Wrapping up the Inner Awareness

Dear Friends of YIP,

Happy New Year from Ytterjärna!

I hope this newsletter finds you well and with a fresh start in 2022. Before we go into the new block of Community and Collaboration we want to share with you how the Yippies closed the Inner Awareness block before going off into a well deserved winter break.

During December we turned our gaze inwards and explored our inner worlds. 

The Yippies stepped in a full week called “An Inquiry into Self: Biography Work” where they looked at their own biographies. This was followed by a week of Portrait Painting where light and shadow shaped our perception in new ways. The last week before the break we discovered the world of Storytelling, closing with a magical Storytelling Feast, where the Yippies told the stories that they worked on during the week.

All those moments made us see each other in a new light and appreciate the complex and beautiful human beings that we are. We are excited for the community and collaboration block and looking forward to what that will bring!

by Pauline Wenzel 

In this newsletter you will find:

  • Transition to the Inner Awareness block by Sara Van Dongen
  • An Inquiry into Self by Matara Scott
  • Portrait Painting by Simon Bauke
  • Storytelling by Emma Wulterkins
  • Wrapping up and going off into the winter break by Rike Altmann
  • Invitation for the Initiative Festival 2022
  • YIP15 Applications and Live Chat

Photo by Sara Von Dongen

Transition to the Inner Awareness

Changing from outwards to inwards.

In a world so big, unreachable and overwhelming, I sometimes feel like I need a big, warm cozy blanket where I can hide under. Before YIP I tried to stay away from the difficult topics and challenges the world faces today because I knew I didn’t have this nice cozy blanket to curl up in when it would be too much. I went to many  climate protests and acted like I was very engaged in the world, but I did my best to never actually dive into things or feel my feelings because I knew that I couldn’t do that alone.

In the global realities block I was finally able to dive into this topic again with a safe blanket around me of YIP cuddles, people who hold space for the group whilst difficult conversations were happening. But, it is still challenging to dive into a different topic every week with an open heart with all the feelings that it involves, while  wanting to be present and engaged.

At the end of October, as the days were getting shorter, thin cotton socks were replaced by big woollen ones and the summery spirit, swimming in the fjord and eating outside were replaced by warm baths, moon walks, clear skies full of stars and a lot of tea. I noticed that the energy in me and also the group shifted. Our group started to settle more. I felt more at home in this weird and magical place in Sweden and more at home in myself.

I used the autumn break to try and process all this knowledge that I gained by getting lost in the forest and writing some things down for the second time.

I felt ready to dive deeper into myself, to arrive more in my body instead of being in my mind a lot. I love being in my mind. Thinking a lot about the outer world, global challenges and systems makes me feel inspired and alive.. But, in the inner awareness block I realized that being in your mind without the outer world, without all the global challenges and without all these new ideas can be very healing and also a lot of fun. At least for me it was. We focused a lot on our bodies, our hands and the connection between body and mind.

We moved, sang, danced, moulded with clay, drew, painted and played games so much that I felt like I was in primary school again, but in the best way possible. 

Because we spend so much time being open and vulnerable to each other I fell more in love with everyone then I already was, and I also learned to love myself a bit more. 

by Sara Van Dongen

Photo by Janne Bierens

An Inquiry into Self: Biography Week

As part of the inner awareness module, the yippies explored biography work as a way to understand how our past experiences shape our perception of ourselves and the world. Following the anthroposophical approach, Annie, the host of the week, recalled to the group her wisdom concerning the wellbeing of the human being. In the mornings we explored many topics with Annie, including how the individual can find connection, how our relationship to nature and the outside world is linked to our inner selves and how to locate responsibility within the freedoms of life. As perhaps one of the most self-reflective weeks here in Sweden, a space was created and nurtured for sharing and vulnerability within the group.

After this introduction, we were split into smaller biography groups and encouraged to select three cards from Annie’s sizeable collection of postcards, that best indicated our past, present and future reality. After a short fika break, we split off into our groups, hosted by Annie and her fellow biographical counsellors Mien and Mary. In a different style to what we were used to, and gathered also in potentially unfamiliar groups, we began the greatly truthful process of unravelling and disentangling the narratives that have existed in our lives.

Tuesday’s session was no less interesting, as we explored the reality of the 7 year old self. The groups were asked to dig deep into their memory, prompted by many questions both practical and emotional, about how that version of ourselves existed in the world. Wednesday’s session focused on how the individual interacts with others, as we spoke about a meaningful relationship and how it had impacted us. Thursday’s session hit even deeper levels as we were asked to reflect on a traumatic event that had occurred in our lives. Finally, on Friday, the yippies told one final story: an important decision we had made recently and how that was similar or different to our habitual mode of decision-making.

The flow through the days felt intentional to many who participated in the week, and left people feeling a sense of awareness about how the experiences we have had can shape the present moment and whether these narratives are useful to our future. I for one felt as though I gained a profound insight on a new method of self-reflection and how this approach can benefit the way we choose to live our lives. Biography week gave me a window to look back into the past 21 years of my life, even with the inevitable loss and sadness, and find fresh meaning and significance in the experiences that have shaped my life.

By Matara Scott

Photo by Ami Cochrane

Portrait Painting

Portrait Painting with Rachel (or, the week that we stared at our own faces).

Over the weekend, the Hive has been transformed into an art studio; all couches, tables and chairs have been moved into the office, and endless rolls of paper have been spread out to protect our dear floor. When we walk in that Monday morning, 35 blank canvases are waiting for us, spread out on easels in the whole building. We gather around Rachel (painter/artist/yoga teacher/old YIP-team member/Ytterjarna neighbour) who immediately impresses us with her epic-coloured curls and bold energy. After some landing and introduction, she asks us to find a canvas and create chaos. Yes, you read that right. Just create chaos. For me that means, covering my canvas with layer after layer after layer, and doing the same with the 4 square meters around me. As my painting slowly starts to distinguish itself from the canvases of my friends, I go down and take up a print of the photo that Iren made of me (and to note, Iren voluntarily spent several days taking beautiful photographs of almost every Yippee. We love you Iren!). A picture of my face… OUCH!!! That’s rather unpleasant. I feel how my body reacts to all the grudges that I hold towards myself and the mere idea of having to look at this photograph for the full week offsets me, to say the least. And then I have to paint it too??? HOW???

Rachel tells us that we can squint our eyes together to distinguish the light and shadow in our photographs. Starting with the big lines and forms and slowly working towards an ever more detailed copy of our faces. Sounds easy right?

These first days, I often feel that I just want to scream and slam my (and every other’s) painting to the ground and ruin it with a knife. WHY CAN’T I JUST GET THIS RIGHT? WHY IS IT SO HARD TO REPRODUCE THIS FORM I SEE WITH MY BRUSH ON THE CANVAS. Every time, I’m slowly getting there, until it goes wrong and I wipe it all out to start over once again. And again, and again. Yet every try seems to make more sense and as I’m nearing the end of the week, the anger inside of me slowly makes place for a sense of ‘oh yeah, come on, I can do this!’. To me, Rachel’s words ring with a deep wisdom; The only way to create something, is to get back at it. To stand at that easel every morning again. I cannot ‘stare my painting into submission’ as Rachel bluntly states it. Only when I keep trying, I can get to something that somehow makes sense. And I keep trying. We all keep trying. Listening to music, walking through the forests, helping each other out. And thus, struggle turns into pleasure. Until after midnight, Yippies are working on their painting, getting every detail right, bringing in some more colour to the background or (yes why not,) start again with their left eye as if it’s nothing.

And then Friday. “You have 1 hour left” Rachel’s voice reverbs in the Hive’s beautiful acoustics. And before we know, it’s done. We come together one more time to reflect on the process, to deeply thank Rachel, to praise ourselves and to hang our beautiful creations on the walls of Almandinen. Now, every day when we go to drink Fika, to eat Lunch or to cook Dinner, we are greeted by 38 paintings, 38 faces of people we know, 38 stories caught on canvas. We are looking at ourselves, silent, smiling. Holding the essence of who we were that one week in December 2021 and bringing it into eternity.

By Simon Bauke

Yippies with Storytelling Contributors Yu Show, Jappe and Leonora


Last week we dived into the anthroposophical view of the human being together with Marcel de Leuw. “The study of human kind” was our topic in which I got a good overview of the basics of anthroposophy and Waldorf education. “Don’t believe me, but see if you can think it” Marcel told us several times to encourage us to think and not simply believe everything to find our own truth. First of all, our contributor spoke about two basic thoughts of Steiner. The first is that there is a physical world – the world we humans live in, and a non-physical, or so called spiritual world. The second thought is about re-incarnation or rebirth.

Where was the human being before they were born? We talked about this topic on Monday morning. This was accompanied by a beautiful colorful blackboard picture so that we Yippies could better grasp the thought of reincarnation.

The next days we talked mainly about the development of the human being between birth and the 21st year of life, which is divided into steps of seven. Between 0-7 years we imitate our environment, our parents, siblings, teachers. From 7-14 years we’re following our environment and find our connection with the world, and between 14 and 21 years we test the relationships we have with our parents, teachers, etc, and to try ourselves out, so to find our “I”. This is the view of the four folded man that consists of the “I”, the astral, etheric and physical body, which develops in the first 21 years. In addition, we spoke about the threefolded man, made up of body, spirit and soul and went into more detail about how the soul can develop harmoniously. This can happen when there is a balance between the doing and the thinking, and when these parts are balanced our soul can evolve and there is a good balance for self-education.

 Marcel also shared his knowledge on other topics, such as the four different temperaments, the characteristics of the days of the week and related behaviors, what happens to us humans during sleep and much more. I enjoyed this week with Marcel de Leuw very much and I will keep it in good memory. Above all, I liked the anecdotes that he told us in such a beautiful way. His stories made things tangible and often made us grin or fill the Hive with hearty laughter.

By Emma Wulterkins

Photo by Pauline Wenzel

Wrapping up and going off

What am I discovering about myself and my relationships to others and the world?

What aspects of myself and/or my relationships do I want to increase/decrease?

What will I carry with me for my own life/learnings?

At the turn of the year and the end of the inner awareness block, we looked back at the last six weeks and also forward, asking ourselves what we want to leave behind and what we want to carry into the next year. In these last two days, we felt how close we got in the 4 months that we spent all together. In the community checkout, we were sharing our appreciation for one another and on the last evening we all sat together and had an amazing christmas dinner, cooked by the team. Even if the last day was the shortest and the darkest in the whole year, our time together was full of light. It was two days of warmth, magic, love and also many goodbyes. Some people stayed for a cosy Christmas together in Ytterjärna, but a lot of us went home and realized for the first time how hard it can be to not see the other yippies, even if it’s just for two weeks. We all needed this break so much and were so looking forward to it, but we are so happy to come together again in January.

I hope you had an amazing 2021, and maybe the questions on the top inspire you as well to reflect about this last year and to dream and plan the next one. Have a great time and see you next year in March (1.3.- 5.3.) for the Initiative festival 😉

By Rike Altmann

Initiative Festival Logo Reveal! Photo by Ami Cochrane

Invitation for Initiative Festival 2022

Times are dark, and we need all the light we can get.

The old world is dying: structures are failing and the planet is in peril. We are seeing collapse of the old society.

However, a new world is being born, one not governed by distant authorities. One that is asking all of us to collectively shape it — we must co-create the future we want and need.

Each one of us have gifts to give to the world. It’s up to us to activate that potential and bring it to life at the highest level. This process is unique to each individual, but we are all walking the same path: a path of healing, of responsibility, and of service to the world.

What do you need to activate within so you can become a lighthouse for the world?

Join us for five days of storytelling, lectures, workshops, music, and connections.

Welcome to the Lighthouse festival – be a light in dark times.

The Lighthouse Festival

March 1st – 5th 2022

Keep an eye out on our Instagram @initiative_festival_2022 or Facebook @InitiativeFestival2022 for updates!


The first applications for YIP15 are rolling in and we are getting excited! 

This year we have two rounds of intake: the first application deadline is March 15th 2022. We strongly encourage especially those who need a VISA to apply by the first deadline as it can take time to process. 

If you are curious to learn more about YIP or know of people who may be interested, we will be holding a LIVE ONLINE CHAT and Q&A on January 22nd at 10am CET. Please email apply@yip.se for the Zoom Link. 

We have also created new posters and publication material. Please support us in spreading the word about YIP to help those who would benefit from the experience find us! CLICK HERE for the materials. Thank you!