The inaugural Conscious Living Expo connects metro organizations and people for a weekend of seminars and events 

Conscious Living Expo
Noon-10 p.m. Friday,
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday
St. Stephen's United Methodist Church
1801 Brooks, Norman

Booths abound as more than 30 speakers from various local organizations will offer words of wisdom to interested audience members, all while live music wafts through the air at the first Conscious Living Expo.

Living conscious lifestyles is the overarching topic, but a laundry list of subjects and issues fall under this far-reaching umbrella and will be addressed at the two-day event.

"Conscious living is becoming more aware of how our thoughts and emotions affect our lives and how our actions affect the planet," said co-coordinator Dara Fogel.

The weekend combines topics such as the power of intention, emotional self-mastery and "yoga of awareness" in presentations and lectures intended to lead attendees to live conscious lives, rather than, according to co-coordinator Richard Auer, sleep-walking through the rest of their days.

"It's good to celebrate that we're not just victims watching things helplessly happen," Auer said.

Two overlapping themes encompass the event, Fogel said: connecting people who would otherwise not interact with one another, and having fun. Local organizations will present programs, including Norman's Xenia Institute, a community engagement program; the University of Oklahoma Women's and Gender Studies' Center for Social Justice; and Friends Along the Path, a meditation group.

"There are all of these groups that are doing all of this amazing stuff, but none of them talk to each other," Fogel said. "There's no cross-fertilization going on. We were inspired by this, to be the place where that can happen."

Auer and Fogel, who are married, have experienced similar events, such as WholeExpo in Santa Fe, N.M., and felt a need to bring that same type of togetherness and shared learning experience to the Sooner State. They wanted to reach out to people interested in topics like sustainability, health and wellness and green living.

The expo is slated to become a sort of "meta-network" " a network of networks " which puts the ideas and developments of diverse bodies in touch with each other for the purposes of continued growth and awareness.

Presentation topics include "Society and the Environment," led by OU sociology professor Thomas Burns; "What Is Bliss, and Where Can I Get Some?," with Rev. Joane Fogel; and "GLBT Issues: Acceptance of Gender Orientation Diversity in the Church," led by Rev. Amy Venable.

Aside from workshops and lectures, the weekend will include other activities that are geared towards inciting conscious living habits in attendees, Fogel said. Throughout the expo, an ongoing deeksha, a Sanskrit word meaning "transfer of divine energy," will be led by Oneness Blessing Oklahoma, and Dwain Briggs will perform renditions of "sacred music" to event attendees.

Other activities include a Friday evening drum circle, where percussion is used to bring the group together. Although instruments can be brought from home, neither musical prowess nor drums are required of participants.

The Conscious Living Expo is free and open to the public. "Ta'chelle Jones

above Expo coordinators Dara Fogel and Richard Auer. Photo/Mark Hancock

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