Spring is slowly arriving. The season still seems somewhat unsure, with occasional snowfall and chilly nights. Nature is readying itself for the busy time ahead. Everywhere little green buds are popping out of the dead-looking stems, and here and there patches of sky blue and snow white flowers spread out like colorful carpets among the trees. When you sit by the fjord or in the forest, you hear the countless bird voices joyfully welcoming the new season.On the contrary of this accumulating wave of growth, inside Tallevana it has been far more quiet this last week. With the Initiative Forum behind us, we got the chance to unwind for some days, which for most of us was very welcome. The weeks running up to the forum were filled with YIP9’s full engagement. We had many tasks on our hands: Planning and structuring the week of the forum, organizing logistics, getting the food ready, making sure the accommodation is in order, having conversations with the contributors, getting the band equipment and many more things…
During this time we also had the pleasure of welcoming back the participants who had been abroad due to visa denial. This was heartwarming but also overwhelming, as they arrived in the middle of the busiest time yet.
The forum itself was an intense experience for most people present. With the challenging topic of “Beyond Borders”, we delved into many questions concerning ourselves, ourselves with others and ourselves in the world. Many inspiring ideas and thoughts were shared and connections between people were made or renewed. The YIP9 participants had a busy time making sure everything was on track.
We now stand at the beginning of the “Initiative Weeks”. For the next five weeks we are following a self-designed schedule. Here we also have the chance to work on our futures, and make plans for after YIP.
Initiative Forum 2017! Beyond Borders
This year, YIP 9 decided to host the Initiative Forum around the theme of borders and boundaries, with the title Beyond Borders. The theme is related to personal, social and planetary borders. A personal boundary can be necessary and useful under certain circumstances, but perhaps we keep too many boundaries raised between each other. Why is there a trend of fear and exclusion happening across the world today and what would happen if we worked together as one planet, one humanity? If we questioned our own personal borders and boundaries, would this affect our social borders, and in turn help to prevent our planet’s boundaries from being crossed?
We invite you to have a taste of the Beyond Borders Initiative Forum by reading the follow testimonials. If you would like to know more, visit initiativeforum.yip.se
Though the ponds are still frozen, a rainbow of flowers here bloom in the wake of spring’s tentative breath. The buildings, uniquely shaped and painted pastel, shine in the sunlight as the first participants arrive. A steady trickle of new and familiar faces comes through the registration, and finally, the 250 participants gather in the Kulturhuset. 250 curious individuals and change makers, come together for six days in Ytterjärna, Sweden, to meet, discuss, and question. 26 international contributors are present to share their points of view on the world. All have a long and intricate story, and all have something to teach.
Each day of Beyond Borders had its own theme. The first full day was about personal boundaries. “Why do we have personal boundaries?” “Where is my comfort zone, and what happens when I leave it?” Maori ‘Grandmother’ Pauline Tangoria from New Zealand shared her indigenous wisdom with us in a conversation between elders and youth. A holy half hour fika followed, in which coffee flowed freely and thoughts were exchanged. Games and icebreakers came next, and participants could meet each other in a carefree and fun-filled environment. After the first shared lunch, everyone was free to choose from an array of different workshops, and come together again after the second daily fika for the open space. Here, participants could bring their own ideas and host their own experiences. At 18:00 o’clock, dinner was served, and another musical evening followed. Once again, a large variety of different cakes and hot drinks were served at the Night Café in the foyer of the Kulturhuset.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the days revolved around the topic of social and political boundaries, that limit some and benefit others. These were hard day’s, intense, emotional and heartfelt. Stories of discrimination were shared in a personal and passionate manner. Tensions were high, emotions rose to the surface, and guilt wove its tendrils through the room. The safe space that is Initiative Forum, was briefly broken for a reality check. On Tuesday morning, the peaceful beauty of the Kulturhuset was shattered by tape as a border experience took place. Participants were asked to identify themselves, and some were detained and thoroughly questioned. Others were smuggled in through the upper doors, in exchange for a small payment (stones and hugs were often used as such). It was for some a triggering experience. Others were made aware of their white privilege for the first time, and learned what that entails. After an explanation of the purpose of the act, YIP9’s own Manal Al Khamri stepped onto the stage and shared her life story. She spoke about living in Yemen, moving to Sweden, becoming a refugee, and finding out what that actually means. Her lecture was followed by Ryan Lo’s passionate, humorous, and merciless talk about discrimination, youth incarceration, and the lies the media tells us. On Wednesday, Ayesha Keller spoke about her work in a refugee camp in Greece, and Zhega Kibrom discussed white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy.
Thursday, the final full day of the conference, was about planetary boundaries. “Where do we go from here?” Daniel Evaeus, Gésaël Drouin-Vigneault and Caleb Buchbinder spoke about their experiences at Standing Rock. Caleb concluded their joined lecture with a blazing call for action that brought the audience to their feet. This was followed by the Street Poets taking the stage, and these three artists from Los Angeles each told their own story of discrimination. Finally, they invited all participants of colour, or those who identified as LGTBQ+ to come forward. This open gesture resulted in an emotional sight that brought many to tears. A line of humans on the stage, and the spotlight on those whom are often left behind in society’s shadow.
The final Friday morning was dedicated to conversations that had to be had in order to conclude the previous days. During the closing ceremony, acknowledgements were delivered, and last hugs were exchanged. The week had had an intense rhythm, constantly beating and pulsing with possibilities. When the final day of the forum came knocking, many realised that long days and short nights had taken their toll. However, all was not over yet, and while some packed their bags and prepared to depart, others joined once more for a final cleaning party. Floors were swept, tables were scrubbed. Ice cream was eaten as snow fell around us and covered our tracks. Initiative Forum might now be over officially, yet the memories remain, and the passions shared will not be soon forgotten. A fire inside us has been lit, and society won’t smother it.
By Veerle Kaffka
A SHOUT OUT FOR YIP AND THE FORUMS
The week after the forum, if somebody would ask me how it had been, I would answer with the same words as I once used to describe my whole YIP year: intense, overwhelming, amazing.
I have to think of the first forum I attended in 2014, held by YIP6. I didn’t know what to expect. I came there quite coincidentally as I was WWOOFing that month in Sweden. I do remember all the lyrical people hugging each other at the entrance of Kulturhuset, not knowing what to think of it. After the opening, I had to find sleeping equipment because I hadn’t brought anything. Luckily some friendly Dutch people helped me out (thanks, Racha!). At that time I would have never believed that I would host the following forum but I felt deeply deeply touched by the place. I wasn’t able to attend the whole forum and while waiting for the bus at Stensta, I felt very sad for leaving the place for I had felt a sense of coming home, a feeling of belonging.
Now hosting the forum is very different to being a guest, but I enjoyed seeing all these people, knowing that they were having such an intense, rich week, meeting many beautiful souls.
Two years after and this feeling of intenseness and overwhelmedness and amazement has slightly shifted, but is, to a certain extent, the same. I had realised now that it has partly to do with fighting my own feelings of inferiority towards all the people that, I think, are doing all those incredible projects, educations, jobs. Anyways, the forums keep being intense overwhelming and amazing!
Something that I realised this year has striked me and it made me feel so much at peace and made me smile. Because: what I think IF does for me is enabling me to reconnect with living life with intention and ideals, with seeing each other carrying goodness, beauty and gifts for their communities and therefore for the world, seeing others in their potential and knowing that THAT is what it is all about. It made me FEEL again so clearly why I do what I do, who I am and what I am heading for.
YIP awakes this in people by carrying that intention deeply within everyday and sharing it with the greater community during the forum. And with greater community I also mean all those people that come there for the first time, may be by coincidence, that silently carry all these questions and a wish to carry them out to the world and the people that surround them.
I am so grateful for finding YIP on my path and having been able to meet so many intentionally living young folk. This last forum has made me value all this very highly and I feel deep love and appreciation for the continuation of a movement that makes PEOPLE FEEL ALIVE!
After Initiative Forum and what is coming…
After a few well-deserved resting days (which maybe weren’t long enough!), we were joined by Phoebe from the Enspiral Network,, and Daniel from Dragon Dreaming . We were guided through a process that slowly saw the weaving together of our group in terms of our needs, gifts, resources and skills – and group projects were formed! We got in touch with ourselves and our qualities as Dreamers, Planners, Doers and Celebrators. And going through the Dragon Dreaming Wheel, learned methods, tools and a philosophy to launch outrageously successful group projects.
The focus of the few days together was on collaborative dreaming and co-creation. How do we let go of our individually owned dreams and allow co-creation to emerge? How are all voices heard and true collaboration achieved? How do we move from our attachments to things needing to be the way we imagine them in our head, to projects that respond to the environment, and the emergence between the team? And how do we heal our relationship to working, achieving and financing so that celebration is present in all that we do?
The final day was spent with a focus on Enspiral, and how YIP 9 and beyond might build the infrastructure to continue as a collaborative network itself. This was very exciting and we got a glimpse of what feels like an emerging future… Some of the ideas we established for the group were: a needs and resources board, a regular project update check-in circle, shared co-working space, morning check-ins and shared meals, and a stewardship circle. Hopefully this is the start of a new way of evolving YIP together!
On the 24th of April the Initiative Weeks officially started and will continue until the 19th of May. This is a period when we will have the space to bring in workshops that are related to our specific underlying interests and also a time to work on our Personal Projects. A space is created for reflection on the year, the changes that have occurred, what can be done with the changes and how to move forward into the next phase: life after YIP.
Some of us, together with the Yip Phase 2 pilot design team have invited the founders of the Open Masters program, Alan Webb and Sarah Bradley, to bring the concept of self-directed learning and tools that will guide us to create a pathway for the life after YIP. One of the possibilities for YIP9 is to participate in the YIP Phase 2 prototype and be supported with taking future initiatives.
The Open Masters course will happen In the last week of the Initiative Weeks, from the 15th to the 19th of May. Jannis, part of the YIP Phase 2 team, explains:
“In this week the yippies will dive into the question: What am I going to do after YIP? To start answering this question they will first map out all the things they are interested in right now and would like to explore more in the future. Then they will choose the things they want to dive into after YIP, set goals and plan practical first steps to reach those goals. Besides this they will map the circles of support that they have around them and practice peer mentoring so they can support each other in the time after YIP.”
We are all excited to know what the outcome of the Initiative Weeks will be for each and everyone of us and are excited to practise taking our learning into our own hands.
Personal Project by Carla Tischer
In the beginning of the YIP year we chose a Personal Initiative. I would like to tell you about mine. I called my project The Intuitive Way. I define it the inner and outer journey that I experience at YIP.
An important part of this journey was my internship in the Netherlands. I was part of a group designing and giving a course or LAB to students of the Vrije Hogeschool in Zeist. This was my first work experience in a group.
I discovered many things during this time and one central theme that arose for me was how can I ground and center myself so as not to be swept away in the tide of a working group without a firm individual foothold. I realised the style of working that best enables me to share my thoughts and truth in the world involves creativity, plenty of time and a positive attitude. I also realised that when I feel unable to co-create this working atmosphere, I feel unsafe and scared of interactions and responsibility.
When I came back to YIP I had to reduce my world to Ytterjärna and caring for myself. I took many hot baths, read heart-warming books and oiled my body every morning and evening to have a second protecting skin. Slowly, I started to feel safer and more self-confident again, though, I felt unable to take any responsibility. I was too scared that I would not be able to hold it.
During the Initiative Forum preparation a migraine made me step back from all tasks that I didn’t want to do. If the migraine would not have stopped me, I can imagine that I would have taken a lot of tasks that I actually did not want to do, just to calm my fear telling me: ‘You are not loved, if you do nothing!’.
At that point, I connected to a warm inner acceptance, a blue cloud. It says: ‘You are accepted without conditions just through the fact that you are existing.’ When I connected to this unconditional love and accepted myself, I was able to see and treat others in the same way. I found myself naturally caring more for others and having encouraging conversations.
Life brings us again and again into situations where the connection to the unconditional acceptance gets interrupted. Then, fear knocks on all my windows and wants to be held and listened to.
Yesterday, on my 19th birthday I married my fear. Now, it always walks next to me, holding my right hand. She is as high as my hip and has curly hair and a lot of wrinkles. She wears a bib. In our marriage-treaty I clarified a few things to prevent confusions:
Dear fear, Welcome on my sailing boat! You are sharing this boat with my intuition and me. We all have a seat and a voice on this deck. You took on the role to inform us about the dangers of not being loved and of the probabilities that the boat will sink. Thank you for doing your job! It is very valuable as we are sailing through rough and unknown waters. Though, my intuition and I will make the decisions on our journey. We are connected to the waters, the earth, the winds and the sky and therefore we know where to go. That is why we will make sure that you will never set the sails or touch the steering wheel.
In the upcoming Initiative Weeks, I want to explore practices to center and ground myself. It helps me to let my body and my intuition be the guide instead of my fearful thoughts. Also, I will move, dance, sing and create beautiful crafts which makes me feel light and with fluid energy. And most of all, I will support myself and give me a voice and acceptance.
Let’s see what else will happen…
– Carla Tischer