I was completely disarmed by this question – ‘can I come as I am?’ (the name of a dance I learned recently). This notion of accepting myself and being fully accepted just as I am touched me deeply and made me realise how much pressure I put on myself to be different, better. It also reminds me to accept others just as they are … often somewhat of a challenge. I suspect you are better than I at remembering, as Einstein so beautifully put it, that humans experience separation as “a kind of optical delusion of consciousness” and that “our task is to free ourselves … by widening our circle of love and compassion to embrace … the whole of nature in its beauty.”
And what beauty met me when I arrived back at Findhorn from Australia 17 days ago – daffodils, blossoms, sparkling Findhorn Bay and many, many smiling friendly faces. I truly love the Findhorn mother-ship! It was so uplifting to take an Experience Week group on a Park tour, join a Friday dinner cooking shift, visit Cluny Hill for a meeting and dance with my Sacred Dance group. I hope you are all as nourished on a deep level as I feel and enjoying the beauty of autumn, spring or tropical heat.
There is such a wonderful diversity of activities happening in the Foundation. In March a group of sustainability experts met to develop strategies to support a positive outcome from the crucial Climate Change negotiations in Paris in December. Meanwhile 11 people from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and Brazil just completed a month of learning English In Community while living at Cluny Hill.
At The Park there is a Care Farming Pilot for ten local people with learning disabilities, funded by The Moray Council one day a week for six weeks and a Youth Empowerment Project for disadvantaged local young people for two days a week for three months – the result of a partnership between local charity Action For Children, The Moray Council and the Foundation. Cullerne Gardens and our whole community contribute to the holding of these groups.
I am proud that we’ve become a hub for those working for real change at government decision-making level, for international language exchange, and as a trusted local service provider of life skills and work experience. All these groups bring such a non-monetary richness to our community life.
It’s also a joy to notice how many young people are joining the Foundation’s long-term LEAP (Living Essentials Apprentice Programme) and other long-term programmes. It’s heartening that there is a regular weekly meeting where elders and young people meet to co-create and meditate together.
Summer is not far away with a full complement of Experience Weeks and other uplifting programmes.
We’re revving up for a lively international gathering of role players and visionaries from the Global Ecovillage Network where there’ll definitely be a young contingent. GEN was birthed at Findhorn 20 years ago and GEN+20 meets in July at a critical moment in the Earth’s history. They are definitely playing a part in co-creating the new story. (You can read more about GEN+20 here, and if you scroll down the page there’s an opportunity to make a donation to support some of these young people to attend.)
We are also excited to be offering for the first time, School of Youth for Sustainability and Human Flourishing, 5–15 August, bringing together young people 15–27 years old from different social, cultural and religious backgrounds to engage in a magical 10-day potentially life-changing learning experience. Blending outdoor adventures with music, art and philosophy, the programme is highly innovative, developing life-skills related to peace, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. If you know someone who would love to take part, for more information on costs and possible financial support please visit our website using the link above, where you can also watch the School of Youth video.
If you’re wanting a quieter time this summer, or an escape from southern winter, with endless seascape, end-of-the-world wildness and distant horizons, remember that our stunningly situated retreat house on the holy Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland offers rejuvenating, relaxing retreat weeks.
I’m just back from Rome, a world away from Iona, where I spent time with a global gathering to further explore gift economy as a feasible alternative to the current economic paradigm. Rome was an interesting venue with its mixture of rich history and architectural grandeur and yet also serves as a reminder of the transience of empires and the ultimate failure of the old, old story of war and conquest. A fitting place to tease out the implementation of new ways based on love and sharing and our essential oneness.
As I read somewhere recently, ‘the idea that we can create a new time, a new history, a new world for humanity is the most powerful and necessary idea that we have’. This continues to be the Foundation’s, and my passionate ‘raison d’etre’ … and as Eileen Caddy said, that new world begins within each one of us.
So to all 20,000 of you, our sister and brother co-creators, from all of us at the Findhorn Foundation who are experimenting with a new story for humanity, we wish you love and laughter and interesting adventures as you too experiment with new paradigms for a new world. Please come as you are.
for the Communications Team