… that’s all food that feeds the soul. If everything is all things, all functionality, then where is magic, marvel, where is the soul.
If I want change in this world I need to change my way of thinking: stop putting emphasis on failures and constraints, as I m just making them stronger; I ll fill my thoughts with positivity and optimism, trust and reciprocity. I ll embody these values and they ll enter the conscious of people.
I ll build communities where there is reclusion, i ll build bridges where there is walls, i ll show hope where there is despair, bring love where there is hatred, silence where there is anger and laughter where there is mourning…
Will you join me!? We ll stop accusing people and places, stop calling it fate and acting helpless and recognise that it s our own attitude that stands in the way of a fundamental change.
I wasn t made for religions, rituals and other traditional customs. Some of them seem useful – some of them seem to be made for me. I like to have a rhythm in life, a routine, and i know it keeps me healthy and going as all natural things are bound to rhythms: the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening; some animals go along while others roam the nights; the moon keeps coming and fading in cycles; and the earth is turning around the sun; the tree produces leaves, flowers and fruits, drops them all and starts the cycle again; some birds fly all the way to Europe for the summers and make their way back to Africa when the winter s coming over here; …
There is a reason for all of this just like there is a season for everything. Our body reacts to the moon cycles as well as weather changes and our mind and organs react in subtle ways to minor changes that most of us are not aware of.
If i m intelligent i ll find the right rituals and make them instruments to help me along – and cast away what has become dogmas, burdens and boundaries. The right rituals will be like the banks of the river that lead her towards her destination, the sea.
Empowerment of the people will happen through education. However, this education can not happen through the absobtion of information alone but has to take place on different levels:
1 It is important that the instruments of learning, the instruments we use to take in and absorbe, process and memorize information, the mind and the senses, are trained and strengthened to enable and facilitate our learning process. We can train the mind by practicing concentration. As long as our mind cannot stay focused we ll have a hard time making a noteworthy progress. This might seem normal to all of us but it s mostly not something we re thought to do. Our senses are closely connected to the mind, as they pass on information. We can develop our 5 known senses in training them and we should be aware that there are many more senses than the 5 we learn about: our sense of balance, our sense of temperature, pain and inner senses.
2 An emotional balance, which is connected to a healthy physical body and a flowing vital energy are all crucial assets. A human being shall learn to deal with his/her emotions. For this purpose he/she has to understand their essence and dynamics. He/She has to know how to keep his/her body fit, clean and healthy and be aware of the vital energy flow in his/her body to be able to perform effective actions. Some meditation techniques are powerful tools to learn to observe your own mind and your emotions. A regular practice will enable you to make similar observations in real life situations. Yoga asana as well as the practice of pranayama are one way, but surely not the only one, to keep your body healthy and your vital energy flowing. They will help you increase you concentration as well as staying balanced in different situation.
3 Another important point for empowerment is our social capacity. A person can learn and understand how characters are formed and how we can change our way of thinking and acting. As members of a society, we are dependent and interrelated to others and their actions. Social values – that exceed human relations – are of importance. We live in an eco-system and are through our actions and needs substancially connected to this system. It is our duty to gather the needed resources to survive but also to make sure they are available for coming generations.
Proper education shall enable human beings to keep a balanced mind, know themselves and create a culture based on life, living relationships with the environment and the earth.
Community gardening – a concept that connects people of every age and walk of life, to work and learn together, getting their hands muddy, producieng healthy organic food and creating sites of life and blossom in the middle of cities.
Yes, a community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively. There may be different arrangements for different community gardens, as some have parts of the garden being rented out as allotments. In such a case, a community garden has the advantage that the allotment holders can use the community material to work on their own plot of land and can benefit from the fact that the community is able to share cost in cases they want to get a gardener or a permacultur designer to give them some tips or workshops. The plots are not devided by fences or hedges which enables people to meet more frequently to share ideas and knowledge. And believe is or not, having a group of ten people thinking they don t know anything about gardening, you re sure to find at least ten valuable ideas. Its astonishing, the collective knowledge we possess.
I made use of my time in London in visiting the Forest Farm Peace Garden in London, Ilford. They have Wednesdays and Fridays open for volunteers. On the three days that I spend there I prepared new beds with compost and green manure, did a lot of weeding, some digging, turned the two pit compost, repotted lots of basil, collected a lot of ready vegetables and berries, learned a lot about plants and met wonderful people. On Wednesday mornings there is a group of five people with special needs coming to the gardens to do some work while having a chance to socialize, have fun and leaving everyday with a sense of accomplishment. That is what hands-on working in the garden does, it leaves you with a sense of happiness and accomplishment – you know you have worked and when you walk home in the evening with a smile on your face and a bag full of organically grown vegetables, you know what you have worked for.
The ethics of permaculture – Earthcare, Peoplecare and Fairshare – are an integral part of community gardening. These are places of education and nature awareness, places to connect ourselves with the people, the community and with the earth, the source of life.