Imagine what life might look, feel and taste like if cultivating relationships with ourselves, others and the other-than-human world were the top priority for us as a society.
We are seeking out conversations with practitioners across the globe working around the following themes:
- politics, democracy and collective decision-making
- frontline health-care
- legal system
- radical inclusivity, diversity and anti-oppression
- collective trauma
- rites of passage
We want to explore the usefulness of coming together as communities of practice to support peer-peer collaboration and cross-fertilization as a means to deepen and scale up our efforts around inner-led cultural transformation.
Not enough time?
We recognise that in these times of global pandemic, and increasing crises more generally, it can feel incredibly challenging to prioritise this collaborative bigger picture work. We believe we are currently in what could be called a ‘kairos’ moment:
“The ancient Greeks had two primary words for time: kronos and kairos. Kronos referred to sequential time, the “chronological” order of time … Kairos referred to a different order of time altogether, a timeless stretch that cannot be scheduled ahead of time ... in which impossible things become momentarily possible. Whereas kronos stands for quantitative time, kairos time is qualitative in nature … When we are under the influence of kairos … something timeless and beyond time enters and alters the world around us. The kairos moment arrives ... when the time is just right, when things become more possible and life becomes ripe for change … In many ways we have entered a kairos moment, a time beset with both danger and opportunity as the world tries to change amidst the clashing of entrenched ideas and fixed beliefs and the availability of crushing weapons of all kinds.” Michael Mead
Our thematic approach
Whether we like it or not, the extent to which any of the changes we are longing for are possible, is to a large degree currently contingent on how decisions get made by our ‘elected representatives’ - and the governments they are part of. We want to help transform how this vital collective decision-making happens within our local communities and across all levels of scale. We want to help cultivate new ways of making our collective decisions that are inclusive, fair, transparent, emotionally intelligent, decolonised and culturally diverse. We need to re-democratise democracy and work collaboratively to find ways to meet everyone’s real needs and to urgently repair the natural systems we all rely on to survive, in service of the whole earth community.
We want our frontline services to be nourished by inner-led cultures that truly support health and wellbeing. Imagine what our frontline health-care services could be like if they were given the support and resources they need to create healthy regenerative cultures? There are plenty of practitioners within our health care systems, and other community groups and networks, who are passionate about creating healthier cultures that centre around the inner-dimension of life. We recognise that in these times of a global pandemic those working on the frontline are even more up against it than ever before. We believe this provides the perfect opportunity to highlight just how vital an inner-led approach is within our health-care systems - no small thing, within this vital aspect of our society.
Our capacity to learn is contingent on the state of our mental health and emotional wellbeing. The approaches and skills that support empathy, creativity, connection, collaboration, healthy relationship dynamics and nature connection are eminently teachable but form a vanishingly small part of the school curriculum. Again, there are an abundance of individuals and organisations attempting to bring about inner-led change within this educational context - and no doubt often feeling challenged if working without support in places where the value of this is not yet seen. We want to create a space to bring together those wanting to bring about radical shifts around inner-led change within our education system so as to find ways to deepen and scale up our efforts. We are seeking out conversations with those working to integrate more of this into the formal and informal education system globally to explore the benefits of collaboration and cross-fertilization of insights, resources and good practice across diverse fields and cultures e.g: Forest Schools, Waldorf and Steiner education, Democratic Schools, Place2be, Gaia Education, Mindfulness in Schools, and many more.
Legal System: decolonizing law in service of the whole earth community
Our current criminal justice system is legally constituted to undermine rather than protect life. A colonial mind-set remains the bedrock of all present day legal systems. Our current systems of incarceration were historically created to criminalize black and working class people and maintain and strengthen the existing power dynamics. This means our rights and freedom remain enshrined in a worldview that sees humans as inherently unequal and the land as a commodity for humans to exploit for their own gain. Radical legal reform is needed so that those vested with the power to determine our rights and freedom are empowered to make heart-centred decisions that honour and protect the equable rights of the whole earth community in service of a life-affirming world.
Radical Inclusivity: inner-led approaches to justice, diversity, equity and anti-oppression work
We want to bring together practitioners who are centring an inner-led approach within their efforts around justice, diversity, equity and anti-oppression work. The time feels incredibly ripe for this in light of this new wave in consciousness around racism, and other marginalised and oppressed identities. We long to help co-create cultures that support us to go beyond identity by first coming fully into relationship with the pain, suffering and injustice that has been played out in the name of socially constructed identities - and the historic and collective trauma this has created, which serves to uphold and perpetuate systemic injustice today.
It is only in coming fully into relationship with the extent to which each of us have internalised victim-persecutor-rescuer consciousness that we will be able to heal and transform the pain, suffering and injustice it is responsible for. The many approaches to inner-led change offer myriad routes to waking up to our own part in this deep seated and ancient picture. By providing a space for collaboration around this inner-led approach we hope to help it deepen and scale-up so as to unleash its transformative potential.
Community Responses to Collective Trauma
In recent years trauma has more and more been revealing itself within our groups and community spaces. This often occurs in the absence of the understanding, skill and experience needed to hold and meet this in healthy ways that enable its transformative power to unfold. This is happening at great cost to both individual and collective wellbeing. And more fundamentally it perpetuates the cycles of intergenerational trauma from which systemic injustice derives. What’s more, this increase in the manifestation of collective trauma is significantly hindering our ability to bring about the cultural transformation our species depends on - and our whole earth community needs to flourish. We want to bring together practitioners who are aware of this pivotal role played by collective trauma to explore what community responses might look like, in our longing to liberate it from the confines of the more individualised paradigm we are moving away from.
Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage work is about marking the various instances of death and re-birth that permeate our individual and collective experience. It involves the creation of events to mark our transition from one state to another. We see this intentional marking of the various stages of our evolution, both as individuals and as a collective, as a vital part of inner-led cultural transformation.
Most commonly known are chronological Rites of Passage that support and mark our transitions between childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood. These events represent a vital part of becoming the healthy humans our world so deeply longs for through us.
Rites of Passage can also mark significant transitions like; committing to a relationship (e.g. marriage, hand-fasting or forming intentional community); personal transformation (e.g. marking the death of a certain way of being that no longer serves us); or culture shifts at the collective level (e.g. after significant conflict, a group might mark any resulting shifts in culture).
We are initially seeking conversations with Rites of Passage guides interested in collaborating with other guides internationally to deepen and scale up Rites of Passage work that supports young people to mark their chronological transition from adolescence into young adulthood. We recognise that one-off Rites of Passage events are not what enables this transition to happen - rather they are a marker of this transition. The work that enables such a transition is much more of an ongoing process, and our collaborative approach seeks to explore how Rites of Passage guides can collaborate with those supporting the more ongoing wholing and healing work needed to become healthy adolescents, adults and elders.
Indigeneity: protecting and re-inhabiting nature-based indigenous practices
For us, radical inner-led cultural transformation is inherently about honouring the sacred - and doing the inner-work needed to get ourselves out of the way so as to tap into a wisdom and open intelligence that is well beyond the capacity of our current state of consciousness. We want more and more people to be able to connect with and engage in protecting and re-inhabiting indigenous practices. We are still exploring what role, if any, there is for Starter Culture within this, and are seeking out conversations with those involved in these approaches to explore how our collaborative approach might support a flourishing of this vital sacred work.
The more than 100 exploratory conversations we have had to date have primarily centred around activism and those explicitly seeking to bring about social and ecological change. We will continue to explore and support the threads, collaborations and initiatives that emerged from these Cups of Tea processes.
A (w)holistic approach
By supporting cross-fertilization and collaboration between practitioners working across all these themes we hope to harness the wellspring of transformative potential that tends to flow when a commitment to compassionate solidarity, collaboration and radical inclusivity are placed centre stage. In our experience this is the stuff that transforms Love into action.
[We would love to hear from you] if you are involved in any of these areas of work and are passionate about integrating inner-led culture change