The pandemic has brought extreme pressures on Findhorn Foundation (FF) – the core organization from which a larger community has emerged over the last 58 years – as well as its web of interconnections in the surrounding community.
One of FF’s founders, Peter Caddy described Findhorn Foundation as “a community living and working with God at the centre”. So, spirituality was in FF’s DNA. Out of that intention emerged a Mystery School. From the Mystery School emerged an Intentional Community, and from both these manifestations emerged a Learning Centre. Finally, because of the extreme northern Scotland life conditions where Findhorn is located, emerged a successful Eco-village, surrounding the Findhorn Foundation.
Most of the eco-village residents belong to New Findhorn Association (NFA) – numbering about 500 members living, working, relating and recreating on a daily basis. Within the Eco-village (sign posted as Findhorn The Park) many social enterprises and community utilities function and generally thrive. The 4 Voices of the Integral City interact in the whole community on a regular basis (Citizens, Civic Managers, Business/Innovators, 3rd Sector), particularly coordinated through engagement in the Collaboration Circle, Title Holders Association, the Findhorn Hive social enterprise hub, Children and Youth Circle and Community Care Circle.
However, the pandemic’s impact on the economics of Findhorn Foundation have deprived it of 80% of its revenues in 2020 (from visitors and students), forcing a recalibration of staff, expenses, capital and relationships. The community as a whole is learning what it means when the Mystery School and Learning Centre move into hibernation so that they can preserve core resources that will allow them to re-set and reframe when the pandemic abates. Complying with the Scottish Lockdown restrictions has also meant the closure of all our public buildings – including the beloved Community Centre (CC) and thereby shared meals, tea breaks and celebrations.
But the influence of the Intentional Community provides a strong platform for survival. Alignment is being tested – but strengthened – around the Findhorn Founders’ 3 Principles and the NFA’s Common Ground Guidelines along with the statement of Whole Community Purpose. We are discovering the value of attuning to these values (informally and regularly through Whole Community Meditations) that have underpinned and manifested most of our community structures and infrastructures.
We are committed to supporting the infrastructures of our Wind Park/Wind Turbines, bio-fuel generator, living machine waste water management, Cullerne, Original and Park Gardens, Phoenix Shop and Café.
And we hope to test the (limited) re-opening of the Universal Hall and Community Centre and Nature Sanctuary (pictured above) under lockdown restrictions of physical distancing.
While our B&B hosts have lost the guests who normally attended FF programs, they are now offering options for visitors when local (rather than international) travel is allowed. And surprisingly the Caravan Park has had a booming business from visitors from across the UK, generating much needed income through caravan rentals and purchases in the shop and café.
New structures have emerged through the creation of the Coronavirus Action Group, a dozen people who have Zoomed weekly since lockdown was implemented at the beginning of March 2020. This group of dedicated representatives (from all 4 Voices) have monitored, recommended and drafted policy for the Collaboration Circle to endorse and act on. Sub-Groups have emerged in the form of Volunteer Action Group, and special Care Groups for individuals with health challenges. The NFA has sponsored Zoom Witnessing Circles, moved its monthly meetings online and continued the weekly publication of the Rainbow Bridge. (And a feisty group of singles lead by the author have co-created the Oxytocin Cafe to move our beloved Sunday Brunch onto Zoom – resulting in a weekly Zrunch call.)
Findhorn Community actively partners and nurtures our relationship with Nature and alliances with the Subtle Realms. Nature’s strength and presence in The Park is the direct result of co-creating with the intelligences of Nature and offers not only resources of food, energy, shelter and health – but constantly embraces our community with offerings of Earth’s generosity and wisdom manifested in her structures of beauty, truth and goodness. Nature’s ambassadors amongst us are visible in forests, gardens, birds, bees and elements and invisible in her subtle seasonal energies and cycles.
All these structures and infrastructures have enabled the whole community to recalibrate connections as we are continuously learning how to maintain wellbeing of body, mind, heart and soul. And they have all depended on a small core of staff and a swelling group of volunteers to continue create the web of interconnections that co-creates whole community wellbeing. (For stories about our community culture read this blog.)
This web that enables the functioning of Findhorn community structures and infrastructures has resulted in no occurrences of covid in Findhorn The Park – and we are intending to keep it that way. We reinforce our strengths with the practice of Gratitude for the partnerships we have developed with Nature and the Subtle Realms (what I might call Findhorn’s version of the Master Code of Care).