A personal reflection about our course
Deepening Climate Dialogue
The sound of raindrops on tent fabric, feet walking in muddy gras, the train riding by, children playing soccer on the nearby field, chattering voices, the singing bowl. Memories from days spent in the Ecovillage Schloss Glarisegg, nestled between the gorgeous lake of Constance and mossy forests, with young adults from all across Europe.
It is especially the sound of the singing bowl that brings me back to these 12 days, where we were bringing the large seminar room to life, eating delicious food out in the fresh air, and getting to know new faces little by little, each day – researching together: How do I genuinely feel about the global environmental situation? How can I have meaningful conversations with people who have a completely different perspective? What can I concretely do to restore ecosystems and support ecological regeneration?
Maybe it is the symbolism of the sound of the singing bowl that connects it so much to my experience of the Youth Exchange Deepening Climate Dialogue, representing “Pinakarri” – a collective moment of silence. “Pinakarri” is a tool proposed by the project design methodology Dragon Dreaming: Anyone at any time can ring the singing bowl once to invite for and then a second time to end a collective moment of silence. The practice of Pinakarri originates from the Aboriginal Mandjilidjara Mardu people of Western Australia. The word literally translates to “ears standing up” and refers to attentively listening with the entire body and grounding into the Earth. It is generally freely translated to “Deeper Listening” which is what it is all about – So simple, yet so powerful.
Deeper Listening very well describes an essence of what I experienced in this course. As a group coming together on day one as strangers, we built a container of trust and authenticity in which we could listen deeply to what is moving in us and in the world related to the current state of the Earth. We each took twelve days, stepping out of our personal and professional lives, studies, jobs, daily business to research together and explore, to slow down to meet the complexity of the current environmental crisis. I believe that, together, we built capacity to generate inner and outer regeneration.
In Open Dialogue Spaces someone would ring the singing bowl, inviting us all to take a moment to let settle what was expressed. When the space became dense of opinions and ideas, during our research on Climate Narrative inspired by Charles Eisenstein´s book: Climate a New Story – Pinakarri – an invitation to take a deep breath and feel the impact what was spoken. Letting the power of the radical act of questioning sink in. What basic assumptions and world views are implicit in the dominant narratives on climate change? What theoretical and ideological grounds do policy making, industry, and activism base their decisions and actions upon? And finally: What story do we (want to) embody?
Joanna Macy, activist, philosopher, writer, and buddhist writes about the power a story receives when we believe in it and support it in our actions, thoughts, conversations. She identifies two main stories that are being lived in contemporary society: The story of “business as usual” and the story of “the great unravelling”. The former suggests that everything is going fine. Business as usual can go on, there is nothing to worry about. The latter tells us that it is too late already. Society will fall apart, humans will go extinct and with us numerous other species, with ecosystems collapsing. There is nothing we can do about it. There is no chance anymore.
Finally, Joanna Macy invites us to embrace a third story: The Story of the “Great Turning”. In this story we are facing various challenges that urge us to (re-)discover how to live on Earth. Accroding to the story of the Great Turning, we live in a meaningful time of transformation. We can be, and in fact need to be part of shaping this transformation to create a life-sustaining society on Earth.
What impact does assuming either one of these stories to be true have on my life, my actions, and also society at large?
It is this third option that motivates me to do this work: The perspective that, together, we can bring about an evolution towards a peaceful and alive civilization on Earth. Out of our own free will and deepest desire we act. I believe daring to take a moment to listen deeply can support us on this journey.
“[Pinakarri] can help us to become human beings who live »love in action». And can help us create a loving community in which every individual is heard and seen.” (Dragon Dreaming Project Design, p.10)
I can only imagine what society would look like, if it was based on “love in action”. If all humans were embedded in loving communities that support each individual in their authentic expression of deep care.
What does it need so we can “live love in action” on a large scale?
And, what can I do, very personally to support the creation of a “loving community in which every individual is heard and seen”? A strong and resilient community that is able to meet the complexity of todays challenges and respond appropriately. Out of love and care, rather than fear and despair, with consideration rather than erratic urgency.
During this Youth Exchange, I became a witness of the power of community. During the “Truth Mandala” (- a powerful ritual of the Work that Reconnects developed by Joanna Macy), I felt all of us holding space for individuals to genuinely express their deep fears, furious anger, startling despair, lostness and confusion. I saw tears and smiles, heard screams, sighs of relief and joyful laughter… And most of all, I felt how you dared to show yourself and how I dared to let myself be touched. I felt all of us, in our own, unique ways, letting life move in all its forms. I feel touched being able to write, that in all this I experienced authentic togetherness and collective acceptance.
In this course, I came to witness group intelligence, when already on day two, intricate mind-maps were collectively created expressing the complexity of the topic of Climate Change without any verbal exchange during the entire process of co-creation and research.
In these twelve days, I became a witness of the true and alive dedication to live into another possibility, contributing to a Great Turning. I felt the commitment of young adults from all over Europe to listen deeply, look closely, and act out of the depths of their being for a world they truly wish to live in. To make a change, and support the emergence of the more beautiful world we know to be possible, as politicians and poets, activists and teachers, engineers and musicians, as entrepreneurs, world wanderers, lawyers, writers, as humans beings.
As I am sitting here and writing, I am wondering:
What would happen if we dared to take a collective, world wide Pinakarri?
What would become possible if we stopped all activity for a moment to listen – to listen to our inner world, to what is going on around us, in our neighbourhoods, countries, on this Earth?
This wonder gives me hope.
Before laying down my digital pen, I want to express my gratitude for all those who made this course possible. It would feel incomplete to bring these reflections on paper without doing so! It also feels fitting to come back to gratitude at the end of this journey and as such creating the base for the next…
I feel gratitude to you Jashana, Sonja-Vera and Elisabeth, as our most direct mentors and creators of the Ecovillage Design Education in Glarisegg, which is so meaningful for our work and collaboration.
Not knowing if you will ever read this, I want to thank Joanna Macy and Charles Eisenstein for your work and inspiration. As representatives of all our teachers, elders and humans guiding us on our path, I want to express my deep gratitude for the empowerment and hope you offer to me and so many others seeking for the more beautiful world our heart knows to be possible.
A warm thank you goes to the community members of Schloss Glarisegg as well as the Seminar Centre and all the kind and generous staff. Thank you for welcoming us in your home and your presence.
I feel gratitude towards the team of Movetia, for trusting us to create worthwhile learning journeys with the money we receive and for being such friendly and supportive individuals.
To all of you who participated in this journey: Thank you for daring. Thank you for caring. I am touched by the honesty & vulnerability you showed and still so fascinated by the magic we created together. I have warmth and gratitude in my chest as I still hear us singing “Another world is not only possible. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” – (Quote by activist and writer Arundhati Roy, song by Diane Kaplan)
Thank you dear Roos, dear Teo. Thank you for our blossoming friendship, the support, growth and meaning I experience in our fruitful collaboration. I love that this is my work.
Charles Eisenstein: Climate – A New Story
Joanna Macy & Molly Brown: Coming Back to Life
Dragon Dreaming Project Design. Version 2.09. Download in Dec, 2022