Physical Theatre with Viktoria Siwek and Elin Tisell
Coming from our autumn break all scattered around Europe, we started the inner awareness part of YIP fresh and relaxed with Slava Theatre.
During this week we felt not only our muscle aches evolving but also how group dynamics changed. Through physical exercises from running with the typical slava breathing to acrobatics to contact improvisation exercises to softness training.
Another big part of Slava Theatre was the singing. And that was also how we were welcomed to this course: with full volume the three members of Slava Theatre started singing and we – a little bit overwhelmed and confused – tried to sing along. It continued confronting like this. Go along and see what it can give you. If you want to step out still follow the process with attention.
A highlight was our running outside through the changing autumnal nature. For some time we were running backwards and it was not the only moment during the course where we gained a new perspective.
Starched from the physical exercise we moved into another weekend full of meetings.
Written by: Blandia Langniß (YIP11)
Study of man with Geseke Lugren and Andrew Sebzda
To fan the spark of thinking into flame
By my own strong endeavour
To read life’s inner meaning
Out of the cosmic spirit’s fount of strength:
This is my summer heritage,
My autumn solace and my winter hope.
-The Calendar of the Soul by Rudolf Steiner, Week 29
Quickly the darkness has come to Yitterjarna, the outward world turning inward and preparing for its moment of reflection. Following a physical week of Slava Theater in the inner block of YIP we spent a week looking at the ideas of the Study of Man by Rudolf Steiner. Geseke Lundgren and Andrew Sebzda, two Waldorf teachers in Sweden led the course.
Anthroposophy emerged after the industrial revolution and the First World War, in a time when the way human beings lived and their purpose of life was shifting away from the physicality of hard labor. Throughout our time at YIP, we have considered what it means to be human through the different perspectives each course brings. Something Andrew brought on the first day that continued to circle through my mind was that “Anthroposophy is the wisdom of the human being in relationship to others.” That the purpose of humanity in this new era is about developing a freedom in ourselves and our individuality, but means nothing without its connection to those around us. Many of us in YIP 11 are here to learn what it is to be in community, something I’ve come to know is necessary in finding meaning in the work that I do. To me, anthroposophy lays this out in a completely beautiful way, where we can be fostered into our fullest selves beginning at birth and taking shape in our young lives.
Although I went to a Waldorf school until I was 13, this course brought a deeper sense of understanding the education that has shaped me. Throughout the week Geseke and Andrew created a picture of how the human being develops in life and the importance of the early years in the development of their thinking, feeling, and willing forces. Just as the seasons change in this part of the world, we move through our lives in a limniscape lasting moments or years. We reach out into the world and towards others, and come back into ourselves to understand what is within. And as the earth changed around us, drawing its energy inwards, we were doing the same in our own ways as human beings.
“The winter will awake in me, the summer of the soul.”
Written by: Isabella Poulos
Biography work with Annie Meijer and Marry Mcarthy
I started this week with little expectations. I was just going to go with it. Maybe it would be a heavy week, a sad week or a fun week.
In the mornings, Annie talked a bit about what it means to look at your biography, what life phases there are and how they can influence ourselves and what development one goes through. After fika, two of the four groups had a session and after lunch the two other groups had a session.
Looking back at this week, I really enjoyed the format. Because we were divided into four groups and two groups had a session before lunch and 2 after, we had some more free time. This gave me a little more breathing space, which I needed.
The first day everyone had to choose three images out of a big collection of postcards. One that captured the mood of your past, one that showed where you are now and a third one about what you would like to see in your future. I enjoyed using the cards to see where I was and still am. Using images helps me to get an overview. And a sense of what happened, what is happening and what could happen.
What stuck with me the most was the stories of others. I loved listening to them and had the feeling that I could see each person in our group of six a little more. Their stories gave me better understanding of who they were and what they carry with them. I felt their struggle or their joy. I was so impressed by how strong every single one of us is.
And although I really enjoyed telling my stories, I wasn’t really able to dive deep into my past. It was hard for me. In some way I don’t feel like I need to look back or process things that have happened. Or maybe I’m not ready yet. Who knows?
Written by: Alma Vandewalle
A second impression by Mien Stoffels:
The morning sessions with Annie, with the assistance of Mary, were very interesting and inspiring for me. There was so much wisdom packed into these lectures, so much to think about. How does character develop? What, if anything, would be left of us if we take the people that surround us away? How much do we wake up when we struggle or suffer?
A lot of food for thought that served as a basis for the biographical exercises. In smaller groups, everyone shared a story about his or her biography. Each day focused on a different topic: we travelled through past-present-future, went back to our 9/10-year old self, discussed an important relationship in our life, pondered upon a time of struggle and finally shared a moment of self-decision.
And so one afternoon I found myself sitting in my room in Tallevana listening to songs I used to listen to sixteen years ago, singing along with the lyrics I still know by heart. Imagining myself as a little girl, my hair still a lighter and bright shade of blond, seeing myself dancing on the playground at school, or reading in the local library every Wednesday afternoon with my mom. A blissful story and time of my life compared to the story I imagined two days later when we were sharing stories of struggle and thresholds in life, a blissful story compared to some of the stories that were shared by other people in the course of the week.
What I appreciated so much about these sharing circles was that we were asked to start our story by describing the outer circumstances of that story. How did the person you are describing look like? What were the circumstances you were living in at that specific time? Inviting these elements in makes a story so real that you can start to truly imagine the scene and understand what is actually being shared. Another thing I really loved was how well you got to know each other, how you could see some people struggling with what they were sharing or with what was behind their words, slowly but surely realizing the hidden collection of stories yet to discover.
Every human being’s biography is a collection of unique stories. I believe that looking at these stories can wake up the wisdom of human life, and by doing so, we can build a strong mechanism to make the world a more social place. The journey of human life – isn’t it truly fascinating?
Written by: Mien Stoffels
Portrait painting with Rachel Miller
I entered into this week with some apprehension. Art is something I love doing, on my own terms, in my own time. I have always struggled with comparing my own skill to that of others, and the process of painting publicly, with others is such a confronting experience in the sense that it very literally forces you to visually see your own creation standing alongside others. How would mine stand in the group? Would I feel disappointed or embarrassed with my efforts? These fears began to creep in as the course approached.
I had heard rumours about the no bullshit approach that the course leader Rachael would take, all the same I was still taken aback when on the first morning she announced that this year would be different to all previous years, we would not be painting ourselves as we’d expected. Instead, we would randomly select another member of the group to paint. I’ll be honest, I was disappointed. This whole unit had been building very much on self reflection- the inner work. And following the intense week we’d just experienced,
reflecting on our biographies I felt like there was a lot about myself that I needed to work through, and had been putting it on hold, waiting for the opportunity to quite literally reflect upon myself as I painted my portrait. Still, that was the way it was and I nonetheless had a good experience, painting, with such care and attention, someone else from our group certainly gave another quality- of reverence and respect and a newfound appreciation of the beauty of the other. The big lesson I really learnt from this week though was how unhelpful it is to be ‘nice’ to ignore or avoid the truth in fear of hurting someone’s feelings (or your own) and how to be truly kind means to be truthful and honest, with love and care. I really felt that we managed to create this atmosphere with our feedback, and I really felt that I was able to let go of my vicious self-criticism and tendency to compare for the duration of this week. So I will try to continue with this practice- to be radically honest – kind, instead of nice.
Written by: Naomi Richards
The circus arrived in Ytterjärna unexpectedly on a Wednesday evening, leaving all Yippies in a state of delight. It was celebrated on a Thursday when it was confirmed that there would be free tickets for all. Throughout the weekend excited voices could be heard on the corridors of Tallevana, as Yippies commented in awe on the amazing show recently witnessed. It surpassed expectations. Yes, it had contortionists, equilibrists, clowns. It had amazing wheel acts, and even a woman who would do acrobatics in the air hanging by her hair – Who knew the human body could do that?
But what was behind all of that excitement, the lingering basis of this amazement, was the underlying message of the show. The Cirkus Cirkör’s new production, Epifónima, presents seven women circus artists with roots in Canada, Greece, Palestine, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland who “highlight and honour the courage and values necessary to bring about change.”
All of the acts fit into an overarching narrative about a transition from an interaction between the women which limited them, into a mutually supportive relationship which allowed them to reach higher places, symbolized in an outstanding balancing act. It criticizes movements that do not aim to tear down the power structures that sustain oppression – which is represented by armors worn by the artists, restraining their movements. And it recognizes the fear that the tearing down of structures may cause. But in the end, it was the simple experience of incredible women doing unbelievable acts that left everyone feeling so empowered. It was the awaken collective dreaming of a change.
Written by: Karen Martini
Transition to Findhorn
Half past three, the sun is setting and suddenly it is too cold outside for just sitting and writing. The coldness creeps under my clothes and I start freezing, so I head back to Tallevana, our home for almost three months now. We have only two more weeks left in Sweden before we start our long journey by train, ferry and bus to Findhorn in Scotland. Time is going so fast and I can’t believe that it is already mid November.
One part of me wants to stay here in Sweden, in this place so closely surrounded by the forest, the rocks and the fjord. It almost feels like I have just arrived in Ytterjärna and now we are already moving to our international outpost. There is so much more to discover in this area and the idea that it will be moist and cold in Findhorn instead of dry and cold as it should be here in Sweden is not very tempting.
But the other part of me has itchy feet, wants to get out of this small anthroposophical-Ytterjärna-bubble, is curious for a new place, curious for the North Sea and the Scottish forests, curious for the Findhorn community and their way of living.
When I look back it is incredible to see what’s already happened in the time we have spent together as the YIP11 group. We got to know each other so well but there is still so much that we don’t know about each other and I’m looking forward to discovering more and more in the coming months.
I’m entering the common room and some people are making Dutch biscuits and it smells so good, other people are creative or just sitting around. I enjoy this atmosphere of calmness and activity – How will it be in Findhorn? – I don’t know.
Dusk outside, the last leaves are dancing to the ground and winter is around the corner.
Written by: Camilla Schütt
YIP 12 applications are open
Until next time!
Pictures by: Ilias De Quidt, and Viktoria Siwek