Community activities seek to address groups of people that may come to co-exist at a particular moment in time coincidentally as their members choose to participate in a particular activity of Kipos. Other times they may pre-exist as a community or group, whose members not only belong to it on a symbolic level (as people for instance who are interested in the same topic or share a common sense of identity), but also share daily practices and are interrelated.
Almost each community activity organised by Kipos, regardless of the type of community (symbolic or actual), includes the notions of nature and nature, the two of them being regarded as integral components of the soul, but also everyday life.
Rewilding: self-awareness walks
Self-awareness walks invite nature within the personal/ collective process. As we walk, we are observing the space around us, the plants or the river, the path or the cave – being constantly drawn into dialogue, this dialogue becoming an inextricable part of our expanding consciousness. Movement as well belongs into this same “know thyself” process. Our aim is not necessarily to reach a certain place or point – to move from a to b – but rather to expand our skills in order to achieve a symbolic or an actual repositioning. So, we walk for as long at the path would have us or for as long as we wish to wonder for each moment in time and space.
Being part of and in dialogue with the natural world we are aiming at developing skills for a deeper understanding and empathy: towards ourselves, but also the human and non-human Others. And this is how we seek to reestablish a sense of ecological balance and belonging into a wider ecosystem of relationships and multiple interactions. And while the term of “rewilding” has been created in order to describe a scientific ecological practice aiming at the return of the planet and its ecosystems to a “wild(er)” state, where each species/ form of life has its own role to fulfill, on the level of human relationships things are a little different. Here is where the issue of the “tamed” or “domesticated” self enters discussion..
In a world, that increasingly promotes the idea, and practice too, of a mediated life where everything is being provided and readjusted from without, we are focusing on practices and traditions calling us to experience ourselves in nature or ourselves as nature. Wild nature, of course, is not only to be discovered in the more-than-human world, but also in the urbanised one. In villages and cities, as well as in forests and shores, our wild cousins live their lives the best way they can. And we are invited to do the same, only this time in connection to all different forms of life around us. In a way, notions such as rewilding do not only form a specific type of scientific intervention, but also a wider state of mind.
Participation in rewilding activities is only possible through physical presence.
Joanna Macy, academic, philosopher and activist, developed the particular methodology out of her love for the world, but also the pain caused by its destruction, be it because of environmental degradation (for instance the nuclear threat or species mass extinction) or the multiple forms of social injustice we are witnessing today.
Active hope offers a way in processing despair, so that instead of becoming immobilised we are encouraged towards collective action. Through experiential activities, participants are invited to explore the emotions caused by the state of the world, in order to find ways of creative convergence within it.
Hope, according to Macy, does not constitute a passive state of consciousness, but rather a daily practice in a world where everything is intertwined and mutually co-dependent.
Participation in seminars and activities on active hope can either take place through physical presence or through the Internet – as appropriate. The practice of active hope consists of four stages:
- honoring our pain for the world
- seeing with new eyes/ ancient eyes
- going forth
More on active hope you will find in the Work That Reconnects Network and in Active Hope
Social and psychosocial education activities for children, adolescents and adults. Their aim is developing creativity, an increase in individual and collective self-awareness, to offer the space for processing relationships within the group but also to the wider social context, engaging actively in everyday life while being able to recognise the individual self as an aspect of an intricate ecosystem.
Sociocultural animation emphasises the notion of community, entails the arts and experiential learning and links self-reflection to current social (and other) realities. It stands critically on power relations – within and without the group – while firmly rooted in the critical pedagogies of the 1970s (see for instance the work of Paolo Freire).
By creating the necessary space for action and being able to recognise the multiplicity of relationships, sociocultural animation allows its members to experience themselves through collective instead of exclusively individual processes.
You can find more on sociocultural animation in Μυθοπλασίες και Αφηγήσεις and infed: education, community-building and change
All people tell stories. Small or big stories. For that time they were lost in an unknown place or when they rented their first, very own apartment or house. For the little adventures of the day with coworkers, friends, loved (or less loved) ones. Some stories transcend the one or the few, belong to history and are co-shaping events, struggling sometimes to survive in spite of existing mainstream narratives. “I was there too” they seem to declare, knowing very well that being able to recognise presence or being able to be “there” may constitute a volatile reality or may be subjective in nature. Some stories are called fairytales. They present us with ways of understanding or processing the world: wisdom stories, magical tales, paradoxical tales, humorous anecdotes or animal stories, even tales without any spoken or intelligible words. And of course, one shouldn’t forget the myths and the mythic realities lurking underneath every mundane action.
If you told me what kind of stories you loved to listen to as a child, I could perhaps tell you who you are. (Or at least try it, since stories change over time.) In The Garden we love stories. We allow space for them to emerge any moment, during the counseling process, but also elsewhere: in story-telling evenings, seminars and so on. In the Garden we commit to story-telling through:
- Oral histories projects, where participants are invited to share stories of the place(s) they live or lived.
- Traditional story-telling evenings (or afternoons or mornings).
- Education in story-telling practices, where the aim is not as much to learn the art of how to tell a particular story – although this kind of learning is not necessarily excluded – as it is to learn how to include story-telling in the context of social interventions or as an integral aspect of a community/ group process or as part of a person’s professional development.