“How can we build up a culture of survival in the face of climate breakdown?”
This is the question proposed by Brett Bloom for his Breakdown Break Down initiative. This past summer I had the pleasure and the challenge of engaging in this project together with the organisers Brett Bloom, Sam Trotman and Nuno Sacramento. I was facilitating Deep Listening practice in two contrasting spaces: Toynbee Studios in London and Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden.
I worked with and learnt from incredible people committed to feel the space, as it is, with the challenges that it brings. We had an awareness of London as a megacity asking us on one hand to speed up, and to be ‘contactless’, but on the other hand offering social spaces that defy those strong narratives of consumerism, reminding us of our relationship with nature(s). We visited Brunel tunnel, a memory of industrialisation; kayaked in the Thames and learnt all the ‘components’ of the river’s water; amazed with Hackney City Farm, a memory of rural life, and letting ourselves be with the cool wind of a six floor building roof terrace, just listening.
In Lumsden, we shared the space in a camp style. The brave ones slept in tents facing the changing weather, wind, sun and rain. We learnt about permaculture, foraging, authentic Finnish sauna’s ancient tradition and ritual, and communicated with horses. We learnt about the qualities of the soil, and how it is linked to our soul.
The Breakdown break down summer time intensity cannot be fully expressed in a blog post. I feel that this is the beginning of a process that touched deeply each person and that is generating actions of healing in this crucial moment of human history. Personally it nourished deeply my initiative Habitando Suelo Fértil, (Inhabiting Fertile Soil) which invites Colombian women living in the UK to explore space, time and memory through listening to their own migration. In collaboration with Patricia Díaz we envision this process as generating an intimate space for individual and collective healing for our memory and shared history of violence in our common land. Connections between Soil and Soul, a dance between physical and metaphysical realms, nourishes the migratory context exploring connections with native and indigenous lands. Listening to our internal soil quality (body/soul) and improving its conditions in any land where we live could be a key to transcending our sense of belonging and benefiting all generations to which we belong and the ones yet to be born.