As fall descends on Ytterjärna in crisp gusts, leaves begin to yellow and the day has decided to share equal time with the night, even if just for a moment. The buzzing energy of arrival and the excitement of unexplored territory has gently receded in a comfortable exhale of growing familiarity. The common room in Tallevana is filled with people in relaxed conversation, prying secrets from each other’s lives, playing music together on couches and doing handwork projects. Still there is much to get used to, and a house full of new people sharing space is just a part of the puzzle. But synergy is obvious and everyone seems committed to creating a brilliant year for themselves in support of one another. Each day brings new ideas of collaboration and creativity, diving straight into actively exploring the pertinent issues of our time and what can be done as a small collective of motivated youth. There is a palpable sense of strength that comes through diversity; different perspectives, beliefs and hopes entwined together, creating a richness to be marveled. Three weeks in, and already it seems connections run deep. Imagination knows no bounds and YIP8 is already proving itself as a force to be reckoned with.
Ruminations on Why We Do What We Do:
By YIP OT Silas Beardslee, read at YIP8 Opening
I find myself standing here in contemplation of this journey. How did we arrive? Moreover, how did we ever leave? I feel the invisible impulse, forces of questioning, pushing, pulling, encouraging movement towards some inwardly remembered truth. Who is this body? Who are these hands? These questions arise from the actions my hands have taken, and the many more, imperative to thriving, that they have yet to make.
Why do we do what we do? Why do we breath? Why to we work, eat and sleep? I work for love. I work for the recognition of humanness in all of earth’s people. I arrive at my intentions from a source of striving toward a greater connection to the trinity of self, earth and each other, all of which, is held by each. I am no different from the rocky mountain rivers; no different from the bird of prey, suspended miles above the soil searching for the next meal, that I am as well.
I am here to plant my roots in the pages of time, to press my soul to the divine, to cast my heart into the lake of all our fears combined. I am also here to fail. I am here to fall, to crush and be crushed under a thousand protracted points of our modern disillusion. I am here to loose the way, despite all the coded and encrypted signs that are pointing onward.
I am here with you to study. To laugh, to pray and to speak. I am here to witness.
So, why do we do what we do? I think it is because we must; our freedom gives us no choice. Our beating hearts and open eyes leave us vulnerable yet sturdy, exposed to the raw truth of our collective wisdom. I am here to lead while I am guided, to be stupid while enlightened, to be goofy while sincere. I am here to spread rumors of greatness and the holy story of peace.
We do what we do for the love of all things. I do what I do to create chaos in tranquility and compassion from combat. From the depths of all that I am, I believe that we do what we do because we must, because our freedom gives us no choice.
At the Opening of YIP8, smiling faces poured into the big hall of the White House from many corners of the earth. We had familiar faces from Ytterjärna showing their support and interest in the new crew. The freshly titled Yippies filled the stage, as they each stood holding a sunflower and graced us with the melodies of “Evening Rise, Spirit Come” and “Shalom”, giving us all the sensation that they had been singing together for years. The Ceremony was followed by an overflowing Fika table of cakes, pies, tarts and beverages, prepared by Alumni who had come to witness the beginning of a journey on which they too had once embarked. It was jovial, harmonious and the weather was sweet.
The following week we spent some time getting to know one another. We took a long 15-kilometer meander on the Ekoleden, sharing stories along the way and orientating ourselves in what, for most, was a new and unfamiliar land. The new group sat by the waters edge and wrote a letter to their future selves, filled with aspirations and imaginations of who the person would be when, more than a year from that moment, the OT’s would post it to the address scribed on the envelope.
After our introduction week, Edgard Gouveia Jr. joined us all the way from Santos, Brazil. The Yippies spent the week breaking through comfort zones with interactive games, dances and lots of stories about how to “Play to Change the World”. Many were inspired by the idea of the Oasis Game and some grouped together to pull something off at Under Tallarna, a local food growing Cooperative.
Kiara Nagel and Edgard often overlap and weave their themes together to create a welcoming and grounding vibe for the new participants. At the last minute, due to an important family need, Kiara was unable to make it to Sweden. Although a true bummer for the Yippies to miss the opportunity to work with such an amazing woman, and for Kiara unable to meet the new group, her absence caused the Team to band together and create something on the spot. With the help of YIP Alums Daniel Evaeus (YIP3) and Micha Prakash (YIP5) and working with the themes of Emigration, Immigration and What is Home, we navigated our way through, numbers and facts, reflection and story and questioned the future we want to create in light of the current situation. Pernilla Fogelqvist (Co-Founder of YIP) led a tour through Södertälje, a major destination for displaced peoples, and Ruben Wätte (Co-Founder of Under Tallarna) shared a bit of Järna history and what it was like to grow up in a place with unharmonious and fractured realities. We ended the week with a community dinner in Tallevana, with one long table set for all, ready to step into this new home together.
Reflections from YIP8 Participant Deni Montana
Singing. Smiling. Laughing with our whole hearts. Changing the reality around us through rejoicing with one another.
Breath. Do not fear the moment escaping you. Trust in your ability to BE.
We are here to reshape the world with our collective hands, and through this artistry of living, our own beings are also transforming.
“I” becomes “We” and “We” becomes “One.” Lines are blurred and the boundaries between Me and You dissolve into a shared perspective of Hope.
An Unashamedly Optimistic Dreamer:
In memory of YIP3 Alum Jonas Darin, written by his dear friend, Matthew Pike
Sometimes when Jonas laughed, when he really laughed hard, his eyes would fill with sparkling tears and he would raise his hand to cover his beaming smile as if to stop its glow from taking over the entire room. What he hadn’t realized of course, was that there was nothing to hide; as his heart had already filled the room ten times over…
Jonas had a gift of possessing the deepest heartfelt interest and intrigue for all things. He was ready to work toward finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems at the drop of a hat, over a Fika, or sometimes (a little more awkwardly), when you were just nodding-off in the early hours of the morning.
Such wonder and questioning of the world around him and his relationship with it would often result in the sort of dreams, ideas and thoughts that were so big, so ‘out-there‘ and adventurous, that in the presence of his unashamed optimism, you soon realized they were exactly the sort of wondrous dreams the world needed most.
Although our dear Jonas is no longer here with us, his strong spirit travels on. He touched many, and all our lives are so much fuller and more blessed for having had him in them. So let his dreams and his smiles, his relentless optimism and overflowing intrigue live on in and around us…
Jonas you are deeply missed and deeply loved by so many.
“When I shall die I’ll gladly give my being to the elements,
The elements I loved.
Spirit to flame,
Soul to ether,
Heart to wave,
Body to earth.
The Spirit shall blaze,
The soul expand,
The wave of my heart shall murmur and sound,
The body shall rest.”
YIP8 – The Arrival:
Reflections from YIP8 Participant Paul Rava
When I came to Ytterjärna on the 27th of August, I felt really excited to see my new home and meet the people I would live together with for the next ten months. After 20 days of riding on my bicycle from Germany to Ytterejärna, most of the conversations I had were either with myself or my Gudereit bike, and the only answers I got were my own thoughts or the sound of turning wheels on sandy roads. My intention when I got to YIP was to find different answers than the ones above, and maybe also ask different questions than I had before. I was looking forward to meet the 24 other people with which I would share this experience together.
When I arrived in Tallevana – the Official Yippie-Basecamp – I found the house nearly empty, besides me there were only two other participants that had arrived. I enjoyed the silence and the possibility to orientate myself in the place a little, and try to get used to the thin little thing that was lying on my bed that I assumed to be a mattress. But when I lay on it, I just sank right onto the wooden frame of the bed with my spine in a funny s-curve. In fact, the first nights I preferred to sleep on my thin camping mat instead.
But at least I was not the only one challenged by these circumstances. One by one the others from our new YIP-family arrived and by the evening before the big opening ceremony, the table in our common room was full of people and conversations.
After the celebrations and our group-singing performance at the Opening Ceremony, the introduction week started and we were bombarded with information about what we could expect in the coming months – internships abroad, personal projects, Initiative Forum and so on. I realized how big this was going to be – 25 people from 16 different countries, from all 6 continents, a blasting schedule and a non-stop community life. YIP8 had arrived and I was a part of it!
I felt lucky but also feared of the challenges that community life would bring to all of us. Only one house for a group with so many different cultures, belief systems and ways of expression. Only one tiny shared room as our “private zone”. Already in the first week I was often overwhelmed by this group experience and had to go outside into the woods to take a deep breath and enjoy the view on the fjord and listen to the sound of the wind blowing the tips of the pine trees. I realized one of my biggest personal challenges would be to dance on the small wire between individual freedom and collectivism; between feeling lost on my own or feeling lost in the community. For each one of us, this will be a challenge and I guess, for some more for some less.
But our group is strong in and through its diversity and you can not doubt that there has to be some kind of magic when already, after just a few days, people are singing and working hand in hand together. Also, the big monsters that can normally bring war and barbarism into community life have been figured out – cleaning schedules. Even though those are still in a test-phase, most things seem to work out pretty good in our group. Of course, there are the more structured and the more anarchy-loving people and there might be different point of views of how much system is needed in our personal breakfast ceremonies or the other issues of our daily house life, but we are always working together. So, all in all I can feel that there is a lot of potential in our group and we are growing together each and every day! It is for sure, YIP8 is going to be great!
Update: Open Courses and Public Interviews!
Want to visit YIP and take part in an Open Course? Probably! Know anyone else who might be interested? Well, yeah! Have a look through our updated curriculum and see if there are any of interest! Economics? Global Food and Nutrition? Portrait Paintint? Theres gatta be something there for you. If you’re interested, send a mail to [email protected] and help us spread the word!
And in other news, YIP is bringing back the Public Lectures, but this time, Interview Style! They will take place in the foyer of the Kulturhuset on Thursdays at 19:00 and be hosted by one of the OT’s. Laid back, relaxed and covering not only their expertise but also their lives and what brought them to do the work they do. Think of your favorite television show, but better…! Enterance is donation based, and all proceeds will go to the Diversity Fund. Keep an eye on the website for more info!
This week will be spent with Eduardo (Shima) Shimahara exploring the meaning of Sustainability through his course, From Complexity Theory to Food Revolution. Shima will open the floor to learn from each other, discovering what we bring to the table and how, through diving into the shadows, we can find hope. The afternoons will be filled with different activities: personal projects, arts, internships and pressing the swollen Kulturcentrum apples into juice. Next week we will be welcoming first-time YIP contributor Jim Levinson who will share his expertise on topics surrounding Food and Nutrition from a global lens. He will be followed by another first-timer, Sarah Denie, who will walk us through Economics and Economy, exploring “the hours we work, the products we buy [and] the money we use.” Then, Oskar Rosengren will be back to combine the elements of the previous weeks and investigate how we can survive off Swedish soil, sustainably, nutritiously, deliciously and with little or no money. Finally, to round off the first term, yet another new Contributor, Li An Phoa, will guide us into nature as a means to learn more about our inner landscapes. Off we go…!
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.
Please spread the good word of YIP by forwarding to friends and family and inviting them to sign up!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the newsletter or feel that there is something you would wish to see more of, contact [email protected]