Thursday, November 5, 2009

Arrived at Ojai!

Today is Global Grace Day!  On November 9th, 1938 the infamous Crystal Night began the holocaust.  On November 9th, 1089, the Berlin Wall fell.  Today, hundreds of people joined hands, standing in place of the wall that once divided a nation.  

In solidarity with Tamera and peace activists around the world, I invited community members at Ojai to join me on a silent peace walk, meditation and prayer at the 'power point' on the land.  It was beautiful, sweet and co-creative.  I read a meditation from Sabine Lichtenfels, co-founder of Tamera.  I would like to share part of this test with you:

  "Where there was pain, let healing awaken.

   Where there was anger, let the power for change emerge.

   Where there was fear, let safety and trust grow.

   Where there were enemies, let the awakening of mutual compassion begin.

   Where there was oppression, let freedom reign.

   Where nations were divided, let sympathy for planet earth lead to shared responsibility.

   We have come as a reminder:

   If we want planet earth to survive, then all the walls of separation must fall, the walls between peoples, between Israel and Palestine, between Europe and Africa, between the so-called first and third world. And likewise with the walls that we have erected in our own psyches, the walls between the genders, and the walls between humans and all creatures..."

I am currently at the Ojai Foundation (see my blog post)  I am here volunteering on the land, spending time with the compost and digging irrigation lines... sinking deeper into the work of this organization.  I am aware of a feeling of great depth here, it is a place of deep practice, deep teaching and deep listening.  Through out the span of this organizations life many masters and students have passed through, or lived on, this land.  

I am grateful also for the community that is currently at the Ojai Foundation, it is beautiful and blossoming.  I love  the opportunity to sit together in meditation every morning.  I am also finding community abounding in the surrounding area, I spent my Saturday morning working at Full Circle Farm, a small community based around shared housing and shared eating... community starts at the kitchen table!  

I spent a few days at my parents house before driving to the Ojai Foundation. Going home was challenging; I am meet pieces of myself there, old parts of my personality, fears that I recognize as long lost friends. I pass through, feeling deeply, and moving through another door.

I feel that my time in Germany was well spent.  It was good to stay with my 'family' for a while, seep into relationship with people and place.  Before leaving Germany I visited another community, Zegg, just East of Berlin.   I was glad to have a little time there to feel another community, learn about another model.  

I was particularly interested in seeing how Zegg is similar and different to Tamera, where we began our international pilgrimage.  Both Zegg and Tamera grew out of the same group, the same project.  They gave me a special opportunity; allowing me to participate in an an Introductory Weekend, providing me with a translator and letting me stay beyond the weekend and work with the community.  

The 'information weekend' was fun, very deep and well led.  The land is well cared for, and the buildings are comfortable, beautiful, and green and getting greener.  The land has an interesting history, first built by Missionaries returned from West Africa, then used as a youth Nazi Camp and finally as a secret service training center.  The place feels wonderful today, a small quiet village in the woods.  Beauty way is strong, there is a lot of attention given to create warm welcoming spaces.   Many of the old building have been remodeled to increase heat efficiency.  They heat the most of their water and buildings centrally, with a furnace renovated to use 'bio-mass', locally produced wood chips.   

The community seems happy and healthy, and mostly around 50 years old and living in partnerships.  The work pace is easy, calm and efficient.  I felt good there, very comfortable.  It seemed to me that the innovative projects, the waste water system, the permaculture garden, were all familiar and comfortable friends that have been around for a while.  

The hot topic was consensus.  A  18 year old community, they have met as a group of 60, committed to making decisions all could agreement.  I can only imagine how many hours of meeting they have had...  Now they are exploring a new way  to meet, a brand new idea called 'Holocracy'.  They are discussing radically transforming their decision making structure and process, in a way that they believe will integrate the collective wisdom of the whole community.  It is based on the idea of a holon, something that is simultaneously a whole and a part.  The part carries the information of the whole, and therefor can act as the whole... so into decision making fewer people can be responsible, freeing up others to focus on their specialized work.  I am interested to learn how this works out! 

A nice coincidence... two members of Tamera's Solar Village were there, just one week after their inauguration.   They presented a short video of the October 17th inauguration.  It seems like it was a huge success, with many local students and professionals in attendance learning about this cutting edge model village utilizing decentralized energy.  The village is built as a model of ecological sustainability, the innovative technology comes from Jurgen Kleinwatchter, a visionary physicist.  He has developed these technologies with the poorest countries in mind, “Instead of energy monopolies, we are striving for regional autonomy in energy and food supply. With this we can maintain landscapes and create jobs for life to return to the villages.”

I am feeling inspired by the work I am seeing in each of these communities!  So grateful to be part of this research, to learn about these models of peace and healing at this time... a time that seems to truly be a time of change and challenge.


Harvesting the apples at Zegg, produce in my parents garden and acorns for my sister's latest art, I look towards harvesting my own experience.  I feel full, and have not yet digested.  I intend to ground and process in this next month while I am volunteering here at the Ojai Foundation. 

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