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We (see below) have set out to contribute to help save life on Earth, by also contributing to the healing of relationship. We work with different kinds of methods and practices to strengthen our capacity to be in good relation. As we are also still learning every day, we organise so-called Learning Community Days for everyone who is active as a facilitator or organiser within this field (or related). It’s a space to get to know and empower each other, to create a place where we can share what is going well and what is not. A place where we can share our practices and challenges. We have started with a small group to create a firm and intimate bedding, but in time we are open for others to join. If you are interested to join, we ask you to first attend one of our events.
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I work as an anthropologist-filmmaker specialised in climate change and sustainability. For me spirituality was something I almost did not communicate about in my work. It was something private. This changed when a friend of mine (thank you Agnes!) connected me in 2016 to The Club of Rome Netherlands, who are on a path of combining inner work with the outer transformations we need to realise and for whom I started to do filmwork. And then I encountered The Work That Reconnects in early 2018 – immediately in love. What a fantastic and strongly rooted work, where for me so many essential things come together. Activism, spirituality, feelings, science, concrete actions like nature conservation, regenerative agriculture and technical revolutions. We need it all. Over the last years I realised that one thing in particular I want to nourish more and make more visible: our deep connection to the precious Earth and the Universe we live in. The feeling that we are nature. For me Root to Rise is a way to nourish this ecocentric perspective and help the rising up of people who are actively protecting life on Planet Earth.
I am trained as a sociologist and environmental researcher and deep ecologist. I worked in nature reserves in Indonesia and Peru and am involved in nature awareness education in The Netherlands. From a very young age nature has been my wisdom keeper, medicine, solace and companion. I am inspired by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and have attended his teachings for over a decade. In 2015 I completed the facilitators training in The Work That Reconnects with Joanna Macy. For me it is a powerful toolkit to come together, heal our relationship with ourselves, humankind and Earth, nourish active hope and celebrate the wonder of life. I facilitate workshops regularly. Root to rise for me means being rooted with the anchor inside, the center, that which makes it possible to expand into widening circles. That which nourishes trust and courage to break out of our narrow shell of understanding. It is being grounded, connected with the senses, being in community. To be of place and not to run from it, to be present with what is needed in present past and future. Rising, carried by the wonder of being and perhaps even smile at the unknown
Two years ago, my dear friend Maria Kolossa send me a book called ‘If women rose rooted’. It is a book about the current imbalance in the world, when it comes to ways of knowing. Feminine wisdom, which becomes stronger the more we can relate to place, to physical, natural cycles and patterns, has long been suppressed. And the evidence is strong that this suppression is narrowly related to the current state of the planet. The author advocates that women have a unique responsibility to play in the world – we are to find back our rootedness and rise up like trees. ‘If we do so – we might not only save ourselves, but also the world’. My own mission is exactly this: connecting different ways of knowing towards a sustainable now. I work on restoring my own ability to tap into all these ways of knowing and share what I learn in the projects I work on. As a professional, I have come to use constellations to look at societal issues, and use many other methods (e.g. Theory-U, Future Search, Joanna Macy rituals) that allow a large variety of stakeholders to come together at a deeper level: rooted, by connecting to their own source of inspiration. From there we can rise forward in regenerating our planet.
Lisette van der Wel
My motto for life is ‘to examine all things and hold on to what is good’. From a young age I passionately wanted to understand how the world works. I spent much time in nature and read a lot. I choose to study anthropology and lived in various places across the globe. The experience of global inequality and sacrifice of nature in the name of ‘progress’ made me acutely aware of our interconnectedness and the need for a broad systemic view on processes of social change. Another study of theology and philosophies of life, plus my own quest in religion and spirituality, added much depth. I came to understand that the key to solving our human problems, as well as our personal pain, lies in knowing who we are – embodied spirits who are called to live in harmony with the whole community of life on Earth. Through further immersion in deep ecology, integral spirituality and meditation, I learned more about various ways of ego-relaxation and reconnecting to nature such as nature constellations and ‘The Work That Reconnects’. My mission has become to help restore the connection with our inner Self and with nature. For it is in reconnecting to our roots and to our sense of place in the world, that we can rise and shine as who we truly are.
www.cre-act.net (website not updated)
I am a trainer for social movements. My ‘heartwork’ is the concept of ‘sustainable activism’. I facilitated up to 10-day retreats for ‘change agents’ to support them on the long haul. In these trainings I hold space for reflection and emotional-work and give tools for maintaining political engagement. As a social worker (CMV) I skilled myself at; Joanna Macy, Starhawk, Ecodharma, Transition Network, Ecovillage Design and at Trainers for Change. I’ve been a climate activist for more than ten years and often felt lonely on this path. There is little space for sharing feelings that come up when (we dare to) look at what goes wrong in the world. Now I can tell people, it’s totally normal when you feel sadness for the earth. We feel the pain, because we are connected to the earth. so it’s an ‘alarmbel’ we should listen to. I create a space for this, where we share and build support networks to stay active for the long run. The change we need will take more than a lifetime to unfold. So let us learn to grow deep roots, so that we’re able to rise up to restore our planet and build healthy relationships.
Laura van den Berg
Ever since I can remember I felt the way we are living is not the way that makes us truly happy. I noticed as a kid, I would come alive in nature – being in contact with animals. When I became older, I read a lot about what was going on in the world. Things I had always felt aren’t right: deforestation, the way we keep animals, the way we overconsume and our focus on making money and economic growth. I was determined to do something about this and to help people open their eyes and hearts. In my opinion we should guide children to help them (re)connect with nature. We, as adults, need to be in touch again with our deeper feelings and think about true values in life. I studied Cultural and Social Work and I have experience in yoga, meditation, healing work, non-violent communication, Climate-Talks. I have been working with children for 3 years and I have worked for Milieudefensie (part of Friends of the Earth International) for over five years. At Milieudefensie, I work with volunteer groups throughout the country who are making an impact on a local level. Root to Rise for me is about getting closer to ourselves, and live our lives in a way that makes us most happy. Not by gaining some sort of status or material wealth, but by truly living our full potential in contact with ourselves, nature and others. That requires another way of thinking than what we were taught: a less individualistic way of living with honor and respect for all living beings. A connection with all of life again.
I grew up in a city. But one of my favourite memories from my childhood is when my dad, my dog and me went for a long walk on Sunday evenings through the fields close to our house. I remember watching the sunset, the birds, the cows. Walking is still an important part of my daily practice, a way of (re)connecting to myself and place and time. To find stillness in movement. Remember the simplicity of life.
I’m trained in a framework for strategic sustainability, systems thinking and a Buddhist practice. In the last few years I’ve been integrating relationship with nature – our home – into my work more consciously. I’m starting to see how vital this relationship is. We cannot live without it. We are both part of it and depend on it. In my work as a host/facilitator/trainer I invite people to inquire into what truly matters to them, to show up authentically to the conversations that matter. To learn together about what can be done differently. Writing and performing spoken word poetry are a way for me to express what I sometimes do not yet understand, and step firmly into what I do know. Being able to hold this opposition is crucial. The knowing and not-knowing. Root to Rise means exactly that for me: rooting down more deeply, so we can rise more strongly. It is about remembering who we are and letting go of everything we are not. And it is high time we do so.
As a young girl, living near the dunes and sea, I felt most at home when I was in nature. Without any effort I felt I belonged here. I have an eager and curious mind, and love it to find out why things are as they are, to analyze complex systems. While growing up, I slowly lost the intimate connection with my body, resulting in a poor health for some time. And I saw a reflection of this in the world outside, dominated by analyzing, counting, controlling – often loosing the felt sense of being part of it all. And this inspired me to make these two ways of knowing the world, the essence of my work. As an applied anthropologist it is my work to ‘read’ all kind of complex systems, like organizations or landscapes or societal issues. In this reading I continuously switch from a ‘snake perspective’ – sensitive, intuitive, emphatizing with all living forms around me, and the ‘eagle perspective’ – a high sky view, overseeing the bigger picture and the interrelatedness of things. Working in that way, I believe our human practices stay rooted in the ground, connected to the vital life force as it is. Only from this awakened awareness, I believe humanity can grow into a healthy future for ourselves and all life on our planet. I am happy to work on this mission together with my companions of Root to Rise.