When the law suddenly restricts your usual routines to connect with other people, your physical workouts and your access to entertainments, sports and creative expression – what are you going to do?
In the Findhorn community – used to the daily engagements of meals in the Community Centre (CC), singing Taizé in the Nature Sanctuary, unlimited hugs on greeting and meeting, sacred dance in the Universal Hall and unlimited visits to the Phoenix Shop – these government regulations were a definite shock to individual and collective systems. (Read more about systems and structures here.)
The strangeness of physical distancing and the reality checks of police visits respectfully warning about the strictures against singing together was complicated by the myriad of conflicting opinions from the health and scientific sectors. Who to believe about what to do? As usual, the community itself had conflicting opinions about right actions and responses under the circumstances. If you want a sample of the multitude of approaches from shielding, tracking and tracing, supplementation for strengthening immune systems, meditations, tapping, sacred dance (on zoom), potions, lotions and notions – it is probably safe to say someone in the community has tried out one or more of these approaches.
In fact, in order to keep everyone posted on the latest news the New Findhorn Association devoted a special Covid page on its NFA website to keep people informed and connected to reliable news source (and also manifested our very own town criers to spread the news).
Besides the physical distancing, the artists in the community longed for their studios, media of paint, clay or stone and opportunities to exhibit their creations.
Aligning with this great need to express themselves and devote the endless hours of imposed retreat (an irony not lost on a community built on spiritual/developmental retreats!) a grand project emerged.
- Why not create a mosaic in front of the Universal Hall/Phoenix Café on the unfinished gravel surround?
- What about a theme captured by a Phoenix wrapping itself around the two doors of the Phoenix café?
- Who better than artist Lesley Downie to design and produce the whole image of fiery head to swishing tail? And then imagine how the elements of dragon body parts, scales and colour could be created by volunteers firing clay tiles and setting them into a grand stone piazza laid by stonemasons to embrace the Phoenix? Why not invite more volunteers to gather stones of particular hues from Findhorn beach to inlay these gems of Nature into the energy design?
- Who could possibly manage a project of this grand scale under lockdown restraints? Why not Caroline Shaw who had been the original project manager (over 40 years before) on the Universal Hall itself? (She had lots of time since she couldn’t travel back to Australia.)
And so, the Phoenix Mosaic project was born in the early Spring of 2020 – and proceeded throughout the summer with community volunteers co-creating an amazing unfolding Best of the Dragon Clan.
So now at the end of our Covid 19 Year we have had the experience of acting on an artistic impulse. Co-creating the life conditions to make our actions productive, effective and even lawful!! The Weather Angels cooperated and delivered dryness during the day (and enough rain in the evenings to keep down the dust from the stone work). And every volunteer who participated has already celebrated the accomplishment. While the rest of the community stands by to admire the great unveiling on the November 22, 2020 58th Birthday Celebration.
Such a project has rescued us from feeling too sorry for ourselves, given us the satisfaction of collective achievement and left a legacy of this year that captures our positive, healthy, co-creative actions in art.
These actions and responses have been by far the best medicine we could have prescribed for Findhorn under our potentially depressing life conditions. There is no doubt that the Findhorn principle of “Work is Love in Action” is still alive and thriving – and the Master Code of Care can be enacted in ways that support individuals, collectives, place and planet.