Pop Up Love

Saturday 13 February saw another successful community event for the burgeoning RSL Collective. For this we ‘borrowed’ the unit next door so we could spread (the love) along the first three Units of the freshly painted Queens Parade in Willesden Green.

As I truly know (and am making a business from it), Valentine’s Day brings up mixed emotions for those looking for love, but why should it be exclusive to romantic partners? We’re more into universal love: sharing ideas, kindness, cultures, and affection, and that was the premise of our ‘All You Need Is Love’ event.

Having had a good presence on Streetlife, Twitter and Facebook, the party was frequented by a vast array of people from the local community and beyond, contributing to the flavour of the day. On this cold and rainy Saturday, people discovering us for the first time blended beautifully with RSL veterans, telling more of our story and welcoming people into the fold and the warmth.

In preparation for the event, Kirstie compiled a playlist, reaching out to members of the Collective and the public to unearth everyone’s favourite love songs. Guests were serenaded by everything from the Beatles all the way through the alphabet back to Bach, thus providing a magnificent backdrop to this eclectic event.

In the increasingly quirky yet cosy Unit 3, tarot card readings ran alongside head massage; mindfulness alongside theta healing, and in the therapy room, members of the public had taster sessions of reiki, reflexology and vortex healing on a donation-only basis.

The love inspired art workshop run by artist Kathleen Dutton saw members of the public wildly producing drawings, collages and cards befitting to Valentine’s Day.

The newest member of the Collective, photographer Celeste, displayed her wares and also invited guests to choose love notes tied prettily in ribbons, much like a fortune cookie, but laced with far more philosophical messages.

The melodic wooden pipe played on the hour every hour signified Jean Marc’s announcement of the storytelling, enticing guests as the Pied Piper had done in the German legend. Guests could munch on heart-shaped raspberry dusted marshmallows, coconut cookies, and authentic home-cooked tortilla while being transported to another place with Jean Marc’s thought-provoking stories.

Personally, I was chatting to potential date-coachees for my fledgling business The Date Shack; in depth conversations with people about their love lives, or indeed lack of them, and providing moral support and ideas with an NLP twist. A seemingly out of place therapy, but not really, considering the therapies at the Collective include Neal’s Yard skin therapy and Boxing!

In the shop in Unit 1, it was business as usual, offering a myriad of goods, from crystals, jewellery, handmade products, aura sprays, plus a comprehensive library where you can get lost in pre-loved books, lit by the tree of love and warmed by a free cuppa. Although the party vibe wasn’t conducive to quiet reading on Saturday; the buzz was palpable…and so was the love 🙂

The RSL is much more than just a shop and therapy room; it is a community space where people can come and share their ideas, stories and find out about the potentially life-changing events we have going on. We encourage people to drop in and talk to whoever is (wo)manning the shop. We each have our stories, and love to hear yours.

We’d love you to come to our next party or to drop into the shop anytime we’re open. Contact us on rslcollective@gmail.com to sign up for updates, or just to enquire about the different therapies.

Big love, Jessica xx

 

Photo by Celeste Zaccaria

Published by Kirstie Sivapalan

Writer. Poet. Indie Kid. Crystal Lady. Pisces. Enthuser. Cheerleader. Helper. Geordie Londoner. Sharer of stuff I know. Sometimes found working in HR (but not very often) Oh, and #spoonie, living with ME/CFS. That about covers it.

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