Bigging it up for learning!

adult learning; teaching; education; blogging; writing

When we get home from school!

I have had the most fun weekend in a long time, I did two workshops – one I devised and facilitated and the other I attended.  Both were fun and today I feel fired up and ready to go!  Some of my friends spent the weekend doing some learning too.  At second born’s eco-school Sa Llavor they brought in leading UK Waldorf science educator Graham Kennish for the weekend to host a conference on “Towards a Holistic Science”.  It was well attended and enjoyed by many.  Bumping into one of the parents this morning at school drop off, it was wonderful to see how much she enjoyed it.  “I felt 13 years old again and would readily have gone back to school for more” enthused Petra about the weekend.

So what is it about learning as an adult that is different to learning when we are children?  Firstly, we enjoy learning about something we want to learn, not something that we are being told to learn.  We are independent and self-directing; we are problem solving and therefore discussions make up for a large part of our learning and as importantly, our learning has relevance on our lives and we want to apply it there!

That is what I wanted out of my weekend of further education and so Saturday’s workshop was on “Setting Intentions for a Life Changing 2015 and Beyond”.  Although I was the facilitator, I was also learning and this was enjoyed on many levels.  I managed to set some intentions in different areas of my life – career, health, wealth and creativity and I managed to gain valuable experience leading the workshop.  All in all, it was very enjoyable and I hope the participants thought so too!  Of course the setting where we held the workshop was the tranquil Binissalem Peace Centre and that was a plus.

On Sunday, I enjoyed the day with four other women and our teacher – the blogging and social media queen, Vicki Mcleod of Phoenix Media Mallorca!  It was a recap day to go over any areas we needed help with on blogging and it was the perfect day in so many ways!  Firstly, Vicki wears her crown with confidence and enthusiasm.  She loves what she does and this passion and energy was felt by all.  She is a willing teacher, and by willing I mean that she wants us to learn, she wants us to blog, she wants us to be successful and she will go the extra mile for us.

In just a day, I came out of the class with so much useful knowledge, a wealth of tips as well as enthusiasm that is now being put to good use.  I also met two other women I didn’t know and I caught up with Kay from the Universal Booksh0p who is always so kind and fun to be with.  I met Andreea from Signature Estates and was impressed by her determination to learn.  She is a busy working mother running her own company with her husband and yet she was there on a Sunday looking to brush up her skills and I was impressed that she even had time to bring delicious cup cakes – naughty!  Then there was Julie, the Anglican vicar’s wife and a woman in her own right.  Julie is from an educational background and we enjoyed a long talk on schools and education in general.  It was a pleasure to meet a teacher with such a respect and care for her students, especially knowing that the age she prefers to teach is that of teenagers, not always the easiest group!

All in all, I really enjoyed this past weekend.  I feel I have learned a lot about myself in the process.  I enjoyed being a teacher and being with the teacher.  I appreciated curiosity, enthusiasm, problem solving, sharing, support and above all, I came home happy with my achievements!  The boys came home eventually and second born had been to the cinema with some of his school mates and without the parents – he is learning to be more responsible and grown up!  First born went to bed with the laptop to watch his teacher, youtube, and take in a lesson on jazz, adding to his skills as a musician.

Never stop learning, it keeps us healthy in mind, body and spirit and I for one, want that!

 

Blogging & social media learning with Vicki Mcleod                               http://www.phoenixmediamallorca.com

Sa Llavor – independent, autonomous school integrating sustainable ethical principles in action and experience of sustainability as an integral education.                                                       http://www.sallavor.es

5Rhythms Dance – Workshop Mallorca

Jessica Howe, 5 Rhythms Dance Teacher

Jessica Howie, 5 Rhythms Dance Teacher

 

What a weekend!  When life does its twists and turns and leads you to places you normally wouldn’t go, be prepared for surprises!  That’s what happened as to how I found myself at the 5Rhythms weekend workshop with Jessica Howie.  My friend Helen Burns saw a post on facebook asking for a translator for the weekend and recommended me – thanks Helen, so appreciate the synchronicity!  Tracy Courtney, organiser of the weekend and a very good one too, arranged it all and even though I was going to be late for joining, show up I did and just in time.

I arrived and immediately felt a deep connection to teacher, mother, instructor, inspiration – Jessica Howie.  What a presence, what a woman and what a connection between us, it was immediate and intense and so began this journey to a place I now wonder why I’ve never been there before!

5Rhythms is a dynamic movement developed by the late, great Gabrielle Roth and is an invitation to anyone, regardless of age, to join in, and if you have a beating heart and a willingness to move, then this is a practise for you.  So what did I expect?  Well, I was nervous about translating as that is not a talent I associate with myself and I busied myself with finding out new vocabulary (apologies for mistakes) and to be honest, I really didn’t give much thought to 5Rhythms itself but I was open and willing to share myself to the experience.

My first impressions were liberating which I believe is the whole experience of 5Rhythms – there are no mistakes, there is no right or wrong and how wonderful is that?  I loved the fact that the floor forms part of the experience of dance as strange as that may sound.  It gave me such freedom to feel that space needn’t be the air around us but what we can touch too.

The five rhythms are flow, stacatto, chaos, lyrical and stillness and during the weekend, participants explored all of them.  Apparently joining them together is a wave (lots to learn still).  The experience is full on participatory and everyone spent the weekend moving, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast, sometimes pausing, sometimes connecting with another.  It was a powerful connection to self and to the tribe.  The music chosen and put together by Jessica touched every cell in me – she has hundreds of songs and sounds so getting a song list from the weekend is not going to be easy!  Each rhythm has it’s choice of sound from dance music, to drums, to piano, to voice and all the sounds uplifted, stirred something, connected, moved – it was a feast of the senses.

Jessica’s presence as maestro during the weekend was central to the experience.  She was soft, caring, present and instilled a sense of security right from the start.  Everyone there was safe to explore, secure in themselves to be, experience, connect, discover and how beautiful was it to witness.  I was the observer and I felt at times a deep longing to join and lose myself in the dance and I was  fortunate to have moments in which to do so, and none so precious as the moment of flying with Jessica inside the sacred circle of the group.

When we ended the day after 13 hours of intensity, the group (22 participants) had moved into a close space together.  They had worked on incredible heart connection over the weekend, especially the second day and by the end were ready to be physically close to each other.  Time to finish meant that Jessica felt that she could share words with the group and as we walked towards them, she and I, I saw a mother walking towards her children to share her appreciation and her love with them – touching, beautiful and so powerful.  And in the sharing at this time, Jessica’s real mother, allowed for the first time to participate on one of her workshops, shared how she felt as a mother, having her daughter be her teacher.  I agree – there is a teacher in all of us and sometimes the teacher remains hidden.  In the case of Jessica Howie, the teacher is very much alive and I know that she is there for this lifetime.  Jessica and to all the participants – Tracy, Lynne, Helen, Debbie, Alice, Ana, Chique, Maria José, Alex, Habiba, David – too many to name or even remember right now – thank you for the connection, the true and sincere connection for our hearts, it was a pleasure to dance the 5rhythms with you.

 

For more about 5Rhythms with Jessica Howie – http://www.jessica5rhythms.com

For more about 5Rhythms Dance Mallorca – dancemallorca@gmail.com

 

Letter from the heart

The volunteers who came to stay, give a hand and leave their mark

The volunteers who came to stay, give a hand and leave their mark

Happy new year!  I hope you have started 2014 in a manner that brings out the best of you with any resolutions, ideas and plans to keep you positive and energetic in all that you do!

I had some surprising news just before Christmas that gave me an opportunity to look within and take a lesson.  The news was that the owner of the property in which the Binissalem Peace Centre is situated wished to come back and live there once again.  She did give me the option to keep the Peace Centre in a small part of the house but given the nature of the project and all that it entailed I have decided not to.  I am therefore relocating the project and shall leave there at the end of this month.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have started something new and I have learned a great deal in the last 4 months.  I believe that the essence of the project is transferrable and actually see that it would be even better to be always flexible and not at the mercy of people or of buildings.  The way forward I believe is to provide the possibility of transformation through learning anywhere and at any time!  I have some new ideas as to how this could be done but first I am going to take a step back and see what Glynis needs first.  I will take some time now to process all that I learned, which believe me has been plenty!

I am grateful to you all for your support and special mention goes to my mentor in this, Betty Steinhauer.  She has been fun, uplifting and positive throughout.  To the volunteers who gave their time and energy to cleaning up, fixing things, always being on hand to throw their hand to anything especially Catalina Pons, Claire Bryan and Mark Barton who were there from the start and who generously left their mark on the Peace Centre – your support and hard work is treasured.  There were many more volunteers including Eva Sepulveda, Ruth Lavan and Judit Cabello who believed and supported too.  To my dear friend Sylvia Baker for her translations of everything into Spanish.  To Horacio Camperi for his donation of the web page design and creation that we are now having to readjust and to Marc Masmiquel for the beautiful logo.  To Kimberly Hunn, another of my mentors for being there for me and believing in me.  To lawyer Juana Jimenez for her services with the contract and to BK Ramon Ribalta also for his input.  To my cousin Rod Bell for his generosity and support from afar.  To all too many of you to name here – your support, your encouragement, your enthusiasm with me and especially your belief in the project – transformation through learning –  I say thank you.

I also hereby acknowledge the generous donations in cash, in furniture, in items (bedding, books, etc), in time and in services and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.  Please know that anything that was donated ie furniture, bedding, etc is being sold off to go towards the next venue.  Thank you again to those of you who supported every event, every class, every workshop that we held there – Cara, Ruth, Carolina were just some of the teachers there.  And to the regulars – it was always great to see your face and share a cup of tea!

And last but not least to my family.  To my dad Gerry German who surely from the heavens is listening to me and granting me my wishes.  To my firmest and fairest supporter of all – my mother BK Patricia German, the wisest woman I know.  To my siblings and siblings in-law Sian, Roger, Bryn, Bo, Deuan and Lisa, to my nieces and nephews and finally my beautiful sons Noah Angel and Pau Indigo plus their father Rob Orchard – for putting up with me at home during the whole process!

Again thank you.

Watch this space – I have lots planned for 2014 not least comedy, weddings, celebrations and constant learning!

Autumn news from Binissalem Peace Centre

 

Photo Permacultura Mediterranea

My new best friends!

We are more than halfway through Autumn, almost into Winter, the rains are still with us and what a season it has been.  We had long and sunny days till the clocks fell back in October.  We saw the collection of the olives and managed to press 13kgs collected into 1ltr of virgin olive oil – we’re saving that for a special occasion!  We saw the departure of some volunteers and veteran volunteer Claire and I decided the time was right for study.

Our first course saw us sign up for Amics de la Terra Mallorca’s morning workshop on vegetable gardens and composting!  The course was truly the start of a new journey.  The organisers had gone to great lengths to make it as enjoyable as possible and I was struck by the family atmosphere they managed to create with the 20 or so participants who previously had not known the other.  The course facilitator, Lynda, was knowledgable and informative and Rebeca from Amics de la Terra a treasure!

From that Claire and I signed up for a weekend permaculture course organised by Permacultura Mediterránea and what a weekend that was!  The course facilitator was the world reknowed permaculturist Rosemary Morrow from Australia so a double treat was had as the course was also in English!  I spent the weekend with knowledgable, interesting, fun and giving people – these are my new best friends!  I was so excited to go back on the Sunday that I was giggling and acting like a kid in a sweet shop on the way there, armed with home-made ginger cake to win their favour!

The wealth of knowledge shared over that weekend, not only by the course facilitators and members of Permacultura Mediterranea but also by the talented participants was impressive.  So many initiatives and interesting projects are happening in Mallorca and over half the people on the course were either launching their own project or were well established in an alternative way of life here on the island.  Educators and teachers are introducing permaculture in schools and there are now vegetable gardens becoming part of the school way of life all across the island.

Mallorca is an exciting place to be right now!  There is so much happening here that it’s a pleasure to be part of it.  It is refreshing to meet people who are committed to giving back to this island and who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.  I know that when I put the word out to my new friends to come help clear the acequias – irrigation ditches – the response will be positive!  Watch this space!

So Claire is busy mulching and preparing the lasagne market garden as well as collecting firewood and keeping the fires stoked up at the Peace Centre.  I am putting structure to the project, rewriting the mission and vision, working on the content of the web page and organising courses.  This weekend we are launching the first meeting of the New Woman’s Alliance Mallorca with the aim to look at ways to embrace this emerging alternative world whilst making a commitment to move away from a competitive world for the good of all.  I look forward to sharing news with you again soon!

 

For courses and for replanting Mallorca: Amics de la Terra Mallorca http://www.amicsdelaterra.org/es/

For courses: Permacultura Mediterranea http://permamed.org/

Books on permaculture by Rosemary Morrow: http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/books/pp/rosemary-morrow-1.html