Tag Archives: Community

The Invisible Flames

Who have been the guardians

Of the invisible flames?

The heroes that gave their lives;

Did we ever know their names?

 

In this times of forgetfulness,

Years of stress,

Decades of mistrust,

Betrayal at its best.

 

So many of us

Have lost their ground,

As the Earth became a stranger,

Communities have drowned

Under the waves of confusion,

Ignorance and shame.

 

Who have been the guardians

Of the invisible flames?

Those who kept alive

The suffering – the feeling of pain;

Who have been the guardians,

Did we ever know their names?

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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.

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

Emerging World

This is the first time in the history of humanity that we have access to most of the world’s cultures, past and present. It is hard to imagine, that for the thousand of years of generations before us most of the world’s population didn’t have an idea which kind of tribe and societies and civilisations existed on other parts of the world. Today we have research, history records and travel opportunities that facilitate the learning and the transmission of knowledge. It is the first time in history that we’re able to get a vision of the whole; we’re able to get to know and learn from such a diverse range of people, cultures and societies.

Is it in this time that we’re able to unite this diversity into a worldwide vision? Can we integrate all these paths into one path of humanity towards prosperity? Not that we will eradicate differences; we will transcend them and find unity in the abundance of diversity. There are cultures with so much knowledge, can we gather it all to create a more complete, a more whole tomorrow? What will the world of tomorrow look like?

We travel the world in this times in search for healthy intentions of humanity and everywhere along the way we’re able to meet highly evolved beings, we meet people who not only share the vision, people from all over the world who not only dream our dreams, but also people who are taking steps, who start living solutions, who share openly, let others know what they know and meet us with curiosity.

We’ve gone through a time, at least in the west, of rugged individuals, rationalism based on scientific understanding and achievement. We’ve built our cultures, our systems and our economy on this scientific understanding, on what we think are the laws of nature. Most of our western civilisation is still carrying this spirit of our time. We’ve created a world in which every individual has the right to use and manipulate natural resources for his or her own gain, a world that believes in the doctrine of competition and ‘the survival of the fittest’. We’ve built up economical systems and industries that have not only endangered our sacred habitat planet earth but have also split up humanity in people that have and people that don’t have. Materialism replaced relationships of value and even though the population of the world is constantly rising, most of us are lonely, unsatisfied, unhealthy. Many of us are in search for deeper meaning, in search for reconciliation, for reconnection, in search for soul and mystic, understanding that control and rationalism, materialistic individualism are not the values that could ever sustain our planet and her people.

This loneliness, this desire for happiness made us go out again and search, connect to each other, see what the neighbour’s got, what the Earth’s got. Do you see the suffering? Do you see us suffering?

I’m just listening to the emerging spirit; I’m looking for answers but I don’t pretend to have them … There is so much to be learnt from all the generations, so much to take with us into the rebuilt. we’re trying. Can we get over our egos in the effort to rebuild community? What will the emerging world look like and what will the new challenges be, challenges that again push us to the edge of our being? Can we embrace our ancestors, their work, learn from them and build the next day to come?

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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Towards Permanent Cultures – An Introduction to Ecovillage Design 4th – 11th August, Chiang Mai

This 6-day Introduction to Ecovillage and Permaculture Design is based on the Global Ecovillage Network’s Ecovillage Design Education, an internationally taught training for sustainability and social change. In an interesting mix of head, heart and hands on experiences we will teach 40+ hours of interactive workshops around the five dimensions of Ecovillage Design.

Social dimension: We will explore the non physical processes necessary for community to thrive; positive communication, decision making, conflict resolution and meeting facilitation will all be covered. We will look at organisational structures of different scales, from intentional community  to wider society. By discovering what we believe to be true community we can develop new ways of working and living together.

Ecological dimension: Actively building natural capital throughout the duration of the course we will learn how to live with the earth, restoring and regenerating ecosystems. Workshops will include learning how to save seed, build healthy soil, catch, clean and store water, manage forest sustainably and use appropriate technology.

Economic dimension: We will take a look at the current global economic system. Analysing its strengths and weaknesses, we can explore alternatives and the possibility of a Common Welfare Economy that is truly beneficial to society. We will learn about developing local currencies, gift economy and LETs schemes amongst other ways of being community reliant.

Worldview and Cultural dimension: A diverse mix of community building games and exercises will guide us through the week. An Open Space to share and a World Cafe event will give us the opportunity to explore our collective power as a group.

Design dimension: Discovering concepts of systems theory and pattern language we will learn to observe and recognise patterns in nature, society and ourselves. Once we become aware of these patterns and systems, we are able to incorporate them into intelligent design from garden landscaping to community development. We will focus on Permaculture Design and Dragon Dreaming as integral approaches to project/land design.

This brief overview of the topics that we will cover is by no means comprehensive.

The Panya Project Permaculture and Sustainability Centre offers an optimal and inspiring environment to truly experience living in intentional community, exploring an alternative way of life and reconnecting to a natural state of being. This 6-day workshop will equip participants with the right inspiration and tools to become a force for positive change in this world.

Find more information at the Panya Project’s webpage here.