After a bit of a break, more insights from the Transition Open Space festival I attended in July.
Intentionally spreading seeds of possibility
As it happens, this place is where I learned the basics of permaculture myself (from Taco), and fate brought me to purchase a homestead only 20km away from Nieuwenhoven where Ria, Chrisje and I are taking our learning and practice of permaculture and natural building to its next level. Ria and I took a group of people over there one afternoon to show them the place – I was able to tell them the story of Nina, my colleague in Brussels who has been so inspired by my stories of our adventures in permaculture that she has started creatively growing fruit and vegetables in her small city garden. This is the way ‘transition’ travels, spreading through viral inspiration at whatever scale is possible, moment by moment.
At the root, the future can be born from the potential that we hold in our conscious intention, but we can never know how it will manifest: you can count the seeds in an apple, but you can’t count the apples in a seed.
May many seeds bear fruit.
Healing the relationship between the masculine and the feminine
As spontaneous offerings from the community, one evening there was a men’s circle around the camp fire, while the women took care of the children. The next night, the women did a full-moon ceremony and women’s circle while the men did the babysitting. I was quite struck by the way the men stood much more strongly in both power and service after their circle.
Every evening at the close of the ‘programme’, we danced the Elm Dance (as propagated by Joanna Macy) – it was one of the highlights of every day, and gave towards the end we experimented also with different permutations that could shed light on how the masculine and the feminine could interact and play different functions in society. Particularly ‘hair-raising’ for me was the experience that the women could stand on the perimeter, shielding the men from disturbance as they met in circle to bond as brothers.
Things happened in the circle that felt healing for a lot of old trauma for both the masculine and the feminine.
New community patterns and permutations of relating and interacting are emerging for men and women as we move into the future.
May the healing continue.
Witnessing and reflection as practices that birth collective wisdom
All of the above emerged from the complexity of the interactions in the community. In many cases, meanings and insights were picked up and illuminated by one or other of the ‘elders’ of the community (sometimes a child!) so that the whole group could relate to the issue in a more conscious way.
It was this practice of witnessing – never once explicitly spoken of in the full circle of our community – that allowed our diversity to be present without exploding the container.
Witnessing will be a core capability in the future we were seeking to prototype together during this week. Here is what the Cosmic Family has to say about it:
“There is no end to that which can be witnessed, but it is necessary to start small. Witnessing is what makes it possible for an individual, when invited, to step seamlessly into a functioning collective, and what allows a collective to seamlessly embrace a new member and be transformed by the embracing. With each embrace, the old collective dies and the new is born. The witnessing is of everything – the inner and outer, the individual and the collective. Part of the practice is to speak that which is witnessed, and to witness that which is spoken. Part of the practice is to speak what is witnessed as it is experienced – in joy or in rage, in sorrow or fear or indifference. The emotional charge is part of the meal, to be metabolised by the collective body. The more the collective body can metabolise, the broader the range of its responses to that which transpires in the greater whole.”
May we witness the miracle unfolding.