Open Space Water Conferences and Communions
I love Rivers. I love Oceans. I love Streams. I have loved them as far as I can remember. It pains me and saddens me to see and read that the water bodies of our planet are being polluted and exploited. However many of our rivers and streams (and the mighty ocean itself) is still thriving and flowing and gushing and every trip to a river or the ocean front fills me up with a renewed sense of connection to life itself.
For a long time I have known that I wanted to do ‘something’ related to rivers and the oceans. I finally decided to do that ‘something’. I am going to start anchoring open space trips and gatherings where small groups of people (around 20) get together and spend time by the side of a water body. We could call these trips ‘conferences’ or we could call them ‘communions’ or we could call them ‘picnics’. The name is not important. What happens during the time we spend by the water (and with one another) is.
The agenda for these trips or gatherings is to create a shared space for people to commune with one another and with the spirits of the rivers and oceans. The format will be like that of an open space conference – where there is no preplanned list of sub-topics. Interested participants can propose any topics for discussion or activities (related to water) and pick time slots and sub-venues (around our main campsite). Whoever wants to join whichever discussion group or activity can join that one. I will anchor one or two full group sessions of about an hour each (these are inspired by circle times in my son’s school) where we get to know one another and share our thoughts and reflections with the whole group. During the rest of the time self-formed subgroups and individuals can choose to do whatever they want do.
Some people might want to write poetry, some might want to sketch, and some might want to just sit by the river or stream or ocean and meditate. Some might pay their tribute to the water by photographing it on film and some might want to get their hands dirty and clean up around it. Some might want to swim and splash and joyfully cascade into the knowing that all of creation loves to play. Some might want to commune with the water spirits and be reminded yet once again that all life forms are intimately connected with one another. Some might want to do a brainstorming session or plan conservation initiatives. Some might simply want to let their wandering legs lead them to trek along the coast or riverbed and explore the different moods of the water upstream and downstream. Some might want to form a circle and sing and dance as their chosen way of offering themselves to the life-giving entity that they behold in front of them. Some might want to work on a personal project (or school project) related to a specific aspect of a river or water-body. Some might just want to lie in the water and let it wash over them as they become one with the water itself.
Are there any specific outcomes I envision from these trips and gatherings. I have no specific expectations as preferred outcome of these trips. However my intuition tells me that the possibilities are endless.
- I see the birthing of new ideas and connections
- I see discussions related to our shared love and concern for natural water bodies
- I see realisations and reminders of the intimate oneness that exists with all of life
- I see an increased understanding of our dependence on and need for water
- I see exchanges of love between human beings and other natural life forms
- I see an opportunity to facilitate the awareness of what natural water feels like and flows like
- I see the possibility of effortlessly educating ourselves about the ecology of water bodies and the various mini-eco systems created around it
Most importantly, I see a strengthening of the love and respect that we hold in our hearts for the water bodies of our planet. This love could express itself years later when a person needs to take an important decision in the boardroom that could impact a river downstream. This love could express itself in the way a civil engineer might design a new building or bridge he chooses to build. This love could change the career that a young person decides to pursue. This love could touch millions of hearts around the world through the creation of art (photography, sketches, poetry, writings or something else). Or this Love could just remain as a secret reservoir of life within the individual – a memory that can be pulled out to get through a weary night when one feels overwhelmed by the energy of concrete rooms and powerpoint slides. I see the outcomes birthed by love as endless possibilities, and so for me the strengthening of our love is an end in itself.
If this idea excites you, then write to me (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and watch this space for the announcement of the first trip in this series! The trips will be open to everyone (and yes children of all ages are most most welcome). If every child on the planet falls in love with our rivers and oceans then tomorrows ecology is automatically taken care of.