I feel so honoured to have been a participant in the first official 2 weeks of this residency. The Eroles Project is an incredible place and its principles are totally enlivening: collective enquiry, self-organisation and transformative collaboration.
In the daily sessions we have improvised with our bodies, used authentic movement, shared one-minute performances & social presencing theatre; explored non-violent communication and discussed how these inner processes can feed into outer action in our own lives and in the context of the communities / movements we belong to.
The house has a creative spirit: it has been inspiring us and in return we have been breathing new life into it by clearing and cleaning, rearranging and repairing objects, and inhabiting forgotten corners and unusual spaces.
With the doors and windows wide-open, the heat, the wind and the sounds travel through the house in magical and mysterious ways. At times the Clarinet echoes up the stairs, round the corner and in through my balcony. At other times it is the singing and the stamping that vibrate through the walls and floors. I love it when it’s laughter, one of Ellie’s songs or my name that comes to find me on the breeze…
Mainly I have divided my time between the Garden and the Workshop space. The workshop space is one of my favourite places: The dark red floor to stand, stamp, draw and roll on; the red brick wall, a beautiful backdrop for our movement; and the wide-open windows that welcome the wind and frame the spectacular view of this majestic and peaceful valley. Here, in this high-up place, I feel like I am in a nest: held, nourished and challenged at the same time. Challenged in the most exciting way because I am totally free to choose what aspect of myself to bring into being, into relationship and into play in each moment. How can I contribute to this colourful "blank" canvas, today? How can I be of service to the group to enhance our world, right here, right now?
In the Garden I have been sleeping out, sewing seeds, propping up characterful tomato plants, removing the weeds from the veg patch whilst also weeding the thoughts and stories from my own mind that no longer serve me. Last week we saw an abundance of home-grown lettuce and the emergence of our first beetroot, so in gardening terms we have deep purple roots, lush green leaves and fertile ground.
Our previous experience of workshops, festivals, residencies, actions and climate camps help us to navigate how to live here. We have started to co-create a resilient and expandable community, a crucible for more magic to come. The culture we are building feels permissive and exploratory; a balance between structure and spontaneity, responding to both the needs and desires of the group, the project and each individual.
The daily rituals of meditation, check-ins, working together, cooking and sharing have enabled us to get to know each other in many lights, which has helped us honour the changing qualities of our creative natures.
Taking responsibility for ourselves has meant not hiding our shadows in the dark. We have been sensitive to each other’s depths and edges. We have voiced our needs, our fears and our doubts as well as the gifts we are cultivating to contribute to a more peaceful, just and caring world. I think we’ve inspired each other to reveal more of our full potential.
Through spaces like this we are getting closer and closer to being able to live with ourselves and with each other, despite difference; to sit with the difficult parts of life, to skillfully navigate the inevitable conflicts. Practicing this in community is hugely inspiring and on a micro level gives me great hope with regards to the global challenges we face.
This is exactly the kind of creative, collaborative, self-organising community I want to be a part of. Thank you Ruth, Julia, Ellie, Keith, Melody, Gabriel, two year old Leon and Lindsay for providing such an alchemical playground for personal and collective transformation!