I traveled by train from Berlin to Bad Belzig, and at the station I already met other backpackers on their way to the same address: the “tiny house community” in the village of Lübnitz.
Lübnitz was a really atmospheric village full of beautiful nature and old buildings, and there was a small cafe that the villagers ran together.
On the other side of the street we found the next community with its own fields and swimming pool, and another bigger eco-village called Zegg was a bus ride away. We visited both communities and thus got a perspective on what different communities can look like.
The Earth & Heart training had participants from 7 different European countries: Serbia, Germany, Slovenia, France, Spain, Finland and Italy. It was fun to learn new words in new languages and make others laugh with the quirks of the Finnish language.
On the first day, we landed and got to know each other casually. The group immediately became very close, and we were a small family for the next two weeks. This was a really beautiful and important experience for me, and I felt that our small community was really safe, caring and supportive when individual people (including me) went through their own shadows and challenges during the training.
But that’s what we came here to do! What united us all was that we felt the need to develop and work leadership, facilitation and empowerment, that for sure also includes emotions, relationships, boundaries, communication and connection to ourselves, nature and other people. These themes were explored for two weeks in the form of various non formal learning methods, lectures, workshops, exercises and discussions.
Some days we focused more on “hands-on” tasks. This meant that we were outside and working with our hands and the earth while exploring different leadership styles. It was also a much-needed integration time, because then you could fully focus on the physical work, and the processes that were swirling in your head temporarily disappeared.
There were so many new people, languages and cultures around that I was very excited when I noticed that there was also a small sauna in the area! One of my highlights was making a couple of “birch-whips” for the sauna. It’s called “vihta” and is a kind of soft traditional Finnish sauna broom that you whip your body with to enhance blood flow. I also enjoyed teaching and singing Finnish sauna songs, as we were spending a common sauna evening together and chilling around the campfire.
I learned a lot both from the topics on the schedules and outside of them. The group was very open and wanted to share their knowledge in the “open space” slots, and thanks to this I got the two most important things from this training: IFS (inner family systems method) and improv theater. In addition to these, I feel that the document bank, which was created to collect all the materials we learned in the training, is a great asset. There you can find literature, videos, trainings and other useful things related to these topics.
It really opened up to me how much information is available, if you just know how to search. There are so many different methods that can be used to work through the emotional storms and challenges that life brings, and everyone can find one that suits them.
In addition to this, I got to know absolutely wonderful and inspiring people during the training, and it feels like the world is a little more open now. I heard about eco-villages and volunteer projects in Europe that you can visit, and I made many new friends to greet on future trips to Europe.
A heartfelt thank you to the facilitators of this program, and to Erasmus+ for funding this great opportunity and life-enriching experience!
I continue my life more wholly, aware, inspired, open and happy knowing that wonderful people and interesting projects can be found in every corner of the world. And these trainings are a perfect opportunity to create connections, learn new things and take steps forward on your own path, wherever it may lead.