her elementary school,” she said, referring to the townwide action initiated as the Sandy Hook devastation unfolded.
“We all have a memory scarred into our minds about that day. And on this day, this beautiful, bucolic New England town would never be the same. The tragedy that shook the entire earth,” Ms Aurélia related. “I knew then that on the day before my grand opening, I was decimated before I even started.”
Change Of Plans
In the days and weeks to come, her dream of a tranquil, celebratory opening at Sound took an unanticipated turn, with Ms Aurélia offering her services and center space to help in the recovery efforts — often at low or no cost.
“I became hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt,” she admitted, but at the same time, “I met so many beautiful souls that selflessly gave of themselves to help Sound’s clients, each other, and me.”
And she doesn’t regret a moment.
“Whether I helped five people or 500, it doesn’t matter. I knew that was the experience I needed to have for my personal soul’s growth and the growth of humanity collectively towards light,” she said. “I will never forget the tragedy that traumatized us all on so many levels but its time to let go, and a huge part of this healing for me is letting go of Sound.”
Now, as she anticipates her final few weeks at the former chapel on Hawleyville Road, Ms Aurélia is planning the center’s final few activities and the property’s future. Rightly, she has decided to close the doors at Sound on its four-year anniversary, December 15.
Ms Aurélia hopes to “rebirth the chapel” along with the 2017 release of an album she is completing titled Seasons with what she envisions as “a new vibrant place of gathering, connection, local arts and music, and lots of amazing local coffee, teas, kombucha, local baked goods, etcetera. A place where artisans can market their creations with a coffee house feel.”
As she has for these many years, Ms Aurélia will wake each day, ready for the next chapter in her life journey to begin.
“We will see what the universe has in store…,” her letter concludes.
Anyone wishing to participate in the closing day activities at Sound, which includes what Ms Aurélia describes as a “beautiful evening of love and surrender,” or an evening with psychic medium Patty Griffin, Sunday, November 20, can get details by calling 203-270-1119, or visiting Sound’s social network sites, or soundcenterarts.com.