Category Archives: Community building

Yoga and Mindfulness Tuition in London

Finally the flyers are out…

We offer a wonderful mix of Hatha Yoga, Traditional Thai Yoga Massage and Mindfulness Meditation to help you find peace and relaxation in the present moment and the strength and energy to follow your visions and dreams…

See the flyer for more information.

Find your breath, know your body

Take your time, just to be

In the moment that opens up

So many ways for you to heal

love ॐ

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Gangs and Circles

Gangs are a product and a reflection of social domination structures. Inducing fear, guild and shame by either punishment or ideas like right and wrong are strategies that make people do what their leaders want them to do; it makes people obey and follow. This works only as long as people are ignorant of it, and if they are ignorant of it long enough, their inevitable protest or uprising will in most cases, at least at first, be conducted in a similar spirit, dominated by a similar thinking, a similar mind-frame than that of the oppressor, because that is what the people have learnt, that is what they were brought up with and so that is the behavior they know.

But human beings are able to learn from each other, as well as from their own mistakes. They are able to have insights and expand far over what we would expect of them.

It takes a different thinking, a new mind-frame, an inner revolution to become able to break the structures based on domination, authority and oppression. It takes an inner revolution to invent or rise up to a new culture, a new structure that supports life, that supports freedom, that supports the idea of mutual support and create a lasting change.

When I mention domination structures in gangs I don’t want to stress on street gangs, they play a small part, they are a dim reflection of what is inherent to most of our human connections and relations. Most of us have grown up with it in our families, in our schools – fear, punishment and reward, guild and shame, right and wrong, good and bad, we’re this and we’re that. It’s been there in kingdoms thousands of years ago, in institutionalised religions, in monarchies, in centralised governments with their justice system to now be replaced by corporations, the economic systems and the media creating these hierarchies and casts that put one above the other, and divide people into those who have and those who don’t. It is a part of us, we’ve all grown up in it, we’re all victims of oppression, more concerned about our status and what other people think of us than about our needs, our feelings, our being human.

We’re moving, people are looking for different ways, first emptiness, giving space for the new, they are experimental and are called crazy, mental, dreamers. We’ll find a way though, letting empathy in, letting compassion in.

Thinking of circles I think of groups sitting together in a perfect circle, in a way that each person can see every other person in the circle; each person can look into each other person’s eyes; all have the same point of view, at least on the physical plane. Sitting in circles is something that has been practiced for thousands of years by tribes, families, work groups, decision making groups, in situations of conflict resolution, yes also by governments. When we sit in circles today, do acknowledge the circle? Do we realise its power, do we consciously create that connection?

There is the plane that goes beyond the physical, that plane where we see each other as equal, where rank and status disappears. The spirit of a circle invites everyone to speak out and be listened to, without being judged, without being evaluated and analysed, but as a part of a bigger whole, interdependent, belonging, safe and supported.

Circles in circles and circles around circles, circles linking circles and circles extending circles, a world of circles, is that where we’re heading.

Deep Observation

Observations lead to interaction. We need a deep sense of observation to perform healthy interactions; and more observation to  fuel reflection and further action.

The Buddha talks about penetrating the objects of observation; diving into them and observing the body in the body, the perception in the perception; only so we can know the object. From observation comes insight; from insight comes knowledge. In the end it is deep observation that leads us to an interaction based on understanding. The interaction closes the loop; an interaction based on insight or true understanding creates meaning.

“When you practice deep looking and master yourself, you dwell in peace freedom and safety.”~Thich Nhat Hanh

A safe place …

… is a place where we are welcomed and included in all our being; physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. A safe place is a place where we can fully be ourselves and express, share, give insight to the brightest as well as the darkest places of our soul; here we can portray the pattern as well as every little detail of the landscape that lies within us.

It takes commitment, participation to include ourselves. It takes humility and empathy to be able to include others. It takes contemplation and self-awareness to develop these qualities; they are all essential group ingredients to provide a safe place, a place for peace to develop, a place for us to lay down our weapons, our armour, our shields of protection and fully open ourselves towards change, embracing our whole being.

Painting by Monica Giglio

Dragon Dreaming pt four: Walking through the Quadrates

See earlier posts on topic here

As the circle is a fractal, every quadrate holds all 4 stages within itself. There are 12 steps through the circle and four guardians of the edge that make sure you’re ready to pass on to the next stage.

  • 1. New awareness is the dreaming of the dream phase where the dream comes into being in the self.
  • 2. The motivation or the sharing of information is where the dream is put out to others to become others’ dream. It is the planning phase of the dreaming.
  • 3. Gathering information is the doing phase of the dreaming and is a phase where feasibility will be checked and considered and planning material will be gathered.

Here, before the project moves into the second stage, the planning, there is a time for reflection. It’s the centre of the circle, a time for reflection, quiet, like the centre of a candle or a storm. It’s the first guardian of the edge, if the project doesn’t work or hasn’t been successful to hear it goes back to the first step.

  • 4. Considering alternatives is the time to find different or other helpful options; the dreaming in the planning.
  • 5. Designing strategies is the point where the group will look at what needs to be doe and design ways of doing it, an action/implementation plan will be worked out.
  • 6. Test and trial is the stage to try out the design and readjust, develop it.

The second guardian comes in to reflect the planning stage.

  • 7. The implementation will be started here, first foot in the water, the doing is dreamed into being.
  • 8. The management and administration is organised, the location of resources identified, checking incomes and outcomes, tracking time and keeping the deadline in mind.
  • 9. Installing monitoring helps to change the doing, readjust, learn from previous experiences.

The third guardian comes in to reflect the doing stage.

  • 10. Evaluating outcomes allows us to learn from our processes, and acquire new skills, see where we need to develop to be more effective.
  • 11. Personal growth will be the benefits acquired by the individual in the project.
  • 12. Inner reflection time is there to find deeper wisdom within the individual and new meaning, further direction to start the cycle again.

The fourth guardian comes in to reflect the celebration stage to move on to the cycle.

This wheel is a model: the menu, not the meal. A model is trying to be close to reality, but is never perfect in that imitation.

You can imagine one project that you’ve done in their lifetime and walk over the 12 steps, evaluating how much effort/time you have put into each one of them on a scale from one to 10; one being little time and 10 being a lot of time. It is easy to draw up a circular diagram from here that shows which stages you seem to prefer. The diagram has circles around the core, the closest being one, the furthest 10.

Dragon Dreaming pt. three: Narrowing down the Dream

For earlier posts see Dragon Dreaming pt. one: an introduction and Dragon Dreaming pt. two: the Dreaming Circle.

The meeting facilitator will write down the results from the Dreaming Circle without getting rid of the original document (which is good to keep). Things that turned up a few times in the Circle as well as relating ideas can be put together or grouped so that the outcomes are more easily visible. He/she reads out the dream to the group and ask whether everyone feel like their contribution has been considered (which should be the case as he/she doesn’t want to take anything away from the initial document).

The Dreaming Circle gave the project a broad layout. At this stage, as the group moves towards the planning phase, the dream needs to be narrowed down and find more focus and strength. Like a stream of water that flows through a narrower bed becomes stronger so do our thought, ideas and visions as they become focused. Thats why the outcomes from the Dreaming Circle need to be formulated in 3 to 5 specific goals, the vision of the project. From here the group can concentrate on giving the newly designed project a subtitle which describes the core of it and finally a title or name. This should make the meaning deeper while still enabling people to identify with it.

This process will be done in the groups, or in one big group all together, facilitated by the main facilitator of the session. If there is no time for that an example can be given.

Following is a draft (which explains having text in brackets) example from the EDE that will clarify what is described on top. Because of the high number of African participants on the EDE we designed a project to support the African Network of change makers and Ecovillages.

Goals:

  • develop capacity building (strategies) to empower communities
  • identify and strengthen (relevant) networks (of sustainability) in Africa
  • establish sustainable agriculture for food sovereignty
  • promote holistically sustainable communities and design
  • enhance and celebrate African traditions and best practices (for sustainability) 

Subtitle: Growing Resilient Communities

Name: African Abundance

More posts on Dragon Dreaming are following.

The neighbours’ hand

Peoplecare is one of the ethical principles of Permaculture. The way we interact with each other and work with our neighbours and surrounding communities is of major importance. In todays world community goes lost very often, and is not a priority anymore as we’ve got everything, from substantial to superficial, from supermarkets, television and the rest of our consumer culture. Only when we see that if we want to live sustainably again or maybe need to live from the land again we realise that our television and the supermarket won’t be of as much help as our neighbours.

People want to engage …

People want to engage with their whole being, head, heart and hands.

If we try to create social and environmental conflict awareness through posters, flyers, web articles, newspapers and movies we engage people in thinking, in using their heads; there is still that element of ‘Me and Them‘, ‘that’s what THEY tell ME‘ or ‘look what THEY do‘. We fail to integrate or engage people’s whole being and make them be a part of what is happening.

This will be important to think of when we want to achieve social change: how can we engage whole people and how can we make them take ownership in the solution, be a part of the solution in progress.

That’s what makes visitors feel at home at the Panya Project so quickly. They are integrated in daily activities from day one; working at the farm, cooking, cleaning, things we all do communally and some things they do at home as well, caring for the most basic needs. At the same time they have the opportunity and the freedom to start something on their own, to bring change and own ideas. They are a part of the community, and they are the community when their whole being is engaged.

Check out kaiconfusion.wordpress.com for other great posts about the Panya Project, Permaculture and alternative ways of being …

Life With Nature

Table of contentsIMG_3581

  • VOLUNTEERS
  • DAY TO DAY LIFE
  • MEETINGS AND DECISION-MAKING
  • MANAGEMENT AND TASKS
  • COURSES AND PROFIT SHARE
  • THE CHALLENGE
  • ACTIVITIES
  • LINKS/ RESOURCES

Written by the author of
www.beetroot. wordpress.com
currently (2012)  working at the Panya Project. Photos and editing by kaiconfusion.

In the last four posts I have tried to introduce into important practical aspects of alternative and sustainably living. In this 5th post Mich
and I, are trying to introduce in how we can live together and how such life can be organized which is just as well a very important aspect of sustainably living, again at the example of the Panya Project and this time the community.

In Permaculture there are three core values:

  • Earthcare – recognising that the Earth is the source of all life (and is possibly itself a living entity- see Gaia theory) and respecting her accordingly.

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