WHO AM I
How do I feel? Who am I right now?
I give this current period in my life transition times as a title, in the inside as well as in my outer life. It is a vulnerable space where I find myself hanging between the past that hasn’t been digested yet and the future that has yet to come. I just ended a year of individually designed studies that was so packed with projects, experiences and high expectations for myself that at the end of it I had to take a serious break. Burned out.
I feel like I’ve just stopped after a long period of running. Now, I am starting to breathe normally again, with rhythm, and settle into myself. I have to redefine who I am from scratch. In a month, I will start to study again and work – I will be put in a very new situation that is demanding a well-centered Christina. So right now, asking myself how I feel, I can only describe different pictures that fit to the feeling inside. Imagine a little bird, crawled up in its nest (which is a little garden shed that I am living in at the moment), mainly sleeping, reading, playing the guitar, painting, watching movies, trying to not think of any duties. I am hiding from the world, but righteously so. I feel young, small, sometimes pathetic. I am learning how to walk again. Rather than a 23 years old young woman, I feel more like a baby right now.
Next to the little bird I am a plant that hasn’t gotten enough water for a while and looks a bit exhausted and dry; this plant just got water now and is slowly starting to grow and look healthier again.
It feels like climbing up a hill after I fell down. The weather is cloudy and a bit rough right now, so that the sun can shine even brighter when I climbed up that hill again. So what I feel very strongly is trust in the future, in times where I will be living up to my potential in a healthier way than right now. Now, I need to sleep and “hide” a bit longer. My world is flipped around: it’s summer outside and a winter feeling in the inside.
Through all of this that had happened in the past months I feel more mature, I ripened and understood more of my personal challenges and difficulties in life. I am now a new Christina that is wiser than before.
What are my challenges?
The way I feel right now has to do with one of my biggest challenges: Finding my personal limits, communicating those limits, sticking to them and seeing them as something that guides me instead of needing to leave them behind. This challenge has to do with my difficulties of being gentle to myself and taking good care of myself. High expectations, perfectionism, the need to always give my uttermost best often collide and overstep my personal limits and make it to a challenge to take care of myself.
All of this sums up to my main challenge of self-confidence. How do I stand truly in my own shoes, and say to the world: “This is Christina, here I am. This is what I want to do, this is what I can do and this is what I simply can’t do. I am wise enough to listen to myself, I value my opinion and I speak from my heart. I don’t worry about the hundreds of opinions and judgments form others.” It is a challenge for me to create a separation between my surroundings and myself. Sometimes I feel like everyone and everything around me goes straight through me.
Two challenges that came directly out of my past year of individual studies working in a way that I feel like I am playing on the one hand, and working in a community, collaborating, and sharing responsibilities on the other hand.
Usually when I am working, I am taking it very serious, I am committed, I am trying to give my very best, I am focusing on the result, I am not really relaxed, and I often try to do things on my own – mostly I end up with a feeling of burnout and exhaustion. What I want to learn and take on as a challenge, is to work with the same energy and joy as playing a game and to do this in close collaboration with others. So right now, I am challenging myself to really play the Way of the Warrior instead of seeing it as a work/ project that I have to achieve.
What are my dreams?
Dreams for the world:
I dream of a society that redefines its values. One that holds as a first priority the well-being of its people – and I mean everyone!
I dream of a society and a system that encourages people to lead a sustainable lifestyle in the best way possible.
I dream of an economy that holds brotherhood as its highest virtue; of politics and law that truly treat everyone as the same and value equality as the highest; and I dream of culture and arts as being completely free from commerce and available for anyone to get “soul nutrition”.
I dream of green cities: rooftops filled with an abundance of vegetables and flowers, there is many gardens and entire fields in
the city, public transportation is for free, people have their own chicken coops, there is many trees where children build tree houses, the air smells fresh and is filled with joyful laughter of playing children; there is neighborhood meetings where collective decisions and the designing of common spaces is done in an including and collective way.
It is my dream that every human being on earth lives in a close connection with his/her surroundings. I wish that each one of us can experience a feeling of love, care and belonging for where we live. I am convinced that with realizing this dream of true connections between people and their surroundings and also themselves, plenty of the environmental problems that we are facing today wouldn’t even exist.
I dream of schools that educate whole human beings and not adjusted and squeezed in “professionals” who are finished products instead of free and responsible people. I dream of young people who are given the freedom to do what they love to do, and who decide to take responsibility for the world of tomorrow.
I dream of free universities that are connected to life and nature. Universities that are places where the personal development of young individuals is the highest aim instead of being a “gas stations for knowledge”. In these universities students and professors co-design and redefine education together.
I dream of free elementary schools that incorporate farming in the schedule.
people who create this place together. In this community everyone gives his contribution, his light and his strengths and energy and shares joy. I am dreaming of creating such a place together with my friends. In this community I dream of building my home with sustainable material and growing my own vegetables organically…
I dream of seeing the world, going out, and really experiencing it with its different realities and knowing what is happening out there. Meeting with people and creating real affectionate connections.
Right now, I dream of participating in the Warriors Without Weapons Program!
I dream of expanding the Oasis movement to Europe, Eastern Europe and especially to Sweden where I live.
I dream of being part in the organization of a WWW program in Eastern Europe.
I dream of myself in the future. It is a strong dream to really find my contribution to the world, giving it out and receiving fulfillment in return.
I am dreaming of a future full of joy, love, and abundance.
All those dreams are fuel to my deeds.
What are my professional questions?
I am a student. Learning is my profession. What will I be doing in a few years? I hope very much that the learning will never end, especially not when I am working every day for – who and what? Thinking of working for someone, for a company e.g. doesn’t excite me. I think of work as something that will be created through me, and it will be my contribution to the world. Rather than something that I do in order to only sustain myself.
The strongest professional question I am holding right now is really what my contribution is and will be. What are the skills that I need to acquire in order to be able to fulfill my potential in this world?
What kinds of professions need to be created? I feel very much that my work doesn’t exist yet, there is not such a thing as a profession tailored for me out there, I will have to create it – so what will I do?
Do I really need to get an accredited degree in order to do the work that I will want to do in the future? Do I really need to go to university? And I also question if there is a university course that is holistic, that combines my interests, allows me to co-design and take responsibility for my education and that prepares me for the future?
Before I start acting in the world it is very important to me to ask the question of how can I truly be myself and how can I act from this?
A big question that I have as well is about money. I am living in a society where money and work are closely linked: I need to work in order to earn money. Not many people work if they don’t earn money. I find it so important to make a clear separation between the work that I am doing for the world, and the money that is nothing more than a means to purchase things that I need to live. So what is the actual meaning of money? What importance do I want to give it in my professional future life?
Why do I want to take part in the the Warriors Without Weapons Program?
Participating in the Oasis Training in Feb. 2010 and getting to know the methodology that lies behind it, opened completely new doors to me – my life changed without any doubts. I learned that I can play whilst bringing transformation to the world, and I truly experienced collaboration. These were amazing experiences, very special ones, but it was not enough. I was only a participant in both of the Oasis Games that I took part in: Oasis Vila Margarida and the Oasis Holland in Amsterdam. But what I want to do in my future is not just participating, I want to really learn how to facilitate such a process and how to duplicate it in other places in the world. In order to be able to do this, I need to take the learning that has started with the Oasis Training to a next level. I need to deepen the experience and the understanding, I need to learn more by doing it, and what I mainly need is gaining more confidence in myself and in this way of working with communities.
The methodology and the approach that Elos works with, is something that truly inspires me like nothing else has done it for a while. For a long time I’v been holding many questions about community development work and community empowerment work and it is a dream to train myself on this area in a more profound way. I also have strong questions about so called “development aid work” that is often practiced by “Western countries” towards “Developing countries”. I’ve seen several social initiatives, mostly organized and funded by people from the outside, which try to bring change to people who live in underprivileged and at-risk situations. What I experienced often, was that the usual approach of coming from the outside and trying to help someone, to solve problems and maybe even telling the local people how it should be and what they should do, doesn’t seem to work well at all. This frustrates me and it makes me sad. And it frustrates me as well if I hear the word “development aid” used in the wrong context, and I really want to ask the world what it really means to support someone’s development? What I experienced through the methodology and the approach that Elos proposes, showed me a complete new approach of working with underprivileged communities that is actually contributing to a fruitful development of both them and me as an “outsider” who is allowed to learn from the local people. It gave me a begin of an answer to my question about “development aid work” and community empowerment work and I guess that the search for a full answer to this question will be closely connected to my life’s path.
The opportunity to deepen what I learned in the Oasis Training is a chance that I urgently want to take. I am convinced that participating the WWW Program will offer me mountains of challenges that I will learn from in ways I can’t even imagine yet. And I don’t speak so much of the outer challenges but more of the inner part of the program that will contribute to my personal development.
I want to participate in the Warriors Without Weapons Program because I see this training as a gift of immense learning and development that I want to give to my life and my future.
Have you ever done something which demonstrates that you are a “Warrior Without Weapons”?
38 “Warriors Without Weapons” (they just didn’t call themselves like this, but actually they were Warriors) pulled this conference off. They started with an idea, very little time to make this idea real and all they had was who they were: 38 young students of the International Youth Initiative Program (www.yip.se), coming from 18 different countries, aged between 18 and 25. Now, looking back, what we mostly had was courage, commitment, idealism, dreams, a bit of craziness, mountains of ideas, a huge diversity, strong and indipendent individuals and mostly: we had us, throughout this year of studying and living together our group had grown to a strong community of mutual and unconditional support.
We were a community wanting to open up this experience that we had during the year to the wide world and to the local community around us.
So we invited the world for a big gathering and 300 participants arrived with curiosity for a intense and diverse week ahead. From all the voices I listened to after this week, what I heard from all the corners were words like: “amazing; awakening; uplifting; world changing; deep; full of life; i wish it wouldn’t end; intense; experience of community; exhaustion; smoothly run conference; i’m in love with life and you all…” I remember how impressed I was by the feedback of the participants. As a co-organizer of the conference I was so much in it, occupied with practicalities and sometimes consumed by them that I couldn’t get a sense for how the event was for sombody who participated in it. But actually, I wanted to use the same words to discribe my experience. It had brought a tremendous amount of learning and challenges to me. And through that a big personal growth. It had transformed me and allowed me to act from my full potential. The same happened for the other organizers, each in his or her way gave his uttermost best and grew from it in new ways. And together, only together, we were able to pull this conference off in a way that it also astonished us: This idea we had, it actually became reality and it worked out so well and smoothly. One could say we were under a good star, but mainly we were such a strong group, a community.
If you would have asked me before if it is possible to organize a conference with 38 organizers, and most of us didn’t have prior experience with this kind of work and event, most likely I would have said “no”. And it was not easy. Never had our group been challenged in the way it happened during those intense weeks just before 360º – Exploring Community took place. I learned something for my life there: being in a community means that you support the other and the whole process with your best, you find your way in it, your contribution, you’re not just a bricklayer who works on his own, but you are building a cathedral together with everyone else. And you can even do this, if this conference is not fully your project, you can still be there and support your friends with your best in what they do. I experienced community and collaboration in its highest form. And this changed my life.
I know now that it could only turn out to such a special, important and beautifully deep event, because we, as an organizing team, were so diverse and because we all did it together. If not for the craziness of 38 organizers, 360º – Exploring Community would have never become what it was and would have never had such impact on many lives.
I am very grateful for this transformational experience. There have been other actions and moments in my life that had the same qualities, the participation of the Oasis Training and the Oasis Holland Game are definitely among them…
What are your plans? What do you want to do when you return from the program?
Coming back from the program, I firstly intend to really live what I’ve learned and take this learning into my daily life. “Walking my talk” is something that I highly value, with this attitude of personal consequence in what I do, transformation can start happening within and around me.
Then, I also want to spread the word about this program that I participated. I want to inspire others and show what I did and what I learned from it. I want to take time to reflect on the learning and let the intense experience sink in.
My dream is to work with communities in Europe and Eastern Europe. In Oasis Holland, I experienced that the approach and the methodology that the Oasis Game and the WWW program work with, can be applied anywhere in the world and it felt like European people are yearning for bringing change to their communities and realizing their dreams in a playful and complete different way from what they are used to. For this dream, I will need to connect with other people who want to do the same and I will need to focus on one place, start somewhere, and this could be Sweden where I live. I’ve been thinking a lot about an Oasis Game in a city close by called Södertälje that has a huge amount of immigrants living crowded in very sad suburbian areas and who are separated in different ethnical groups and also separated form the Swedish population.
Another plan is to be involved in taking the WWW Program to Europe, maybe Eastern Europe. I heard a rumor of Romania…? Who knows… I would love to be part of the organization of this and hopefully do this as part of an educational program (internship), maybe university level, that I am currently looking for. In that way, I would want to incorporate the work and methodology Elos developed in my higher education and make it part of my professioncy. An education in community empowerment work combined with “development aid work” is something that I would love to pursue and in such a course I would incorporate what I learned from the WWW program in the best way I can.
I am sure that through the participation of the program, a strong tie will be made between the participants and I hope to keep this tie and actually really work together with some of the participants after the program is done. Especially expanding this movement to Europe and Eastern Europe with other European participants is a dream.
In a way I can’t fully imagine what the participation of the WWW program will exactly give me and what exactly I will be doing with it after wards. But what I know for sure is that it will be a building stone for my future deeds, it will give direction to my life, to my searching, it will lead to further actions and for some reason, I have a steady knowing inside that I have to do the WWW program.