Tuesday, 30 June 2009

On change

“If there is a solution to the problem, there is no need to worry. If there is no solution, there is no sense in worrying either.”
The Dalai Lama

I was reading an article the other day on Emergence, Community of Practices and Social Innovation. The article gave a perspective and guidance on how to deal with the complexity of changes in society, on the first sight it seemed an interesting piece of document, when I read it again it left me rather critical feeling, the language and approach seemed again so linear and old school. Nevertheless it evoked a series of reflections for me coming from personal experience on change and from stories and writing which have inspired me. A lot of my recent conversations with people have been around trying to find confidence and better ways to cope with the un-known and finding one’s place in the world. Implicit in all these conversation was the question around how to deal with and how to create change.

Rather than worry about critical mass to change the world, I think it is important to foster critical connections (inner and outer). We don’t need to convince large numbers of people to change; instead, we need pursue our inner journey and connect with kindred spirits. Through tapping into our internal wisdom and the collective wisdom coming from these relationships, we will cultivate a new way of living which will also affect the needed change in society on a larger scale.

When speaking of change we often think of changing systems, the way people think, changing politics, and we think of the ways of doing so, e.g. by building networks, communities of practice and action to bring forward new emerging systems which help transform our way of lives and the way society functions. There is an implication that only together by “joining up forces” we can achieve something big and bring about change. This assumption slightly takes away attention from our individual abilities to bring about change for ourselves and others. The ‘I’ is never really separated from the ‘We’, both our being and actions are influencing the We, same as culture and behaviours of the We always influence the I. It’s an intertwined dance.

It is healthy and nurturing to connect with kindred spirits and foster critical connections, cultivating and deepening relationships and through these allow a collective creative space to unfold where through co-sensing and co-presencing we move to co-creation, which brings about new realities. In this process (Theory U) through embodied mindfulness, conscious in-depth experiences, reflections and authentic sharing new systems will emerge more purposefully.

Equally important for the changes and conditions we are seeking to shape, is the cultivation of our internal condition of being, like a garden that we cultivate, paying attention, nurturing it with water or sun, growing it with compost and harvesting and celebrating its fruit, in its ever reoccurring cycle. This cycle of growth and the quality of our internal soil is strongly intertwined and influenced by with the cycles of growth and qualities of soil we find in the different communities we live in. If we don’t feel nurtured in our communities it is more difficult to nurture and maintain a healthy internal condition and equally more difficult to foster and be of service to our community and the best possible way we can be in service of.

David Bohm is talking about this interdependency between our being and the being of our community in his book “Thought as a system”. He describes how our current situation and the systems we are living in, is created and perpetuated by our thoughts.

“We started out saying the trouble is that the world is in chaos but I think we end up saying that thought is in chaos. That’s each one of us. And that is the cause of the world being in chaos. Then chaos of the world comes back adds to the chaos of thought.” (D. Bohm)

This system consists of our emotions, our body, our culture, and whole society and is all one process which cannot be broken apart. It’s a system – a set of connected things and parts that are mutually interdependent. This system pervades our whole activity. Often we are so used to seeing ourselves a certain way that we can’t get through the layers of ‘habitual identity’ to look through the jungle and find out what’s underneath, who am I? What do I need? What is my work? … connecting with our deeper purpose and calling.

"We may need to lose sight of who we thought we were in order to become who we are."
Barbara Hamilton

Through turning our attention to our deepest inner creative force, listening to develop an internal seeing using all our senses to be able to follow our rhythm and true calling, we create the conditions not only needed for ourselves but also for our environment and for society in large.

"The integrity of the entire universe is influenced by the degree of wholeness we attain individually." B.H.

This is where I feel next to our inner individual exploration, it is then again important to maintain the balance of the cycle of the We and the I. Not forgetting to reaching out, listening to the experiences of ‘fellow transitioners’, to their stories about who they are following their rhythms, articulating and sharing your own experiences and stories with others. Nurturing yourself and growing your inner garden beyond your ‘habitual identity’ and gradually and organically in interplay with your community cultivating common ground and a new way of living. This is the new emerging path, an impulse I am sensing and currently following, hopefully catalyzing and fostering a new order of living.

I often feel we have all wisdom within us to guide ourselves and yet we are stretching our throats like ostriches looking for theories, models, trying to grasp something that is outside us, looking for something or someone to follow and guide us.


Why does the soul not fly
when it hears the call?

Why does a fish, gasping on land,
but near the water,
not move back into the sea?...

What keeps us from joining the dance
the dust particles do?

Look at their subtle motions
in sunlight.

We are out of our cages
with our wings spread
yet we do not lift off.

We keep collecting rocks and broken bits
of pottery like children
pretending they are merchants.

We should split the sack
of this culture
and stick our heads out.

Look around.
Leave your childhood.

Reach your right hand up
and take this book from the air.
You know right from left don't you?

A voice speaks to your clarity.
Move into the moment of your death.
Consider what you truly want.

Now call out commands yourself.
You are the king. Phrase your question,
and expect the grace of an answer.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

What a beauty - in one of Hungarian's old forests

Strawberries, Cherries and Rasperries

Last week I visited my grandparents in Szentendre, its a bit out of town - a small village near the Danube. It's strawberry season right now, or about to finish, so we had loads of strawberries the last 3 weeks in all variations and they were sold at every street corner. Since about last week, the cherries are good to eat, in fact they are superdelicious and everyone sells cherries on the streets now(small bags of collected cherries from the trees in the home garden).

The trees are heavily loaded and on public transport people are carrying basket and buckets filled with delicious cheeries. I am loving it!

(Right: A pic of my grandparents cherry collection of a day, strawberry jam and the famous Hungarian cherry soup which is eaten cold and very refreshing in hot summers.)

Hungarian gardens are full of fruits and vegetables even in the city. Many families make their own wine and Palinka (a strong grappa like spirit in all fruit types)...Since most of Hungarian's fruit of veggie consumption comes from their own or other local place, it also strongly influences what is eaten at which point of time in what amounts. So after our lovely lunch and the cherry soup in my grandparents garden, we had a break and went to collect some raspberries for our dessert. We had each a bowl of fresh raspberries with powder sugar and cream - sooo delicious!

My grandfaher said, that each fruit has its particular season so you always have one thing at a time, eating strawberries in May, then raspberries and then cherries in June/July. This year there was a very hot spring though and it still is unusually hot with up to 35-38 degrees at some days. People around here are flooded with ripe fruits of all kinds ready to be consumed or to be prepared into jams, Palinkas and other delicious things.

I miss the tradition of buying fresh fruits from the streets and the neighbour hood. Hopefully Hungary will keep this part of its culture and not change to buying their fruits and veggies from large super market chains where you can get all fruits throughout the entire year from far away lands for tripple the price and half the taste!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The end of money - what a refreshing thought

I got this in my inbox today from P2P Foundation - a recommendation for the book: Thomas Greco. The End of Money and the Future of Civilization. Chelsea Green, 2009.

Haven't you ever thought how society and the way we live together would be different if there wasn't any money? I did and thought it would be brilliant, ...more on that please.

The book is about “The End of Money and the Future of Civilization" where money is seen as a problem as it plays a crucial role in determining the world order and the course of human events in a particular way.

"My choice of title for this book is not at all based on wishful thinking. It expresses what is actually happening NOW. The recent emergence of commercial “barter” exchanges, mutual credit clearing associations, private voucher systems and community currencies represent the early stages of a process of power devolution that will inevitably lead to the end of POLITICAL moneyand the emergence of economic democracy. But the end of money does not refer ONLY to the end of political money. It refers also to the evolutionary process by which the essential nature of money has changed over the past two or three centuries—from commodity money, to symbolic (redeemable paper) money, to credit money. Of course, the reciprocal exchange process will continue, but in a different way from before, a way that does not require the use of conventional money or banks. The ultimate stage in the evolution of money and the exchange process is the offset of purchases against sales, i.e., direct credit clearing amongst buyers and sellers, and the widespread application of this process does indeed mean, in a very real sense, the end of money.

The word evolution may connote passivity, but in the realm of human-contrived systems, it involves the application of creativity, intelligence, and will. This particular evolution depends upon responsible ACTION on our part to assert our own credit power by organizing and promoting the rapid deployment of distributed (non-monopoly) credit clearing circles in ways that maintain local control within globally useful networks.”...

Monday, 8 June 2009

EU parlament elections: Increasing nationalist movement in Hungary

Yesterday were elections for the European Parlament in Hungary. My father who usually is not too engaged with politics mentioned a conversation in the family, the concerns for the increasing nationalist movement and the urge for many more Hungarians to give their voice for a more democratic and liberal Hungary.

Unfortunately there was only 34.9% voter turnout half an hour before the closure of polling stations. Hungarian Center-Right Opposition Fidesz is ahead in the EU vote with 14 seats or 56.37 percent of votes. More worrying though, Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), which is considered a radical nationalist party, won three seats or 14.77 percent of votes. Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) got only one seat or 5.3 percent of votes.

"Jobbik leader Gabor Vona said on Sunday that a national front was born and it has won. He said that Jobbik was ready "to take to the streets" to urge early elections in Hungary. Krisztina Morvai, who topped Jobbik's European Parliament list, said that Jobbik was committed to supporting ethnic Hungarian communities in neighboring countries in their efforts for autonomy.(read more)"

I know very little about Hungarian politics so I had to research a little to better understand the different parties. What I found in particular very interesting is the history of Fidesz Party.
Fidesz was founded by young democrats, mainly students, who were persecuted by the communist party and had to meet in small, clandestine groups. The movement became a major force in many areas of modern Hungarian history, engaging itself on every level in the development of a democratic system, its members being active as guardians of fundamental human rights. It was only in the 90's that the party changed its political position from liberal to conservative after disappointing election results in 1994. This certainly brought a divide in the membership and many left to join then more liberal parties.

Wikipedia also mentions that Fidesz is despite being a conservative social democrat party, actually a socially more caring, and more "leftist" in it's social policies than "left-wing" parties...hmm its always somewhere inbetween in the grey shades, isn't it? Oh well who would nowadays expect a clear answer to what the situation is...if you are also interested in Hungarian politics, this seems to be a good site www.politics.hu

Spending time with my 'Babcia' in Poland

The last couple of days I spent with my polish grandmother and my step grandfather 75 and 85.
In the last 2 years that I haven’t seen my Babcia (“Bab-cha” the polish word for grandma) she has aged quite a bit. Her spirit is young, experiencing and appreciating her world, she's paying more attention to things like a cute dog waiting outside the store, or the beautiful flowers in the park. Mentally she is absolutely fit, she still hears and speaks fine but gets frustrated with her other increasing physical disabilities. Her hands are shaking, which makes it difficult to eat, to keep the food on the fork or be able to target your mouth. Having dentures, it’s not as simple anymore to eat anything you’d like - an unripe pear can already be a hassle to deal with.

She lost a lot of weight, her skin got incredibly thin and her back is slightly bowing to the front which makes her look smaller. Her legs are in constant pain and so are her hands because of the gout. Both of them have this huge tin box full of various medicines of which they have to take numourous pills and inhalations 3 times a day.

When she smiles though, she is super charming as she ever has been with a beautiful smile, with eyes wide awake and somewhat wicked. She also has this special humour and fierceness and determination in her will. It seems she could still change the world!

All my grandparents are still alive (except for my real polish grandfather who I hardly knew) and it is a rather new and very touching experience for me to see my grandparents come to an age where regular living becomes difficult. My previous touch points with aging have been reduced to research and writing I did for my dissertation which was also referring to intergenerational and life-long learning.

Aging is something I haven’t quite come to terms with yet. Passing the 30’s line and personal changes that come along with was pretty much as far as I have come yet. Having been here with my grandparents for a couple of days and seeing the big contrast, is such an eye opener what coming into the fourth phase of life can mean. It has certainly increased my appreciation for spending time with my family and for having a family in general.

One of the things my Babcia is wonderful at – as probably most grandmothers, is cooking wonderful food. The last days we spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking various dishes together – this one here being Pierogis ruskies, a quiet famous polish dish.

Babcia making pierogis from mokoflip on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Visiting Poland

Very spontaniously I decided to go to Poland last week, to visit my family in and Krakow which I haven't seen yet.

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For more pictures, check out the album on picasa...



Me and my younger cousins Bartek and Michal, who are studying in Wroclaw.

Enjoying Hungary's nature side

Last week Balazs and I spent some time visiting some beautiful places in nature near Budapest. Balazs is my oldest friend from Kindergarten times in Budapest; we also used to be neighbours and partners in crime; Sneaking away from afternoon sleeping times for more exciting adventures. Somehow we managed to stay in touch meeting again every couple years and now that we are both living in the UK, we succeeded to meet more regularly, mostly to enjoy the outdoors, like for cross country skiing in Donovaly (Slovakia), kayaking at Lake Velence or mountain biking at nearby huge forest.

The lake Velence is a smaller lake, closer to Budapest than the Balaton. We took a day to go kayaking with an inflatable boat, going silently through labyrinths of the surounding reed, which is home to many birds, frogs, and all kinds of other species, including a little water snake which crossed our way that day. One can easily get lost going through the difference channels in the reed. Every once on while inbetween there is a larger space opening up with was perfect for swimming.

Some days later we went mountain biking in a wonderful big fairy tale like forest, with thousands of of different butterflies flying with as we were cycling. I read somewhere that butterflies are an indicator for a healthy ecosystem and that they disappear quickly when there is an inbalance. This wouldnt surprise me, ee didn't see any other human beings the entire day.

Sandwich Bar