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New Beginnings: how were our first steps?


February 15, 2021 By Caroline Matters

Caroline Matters, Lead Steward, reflects on the Findhorn Foundation’s recent Internal Conference

It is a tradition in the Findhorn Foundation to hold an internal conference every year. It is usually held over a week in January or February. This year has been different due to Covid restrictions and due to the huge changes happening in the Findhorn Foundation – in January we held a ‘Letting Go’ threshold ritual, the first part of a two-part event. The second part was held with co-workers, stewards and trustees last week: ‘New Beginnings’. Both events were held on Zoom.
On the afternoons of 1-5 February, we came together as a new co-worker configuration to connect with each other, get to know each other better, to do some personal and spiritual inquiry, build an energetic container and to talk about what we intend to achieve in 2021.

In the who are we now? part of day 1, Monday afternoon, we named all the co-workers and where they were placed in Foundation, the age and gender statistics (which are very similar to before) all the different places and departments in which we are based and the activities taking place there.

On a lighter note, we found out some very interesting things about who we are as a result of a short, fun co-worker survey:

three different co-workers have found themselves lost in the Sahara desert

 

one was a contestant who played in a guitar playing marathon non-stop for 98 hours

 

another lived on a sailboat for 4 years

 

yet another once made an espresso for Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin

 

someone ate curried yak testicles in remote Buddhist village at 4500 metre altitude

 

two others have been swimming with sharks

and the list goes on!

Bold new beginnings. Our spiritual impulse is strong, it is a question of how does it want to express itself now?

The big identity question that would unfold in various ways during the week is of course who are we as an organisation, now that we have had to let go of so much of what we cherished as our identity? Later in the week this would emerge from personal and spiritual inquiry, as well as the co-worker survey feedback session with the Touch Agency of Edinburgh, who we have engaged to help us rediscover and reimagine who we are, and also the emergent plans for our programming, local partnerships, use of our buildings, and fundraising.

Ultimately, it is a reminder that everything we do and how we do it is at the essence of who we are. Our spiritual impulse is strong, it is a question of how does it want to express itself now?

The question of where are we going? was answered in many ways during the week too, with plans for 2021 being shared by different departments, such as education, spiritual & personal development, assets, bookings, communications and fundraising. There was a lot of work being done to improve systems and get help where we need it.

This was very apparent in the Fundraising department, who had the ‘graveyard shift’ of Friday afternoon. I had heard that more than one co-worker had taken out their knitting in readiness for the session. Instead we were all blown away and inspired by hearing what the accounts and fundraising teams were doing and what and how they achieved their goals. We are so grateful that we have magnetised to us a number of what one co-worker called ‘professionals with a heart’ to help us to deepen our conscious relationship to money and finance and to the generous people who are able and want to show their care and love for the Foundation by donating money to help us to flourish.

After the conference fellow co-worker and Foundation elder India Brown reflected:

My biggest revelation was the Friday afternoon session. From a distance, I was initially sceptical about ‘professional’ financial people being brought in to work with us but I was deeply impressed not only by their obvious high levels of skill but also their open-hearted authenticity and not least by their appreciation of who we are.

 

For so long Money and Finance have been such difficult concepts within our community and now for the first time, I personally genuinely feel able to open to feelings of our worth and invite in abundance to enable our future.

We are eliciting more detailed feedback and suggestions from our co-workers about the event but spontaneous feedback during and after has been very positive. The feelings of connection, collaboration, community, love, beauty, creativity, joy, gratitude, coherence and optimism were expressed and very present throughout the week.

Co-worker Sophie Colin said of the week:

I felt a renewed sense of hope, optimism, soul nourishment and connectedness. For me there was a really good balance of directional leadership and holding, together with plenty of spaces for collaboration, consultation and emergence. That is inspiring for me.

 

Huge gratitude to the organisers, to all who presented and to all of us who participated. It was a good week and very hopeful, energising beginnings …

In this update I haven’t shared detailed plans for the Foundation in 2021 but will do soon. It has been challenging, in an ever-evolving situation, to communicate to the right people at the right time. Now that we are in this new discovery phase, we are in the process of working out how best to communicate with all of the different levels of our community, local and global, in the most effective way.

I am aware that there is a thirst for more information and connection. I invite you to take a look at our recently published 2019/20 Annual Report and to join us in community, conversation and meditation on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our website. If you haven’t already, you can sign up to stay up to date with news from the Findhorn Foundation.

We will keep sharing our journey with you, as it unfolds… thank you for being part of our community.

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