Lush Spring Prize for Regeneration Project: Granada

The aim of this prize generated by Lush (the ethical high street cosmetics company), is to raise awareness of regeneration and its potential, and to explore how to best communicate the idea of regeneration. Regeneration Project: Granada received the 2017 intentional project award, alongside ten other projects receiving young, established and influential project awards.

 

The Spring Prize Event took place in Emerson College in Sussex, UK; a heartful place that provided a welcoming backdrop for this very inspiring and surprisingly unconventional event. Over two days the eleven winners from all over the world and the shortlisted projects from the UK had a chance to meet, exchange and learn from each other in a personal and informal atmosphere.

This was supported by innovative formats such as a basar, skillsharing times, workshops and open discussions, creating spaces for the different projects to meet and exchange experiences, knowledge and questions. Some topics approached in those sessions were for example how to communicate regenerative ideas, designing regenerative working environments, creating a platform that gives voice to marginalized communities…

On the first day, Ruth Cross one of the co founders of Eroles Project and team member of Regeneration Project: Granada led an embodied experience exercise where all participants could meet each other as ‘human to human’ and share in a non-verbal space. I noticed that after a little while some people sat down, assuming that something about this exercise was too much or somehow alienating for them, that they were escaping the intensity of the eye contact, or non-verbal encounters with others. Later on I talked to one of them; what he told me turned this moment into one of those moments that expands the box, confronting my personal beliefs and assumptions. He said that he could see that in our culture those kind of exercises were very much needed in order to get into our bodies and to become present. Yet, to him this seemed a bit strange as people in his culture had a naturally much more embodied way of meeting each other, and that where he comes from this exercise would not have been necessary.

He represented a project called the Timbaktu Collective, a project that works for sustainable development in drought areas in Andrah Pranesh in India, working with small farmers and especially focusing on the most marginalized, such as women, children, youth and dalits. They work collectively, cultivating common land. The thought of working hard the whole day for something that gives no private returns, without suspecting that your neighbour might be working less hard then you or getting more in return is probably quite a strange one for most people coming from western societies. I was deeply inspired by this trust in the collective, valuing your family and community before your individual needs. I imagine that this might be one of the major challenges that we will face with the Regeneration Project: Granada; the question of how to distribute ownership and yield. Especially as we aim to work with people from many different cultures, differing substantially in the relation between individual, family and society.

 

The ceremony itself was simple and heartful, the judges handing in the prize in the form of a green soap. Many project representants expressed that receiving this prize gave the people in their projects confidence that they were going in the right direction, that their work was worthwhile. The same is true for us; receiving this prize and being part of this network of wonderful and inspiring people gave me an enormous boost of trust, hope and energy to continue the work.

A massive thank you to Lush and Ethical Consumer for this beautiful event and the possibilities they provide with this prize, for creating a world where we give back more than we take!

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We went with the flow, together

After a rich and stirring experience at Eroles during week 1 of the “Camp as if people mattered” residency, I felt the urge to put down some reflections. These emerged from the original aspiration that I formulated when we did a dragon-dreaming exercise on the first day: We went with the flow, together. And they are inspired by the mountain landscape and the sense I had of the emergence of a quality of resilience amongst the participants that holds the promise of a truly unique contribution to new paradigm thinking and doing.
Like tiny streams, sourced high in the mountains,
Eager to flow towards something bigger, stronger, deeper
We embarked together on our enquiry as a collective, at Eroles…
Tentatively, respectfully, we offered our aspirations and commitment
Like a gathering of waters, tracing a path towards each other
Coming together to form a small river…
Almost bursting with enthusiasm, dancing over stones baking in sunlight,
Then resting, under stars radiant in cool midnight blue skies, dreaming
Of a braver, kinder, more generous world
Sometimes gasping for air, running dry over the hot, parched soil,
When it got too heated, like the water, we sought cooler space
Seeping back down into cracks in the earth, under rocks, in small pools…
To seek shade, preserve energy and await the moment to emerge again
And to re-engage with the dynamics of the movement onwards
To bubble forth with ideas, new awareness, the pleasure of listening, querying,
connecting with others
Accepting to explore frustration, fear, anger at the multiple sources of pain in the world,
Hearing new takes, observing reactions, listening again and again,
Offering thoughts, experiences, stories, questions…
Pooling, then flowing along again, gently gathering momentum and depth,
Conscious that alone, we could easily drown in the vast complexity and pace of the many challenges,
Or dry up in the face of so many other external forces and seeming lack of resources.
Were it not for the love, trust, courage and compassion that we breathed into the dry, tight spaces
When our minds and bodies tired and faltered, our spirits wearied,
We could have built up barriers, borders, to halt the flow…
But rather, we pulled together, we laughed together, we made music together,
Exploring non-otherness, non-duality, in a delicate, vulnerable human movement
Seeking to find our way through tricky terrain, in all weathers, against all odds
To learn that we can grow our resilience, and inspire others to do so too,
To learn to feel empowered with – not over – and to truly go with the flow
Together.
Jill Mackechnie
Retired UN humanitarian aid worker
now seeking new ways of caring
for people, places and planet
jillmackechnie@gmail.com

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