From 3-16 March 2018 there was a Youth Exchange to the famous Findhorn Community. 24 young eco-minded people from UK, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands traveled there for a two week immersive program on Applied Ecovillage Living.
During their stay there they learned about:
- Social tools for personal and group transformation, empowerment and community building
- Urban and rural solutions for transitioning to a resilient society
- Local organic food production and right livelihood
- Comprehensive Permaculture design introduction
- Renewable energy systems and energy efficiency models
- Cooperative social economies and complementary currencies
- Holistic decision-making processes, including nature and deep ecology
- Earth restoration projects and biological waste water treatments
- Ecological building and community design
- Cultural and Spiritual diversity practices
It was a great experience for everyone with lots of interesting things learned about nature, yourself and each other. Saying goodbye obviously was hard but everyone is doing their best to stay connected so together we can make the world a better place.
Some stories from the participants:
Duncan, United Kingdom, 28 years old
“Findhorn has a special magick” people told me before I went — I was sceptical because I think this is true of most ecovillages. Places where people strive to be authentic and to live in step with eachother and nature; why would one be more magickal?
But, I was wrong! Findhorn’s magick is potent – but why? The youth exchange we attended, “Embracing Diversity: Applied Ecovillage Living” was magickal not because of Findhorn — although the magnanimity of the land is certainly a factor — but because of the people. Our focalisers, Maria and Craig, and the many as session leaders who joined us, were present, commited and able to communicate well. They knew not only how to share their knowledge, but also how to present it in digestible and understandable media. We were constantly engaged in artforms of symbolic communication.
What I take away from the experience, above all else, is the power of symbolic communication. The ways in which we participated with eachother without verbal communication will stay engrained in my memory far better than any of the words. The power of an arrow to represent fear and dreamstopping, or the power of holding hands to communicate our integrity and commitment…. The power of song to commit our hearts to a cause… Of “love in action” to demonstrate our care…
The words only give form and engage the busy-ness of the mind — but the actions and ceremony give form to an expression of spirit. The magick of Findhorn, for me, is in this recognition and expression of spirit. Man is an animal of symbols, and nothing speaks to my spirit more clearly. May we all go forth into the world with a deeper and clearer intentions, and ability to engage peoples’ spirits.”
Simon, The Netherlands, 26 years old
“It has been a wonderful exchange for me spending two weeks at Findhorn with a bunch of lovely people from all around Europe.
I was pleasantly surprised how strongly we were able to connect and build very deep friendships in a very short time. The highlight for me was a workshop on conscious communication, and then having 2 weeks to put that into action. It helped me to get more in touch with my feelings and emotions. By connecting within, I could connect more genuinely with others. This workshop enabled the group to become a safe container where we could explore being authentic and vulnerable, and and made it possible to relate more deeply . This sense of deep connection, which enabled authenticity, vulnerability and honesty, was a strong experience and I am convinced that this deep connection is vital as the fertile soil out of which sustainable action can grow.”
Pascal, The Netherlands, 24 years old
“Wow, what a journey. Put a group of young eco-minded people in a room and see what happens. For me it was pure magic! Living in a world where capitalism is the norm and not questioned by the masses it can be hard for people with different opinions and ideas to find (young) likeminded people to bond with in daily life. During this trip to Findhorn we found each other and for these two short weeks we became a family, a tribe. Learning together, living together, laughing together and most of all sharing together. It was great to be in such a group of open minded people and work together to make the world a better place.”
Mariona, Spain, 19 years old
“I believe love ever after
I believe the power of the nature
I believe you and me
I believe us this family
I can not sleep today.
I can not sleep remembering those two weeks that are gone like a dream. A dream of those that you want to repeat every day.
I keep everything I’ve learned, I stay with all of you, although the kilometers that separate us. I am left with the struggle we are fighting, to protect our land, to change it, to start letting it live instead of destroying it.
I keep all the looks, caresses, smiles, all the hugs we have give each other. I keep the love.
And thank to all the people who has made it possible for me to go to this exchange. To my family, to Marta, to Clara, to Arterra Bizimodu, thanks to Maria and Craig for having made the experience unique and to Findhorn for receiving us and taking so good care of us.”
Guillem, Spain, 30 years old
“When I came to Findhorn I was expecting to receive information about sustainability and social skills. I was not waiting to live this deep and complete experience. And It has been a excellent surprise. During two weeks, we have been living with 24 really different people, different cultures, languages. We learned from these differences and we created a great short-termed community. We have been sharing feelings, knowledge, emotions, situations, love,.. We have been leaded by two great, powerful and careful focalisers. This “living in community” youth exchange has been a journey to our deepest insights, and at the same time, to our connections to the humanity and o the Earth. Amazing and enriching experience. I feel really thankful to have been part of it.”
Paolo, Italy, 26 years old
“Youth exchange at Findhorn has been an enriching experience. I very much appreciated the decision to spend the first week in Cluny, a renovated hotel, where the close and continuous coexistence allowed the group to blend together, creating cohesion and mutual trust, fundamental characteristics for the second week spent at the Park.
The program was very intense and full of formative moments, both practical and theoretical: it went from gathering potatoes and mulching the soil of the garden, to enriching seminars that ranged from empathic communication to different decision-making methods in intentional communities.
In the evening we spontaneously divided into groups based on the various character affinities, and we spent moments of strong emotional sharing based on listening without judgment.
I greatly appreciated that the organizers asked each participant to express their opinion (feedback) on every activity carried out within the program; this choice allows him to observe what went well, and what can be improved, with a view to continuous development and co-participation.
Observing and living Findhorn, a community with hundreds of members residing within it, allowed me to explore what dynamics are triggered in planning residential intentions with a large number of people and thus increase my general awareness on the choice of community life.”
Adriana, Spain, 30 years old
“This experience has been a great opportunity to dive more into myself and learn about my fears, ambitions, desires, dreams and blocks. To explore the boundaries. An amazing group of people around me where I could expose myself, go deep into the eyes, connect on different levels.
Feeling so lucky to have met people with similar concerns and paths, we are creating a network towards a sustainable future in all dimensions. We are a lot of people working and dreaming together!
So much gratitude to Findhorn Community and its facilitators to host this program, to open us the doors and show us their culture, values, organisation, village and work. It has been very inspiring just been in the community, absorbing all the small details they create in daily life and of course seeing all the huge impact they are having in some areas.
Thanks so much to Yes to Sustainability and all the youth leaders to make it happen! Love and Revolution ♥.”
Christian, Spain, 27 years old
“It’s very difficult to express in just a few lines what this Youth Exchange in Findhorn has meant to me, it doesn’t do it justice, and whoever reads it, without having been part of the experience, won’t connect with my words. I keep the great people I’ve met, with their kindness offering everything they knew. I keep the respect, tolerance and sensitivity that we have give each other, allowing to open our hearts and minds in a totally safe space, sharing everything we wanted, learning from all. I keep the love, the “love in action”, and the ever lasting energy of wanting to build a better world together, knowing that, besides being possible, it is necessary.
Infinite thanks to all the people who have made it possible. Forever grateful. ♥”
Marta, Spain, 33 years old (Youth Leader)
“The exchange was calm and intense. As soon as we arrived we could smell the sea and the forest, soaking up the openness, acceptance and know-how of this magical Findhorn. The group that gathered there, different and equal, knew how to respect the rhythms and processes of each other, embracing their lights and shadows. Our facilitators knew how to transmit what it means to live in Findhorn, they introduced us to people from the community who taught us about permaculture, land, medicinal plants, and also about group dynamics, decision making, local economy, alternative livelihoods. We exchanged knowledge, dances, played instruments, cooked together, we got lost in the forest and bathed in the sea. Everything that was given there has made me trust and flow more, thanks for everything ♥