Järna is covered in a thin blanket of snow. The ponds are frozen solid and the fjord is getting there. With this cold, a new kind of energy is shining through the cracks of the previous year, cold, crisp and fresh. Two-weeks of wintery break from the curriculum brought some participants and OT’s away from our YIP bubble and back to families and friends; letting them bask in the relief of a period without schedule, and in the excitement of concluding one story and entering into another. It also led some to remain, settling into the quietude of a house-less-full and the sanctity of personal space; an allowance to spend the currency of time unaccompanied by hours or minutes, but freely and fluidly. Of course there were some challenges, and of course there were triumphs, some distresses and some comforts, some mind-numbing moments and some instances of ecstatic euphoria. But aren’t these polarities quite simply the embodiment of life and the tantalizing mystery of it all? It seemed so. And when all the souls returned from ventures abroad or nearby, to sit again in a circle in the White House and be showered with the wizened majesty of YIP’s content *wink* there was eagerness, enthusiasm and smiles in true abundance. Dear and honorable readers, shall we all join together in making the 2015-year a sacred weight in the books of history? This little bubble in Sweden will be doing it’s best…
We had a wonderful wrap up to the year. It was full of whatever name you can give to the energy that surrounds the changing of the year. Names were picked from a hat for Sinterklaas celebrations and hilarious and appreciative poems written about the recipients and anonymously presented along with a small gift. In Swedish tradition, the Yippies were soothed out of sleep at 5 o’clock in the morning by candlelight, the smell of saffron buns and the melodious lyrics of Sankta Lucia. We had a celebratory meal catered by Matbygget and enjoyed by candlelight with our most formal attire (I know it’s hard to imagine everyone wearing shoes all at the same time, but it happened!).
All of this was made possible by the events of the prior weeks; in part by the contributors that filled them with challenging adventures into mind, body and spirit and the thoughts, sensations and aspirations they stirred up. Christopher Marcus provoked questions of religion and spirituality, where we stand and what we believe. Questions of gender and what role it plays in society and inside ourselves. Then Aerin and Yeyo had the difficult task of holding together a group of people who were already halfway out the door, and did so with grace, humor and creativity. Whether by persuading participants to dance blindfolded through the room, recreating a conventional high school classroom or repurposing recyclables into wallets and handbags, the concepts guiding “Walk Out Walk On” was delivered with enthusiasm and love, and before we knew it, it was time for a break…
Contributions from Alumni:
Reflections on the New Year by YIP6 Alum, Olga Bloemen
2015 started officially (and perhaps symbolically) with shovelling cow shit at 6am after a long, moonlit night. How come? We were at the biodynamic Bauckhof Farm Snear Hamburg, Germany, where Emil (YIP4) and Linda (YIP6) had been working over the past months. While the rest of the farm community was taking time off, the two of them had invited YIP alumni to celebrate New Year’s among the cows and the vast Lüneburg heather fields.
Around twenty of us, mostly from YIP4 and YIP6, arrived on the evening of the 30th, when we made a schedule and some basic agreements for these days together: “Be the guest you want to see in the world!” was to be our motto. The next morning we had a quick brainstorm and instantly plans for the day were made. In a reflection session in the afternoon, we looked back at the past year. Then we rolled up our sleeves to prepare the six biodynamic chickens that the farm had kindly given to us. A big feast was served with candlelight and randomly exploding decorations. Afterward, we arranged the big hall for a blindfolded dance: in two rounds, half of us danced blindly while the other half made sure no walls, candles or fellow dancers were accidentally hit. An exercise in trusting and letting go of fears that perfectly prepared the ground for the New Year…
Close to midnight, we gathered around the big fire outside and in a small ritual we burned all that we wanted to let go of from the past year and gave warmth and fire to our wishes for the year to come. At midnight, fireworks exploded in the sky all around us and we sang. More dancing and music-making around the fire led us through to the early morning hours when the cows were awaiting us to milk them and be fed their daily mountains of hay.
Many of us stayed at the farm until the 4th of January and these days showed us how much is possible if we just have space to come together: collectively, we created exactly what we needed from this time. We told each other stories, sang songs from our shared YIP repertoire, baked bread, helped cheese-making and mucking-out stables, took long walks and made new year resolutions, peer-coached each other in our projects and talked, talked, talked. Leftover Christmas cookies and hot chocolate made from fresh cow-milk sustained us. We left the farm exhausted, but with warm hearts and sparky eyes – and gratitude to Emil, Linda and the Bauckhof community.
The New Year’s celebration held promise for the YIP Summer School that some of us are organising in Järna this summer. The question driving this project is how we as individual learners can best support each other after YIP to continue to grow and bring our gifts to the world. The answer might already have been given: lend us a farm for a little while and off we go!
YIP8 Applications are now Open!
The Organizing Team worked hard in the few weeks before the Winter Break to finalize the Applications for YIP8, the 2015-2016 Program year. They realized their hard work when it was announced and published on the Friday before the closing, to hoots, hollars and cheers from the YIP7 crew. The incoming Applications will be processed and Participants of YIP8 will be accepted on an ongoing basis. This means that there is no deadline, but when the appropriate number of Participants has been reached, we will close the Application Process.
Do you know someone who you feel could benefit from a year at YIP? This year we are advocating and working toward Personalized Recruitment! The hope is that members of our vast and growing Network can support people in finding YIP. Our goal is that personal, meaningful and direct conversation is what brings Participants to YIP8. Your collaboration and encouragement means the grand success of the year to come. So, pass it on!
Click here for more info: Application Page
Interview with an OT:
Name: Rembert Biemond
Where do you call home?
On a sailboat… In one of James Turrel’s Skyspace… In the (spiritual) Goetheanum… Dancing Tango Argentino… At a campfire… In a DMC… On skis… Close to a stage… And (I hope it doesn’t sound kitsch) in YIP.
On a more home-home level: it’s where my family is. Andrea, my inspiring wife, a doctor at the Vidarkliniken, and my wonderful sons, Dimitri (13) and Jonas (11) and that is currently in Ytterjärna or wherever we go together.
Who inspires you and why?
All the people who go the extra mile for a good cause, and then obviously the ones I have met personally, a little extra.
In your opinion, what purpose does YIP serve in the world?
It brings people closer to their true self – and by going there, it makes the planet a bit more of a star.
Where do you see the Youth Initiative Program five years from now?
For me there is the small YIP and the big YIP. The small YIP (also big of course) is a one-year program in Ytterjärna. I see that still running in five years. Maybe with a few more people, some parallel groups and a piece of land where YIP grows its own food…
But I also see a development for the big YIP, meaning the network and beyond also on a more spiritual level. There, I expect a much bigger growth and impact. Maybe it will not be called or named YIP – but It will inspire many.
I actually think that everybody should do something like YIP (though that might take a little longer then 5 years). And I mean everybody, everybody. So, many millions of people. I dream of a program where every young person after high school or during their studies would spend six months on a farm, six months taking care of the elderly, sick or otherwise in need, and then spend 6 months on an internship for a good cause in a whole different country. And that all of this took place in a YIP-like group. I see this as the reincarnation of what used to be military service for a country: Social Interpreneurservice for humanity. It would tackle three of the main challenges which humanity faces currently, in an inspiring way: soil/food, care and peace.
My sources report that you are a Mountain Climber. Could you tell our readers about a stand-out mountaineering experience you’ve had?
The most outstanding experiences are always difficult to describe in words when you are not a poet or a good writer. You have to do it. It is the fantastic sight of a non-light polluted milky way at 3 AM while trying to put on your crampons on a steep slope at 4000+ meters above sea level… It is the colors at sunrise – so much more intense while you climb… It is the physical feeling of being interdependent and responsible for each other’s lives when tied to the same rope… It is the feeling of having had a month holiday after having done a 3-day climb… It is the reward of a glass of water after having drunk the last gulp 8 hours ago…
But maybe you meant more specifically the ones that had been on my bucket list? People who are not into this may not understand I am afraid, but I did climb famous mountains like The Kilimanjaro, Fuji, Mt. Whitney (highest point in the continental US) and most of the high 4000+ meter peaks in the Alps including The Matterhorn, The Jungfrau and Mont Blanc.
The participants and organizing team were immersed together this week in work with Orland Bishop, who is celebrating the 20th year of Shade Tree Multicultural Foundation, in Los Angeles. With the delivery of verbal pictures that stretched our conception of what is real and what is make-believe; concepts that lead us to question our systems of belief and function, Orland certainly packed a positive punch. What do we agree with in this life, and what agreements are we unconsciously adopting from generations past? How can we step authentically into our own lives and meet our whole self?
Next week the participants will move on from the word and into their bodies with a week of physical theatrics with Slava followed by The Study of Man with Marcel de Leuw. It will then be time to dive into Biographies with Annie Meijer before flexing some artistic muscles with Rachel Miller in her Portrait Painting course. Finally Weston Pew will be the guide in an attempt to crystalize all that has been ingested throughout the YIP year by connecting the inner and the outer and turning insight into action. Suddenly, the time will have arrived to depart to far corners of the earth on the International Internships! Good luck YIP7!
The Newsletter is a monthly mailing update on the life and times of YIP and is a wonderful way to remain connected. It is sent out once a month and gives an overview of what has happened, what is happening and what is on the horizon. Every quarter (3 months) we plan to put out a more in-depth issue that looks into the Organization of YIP from a similar lense.
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