We are Starter Culture - an emergent initiative dedicated to supporting inner-led change in service of outer social and ecological change.
Our vision is to help co-create the healthier, more transformative and just relational cultures needed to go beyond our current power-over consciousness and navigate these times of collapse, in service of deep cultural transformation in reciprocal relationship with the whole earth community.
We are helping bring about this cultural transformation by supporting collaboration between those interested in the intersection between inner and outer dimensions of social and ecological change.
We want to help unleash our collective transformative power to radically address the inequality, systemic injustice and abuses of power giving rise to the inordinate human suffering, ecological destruction and species extinction that are bringing into question the future of our own species.
What do we mean by the ‘Inner’?
We are aware that the ‘inner’ is often understood to speak only to personal individualised experience rather than the richly interpersonal, social, cultural, political and other-than-human dimensions Starter Culture is all about. It is this breadth and depth that we are referring to when we talk about the ‘inner’.
The lack of an accessible and shared term for this field can make connecting and collaborating very challenging. What's more, the differences in how we all experience and express our inner worlds can create confusion, fear and a sense of separation and ‘not belonging’, between us.
What do we mean by inner-led change?
For us inner-led change means placing the inner and relational dimensions of our experience at the centre of our efforts around social and ecological change, in reciprocal relationship with the wider web of life. We believe that the extent of cultural transformation demanded by our current crises requires the ‘centering’ of these inner and relational dimensions at every level of human life, from the personal to the collective.
When we talk about inner-led change we are referring to change that unites our outer change work (which recognises and challenges harmful societal structures and tries to create alternatives) with ‘inner’ change work (which supports us to; explore our own entanglement in the power-over culture perpetuating these harmful societal structures; cultivate healthier relationships with ourselves, each other and other-than-humans; and to co-create the healthy, transformational and just cultures our hearts long for - and which our current social and ecological crises demand).
Our commitment is to allying with deep cultural transformation - which includes and goes beyond change within the human realm.
Key ingredients of inner-led change
For inner-led change to truly serve the depth and scale of cultural transformation demanded by these increasingly turbulent times, we believe it needs to include the following ingredients:
- Eco-centric: Shifting away from our human-centric lens of the world to nature-connected ways-of-being that support us to source solutions from beyond the consciousness that created our current crises: listening to the Earth's dreaming.
- Trauma aware: Recognising collective trauma as the underbelly of our social and ecological collapse and that transforming trauma holds the keys to the shifts in consciousness demanded by these times: becoming trauma-informed within our social and ecological change work.
- Decolonising at depth: Tracking colonialism's imprints within our own psyche, identity, behaviours and beliefs: healing and transforming the collective trauma resulting from historic and on-going coloniality.
- Emergent strategising: Letting go of our need to predict and control and learning instead how to embrace the discomfort of life's inherent uncertainty by taking one step at a time towards our North Star's gravitational pull.
The health of our groups, organisations and movements
Groups and movements dedicated to social and ecological change are key to catalysing the deep cultural transfomation demanded by these times of collapse. However, making space for our inner experience is mainly neglected within our social and ecological change efforts. This neglect of the inner and relational dimensions is costing our movements greatly in terms of their health and effectiveness.
Escalating cultures of burnout, polarization, 'othering', conflict and unhealthy group and power dynamics, personify the symptoms of what is referred to as a 'mental health crises' - and the power-over and consumer driven cultures that created it.
It is our neglect of the inner dimension of change that has lead to this so-called 'mental health crisis' - and what in reality is an unprecedented crises in human development and relationship.
For change to come from the inside-out we need to:
- Acknowledge that alongside much joy and liberation, turning towards our inner experience often opens us up to vulnerable feelings we have been doing our best to avoid.
- Compassionately respond to the fear and resistance many of us therefore feel in relation to inner work - and how this then shapes our group cultures.
- Raise awareness that change from the inside-out is essential to transforming our relationship with ourselves, others and other-than-humans - and that nourishing this connective tissue holds the key to the deep and widespread cultural transformation demanded by these increasingly turbulent times.
- Politicize the vital role inner-led change plays in individual and collective liberation and justice.
- Find ways to make finance and other resources abundantly available so that support around inner-led change becomes widely available to all, and especially those most harmed by our mainstream culture.
Who is Starter Culture for?
This is a place for individuals, groups, organisations, networks and communities interested in inner-led culture change - whether you are here to find out about healthy groups, conflict transformation and collective decision-making or to deep dive into shadow work, myth and the underworld: Welcome!
If you want to explore decolonization and dismantling systemic oppression: Welcome! If you're searching for support around mental health, meditation, mindfulness or other contemplative practices: Welcome!
Longing to find support around nature-connection practices, deep ecology, eco and embodied awakening or soulcrafting? Welcome! Deeply embedded in inner-work and wanting to find ways of integrating this into more tangible outer-focused change? Welcome! Passionate about chanting, trance dance, ritual or prayer? Welcome!
Want to integrate an inner-dimension into your food growing, wild fermentation or food sovereignty work? Welcome! Committed to finding ways to create more sustainable livelihood, lifestyle and travel: Welcome! Fired up about sacred economics, the gift economy or re-economy? Welcome!
Determined to find ways of developing relational ways of making collective and political decisions? Welcome! Intent on radical judiciary and prison reform? Welcome! Passionate about stopping deportations and finding creative loving solutions to our hospitality crisis? Welcome!
If you are interested in inner-led change you have come to the right place. And whilst language and imagery can feel divisive we also want you to feel at home here whether thinking, feeling, sensing or imagining is your thing. Welcome!
Unleashing the transformative potential of inner-led change
The time is ripe for us to come together and unite our hidden movement. To date we have had more than 200 conversations to explore what it is like to try and integrate an inner dimension into social and ecological change work. We call this our Cups of Tea approach.
We asked people to tell us about the challenges, needs and opportunities they experience in relation to supporting inner-led change. Each and every one of these conversations provided rich feedback about what is needed to support inner-led change to flourish - as well as confirming just how vital this is to the health and effectiveness of social and ecological change work more generally.
Check out our 'Supporting a Hidden Movement' section to find out about these more than 200 Cups of Tea conversations and how we are drawing on their rich learnings to help unleash the transformative potential of inner-led change.