Day 1 – Evening Introduction Session

In the evening session, there were very brief introductions to some of the week’s guest speakers and workshop leaders, among them, Joanna Macy and her partner Fran, Dorothy Maclean, Richard Olivier, Megan Quinn, and Rob Hopkins who is here with his 14 year-old-son, representing the next generation.

joanna.jpgJoanna Macy, teacher and author, is the creator of the Work That Reconnects. Drawing from Buddhist practices, systems theory, and love for life, her workshops empower environmental and social activists worldwide. Her many books include Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World; World As Lover, World As Self; Widening Circles, A Memoir; and translations of Rilke’s poetry.

doro.jpgDorothy Maclean is a co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation and community. She continues to dedicate her life to teaching and supporting others to make their own inner connection to God and to nature’s intelligence. Described as a true planetary citizen, she has recently released a new book, Come Closer: Messages from the God Within. Dorothy will give the keynote address tomorrow morning (Sunday).

olivier.jpgRichard Olivier is Artistic Director of Olivier Mythodrama, a unique leadership development consultancy. He was a leading theatre director for 10 years. His work is at the leading edge of bringing theatre into the development of authentic leadership. Richard is the founder of Mythodrama — a new form of experiential learning which combines great stories with psychological insights, creative exercises and organisational development techniques.

megan.jpgMegan Quinn is the Outreach Director of Community Service, Inc. She served as Master of Ceremonies for the first, second, and third US conferences on Peak Oil and Community Solutions in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and at the Peak Oil and Environment conference in Washington DC in May 2006. Megan has a degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She co-wrote and co-produced her organisation’s documentary, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.

rob.jpgRob Hopkins is founder of Transition Town Totnes, the first transition town project in the UK. Transition Towns are an emerging approach to enabling towns to prepare for peak oil and climate change and act as catalysts for the community to explore how the end of the age of cheap oil will affect them. They are based on the simple assertion that life beyond cheap oil and gas could be preferable to the present, but only if we engage in designing this transition with sufficient creativity and imagination.

The week has begun by encouraging participants to open to their creativity. Joanna Macy will lead a two-day exploration of deep ecology (Sunday and Monday) while Richard Olivier will lead a one-day workshop on Green Leadership using the themes in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Tuesday). We then transition in the second half of the week to look at the many positive responses that are already emerging from communities around the world.

The last two days of the conference, Thursday and Friday, can be attended as a mini-event: From Crisis to Opportunity, for those who cannot attend the full week, so we will be welcoming local members of the Moray community, along with Richard Lochhead, a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).

The remainder of our first evening together was experiential, opening a space for participants to get to know one another at a heart level. Guests were invited onto the floor in two concentric circles, pairing up to face one another as a series of thematic sentence completion statements were posed and the pairs were invited in turn to share and deeply listen to one another’s responses.


To engage with us from afar, and really feel part of the conference as you read our reports, you may want to complete these sentences for yourself, with a friend or family member:

* When I reflect on the challenges of peak oil and climate change, I feel….

* When I look for the opportunity presented by peak oil and climate change, I feel….

* What is already happening in my home place in response to peak oil and climate change is…

* My own distinctive gift and contribution is….

It might be inspiring to hold your responses gently through the week and do this sentence completion again at the end of the conference to see what, if anything, has shifted in you.

Creative expression is one of the highlights of conferences at Findhorn and tonight was no exception. There were performances by community member and Universal Hall Manager, Liz Rogers, who opened the evening with a composition of her own, while Margot Henderson offered a song that she wrote and tailored especially for the conference, accompanied by Susanne Olbrich on piano who composed the music for the piece.


To close the evening, our resident clown, Lesley Quilty, entertained us with a unique clowning piece, the theme of which played comedically on our guilt regarding the countless ways in which we are destroying our planet and falling down in everyday areas of sustainability, such as recycling, reducing, reusing, etc. She then invited us to ‘park our guilt’ for the week in an imagined monsterous SUV, big enough of course, to hold the combined guilt of all participants…..

Clown-b-22.03.08.jpg“Then what would we be like with each other?” Lesley wondered. And with an electric body shimmy, which she invited particants to join in, she imagined that there might only be….. ‘tingling potential.’ “Let’s meet like that for the week!” she enthused. “Let’s look for socially sustainable moments of ‘wowness’ and ‘nowness.'”

We invite you, dear reader, wherever you are and wherever the week takes you, in your home location, to do the same (shimmying optional).

Join us tomorrow, Easter Sunday, for a celebration of nature with the Findhorn community’s last surviving co-founder, Dorothy Maclean.

– Mattie Porte –

P.S. For those of you for whom English may be a second language, a ‘shimmy’ (according to the English Oxford dictionary) is: “a kind of ragtime dance in which the whole body shakes or sways” (very alive and sexy).

Photographers: Sverre Koxvold and Peter Vallance

Invitation to Join Our Discussion Forum
If you would like to share your thoughts and ideas, passion and creativity, please visit our forum: /forums and contribute to the thread, Positive Energy Conference – Online Reports. You’ll need to register with a username and password first, then click on the link to the private Global Network forum.

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