My account of the murmuration event in Holland... it was magical - thanks to the group who have taken it forward and kept the flame alive!
The alumni murmuration events were initiated just over 1.5 years ago in Belgium, when 4 alumni came together to organize a reconnection event to spend time with other Schumis. Each alumni gathering has it’s own flavor, connecting to the area that it is taking place in, the flavor of the group and coming together of the organizers. This murmuration took place in Pepik and Flor’s place in Holland, 40 minutes north of Amsterdam in a lovely town called Ostknollendam it was co-organized by Pepik, Manuel, Delia and Juliana.
His farm house and cottage, with an extra Tipi tent and individual camping hosted the over 25 alumni who came together from around Europe, China and Canada. The food was provided by “A beautiful mess” that his wife Flor initiated – a restaurant project based in Amsterdam that takes in and teaches refugees different skills such as chopping, cooking, waitering, making coffee and lots of other hospitality skills. The energy flows in a circular manner, as the chefs running the programs also learn from the refugees to cook with new spices and creating fascinating dishes from a mix of cultures. Several of the members from “A beautiful mess” joined the opening circle to share their experience – the food throughout the gathering was a doubt as good as the food at Schumacher College.
The first evening opening with pizza’s home made and streaming out of the wood oven in the garden with a table full of delicious salads and vegetables, in the spirit of Schumacher College keeping all the food vegetarian.
A circle to open the event took place in the main farmhouse, see pictures below:
Each member of the circle sharing their connection to the college and reason for being in Holland at the event. A wonderful surprise was that William (former head of securities) and Voirey joined the gathering. Two very important people who was (William) and is (Voriey) part of the essence of college life! As in alignment with college life – work groups were formed and tasks assigned as in the college breakfast layout, breakfast, lunch and dinner clean up and tiding the common areas – William had a smile across his face when he first heard of these!
The evening closed with everyone crashing into bed after a long days travel and the excitement of chirping away all afternoon and evening reconnecting to other alumni.
Saturday was a fun day of canoeing, the group split across 2 – 10 person canoes rowing in the river to a smaller island for a picking gathering. Alumni shared stories and projects along the way and when arriving at the lunch spot (with a lot of time before the picnic arrived) a session of Qui Gong practice was initiated. It was a particular practice that Satish’s wife Jane does with a bamboo stick, only this time it was done with the canoeing oars as there were enough per person.
For the afternoon there was some quiet time after the canoeing adventure to go for a walk, to continue conversations and explorations together! I myself felt like the conversation and time spent very deep – making new friends, sharing about topics on our hearts and reflecting together.
In the late afternoon another circle with ideas sharing was formed for everyone to bring topics of importance to themselves and the community. These were then further discussed and reflected on in smaller groups – weaving throughout the event and into conversations where you would find yourself in different configurations exploring topics from various angles.
Many ideas emerged along the days chats such as Schumacher like activities in different countries, communities of practice to reflect together…. As you can imagine in the Schumacher spirit what emerged!
After wonderful dinner awaited us cooked by the incredible team from “A Beautiful Mess” and then a fire was made outside for which a fireside chat took place – asking Voiry and William about stories linked to the college. William shared a lot of wonderful stories and experiences and several times urged us to read his book “Captain W” where a lot of these are documented!
Sunday morning after breakfast the sharing continued with then a live call streamed on Facebook live for the wider Schumacher Community to harvest and hear about the topics and conversations explored.
It was wonderful to see who showed up, sharing insights and asking questions from online – weaving together the world-wide community online as well as offline. A big topic during the Murmuration was the exploration of the Schumacher Network Platform and the importance of technology and live events weaving together to keep the connections and flame alive.
For the afternoon walk, the event was opened to alumni from close by areas in Holland and Germany who joined for an active walk and talk through the fields of sheep and cows. Another festive dinner followed by an organic glittering in blue across our faces and a soiree party..... for which as in Schumacher Spirit lots of dancing took place, and of course what happens in the soiree stays in the soiree!
A closing conversation took place with a “fishbowl” like conversation to harvest the main topics from the weekend’s events and some concrete steps and ideas came away from it especially forming groups of community of practice to help others take their projects forward and feed into discussions. The future of the Schumacher Network Platform was also discussed and how to move it to the next iteration of it’s unfolding.
Then the circle outside of final words from everyone in the group – showering Pepik and his family with gratitude for the wonderful space (his wife and 4 children left to leave the space for the Schumi invasion) and the celebration of Pepik’s 12 years in the farmhouse bringing his children up there with the move back into Amsterdam planned for July 2019!
In honour of him, his family and time in the beautiful house – as a group we walked to the end of the field in front of the house in silence and looked back at the beautiful farm space which held us like in a womb for these wonderful days… and I forgot to mention all the amazing chickens and ducks, who’s presence kept us chirpy and busy taking them out of the house during sharing circles were the rooster would enter and bring loud cries in moments where we would pause with silence.
Good-bye after lunch followed which are always heartfelt after such a wonderful coming together… to be continued!
If you have not yet been to a Murmuration event and have been wondering what happens... I have tried to give an account from my part, obviously through my eyes and experience – to share and get you excited for future iterations!
Something that cannot be put into words is the feeling and essence of these events, it is not about the place or space, it’s the coming together of people who are connected like family and feel at home with others where there is no judgement and you can fully express yourself in whatever form you want to show up and where you are received for who you are and what you want to bring to the world – collective support and holding.