Welcome to our new 2015 Series: Making Peace with the Land! Read on for more information about the series and stay tuned for more details!
Small community groups meet once a week to work through the series and interact with each other through the Spirit of the Land website. A weekly study-guide provides the structure and content for each week. Every member of the group is encouraged to participate in the facilitation and creation of the meeting. (A resource for designed Facilitators/Hosts will be provided shortly.)
Once a week, mid-February to mid-May, 2015.
The Making Peace with the Land series moves through 5 themes: Power and Hope through Community (1 week), Power Structures and their Stories (4 weeks), The Grounded Place: Where Justice and Love Meet (4 weeks), The Simple Life for a Full Life: Cultivating Presence (4 weeks), Reflections and Thanksgivings (1 week)
Power and Hope through Community
In the face of today’s increasing ecological crises, what does it mean to be a good local and global neighbor? From where does hope come when all reason for hope is gone? To begin this season and series together, we will look at the structure of our self-study group; how the group members work together, the diversities and commonalities among us, and the community it creates. This theme lifts up the transformative significance of gathering as we do: within our diversities, suffering, differences, needs and gifts, while giving thanks for the lands that sustain. It will examine what it means to say: All are needed. All are welcome.
Power Structures and their Stories
What structures perpetuate our increasing desecration of the Earth? From where do they originate? Why is it so difficult to adopt truly effective solutions, especially to such urgent global problems such as climate charge? Throughout these four weeks, we will examine the dominant power structures that shape our economics, politics and societies and how they influence us, as a pathway into understanding the stories and beliefs that lay beneath them. An understanding of the roots of our crises and suffering, will enlighten us to alternate ways of being and from which restorative and transforming structures may blossom. Through these weeks, we will look at examples around the world of people and communities who are restoring the world, uniting even our perceived contrasts of death and life, environment and economy, suffering and hope. Often found in the “least likely” and “meekest” places, we will seek to learn from others and strive to nurture and embody such a structure of belonging.
The Grounded Place: Where Justice and Love Meet
The magnitude of suffering today can so easily overwhelm us, sparking despair, apathy or false-optimism. Therefore, where do we begin? During the next four weeks, we explore some common reactions to crises that, by their nature, contribute to perpetrating the crises and then look at responses that break free of today’s dominant story of division and that grow from a story of commonality and unity. This theme begins by looking critically at the dominant ecological justice responses, such as international development and protest. Despite their good intent and appropriate anger in the face of injustice, these dominant ways can perpetuate the very suffering they seek to alleviate when they are motivated by the same story of the crises. In other words, transformation requires a shift from fighting against evil to working for love through grounding, compassion and insight. The long-term results are very different, even if the outer activities appear virtually identical. Therefore, this theme looks to various philosophies, religious traditions and teachings as well as personal and secular experiences that guide us towards the paradox of transformation: begin by being present within oneself, community and world. What does it mean if today’s crises require us to do something harder than fighting for something? But rather, require us to deepen our love for something – our ‘place’ and each other.
The Simple Life for a Full Life: Cultivating Presence
What does it mean for transformation to begin with presence? This theme will look to the practice of living simply, embodied particularly among indigenous communities, as both the process and practice of responsible stewardship. The simplicity we crave, in addition to having less possessions, pressure, and messaging in our external world, is clarity of heart, mind and intent. We will practice listening to our most inner instincts as indicative to the unique actions to which we are all called through love. By living simply, inside and out, we continuously deepen our understanding of the value of sharing, the presence of suffering, our interconnectedness and the intrinsic dignity of all things. With the knowledge of how to live responsibly and with an endless source of inner and loving energy, gratitude fills our beings. And thus, we transform. In belonging to particular landscapes, communities and our inner beings, we belong to all, and the kinder future about which we all dream, grows, one moment of connection at a time.
Reflections and Thanksgivings
We wrap up this series with a session that steps back to look at our journey through these explorations, reflecting on learnings, changes, and appreciations, cultivating our gratitude towards a more ‘present’ future.