Saturday, June 22, 2013

Findhorn Taster Day 1: Spirituality & Sustainability

We have arrived early at Findhorn Park to attend the conference on Communal Pathways to Sustainable Living and are shown our communal house with plenty of time to settle in before lunch.  It is a lovely house, which we share with 5 other people.  Steve and I have a room to ourselves with a shared bathroom.  The fridge is stocked with breakfast food and we will be eating in the house.  The other meals will be served in the community centre and they will all be vegetarian.  The food is cooked by members of the community, who also help clean up.  As part of our experience of living here, we will take our turn at KP – Kitchen Patrol, helping with the cleaning up after each meal.

We have booked in for a 3-day Findhorn Taster, before the commencement of the conference.  It will give us taste for how this community functions and enable us to participate in some of what happens here.  After lunch, we gather in the legacy room to commence our experience and get to know some of the other conference participants as well as to learn the history of the place we have come to visit.

The Findhorn Foundation as I understand it is a spiritual community, eco-village and centre for holistic education.  The community here is striving to create a more sustainable way of living and to manifest their values and beliefs through the choices they make.  The Foundation is a charitable trust, which was formed 10 years after the founders began living and working here in a quest to demonstrate ‘love in action’ or as they state to bring heaven down to earth! 

It all began in 1962 when Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean came to the caravan park not because they wanted to start up a community but because they were following their own spiritual path.  People were initially drawn here because of the abundance of the garden they planted to supplement their diet.  The area is adjacent to the ocean so people were curious about the huge vegies (40 pound cabbages) being produced from crops grown on the sand dunes.  The community that came here primarily to practice their spiritual beliefs began to realise that their beliefs could not be divorced from the way that they lived and today living lightly on the land is very much a way of life here and the the eco-village we see is a result of that.  

Findhorn is now known the world over for its sustainable practices.  Many different types of eco-houses are spread around the park but they also use renewable energy systems and implement various environmental measures such as recycling and waste water treatment.   The Ekopia Resource Exchange is another example of community power at work.  The community bank has about 180 members and supports local business.  In 2002, they launched the Eko – a local currency which can be exchanged for Pounds which can then be spent locally at a number of places both here at the park and the nearby village.  This encourages people to support their local economy and the community can earn interest on their cash in the bank. 

We have come here to learn about sustainable living.  Some of the spiritual practices will be challenging.  On our first day of introductions we are introduced to the concept of Angel Cards.  I think the beliefs surrounding these cards is that it is a way of connecting to your guardian angel and each card has a unique positive word that is meant to encourage you.  We are asked to introduce ourselves by mentioning our name, where we are from and to say something about the word that you have received. 

My word is Vision, which I find interesting.  Having a vision for my life, for my future has always been important to me especially now that I feel I am once again at another crossroads in my life.   Steve and I also share a common vision for our future and we believe it is a vital component of our relationship.  We both acknowledge that we don’t necessarily want the mainstream life we’ve led.  Personally, I no longer want the stress of trying to balance my life and work but rather feel that my life and work must be more integrated.   This is what the community of people here are trying to achieve.   I have already met many interesting people who are so inspiring and are living sustainable, meaningful lives.  I know this week will be full of surprises and learning opportunities that will help us grow and give us new ideas for our own future.  

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