Throwback to summer 2021 when I attended my first spiritual ecology retreat in Belgium with the beautiful guidance of Annick Nevejan and Maaike Boumans.
On this picture a playful pose of our amazing group after an afternoon of learning & helping in the gorgeous permaculture garden of the Beaumont Buddhist retreat center cared for by Gregory.
This retreat felt like a coming home and brought me a sense of wholeness through deep connection with my core being, oneness with nature & soulful encounters with inspiring people caring for Life in their own unique ways. A sense of an Earth care community that I was thirsty for was born through our time together, filling me with a huge sense of aliveness, hope and the courage to step up increasingly to act on behalf of Life.
This process made so much sense to me, more than anything I had come across. I felt a strong call to deepen and share this deep
In autumn 2021 I trained with Roseaux Dansants (the French arm of the Work that Reconnects) and @transalquimia (Spanish WTR) after experiencing a 5 day retreat with them (The Council of All Beings).
Last Spring I further trained to facilitate Active Hope Circles with Chris Johnstone and Madeleine Young.
Since then I’ve been sharing with passion the Work that Reconnects through retreats & workshops for open groups as well as organisations of change makers & activists: Cityplot, the Transition Network of SW France, Ecofeminist organisation Shelter FR, Extinction Rebellion, Reclaim the Seeds Amsterdam and Climate Action NL (in the making).
This Spring, I started the first Active Hope Circle in Amsterdam which is ongoing & to be continued.
I was intending to assist facilitation for the Beaumont Spiritual Ecology retreat but this weekend I stepped into an unexpected fuller co-facilitation role as dear friend and colleague Flo from @mindful.change has her hands full with the launch of the second edition of the @plumvillagefrance online course “Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet” sharing Thay’s teachings.
Will miss her presence and also honoured for this unexpected opportunity. It feels like a circle coming round.
Our retreat will be held in Beaumont again in Belgium from 28 June to 2 July 2023, join us here
Do you walk through life with deep appreciation and awareness of everything that sustains your life? The Earth that carries you, the air that fills you with life energy, the soil that nourishes you, the sun that warms you, the trees that offer cool, fresh air, timeless beauty and wisdom, your numberless ancestors laying the foundations on which you rest, billions of years of evolution weaved into your body, brain, nervous system. Who we are and what we do today as a species will determine the foundations on which future generations lay on for better or worse.
Imagine if we actually evolved daily with awareness of and reverence for this interconnectedness, the world today would look pretty different… it is time to integrate this knowledge and let it be our compass as we move forward in these chaotic times.
Here’s a meditation to integrate awareness of this interconnectedness inspired by Joanna Macy’s amazing work.
Live with the world inside of you, appreciating the rich heritage you inherited simply by being Human now and create conditions nurturing the well-being of future generations.
“Every being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our mother earth from whom all life comes” – chief Leon Shenandoah
In The Work That Reconnects, we start our journey through the Spiral with Coming from Gratitude.
To be truly grateful, to live in appreciation firstly we need to be present and actually pause to feel the many gifts that the moment offers. Gratitude opens us to receive these gifts and allows us to remain grounded and stable in uncertainty. Gratitude is a deeply nourishing state that strengthens our capacity to rise to the many challenges we face.
In many indigenous cultures there are important rituals and practices to cultivate gratitude. Something that is sadly mostly lost in our modern industrial society relying to an extent on human chronic dissatisfaction and greed to fuel consumption and economic growth (largely detrimental to the natural world).
In the Haudenosaunee Native American culture, gratitude is at the essence of their way of life. Before every meeting or gathering, the Haudenosaunee give thanks to everything that surrounds and sustains their wellbeing. Animals, trees, plant life, medicinal herbs, water, etc. are all considered as part of their extended family and referred to as Mother Earth, brother Sun, Grandmother moon. Every day is thanksgiving and words of thanks are “the words that come before all else.”
Here is a version of this Thanksgiving address published by the Mohawks
Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are One.
The Earth Mother
We are thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks, Now our minds are one. “
In the Autumn of 1977, The Haudenosaunee travelled to a UN conference to share both a prophecy and warning referred to as “Basic Call to Consciousness”. In this address the following paragraph was contained : “The original instructions direct that we who walk about on Earth are to express a great respect, an affection and a gratitude towards all the spirits which create and support Life. We give a greeting and thanksgiving to the many supporters of our own lives : the corn, beans ,squash, the wind, the sun. When people cease to respect and express gratitude for these many things, then all life will be destroyed and human life on this planet will come to an end.” …
– text adapted from Active Hope by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone