Our mission is to seed, nurture and grow permanent and pop-up urban and land-based hubs in East Anglia where we can incubate community solutions and take bold and imaginative steps towards a more just and beautiful world.
As we work – and play – to bring this vision to life, we are guided by the motto: 'How you get there, is where you will arrive'. So our dual aim is to invite a living inquiry into how we can do it differently, as we seek innovative ways of responding to the multiple crises of our times.
In this quest, we are drawing on collective wisdom, both ancient and new, and seeking to re-align our own human nature with the regenerative cycles of the natural world around us.
Welcome to the Gathering Gates website, and thanks for visiting. The contents of this website have been produced by Jenny Haycocks and Liz Day. Drawing inspiration from other like-minded initiatives around the country, we’ve been meeting together – and with our friends K2, Abie and others – to explore the question of what's happening and what's needed in our corner of the world. The foundational vision set out here is the outcome of this inquiry.
We see this project as part of a movement of movements that is gearing up to unleash a wave of grassroots innovation and transformation. Our hope is that, by coming together in the intentional way we have envisioned here – in community, in connection with the breathing living earth, and attuned to the spirit of the universe – we will be better able to turn and face the very real dangers in our path at this time, and play our part in the rapid adaptation that we (and many others) believe is being called for in these times.
We hope you will feel inspired by what you find here, and perhaps encouraged to take a step towards connecting with us, and with this vision.
The driver below is a short statement of the core motivation behind this project, the why that is moving us to act. In the aims that follow, we set out the essence of how we plan to respond to what we’re seeing. We then offer an initial vision of what we want to bring about as we take steps towards achieving these aims. All of this is interspersed with questions – an invitation for you to consider what these words evoke for you, and to engage with this foundational vision in a spirit of collaboration.
Our understanding of current world events is that they are the manifestation of a long-term state of crisis in the ecological, social and spiritual realms that has been unfolding for many years. As a result, the health and wellbeing of humans and all species appears to be in jeopardy and economic collapse seems all but inevitable.
Does this resonate for you? What are you seeing in your world that might indicate we are facing dangers and perils in our evolutionary journey as humans? What does the word ‘spiritual’ mean to you?
A Window of Opportunity
Many of us are also sensing at these times an unprecedented window of opportunity to radically re-evaluate and restructure our way of life. This is accompanied by a growing desire to realign ourselves with the land and with natural and universal cycles of regeneration, to restore our communal bonds, and to withdraw our consent from the structures that are destructive of life.
Do you experience a unique sense of possibility at this moment in history? Do you have a sense of something seeking to align in you? How are you connecting with the natural world and with your community at this time?
We feel there is a need to provide spaces where we can gather together in person, in community, to take the future into our own hands and to set the tone for positive change. We also need to consider ways in which we may recover from what is evidently an epidemic of burnout and overwhelm, and to address the unnecessary suffering in our midst. In all this, we sense the need to invite ways of knowing (and unknowing) that go beyond the usual approaches that are no longer adequate.
What would it look like to you to invite a collective focus on kindness, connection and gratitude? How would you name the things that deplete you? And how do you connect with what energises you? How can we think outside the box, invoking our powers of imagination and ingenuity in order to protect what we love?
Towards a New World
We believe that attending to these needs, and addressing the questions they raise, will enable us to move from fear and paralysis and to fulfill a vision of freedom, abundance and liberation for all. This will involve, amongst other things, confronting an endemic loss of power and control at the grassroots level, and activating our innate authority to discern and decide, and to act together for the good of the whole.
To grow a community based on shared purpose, collective meaning-making and connection with nature through seeding and nurturing urban and land-based hubs in East Anglia, and by activating the mycelium web that connects us all.
To facilitate an ongoing inquiry into how we can move forward in ways that are increasingly regenerative and sustainable; giving priority to questions, not jumping too quickly to solutions, and seeking wisdom in the spaces between.
To evolve a culture of integrity and creativity through collective learning and unlearning, seeking common ground, establishing bonds of mutual trust, exploring the gift economy, and activating the innate goodness of human and non-human nature.
The vision set out here contains some ideas for getting started and what we hope is a good-enough-for-now structure and approach to facilitate sustained creativity and collaboration. Our intention here is to open a field of inquiry, and to put in place some foundation stones that we can stand on to support whatever may emerge as we take steps forward.
The invitation with all of it is to be playful, to conduct experiments, and to bring on board all our capacities as well as the many different approaches we have come to trust. We also want to encourage a culture of active curiosity, of living with questions and uncertainty, adopting a practical humility and allowing space for what we don't know we don't know to emerge.
We envisage establishing one or more community hubs in this region, which may involve buying a piece of land or taking over an empty building. We are also looking to create opportunities for simply gathering together in temporary transitional spaces as we tune-in to the collaborative, mycelium web that is always already here.
Doing it Differently
If we do what we've always done, we'll get what we've always got! And so we're inviting an inquiry into how we can do it differently, looking to the regenerative cycles of nature to guide us. As we reach out to individuals and communities, we want to discover, deepen and experiment with sustainable ways of being, doing and belonging.
We're offering learning circles where we can become more and more conscious of what's happening and what's needed in our world, both inner and outer. With the emphasis on co-learning, we'll be drawing on specialist knowledge as well as everyone's experience and expertise to help us abide with and navigate these times of radical uncertainty.