How many workshops and/or events WTR focused do you run a year?
It depends: This year I will do six short sessions (2-3 hours) plus a month long immersions with 4 sessions. That is 7 in total. Some of them were in person, before Covid19, now they are all online.
Last year there were two: an afternoon session during a conference on Climate Change and Consciousness, and a weeklong intensive.
Are you part of a hub?
Yes, I recently joined the WTR hub in Scotland.. I am part of the Findhorn Spiritual Community/Eco village, so am very connected to many inspiring, likeminded, creative, passionate and dedicated people from all over the world, who are interested in inner work and outer action.
Are other facilitators in your area? Who are they?
Yes. Chris Johnstone, who co wrote the book Active Hope with Joanna Macy, and with whom I co-facilitated some workshops. Jacqueline Buckingham with whom I hold a month long program and the webinar. Several others have been involved in the WTR over the years.
Do you have any upcoming events you’d like to share?
Are you available for mentoring others?
No, I am afraid not right now. I have a full time job, plus several other projects on the side. I simply do not have the time, at the moment. Everyone is more than welcome to join the programs I facilitate, and pick up ideas from there.
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you become involved in the WTR and what role does it have in your life?
I got involved with WTR around the year 2000, when Joanna Macy visited the Findhorn Foundation Community where I live and work. I was invited to join Joanna’s support team for the week, and bring my Buddhist background. It was a delight and an honour to get to know her better, and glimpse behind the scenes of she facilitates a session, and adjusts the schedule to the needs of the group. She visited on two other occasions where I joined as a participant. For me it brought so many aspects of my life together: the activist, as I have a strong activist background from my years in my city of origin: Amsterdam. Being a Buddhist practitioner. My passion for the environment, and my life in the Findhorn ecovillage and spiritual community.
I also very much value women stepping into leadership positions, sharing their passions, skill and inspiration. All of them are represented in Joanna Macys work and the Work that Reconnects. After one of Joanna’s visits a local group was created. to study and practice WTR. I joined the group, and we took turns leading a session. It gave me a lot of confidence to practice with a peer-group. At some point I decided to make a commitment, which we do during the final part of the Spiral. My commitment was to bring WTR/Active Hope into my community and local area. I have been doing this now for 4 years, and my involvement is increasing.
What are you grateful for in the WTR world?
I am grateful it provides a supportive structure for transformation to take place. It is reliable, trustworthy, profound. Again and again, we simply follow the spiral, and every time people get results, and are encouraged to take steps in their own lives. I am grateful I can bring into WTR some of my passions. For example, I am surrounded by nature, living near the sea and dunes. During the on- site workshops we included the natural environment a lot. Living in the Findhorn Community, which in a way in an amazing example of Active Hope, I told the story of the Community through the eyes of Active Hope. I am grateful for the building of our resilience in a creative way. I found that by going deep, we can surface with joy.
What challenges and struggles have you experienced as a facilitator of the WTR?
In one of the weeklong workshops there was a very critical aspect that seemed to override the quality of Hope. Many of the group continued to be critical: to the world, the group, the facilitators. maybe even to themselves. That was not easy.
What has been the most difficult moment in your journey through the WTR?
I remember a moment when we needed to be with mixed messages from group members who wanted to express strong emotions, and at the same time did not fully trust the process, the group or themselves to be with deeper feelings and emotions.
What has emerged for you since you started facilitating the WTR?
What emerged recently is working online. Since the Corona virus pandemic most on site gatherings are impossible. I started doing some online sessions, and am delighted to see how effective they are! Another new thing was to facilitate my colleagues! I include an Active Hope session during an internal week, which went really well.
What are your next steps in this Work?
In September I will co-facilitate a month long Active Hope program, online. It includes encouraging a deeper involvement for the group in between sessions. We plan to do that by setting up small group meetings, a dedicated closed Facebook group to continue sharing experiences for participants, and other integration practises.
What would you say to someone who is new to the WTR?
Try it out! Find out where people hold WTR or Ative Hope sessions, and join in. Check what happens, and what the results are, both in your being as well as in your doing.
What recommendations you have for new facilitators?
Use whatever skills you have. Play your strengths. For example: if you like singing, include a song. If you are into movement, include movement. Use any facilitation skills you have. Find someone to work with you are comfortable with. Teaming up with someone can really help. Taking turns to lead a session, and then relax a little.
Do you have a favorite practice? Why?
For me the spiral as a whole is very powerful. If I would choose one practice, it could be gratitude. Looking through the eyes of gratitude is such a profound experience. In a longer spiral, I often invite people to write their live story looking through the lens of gratitude. It has a powerful effect. When I do the practice myself, which I always do when I facilitate, my whole experience of life is uplifted.