Friday, June 1, 2012

Witnessing the Incredible Potential

I wrote this article about one of my 'eco-heros' as part of my work with the Water Symposium last month in Tamera.  Below you will find two additional posts about the Water Symposium and the Global Love School, both gatherings in Tamera in April 2012.

John D. Liu - filmmaker, educator, and social and environmental activist - is a man with a clear purpose, one that he lives with passion and power.  When I asked him about his path towards discovering his work, he said, "We don't need activity, we need purposeful activity. Human activity without consciousness is useless."  John’s advice : if you don't know what to do, or if you don't understand what you are doing, don't do anything.  Be still.  Once you know what to do, then you have a responsibility to act, and you have to do it precisely.  He explained, "Every choice we make effects the whole”, referring to the butterfly effect and the interconnected nature of the world.  John's contribution to transforming the current epoch of destruction is sharing the message of environmental restoration.  It is now scientifically proven that it is possible to reverse the effects of deforestation, over-production and environmental degradation.  "Nothing is as important as large scale landscape regeneration."  

John is an activator, has been called a 'thought leader', and is turning the world on to the message that change is possible.   A true bridge person, John has worked with CBS, the World Bank and the UN.  He named the importance of working on a policy level, as the dysfunction is systematic, and he recognizes that the same issues that are seen in the global systems are mirrors for the human structures of fear, disconnection and the lack of trust.

I first met John at the Bioneers Conference in California.  His stunning images and clear dialogue created a picture of hope that called for action, and I was compelled to connect with him.  A powerful figure in the world, he has been 'eco-warrior' traveling the world (90 countries so far) using the tools of media and education to spread information for change.  From our first conversation I recognized him also as a community being.  He was receptive, present and curious, interested not only in the projects I spoke of but of me as a human as well.  During our first conversation in Tamera during the Water Symposium he told me how important community is to him.  His first experiences with community were in his youth, and while they may not have been the most successful models, he remained connected to the dream of community.  "I live wherever I am, and I have a very large community."  

When John spoke of what he has learned from visiting diverse cultures, I witnessed him being very moved.   His eyes softened and glistened as he described the cross-cultural harvest of solutions as a gift and a big source of inspiration.  "There are many models, and each culture is teaching us something, and each has its flaws."  While his path may continue to take him to all corners of the world, researching and spreading the message of functional eco-systems and regeneration projects, I sensed a resonance with the vision of creating models.  "It is urgent to have a vision of a future without war."  Indeed, the tag line of one of his projects is "Envisioning a future without poverty in a world with functional ecosystems."

Media has been his passion, his medium and his work, and through this he has seen how vision creates reality through the information that is released into the world.  He explained, "It is urgent to have a vision that works" in a time that Hollywood broadcasts apocalyptic images and TV shows focus on surveillance, hate and violence.  "If we don't have a vision more compelling than that, then that will be the future."  Looking at the world through Liu's eyes, I can see the dysfunction of our society and its roots in the information we receive.  John sees TV as the successor to the village storyteller;  throughout history stories have been passed from one generation to the next.  Stories, and now our T.V. programming and access to the internet, represent the sum of human knowledge that is increasingly available to everyone.  This is terrifying from the perspective that media is a corrupt tool.  John explained, "In media there is so much power and very little responsibility."   Again and again he referenced Noam Chomsky's concept of  'manufactured consent' - corporate owned media is motivated by profit rather than public interest or truth, and the news that we, the public, receive creates our perception of reality and therefore what we can imagine.  And, "If we can't imagine it, we can't have it." 

 "Nothing needs to be said if you don't understand it.  This concept has made me a much better researcher."  John looks at the world with wonder, he spoke of his "healthy skepticism" which leads to ultimately judging whether something is effective or not.  If it is effective, it is because it is logical and true.  "Tell the truth, and tell everyone the same thing."  John identifies the need to talk about base level destruction; a 'truth' I hear him repeating again and again is the 'mistake' of the basis of our economic system, a mistake we have perpetuated throughout history.  We have based our economy on production and consumption, which creates deserts, a reality we can see not only in the overwhelming trend of desertification in the world, but also social deserts.  This system will either collapse or evolve into a system based on ecological function: "Everything is grace, everything is a gift.  I don't want to live my life buying and selling, constantly negotiating."

The Loess Plateau was John's first case study of large-scale regeneration of an ecological system corrupted by overproduction.  The Loess Plateau in China is one of the world’s cradles of civilization, generally known as the second region to develop agriculture, which led to environmental degradation and famine.  In 1995 John was hired by the World Bank to document one of the world's largest scale degeneration control projects, a project that through impressive research successfully changed the intent of the societal and economic systems from production to function.  John explained, "When you value ecological function higher than production and consumption, then you move towards ecological sustainability.  Otherwise, you devalue the source."  As he wrote in his article 'Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration in the Kosmos Journal, "Witnessing the incredible potential of restoration has helped me to understand that degradation is not inevitable and that there is a path forward for humanity that leads to a sustainable future."

One key to the success in the Loess Plateau was the use of vocational training and participatory rural assessment, not only creating jobs in a depressed economic region but also engaging the whole community in the research of solutions.  Of course they made a lot of mistakes, but through highly organized structures they documented their work and evolved.  This approach helps to create 'buy in', change is often met by resistance on every level from peasant farmers (“Why should we plant trees?  The next generation can not eat trees.”), to policy makers facing a drastic cultural and economic shift from a production driven economy towards a concept of wealth based on economic function.  

John made two films about the restoration of the Loess Plateau, "The Lessons of the Loess Plateau" and "Hope in a Changing Climate".  The films are exciting and strong; John uses informative narrative and rich images to bring the viewer into the macro and microscopic picture of what is happening.  The images help us to see the power of destruction in our current state of degradation, while also seeing the life power of nature.  From close ups of flowers to views of large bodies of water eroding the earth, his images strike a chord deep inside of me, speak to me of the human-nature relationship, and awaken a deep human longing for healing.  His in-person presentations are even more dynamic, as the dialogue comes straight from his life knowledge and is very clear and poignant.  Leila Dregger of Tamera said of his presentation during the water symposium: “The short piece he showed was really strong and in a positive way emotional. I could see how to use mainstream skills in a good and opening way, not only in a manipulative way. I did not find myself being manipulated, just touched and with the information I was provided ready to act.”

He continues to bring hope to the world through media, collaborating with other journalists and filmmakers in a variety of projects.  The latest development is a new television program called "What If We Change" which is aired in many countries in East Africa.  The focus is on ecological success stories.  While in Tamera he created a segment on the Water Symposium and Tamera's model water retention landscape.  From there he traveled to the Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, a protected research center focused on forests, streams and watersheds for over 40 years.  He follows invitations and callings to all corners of the world.  When it comes to collaboration, he is ready to "try", to work with anyone who wants to work with him.  

When I asked John what he thought of Tamera's work he replied quickly and clearly: "The water retention landscape is perfect for this area."  He was very happy to learn more about this approach, AND, "It doesn't necessarily need to be lakes."  From his view, the percentage of land cover is the most essential, the physical interference of creating lakes must become biophysical, biomass is more important than water retention spaces. Bio-diversity, biomass and accumulated organic matter are keys for human survival.  "After following this line of inquiry for so long I now know that soil moisture, relative humidity, fertility, microclimates and infiltration and retention of rainfall are dynamic. We can physically change the amount of biomass, accumulated organic matter and even ensure biodiversity is protected. It is our choice." -from his article "Envisioning a future without poverty in a world with intact ecosystems" published by Network of Climate Journalists of the Greater Horn of Africa.

John D. Liu is a key player in the system change we are all embarking on.  He is doing his part, and he is not alone.  As he said, "The knowledge is bigger than the individual or the community, it is needed on a planetary level. "  In the current system, most people do not have access to the true 'sum of human knowledge.'  Those of us who access knowledge, have free minds ad consider what is needed to be done are privileged, and "with this privilege comes great responsibility".  I give thanks to the path of this one man, and thank him for the way he came into contact with Tamera, sharing his knowledge, allowing himself to be touched by what he met, revealing his vulnerable human side, and for the huge gift he gave me, as a young peace worker in training, to see him in his humanity.  This is a hopeful picture in this time of transformation.

International Water Symposium

April  26 - 29, 2012

We gathered from around the world, Kenya, Bolivia, Israel, USA, India, Slovakia and beyond… researchers, project leaders, restoration specialists, permaculturists, artists and activists with at least one thing in common: water.  We are a water planet; more than 70% of the earth body is water.  We are water beings; around 60% of our bodies are water.  All life forms are 'containers' for water, it is our life source, and we have changed the natural balance and flow of water and polluted. As Sabine Lichtenfels, co-founder of Tamera, said in her opening speech: "Water is everywhere, we are all connected through water. Let us work in a way that we will form a global council of water, connected through our mediation and prayers, knowledge about alternatives, and political actions worldwide."  Tamera, inspired by the thought of Victor Showberger that "When we treat water according to its nature there will be enough food, water, and energy for every living being on the planet." hosted the water symposium at their site, a model and research center for 'water retention landscapes'.  
Tamera has identified water as a key aspect of the healing work needed during this time when we no longer live in connection with the cycles of nature and have built systems of destruction and consumption.  A favorite quote of the project from Dieter Duhm is: “There is the world that we have created and the that has created us, these two worlds must come together, this is the goal of the journey”.  The first day of the water symposium was dedicated to sharing the thoughts and work of Tamera.  Various leaders and friends of the project spoke on different aspects of the model.  Benjamin Von Mendelson, a young leader from Tamera, spoke clearly and fluidly about the current situation and the vision of Tamera.  "With its exploitation, competition, and domination the present system is a globalized model of fear. This is the world we created. We drink fear; eat fear and wear fear through our use and abuse of the resources of the earth while we should be creating coherent system based on trust and cooperation."  Tamera is moving towards a new paradigm as a research center and university for a the creation of comprehensive models for the future.            
Sepp Holzer, the Autstian 'Rebel Farmer', is the visionary behind the permaculture water landscape of Tamera.  When he first came to Tamera he met a landscape in distress: hot dusty summers and muddy winters, the cork oaks were dying, and he was asked if it was possible to sustain 300 people on the land. He said "If you could see what I see, you would not have this question.  This is a water rich land."   In his speech he said "If only we could read in nature we could see the water retention spaces nature offers us.  We would create decentralized water management, grow a diversity of plant species and forget monocultures where plants compete with each other and exploit the soil. Nature is perfect and shows us the way when we really look. When the soil is covered and shaded by a diversity of vegetation, it attracts the moisture, rain does not run off but gets absorbed. When the soil is hot and hard then rain runs off. There is so much change on this land the last five years. The fruit trees around the lakes are growing and the terraces are thriving. There is so much done but still so little.
Nature is perfect. There is absolutely nothing to improve. We need to accept it. We need to plant trees for our great grandchildren and we can be sure that we will harvest the benefits already in our own life as well as that of our children, who will be happy to continue along our path, slowly building a paradise."
In a time when we are facing climate change and an increase of 'natural disasters', we are increasingly aware that the devastation of 'natural disasters' is human made, human perpetuated, and that it is not to late to reverse the damage we have done and rehabilitate, restore and regenerate the land(and water)scape.  During the Water Symposium we bore witness to the good work being done around the world.  Rajendra Singh from Rajasthan has been 'greening the desert' in his region since 1985.  Faced with the situation of damns, degradation from development, the broken relationship between humans and nature in his region, Rajendra the situation of the world.  "The solution for global warming and climate change is local action and traditional wisdom." His project, employing simple techniques and village participation, has successfully 'greened' 8,6000 square kilometers.  Michal Kravcik from Slovakia showed inspiring images of simple retention structures that stop run off and degradation, and simultaneous give work to unemployed community members.  John D. Liu wowed us with impressive images of large scale landscape regeneration in China and his commitment as a documentary journalist to sharing the most important truth he has found: regeneration is possible and necessary everywhere on earth.  Majid Abdellazi brought another aspect of greening the dessert in Algeria, known as 'the rainmaker' he works with weather systems, or 'integral landscape healing', "I call it Feng Shui of the sky.  Feng Shui is about liberating energy blocks; what we do in our bodies or our houses we can also do on a planetary level to help the energy flow again." 
Water is a political issue, and the world situation was very present, especially during our daily 'global circles', an opportunity to bring personal story to the world stage.  The first day we heard a lot of the situation of Africa, and the challenge of 'aid' work.  Phillip Munyasia of OTEPIC shared his hope and commitment to work with his community for a different future through permaculture education and work with water.  We also heard from the middle east, Nader Al-Khateeb from Friends of the Earth Middle East, the only organization where Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians are working together to protect their shared environment, spoke of the challenges of occupation compounding the issue of incorrect water management.   Their work is highly political and focuses on raising awareness, locally and globally, to the situation of the water situation in the middle east towards law reform and long term regeneration.  We also heard from Aida Shibli, a Palastenian member of the PRV(Peace Research Village) Middle East, a young group of Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals that has spent several years in education and planning in Tamera and has just spent 6 months in Israel Palestine with the vision of creating and supporting social and ecological models for peace in the region, focusing on the issues of water.  Aida said "The question is how to create places where trust can live again and to recognize that we are the same divine being. If we can see paradise inside of us, we can also see it outside."
The being of water, the spiritual connection with this element, was central to our shared experience.  It rained throughout the weekend, with a strong clap of thunder in the early morning of the third day, accompanying the birth of a new baby girl into the community.  Rainbows appeared, celebrating the union of water and light, and it seemed that all were touched with gratitude for the miracle of water and the gift of being alive.  Many speakers referred to being 'guided' by water, the importance of recognizing and connecting to this force.  Minnie Jain of Shumaker College asked us: Do you remember the last time you really looked at water? Did you see the water in the glass you last drank from? How often do you speak with the being of water? We take water so much for granted, something so alive. Is water a gift, a right, a resource, a commodity, a thing to be owned by a few… or the source of life, an archetypal fluid that represents circularity, divinity, renewal?"  
The human nature relationship was honored and explored, and I was touched by the awareness in so many that the work we do in 'the outer' world rehabilitating landscapes relates intimately with the work in our 'inner' worlds.  Ben Tyers, a young Schouberger researcher and artist said: "All life is motion, all life is moving between extremes.  We can witness this in our movement of thinking, the cycle of visualization, thought, expression, creation. We need to clear our channels of manifestation." John Liu, who I accompanied during the weekend and interviewed (see the above article "Witnessing the Incredible Potential") also highlighted the importance of clarity in action, it is essential that we know what we are doing as we are part of an interconnected whole and our actions will have an impact.  He said "if you don't know what to do, do nothing" and if you do know what to do, be sure that you will be supported, as it is your purpose, your gift.  Minnie Jain told me, during an in between moment, how important it is that we all give our gifts, show up with our open heart and our unique frequency, ready to give. 
The gift culture was present, and the topic of money organically flowed in to this 'giestig' retention space… as co-worker for healing the human-nature relationship there was a shared understanding that the current systems are no longer functional, our economic system is based on consumption and production, leading to the over use and degradation of nature.  Catherine Austin-Fitts, a critical analyst of the global financial system, said in her speech:  "The current financial model is destructive of wealth. Since all wealth comes from life and the centralized control of the current model destroys living systems, it is wealth destructing. What we need is to develop many models that are life giving and wealth creating."  Geoff Donoghue, working with a catholic charity supporting local organizations around the world, spoke of "a broken relationship with ourselves, the divine and each other".  From this root, our systems become distorted and there are great power imbalances. He illustrated greed through the teaching of St Ambrose "if you have two coats you should ask not 'who can I give this away to', you should ask whose coat you have." He said "We have wardrobes like dams" and it continues with "the second car, the second holiday, the second computer…We dam our wealth. Let it seep back into the body of humanity as a single body. That is our task, thats the solution, it is change in relationship."
The gifts from this time will continue to grow, as many seeds were planted, connections made, and cooperation strengthened.  A global community gathered to water the dream of healing, reconnection and regeneration.  Tamera provided the space, sent the invitation, and received us in a field of research.  Their model works is a model for their region, and a model for the whole world.  The people and land of Portugal was very present, and there were meetings around the situation of the desertification of Portugal and the vision of '10,000 lakes in the Alentejo'.  The idea is that Tamera can become a model for greeting the Alentejo, which in turn becomes a model for Portugal, and Portugal can become a model for the whole world.  Through gathering together in one place, we had the opportunity to be inspired by many projects, many models.  Tamera emphasizes the importance of comprehensive models where the different aspects of life are integrated in functioning whole, where we are constantly 'eating, drinking and wearing', working with and creating peaceful information.  Seeing such a broad spectrum of 'peace workers' shows how far we have come, how much we know, and how much we have already to integrate.  And, yes, how far we have to go.  The situation is dire, and yet coming together in such a way brings hope through solidarity, it is inspiring to know what others are doing, to incorporate new learning into our work, and to find out how we can support one another.  Towards the one, towards a healed human-nature relationship, once again in cooperation with life.  As Vera Klienhammes, coordinator of the Global Campus, said "If we are capable of creating community again and learn how to live together we can recreate the original home of human beings, the original home of life, in cooperation with the whole, in awareness for the whole. By this we re-integrate the human being into the family of life."

Global Love School

I feel the cool stone beneath my hand, my fingers trace the contours of the symbol etched in the surface, and I open my heart to listen.  I ask permission, and I enter the modern stone circle.  I am in Tamera, Healing Biotope 1, a peace research village in the Alentejo region of Portugal.  I am a guest, and I am at home here this 'base-station' for the movement for a free earth… 

I am a pilgrim, a young woman listening deeply for what it means to be human, asking "what serves?" during these times of transformation.  I returned to this beloved community as a friend and supporter, finding a new way to be in relationship with a land based community when I am not living full time in the community, on the land.  I came with another young woman Shay as a response to a call, an invitation to join a 'global love school' and take part in the second Water Symposium at Tamera.  We first came here as part of an intergenerational group of 8, 'Beyond Boundaries', on pilgrimage listening for the questions of our times and bearing witness to the good work being done at some of the acupuncture points around the world.  The dream of beyond boundaries continues, as does our own 'song lines' of reconciliation,  cross-culture bridge building and deep listening.  

I am attracted to Tamera, again and again, to study, support and witness this 'new culture'… a collective of people who consciously stepping out of complicity with the current systems of consumption, degradation and violence, and are creating an alternative way of living in harmony with all of life.  I resonate with the holistic nature of the model they are creating and the framework of research and experimentation.  Tamera is researching and creating a model for peace.  The 'plan of the healing biotopes', their vision for the creation of decentralized models, is an important part the system change.  The biotopes are places where all aspects of human life are holistically integrated so we are living consciousness, trust and peace in every aspect of our lives, from our inner thoughts and emotions to our relations with other humans and living beings and the ways we relate to natural resources, food, water, energy and all other 'human needs'.  The creation of integrative and functional models, an actualized vision of coherent peace knowledge, can and will change the world.  "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Since the beginning of the project in 1978 there has been a focus on peace between people.  The founders were part of the political left movement in Germany, and as they 'protested' the system from which they come they realized that the structures of violence, victim and perpetrator, that they saw in the world around them they also could observe in their inner landscape.  "We can only achieve as much outer peace as we have achieved inner peace."  (Dieter Duhm, the Sacred Matrix)  The research turned towards changing the inner point of fear to trust, from separation to connection.  The 'topic number one' was love and sexuality.  At that time, and throughout history, the issues of love and sexuality were highly taboo, private, and repressed.  Even today, in this time of consciousness shift and transformation, these issues are often left out of the conversation.  
On April 10 around 60 people gathered in the political ashram, the spiritual and thinking center of Tamera, and began a ten day course exploring these issues on a global level.  The group consisted of long time Tamerian community members and internationals from Mexico, Switzerland, USA, Israel, Russia, Germany, England and elsewhere.  We came together to share our knowledge, experiences and ideas, to ask our questions, to find together 'non-negotiables' in love that are applicable anywhere, and to connect to something much greater than us, something that can not yet be grasped directly, something emerging in humanity and calls us all to bring our attention and intention to this emergence.  
In the introduction from Sabine Lichtenfels, a co-founder, spiritual leader of Tamera and carrier of feminine peace knowledge, spoke of our global love school as a birthing process.  Sabine is a global peace-worker, and had just returned from Israel Palestine. She described recent experiences of touching the seed of the divine that lives with in all of us.  This inner divine point is in the material body in ourselves, other beings, the earth itself.  At the same time, we are in a state of separation, mostly living from our pain bodies of human experience, and we have to let this in to allow ourselves to be touched.  From day one, the question was: can we see the healed picture beyond our individual love pain?  And, from day one, the issue of love was supported by the issue of water and ecology.  In our separated states we have forgotten that we are cared for, provided for, in every way.  In this paradigm of scarcity we have forgotten that there is enough water for all beings, if we care for it the right way.  There is enough love for me, if I allow it to flow according to its nature.  A system change from Scarcity to Abundance.
Every day we had time for contemplative practice, lectures from Sabine or other members of the community, small 'study group' discussions and forum work.  Forum is world stage, a practice of putting our stories, especially those that feel most private and personal, in a broader context.  Speaking or performing the individual process makes us aware it is a human process, something that is bigger than ourselves.  This process also makes one's process visible to the community, so others know what you are thinking, feeling and doing, and also serves as 'study material' or insights for the other people who are witnessing the forum performance.  The forum leader and other people may give you mirrors, reflecting what they see and connecting to a bigger picture.  Little picture, big picture.  Through this we begin to understand that at the core we all have the same longings for love, we all share the same cosmic longing for home.  And, we are all faced with the reality of separation, and our individual struggles are reflections of the state of humanity in separation.
"The social basis of life in all societies has been destroyed.  Human beings have lost the ability to live together in peace.  Fear, alienation and mistrust lead to irresolvable conflicts in all systems, from the smallest systems of marriage and family all the way to the global crisis areas and wars" (Monika Berghoff, the Healing Biotopes Plan)
During the course I was particularly moved by the connection to the global situation.  There were two young women from Tamera who had recently returned from a journey to a peace community in Colombia.  When they spoke of what they saw, the human condition, the reality of violence and poverty, and I was moved.  A beautiful and intelligent peace worker stood in front of me and revealed her open and trembling heart.  She expressed her truth and her commitment for the path of healing.  On our journey towards reconnection, we come to a point that which is the same within all of us, life expressing itself.  And, when we go for healing, we are faced with our pain.  This pain, in ourselves and expressed in the current global situation, brings us to points where we doubt our belief in the divine. 
That evening, after releasing the tears that shook my being, I wrote: What if God, or what ever name we give that which connects us, has put the responsibility in our hands, in our hearts?  What if she has not left us, but become us, and trusts in our process and our coming home?  What if god is in the water, and in the earth, and in our bodies, and in even in our minds, and we have gone astray.  Somehow we left God, the tees, rain, and each other… and now we are waging war… The truth, this universal longing for home, for reunion, for reconciliation, regeneration - this is the most important.    
The peace community of San Jose de Apartado in Colombia is faced with real pain, violence and even death on a daily basis.  They came together to protect their lives and land, a village of farmers who decided to stay on their land, united in a commitment for non-violence.  The stories I have heard are horrifying, and the people I have met from there are beautiful.  They have discovered a beautiful treasure, forgiveness.  They do not blame the perpetrators, they realize this is the situation of our divided world.
Here in Tamera, a common sentence (first written by co-founder Dieter Duhm) is: "There is the world that we have created, and there is the world that has created us.  Our task is to bring these two worlds together. "
All of life shares the same elements, the same information.  We are made from almost the same DNA structures, and we all contain water.  From science to indigenous lived experience, we know that we are in constant communication and relationship with living thing around us.  At some point in human history, we stepped out of contact with life and created an illusion of separation.  We have created structures based on this fundamental lie, and these structures have been perpetuated for thousands of years, to the point where we now are facing real danger of extinction as a species because we have abused our resources and can no longer sustain ourselves with the abundance that is possible when we are in contact with and tending to the land, plants, animals and elements that dependent on for survival. 
Bernd Muller, one of the ecologists and carriers of the work of the 'water retention landscape' spoke of the connection between nature and love.  "What we did to Mother Earth we did to ourselves."  He showed us that we can observe the pain body of the earth, see how over-grazing and land mismanagement is causing degradation and, worse, impacts the water cycle in such a way that we are now faced with a lack of clean water and a lowered water table, and a break in the big cycle of water.  We have created imbalance in the natural flow of water.  Schauberger, a researcher of water and patterns of nature at the beginning of the 20th century, wrote "When human beings learn to move water in the right way nature will participate in such a way that all beings will have access to abundant water, food, and energy."
The connection to nature was present in the group field throughout the course, and we were often blessed with rain.  This was a huge gift after a very dry winter in a region that is facing desertification, at a place committed to 'bringing the water back into the earth body' as Bernd says. We spent time in prayer with the water, going to the different water places on the land and connecting in love and gratitude for the gift of life.  Sabine, with her mystery knowledge and way of listening deeply to the earth, again and again invited us to come into contact with nature and its sources.  I remember a moment when I looked outside the seminar room and saw a young woman from Russia, a fairy being, leaning her whole body into the wind.  Surrender.  "It was as if the sun had kissed the earth and all of creation celebrated with him." 
To me, the human nature relationship is so closely linked to the reconciliation in love and sexuality. Deiter Duhm wrote in A Future Without War: "The issues of our time are so closely networked and so closely linked to each other that they can not be solved individually.  A truly non-violent ecology cannot be developed without a new relation to our own inner nature, for outer and inner nature are two sides of the same issue and they are moved by the same life energies." 
Here in Tamera, a model is arising for a future peace culture.  The global love school was an experiment, inviting outsiders in to study love together.  There is a strong emphasis on thinking in this work, there is a popular saying "First study, then act."  Sabine said "we need to think in such a way that we can act and create, in ourselves and in our world, peace."  Vera Klienhammes, a young leader of the Global Education speaks about consciousness.  In a morning attunement she said: "Where there is consciousness the big mutual recognition, seeing each other, which we all long for is possible.  (It is possible) to not abandon the divine point with in you.  It is about connectedness to the whole."  And, it is about connecting to a vision of a healed earth, a healed picture of love, and a image of peace between people.
Again and again we reminded each other we are in a birthing process.  We recognize we are in a system in collapse, our political, ecological, economical and, yes, inner structures are not sustainable and we can not continue to live as we have.  We are part of something new, and something very old, coming through humanity now.  It is the time of the great turning, and we are all both midwives of a new culture, and in the throws of birth pains.  
Benjamin Von Mendelson, a young leader of the community, spoke about the emergence of the new man (he called his speech "observations from the birth canal"), an approach to opening listening to the earth body, approaching the divine feminine in woman.  He drew a picture of the delicate situation, for the past 5,000 years we have been systematically cutting women from their source.  There was a time when women lived in connection to the source, and were honored for it.  It is time to support the reconnection, to recognize feminine sexuality and form new cooperation.  From this solidarity we can face fear, remind each other of the power that supports us.  We can discover the true feminine source, experience true forms of intimacy and realize our wild nature… and find these are not contradictory.  
And, we are in the birth process.  We are not there yet.  We are full of longing, and working with an operating system that is not coherent with our nature.  As Benjain said, “I don’t care where you come from, I care where you step in now.”  We need to be compassionate with each other, to bring awareness and consciousness when we find our selves and each other reactive to old paterns.  As the Maria Isabel, a participant from Spain, said so beautifully:  I commit to go from hunger to nourishment so I can feel and nourish myself and others.”