How do you survive when life seems in peril?
How has the ecovillage/spiritual community of Findhorn maintained its community connections during covid lockdowns that undermine its very economy?
Coming from Canada, I have witnessed in my lifetime communities be challenged by the closing of the cod fishery (in Newfoundland); the closing of mines (from asbestos, to coal, to aluminum); the devastation of forest fires (BC); the evacuation of whole cities (Ft. McMurray). Those are just a few examples of many communities that have been devastated by the loss of their main economy.
And like them, Findhorn has found the spark of its community spirit keeps alive the hopes and intentions to survive what seems like a dark night of the soul.
Community spirit flashes alive every day through random acts of kindness (reported in our Rainbow Bridge weekly) – where vegetables might be delivered (anonymously) to someone in need or music played to someone who is depressed.
Community spirit can organize the artists into an “artist hunt” – where artists locate themselves around the whole village and Findhorn residents use a treasure map to enjoy micro performances of recitation, singing, painting, acting, pottery, storytelling.
Community spirit called forth all the singles who used to enjoy Sunday brunch together in the Community Centre to an online Zoom brunch – now affectionately called Zrunch. Over coffee and after check-ins, topics of conversation have covered everything from our favourite meals, to a hilarious discussion of what music we would like played at our Celebration of Life; to which Americans we admire (on the eve of the election); to the remembrance of Penny, a Zruncher known for her community service, who passed away suddenly between two recent Sundays.
Community spirt sings forth Taizé every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings – organized by David Robinson and guest hosted by regular participants – inspired by Eileen’s guidance, Sarah Perricone’s violin and Barbara Swetina (who introduced Taizé to Findhorn) connecting in from Hawaii. Attendance regularly exceeds 50 people from around the globe – Japan, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, UK (and to celebrate Penny more than 100 came).
Community spirit steps out into the 12 neighbourhoods of Findhorn through the messages of the Town Criers – organized by Laura Pasetti, Annie Crawford and Roy Miles. Twice a week from March to September 1, they toured on bicycles around the eco-village announcing changes to lockdown regulations, new items in the Phoenix shop, plus a song and a dance to cheer us up. They were news and entertainment with an enlivening touch. (Their appearance sponsored the Barrel’s Friday night Happy Hour – physically distanced on the Barrel House commons.)
Finally, community spirit spawned a grand artistic project in the form of the Phoenix mosaic – created by Lesley Downie and manifested by a host of community spirits who laboured for six+ months to create the symbol of Community Rising from the ashes. (More on this story in a following blog.)
While the life conditions are no less intense at time of writing, the ineffable Spirit of Findhorn is alive and well and warming the embers of the hearts and hearth of community for renewal, reinvention and transformation in the year(s) to come.