We offer below some practices we hope might inspire you, and which we might explore together.
With all this the idea is to discover the practices and activities that enable us to be super-regenerative and super-sustainable.
The Children’s Fire
We are inspired by the practice of lighting the Children's Fire, a custom originating from Native American peoples.
At gatherings where decisions are to be made, a fire is placed at the centre to invite us to consider the impact of our actions on seven generations. We think forward into the future, making sure no decisions are taken that could hurt those that will come after us (both human and non-human). And we honour the ancestors, whether that be our blood lines or the influences and traditions upon whose shoulders we stand.
Lighting a candle at the beginning of meetings might be a good way to invoke this deep time perspective.
Celebrating ourselves and our projects is a powerful way of boosting our motivation and energy and reinforcing our communal bonds. Likewise, appreciating the good that we do and that we intrinsically are has a way of magnifying it.
Gratitude is also a subversive act: it helps dismantle the planet-devouring industrial growth society by refusing its insatiable demands for more. As we affirm the wealth that is relationship, community and nature's providence, living simply and consuming less becomes a more attainable ideal.
Feasting together, ceremony, dancing and singing, reviewing our achievements, approaching challenges as opportunities to learn... What are the ways you find to celebrate, and how can we weave this thread into our community-building?
We are also inspired by the practice of silence as a universal language that can help us get unhooked from the stories that no longer serve us, as we turn towards the common good.
Silence is what exists in the empty space between the notes of a musical score; without silence, there is no music. It is the fertile void from which new creation emerges.
Starting each gathering with a short period of silence could help provide a transition from previous activities and help us attune to collective intelligence.
Silence can also help bring us into communion with mystery and grace, with what we don't know we don't know. It's the place for pause, where we can regularly invite a time of rest to remind ourselves we're not the ones making the world turn.
We'd like to invite a culture of radical welcome, where everything that we are, and everything we bring is accepted, welcomed and celebrated. Sometimes this could mean opening up the darker side of our emotions and experience.
As humans we're not wired to hold our pain entirely in solitude. But in our culture we seem to have largely lost touch with the ancient ways of holding one another in our grief, in the web of friendship and community.
Naming and expressing our pain in the company of others – whether it be in a grief tending workshop, or by simply making space to name our hurts – is a powerful glue that binds us together, bringing us home to our shared humanity. Acknowledging our losses, and indeed our mortality, can also help alleviate our many fears and awaken us to the preciousness of life.
As well as bereavement, there are other complex losses that sometimes need attention. Embracing these aspects of our humanity – such as ancestral grief and pain for our world – can help bring us out of depression and despair into gratitude and vibrant aliveness.
Norfolk Grief Tending is part of our family of projects, though which we've been offering workshops and retreats on this theme.
What are the ways that are familiar to you that could help us bring our values and our actions closer together? What practices might you like to cultivate that would contribute to building community?
In this way, improvising and experimenting together to discover what works, our hope is that we may find our way to a place where life and our capacity to be generative comes to us, not as something we earn or strive for, but as something that is natural, effortless even. The idea is to live our way into a place where work and play and life are not separate, a place where we experience joy, and the wonder of what happens when we are 'in the flow'.
Is this a vision that speaks to you?