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Charity of the year – let’s celebrate!

October 19, 2017 By Yvonne Cuneo

Hello everyone

It’s that time already – spring blossoms and lengthening days for you lovely Antipodeans, autumn leaves and a return to gloves and scarves for the global north, and heat and humidity for those of you in the tropics. Each has its own pleasures…

I am SOOOOO delighted to bring you some good news – the Findhorn Foundation is officially the P.E.A. (People. Environment. Achievement.) Awards charity of the year. These are the UK’s leading sustainability awards and honour the individuals and teams behind the products, services and businesses that are changing the face of our planet.

In our 55th year it feels timely and well-deserved for the founders of this amazing experiment and centre of demonstration, and for all who have come after, to be acknowledged in this public way. With the celebration of what would have been Eileen Caddy’s 100th birthday last month, and Peter Caddy’s 100th celebrated in March, and with Dorothy Maclean still amongst us at 97 years old (and the first plant Dorothy connected with was the pea plant!!), we are so proud of what they began together and what countless others have continued to achieve as part of their legacy.


Image left: Gabrielle Buist, Sasha Angus, Yvonne Cuneo & Lisette Schuitemaker with Jarvis Smith.
Image right: Gabrielle Buist, Yvonne Cuneo, Sasha Angus & Nicola Coombe with Paul Dickenson in front.

Jarvis Smith, who founded the P.E.A. Awards and who co-manages MyGreenPod, the UK’s largest ethical lifestyle magazine with the Guardian and MyGreenPod an online hub, said, “We gave the Foundation the award for its pioneering work in helping people to reconnect with nature and themselves on their spiritual path – the most crucial work for individuals and businesses over the next ten years”. How wonderful!

Three of us went to London for the celebration dinner on 13 October and were joined by three trustees and four of the Foundation’s good friends. The evening was themed ‘Day of the Dead’ to bring awareness to the threat to biodiversity on the planet and to highlight a way of life that needs to die – to be replaced by a regenerative way of being which honours all of life. I love mixing with other businesses doing great work – sponsors included Weleda, YeoValley, Octopus Energy and MyGreenPod – and to be aware of how many positive initiatives are happening in a world where the news is so often full of darkness and tragedy.

ErraidPlantingPeasIt’s so pleasing to see some of the Foundation’s newer initiatives bearing fruit too. Our 12th Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP), in partnership with Action for Children, is currently running till December. YEP takes ten local young people, aged 16 to 23, through a 12-week learning programme of activity and self-awareness including Tai Chi, bushcraft, pottery, trapeze and a week on Erraid. It’s heartening to see participants leave with a greater sense of self and the ability to make more positive choices for their future.

Our livestreaming also goes from strength to strength. I’ve had a busy time hosting the sixth TEDx talks in the Universal Hall, sponsored by the Foundation, AES Solar and The Phoenix Shop on 5 October, closely followed by the insightful dialogue on Transformational Communities of Tomorrow between Ken Wilber and Doshin Roshi on 6 October. The TEDx talks will be available to watch at TEDxFindhorn late November and an edited version of Ken and Doshin will be available soon. For the full version visit our YouTube channel.

And of course our old traditions are much-loved and valued as well. I imagine many of you have wonderful memories of starting your day with Taizé songs in Cluny Sanctuary or in the Nature Sanctuary at The Park. I know that these songs touch the deepest part of my longing for wholeness so it is with great pleasure that I announce an event being organised by Barbara Swetina and friends: Songs of Heaven and Earth, May 25–28, 2018, celebrating 30 years of Sacred Singing at Findhorn.

Inspired by the chants of the Taizé community in France, a small group of friends began singing in the Nature Sanctuary in 1987, knowing that with a shared intention we can build a unified resonant field with the power to heal, uplift and transform. Join Barbara Swetina and friends for a joyful weekend of song, dance, prayer, performance and workshops. Families and children welcome! For further information visit Sacred Songs or email [email protected]

You can also join Barbara for a New Year Celebration – Crossing the Threshold, from 28 December for a flexible mix of song, dance, creativity, ritual, fun, connection with nature, self-reflection and stillness.

BBC radio interviewYou could even combine that with our Christmas retreat, Wednesday 20 December, including our powerful winter solstice spiral ritual. (For a full list of Christmas and New Year programmes visit our website.)

And finally, one of the Cullerne Garden team, Britta Schmitz, was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland in a programme called ‘A Day in the Life of’. It may bring back happy memories for you so have a listen here.

Thank you for being part of our global family and for all you do each day to live a new story for humanity.

With love and laughter

Yvonne Cuneo
For the Communications Team