YIP Newsletter June/July 2016 – The Great Wide Open
The epic splash from the twenty-five souls thrown softly into the Järnian pool has long ago been reabsorbed. The ripples, which ebbed and bounced in beautiful arcs and coils for almost a year, have also departed for new horizons. As the pool finds stillness again, the silence that accompanies the becalmed water seems such a distant memory that it’s almost otherworldly. Though the souls have moved on and left in their wake a seemingly hushed atmosphere, this place will remain forever changed from the impact of their presence. ‘What a gift it has been’ is the reverberating echo buzzing with its own life. Reaching heights of Swedish summer bliss, the life that blooms here now is of its own: sunshine, salads and setting fruit, and the beautifully necessary incarnation that will dress the stage to hopefully happily host the next multitude of approaching souls. As silence, in a way, is simply music played elsewhere, the enjoyment of these precious summer days will prepare the ground for the coming chorus and do so with the ease of still waters. Bon voyage and farewell, YIP8. Approaching greetings and a heartfelt welcome to YIP9!
The last weeks have seemed like an age in their own rite, an epic whirlwind with a million memories to conjure for any given moment. They have opened doors to rooms and offered exploration to places that have long been pondered, but not yet approached. Anna Cavalin walked us down a road of gender, history and identity. She brought up questions and ideas that lead to important dialog, which, at certain points, shed light on some subconscious understandings of humanity that many of us have grown up with.
Then Jaynese Poole and Frank Escamilla joined us for Medicine Words, a journey into ourselves and our communities through ceremony, story and poetry. During this week we were invited into a conversation of witnessing; witnessing one another in all of our light and dark, recognizing the value of experience and enabling belief in the strength of each soul and the opportunity in and inevitability of change. It was here that we began the process of saying our goodbyes, letting go of what was no longer serving and stepping into a new relation with the world, ourselves and each other. We finished the week off by hosting an Open Mic in Södertälje where a small piece of what we had created could be offered to the greater community.
In a way, the floodgates had been opened. The Personal Project and Initiative Presentations that followed stood as solid testament to the beauty and diversity of YIP8 and the incredible significance of giving space for each story to be heard. Each participant stood in front of the whole and relayed their process, what they discovered and what they struggled with over the ten months they had been working with their topic, and what questions they were carrying with them into the future.
Following an incredibly short respite, the Outdoor Experience was upon us. Joined by Weston Pew and Inte Koster (YIP7) we hopped into vans and cars and drove eight hours to northwestern Dallarna and walked into the Vedungsfjällen wilderness, the beginning of Sweden’s mountainous terrain. From there we set about creating a base camp that would serve as container for our individual and collective experiences for the rest of the week. We walked and talked, swam and sang, and prepared ourselves for the wilderness solo and fast that was coming. Thirty-six hours alone in the forest without food. Time to reflect, contemplate and question, free of the common distractions and softly encouraged by the openness of nature, then a welcoming back to the community.
They returned with eyes on fire. As though they’d seen visions whispered in their dreams that still occupied their awareness, positively. They didn’t walk, but instead floated to the hearth, sitting quietly, waiting. Fervor was palpable but patience prevailed. I offered them drink, hot tea to quench their rumbling void, empty of material but filled with something else. And those eyes… It was magic, as if from another world. Pupils like saucers and lids widened above their smiles, creating an expression of wonderment and awe. Golden, brown and black skin nearly emanating light in its pulsing aliveness. Testing the capacity of the container, silence held back the stories that longed for release; an agreement upheld to await the final soul. And as the fire cracked and hummed, breathing life sourced from the lifeless, the silence roared in its own way, a powerful roar of community consciously combined. And when the final floating soul arrived, we stood to face the falls, a torrential sentence spoken softly, “Welcome back, friends.” The silence broken in perfect chorus, embraced with smiles and the clasped hands of breath let go. It was as if a new dawn graced the circle in cleansing renewal, sprinkled from the overcast skies, as shivery chills and unbound warmth found symmetry. Then song, Azima, the earth. A prayer to our mother, an ode to all that which carries life.
Each returned to the fire changed in some way. And inclusive of the struggles that come with being alive, we all returned for one more week of ‘home’ inwardly renewed and able to say goodbye.
Then, and finally, it was the closing week of YIP8. With intimate conversation, exuberant celebration, treasure hunts and feasts we closed this beautiful and epic chapter in unison and singing each other’s praise (oh, and the cleaning, that has to be mentioned, too…lots of cleaning.).
And now, Dear Reader, we have 25 brave souls to add to the growing body of YIP Alumni spread throughout the world. YIP8, on behalf of the network, welcome to another frontier of relationship and community, and thank you deeply for all that you have given and all that you have been open to receive over these last four seasons. You are loved and cherished.
Back Row: Boris de Keyser, Paul Rava, Pauline Claise, Beth Scheppke, George Morse, Nadine Troost, Julie Ruskamp, Nick Potter and Yoko Bergheimer.
Middle: Agnes Ramos Serra, Ethyl Chimenya, Ivy Frizo de Melo, Laura Wickert, Clarissa Herdin, Mirdith Lateur, Anna Wynants, Mustafa Ali and Deni Harrelson.
Front Row: Theo Bauthier, Elias Haglund, Tom Schäfer, Manal Al-Khamri, Shintaro Ueno, Arvid Jansen and Rosie Armstrong.
Book Publication announcement from YIP1 Alumni, Anastasia Palmer
I am very excited to let you all know that I am publishing a second edition of my book Dear Stranger. The book is a collection of letters that I wrote from age 15-18 while ill with a chronic illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E). As some of you may know I stayed living in Järna after YIP and spent quite some years working in a studio in Södertälje, letter by letter creating 230 copies of Dear Stranger through the craft of letterpress printing. Now those books are travelling the world from person to person as a gift. The response has really been amazing and it has become clear that I need to make more copies available. So I am now taking a more modern approach to publishing and am currently taking orders for the next edition, this is an exciting new stage and I want to share it with you.
If you are interested in getting a copy of the new edition it can be ordered through my website below, you will also receive an original woodcut print made during the letterpress stage of the journey. The book is €20. www.dearstranger.se
Preparing the Ground: YIP9!
Over the last months, and in particularly the last weeks, the organizing team has had the honor and privilege of reading and processing some incredible applications. They have come in, slowly but surely, from many different parts of the world and as the ‘constant improvisation’ that YIP is unfolds, we are happy to report that YIP9 is on! So far, we have participants coming from United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Germany, Thailand, the Netherlands, France, United States, Haiti, Austria, Zimbabwe and Japan.
The opening of the 2016-2017 YIP9 year is on the 28th of August and you are warmly invited. We hope to see you there!
Farewells and Welcomes:
Two years ago, YIP stood wavering at the edge of it’s existence/continuation. As part of a last effort to turn the tide of the future of YIP, I called Christianne Sinoo (YIP1) and Silas Beardslee (YIP1) to see if they would be willing to join as organisers for YIP7. Even though this call came utterly unexpected and only about 2 months before YIP7 was due to start, it took only hours for them both to answer this call with YES.
This Yes has made YIP possible in many ways; not only from a practical and organisational perspective, but especially due to their enormous capacity for warmth, human interest and social weaving. I want to appreciate and acknowledge their ability to build, bridge, heal and take care of old and new relationships.
A year later Natalija Sklarova (YIP1) joined and extended the possibility to stay connected to YIP from afar through her excellent efforts in communication and transparency.
I believe that I speak for more than just myself in expressing a big thank you for the social weaving that all three of you brought about through your presence here in Ytterjärna. It’s always with mixed feelings that those staying behind in Ytterjärna wave those leaving off. This year, this feeling is extended, as we not only wave off the participants of YIP 8, but also our dear colleagues Christianne, Silas and Nata, who are spreading their wings leaving Sweden and closing their latest chapter at YIP.
On behalf of the YIP team and network I would like to express our appreciation, excitement and gratitude for the time, efforts and gifts we received as colleagues, participants, contributors, friends and visitors from their presence, hard work and humanity. We wish you all the very best for your next steps and initiatives and look forwards to a new form of colleagueship in the striving we share.
With the closing of YIP8 another chapter finds it’s ending too. Next to having been a participant, organiser and board member of YIP, Pieter Ploeg has also been the head and hands behind the YIP website and all other IT elements the program has appreciated for many years.
We would like to acknowledge and thank him for the tireless efforts, availability, creativity and professionalism with which he has created, maintained and developed the various elements of YIP’s online presence.
With his own projects demanding more and more of his time and engagement, he can no longer carry the responsibility as webmaster for YIP. We thank him for the many years of his efforts and wish him the very best for the new projects and initiatives he is creating.
Welcome Sophie and Stef!
In saying farewell, we would also like to welcome those who will join the organising team to carry YIP9. Sophie Vrolijk and Steffan Nekvapil have committed to step in and carry YIP9. Thank you for your willingness and commitment and welcome on board.
In this newsletter you will find a short introduction to Sophie, in the next, we hope to feature Steffan (or Stef), as we are presently still working with some of the practical and legal hurdles for his engagement here in Sweden. -Reinoud Meijer
Sophie Vrolijk, born 1988 in Amsterdam
Sophie loves to smile, dance and teach around the globe. She has a passion for bringing people in contact with the wisdom of their body. Sophie’s work focuses on empowering others and encouraging everyone to become authentic leaders. With an open and spontaneous way of enjoying life, Sophie believes in making the impossible possible. In a playful way she loves to create experiences which add value and are easily transferable to daily life.
Sophie studied Pedagogical Science and Dance in Amsterdam. She has been working for the last nine years with different leadership/educational organisations in Europe, India, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Sophie is looking forward to her new adventure in Sweden with YIP 9 and to welcome you!
It has been a true honor writing the Newsletter the past two years. Relatively easygoing, too, with all the incredible material that YIP provides. Thanks to all the participants for their contributions and patience with me. Thanks to all the faithful readers and positive feedback. And a deep thanks to all the amazing Photographers and Writers that have contributed. Much love to ALL! -Silas
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