News from YIP - December 2019
The International Youth Initiative Program
News from YIP - December 2019
Picture by Maaike Verbanck
Dear friends of YIP,
Cheerful December. As the first frost blankets the Isle of Hoy, YIP 12 is finishing the Personal Awareness Block and transitioning into winter break. We say goodbye to our neighbours, the shy sheep and fuzzy cows. We embark on lingering last walks to see the Atlantic Ocean waves race along the coast to crash on the rocky cliffs. We weave our way through the river valley between sloping hills to reach the birch forest. With rainboots and wool socks we spring through the spongy moss and heather to see the Old Man of Hoy, a beautiful rock rising from the ocean.
We have been whipped by wind, washed by rain, warmed by conversation and good food. It’s been a journey, with highs and lows, and we are on our way to Findhorn eco-village to greet a new Scottish home. As we step onto the ferry from Hoy to Stromness for the last time this year and see the high hills fade into the distance, we scan the horizon for bobbing seals and winter birds.
We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and seeing a glimpse of our last few weeks. With lots of joy we bring you the first invitation for YIP12’s Initiative Forum. We look forward to seeing you soon and wish you a beautiful winter season.
editorial by Isabel Chender
newsletter co-edited by Isabel Chender & Mien Stoffels 
Picture by Reinoud Meijer
In this newsletter you will find:
- Portrait Painting by Trinity Dollas
- Anthroposophical Anthropology by Leila Koth
- Arriving in Hoy by Stephanie Blake
- Biographical Storytelling by Lina Ashour
- Initiative and Initiation by Esmée Begemann
- Original Instructions by Adéla Honigová
- Initiative Forum: Save the date
Portrait Painting 
with Rachel Ingvad
Picture by Mien Stoffels
After spending a week dragging up memories of varying emotions for the Biography Week, it felt very refreshing to come back to the present moment for the Portrait Painting course. Especially because painting is one of my main passions in life.
After spending many years behind a canvas, I wasn’t expecting this week to be much different from all my other painting hours. This expectation included enjoying days spent listening to music while the act of creation enveloped me in a blissful calm. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised and honestly, mildly shocked, with the revelations I made on perspectives I have of myself and how they tie into my identity. Moreover, I was amazed at the fact that these shifts in perspective occurred throughout the duration of a single week.
For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the gruelling process trying to creating lifelike paintings, let me fill you in.
Thanks to the shortcut system our minds have in place to save energy, we generalise the things we see into an image everyone understands. For example; if I asked you to draw a sun, you would most likely grab some yellow then draw a circle with lines coming out as rays. Which is great… until you try creating realistic images.
In order to paint what we see in reality instead of our mental projections, we need to become aware of the generalisations placed on faces and then try to look beyond them. In other words, we need to see our portraits as just lines and curves, shadows and highlights instead of seeing the projection of what we think faces look like onto the painting.
This is no easy task. But, I had learnt this concept a few years ago so this wasn’t what shocked me. No, what did shock me was how I had a shift in perspective by doing the same process of removing projection that I have done for years.
So what was the shift?
Often when I would see myself in a mirror or window reflection, I would catch myself judging and labelling myself instead of just seeing me. For example, I would judge myself on being fat, thin, good, bad, ugly or pretty, the list goes on. It was habitual for me to list every flaw I saw in my face and body whenever it was reflected out to me. But what does this have to do with painting a portrait? Well, in many ways, the judgments I held for myself were the same as the brain creating generalisations for drawings. Both are a delusion that blocks us from seeing the images for what they really are.
During the process of painting my face, I went through the usual process of going beyond the mental projections. But, to my amazement, I found that I also went beyond the labels I placed on myself. This was a new experience and I found it to be incredibly freeing. I was finally able to see my face as what it is, just a face. It’s not fat or thin, ugly or pretty, those are just the labels that I had mistaken my face for.
Suddenly my mind zoomed out on myself allowing me to see how misguided my perspective on reality had become.
This shift in understanding really hit home. And has stayed with me for weeks after the initial shock. Since then, I have observed myself becoming more aware of the labels I place on all things in my life, including myself. Which has allowed me to let go of some labels and weaken others. Slowly filling my life with the blissful calm I only felt when painting.
Written by Trinity Dollas
Anthroposophical Anthropology 
with Marcel de Leuw
Picture by Mien Stoffels
Anthroposophical Anthropology, while definitely the hardest course to spell in my notebook, was a course that really interested me. Coming from a Waldorf Steiner school background the works of Steiner were legend and anthroposophy a mysterious word of which I had little understanding. Hence I was not only excited to begin but also saw in it a way to more fully understand my education. With only a few Steiner readings under my belt I entered the class ready to receive some wisdom. I was not disappointed!
Marcel brought us his view of the anthroposophical world and its teachings. We saw through his words and especially his stories how the human being is and what it is striving for. With a good dose of humor and relatable experiences we were able to see and question our thoughts.
One thing I really appreciated was the examination of the elements, the feelings and the actions that come most naturally to us. That these expressions of ourselves can be understood and of course strengthened or maintained in a purposeful way. For example, I, being a creature of habit, felt encouraged to stop and think for a moment before doing my regular routine or sitting in the same spot in the course. It’s a little thing and not always comfortable but when I remember to do it I feel such a sense of achievement (sometimes it’s the little things you know!).
So really this week ended up with a lot of self development through the lens of anthroposophy. Very reminiscent of my schooling, I didn’t really realise the gravity of what I was learning till the end.
Written by Leila Koth
Marking Transitions:
Arriving in Hoy 
Pictures by Maaike Verbanck & Chi-Fang Wu
‘We’re off on an adventure!’
This is something I say to myself often. This time it’s true for us as our YIP group. We’re leaving for our Outpost in Scotland, first stop Hoy, an Orkney Island right at the top of the UK. We’ve woken up from the last night in our beds in Tallevana in Ytterjärna, Sweden at 4am, eaten cinnamon rolls, sipped coffee with sleepy eyes and stepped onto our first of four trains, four boats, one bus. Our journey takes us four days in total as we move through Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and finally to Scotland.
We’re a group of 28 travelling together and I like it, it’s cosy. Always people to laugh with or sleep on, play cards with and rock together on the sea. It’s a new feeling of moving together in such a big group, a migrating at a slow and steady pace.
The end of our journey finishes in darkness as well, only this time in the evening. We’re on the last boat of our trip, the sea is spraying on my face and the wind is whipping my hair into my eyes as we move from the mainland of the Orkney islands towards our smaller and more isolated one. As we step off our last boat onto Hoy, it’s late. It’s pitch black and I can smell the wildness in the air. The cold and wet and unknown. I can feel my cheeks become rosy as we stomp up the hill to our youth hostel which will be our home for the next three and a half weeks.
We’re landing somewhere new, the safety of Sweden has moved behind us for the time being and now we have a new challenge to meet. We’re living all together, four to a room, close together where we’re quickly discovering we’ll always be all over each other, there’s no place where you’re really alone unless you pull on your boots and go out to the wild outdoors. Our neighbours are a few cottages but also mostly sheep. This is the location where we will delve further into the Personal Awareness block of our curriculum, looking into ourselves with lenses brought from different contributors and the consequences of our surroundings. I can feel this all as we arrive, this new stage of our adventure we have to lean in to.
Written by Stephanie Blake
Initiative and Initiation
with Reinoud Meijer & Toke Pauldan Møller
Picture by Maaike Verbanck
“So it could be the thing you’ve been pondering about but never really got to...”, spoke a wise man on the island of Hoy a.k.a. our Organising Team member Reinoud.
He was speaking about our Personal Initiatives – cause yes yes that time had come.
What it was? Anything you wanted it to be. Something you took on by yourself and brought to some kind of manifestation towards the end of the YIP year.
Wonderfully vague, but luckily we had the pleasure to welcome Toke Pauldan Møller as a contributor for a couple of days, co-creator of the Art of Hosting and Practicing Peace Dojo, to help us gain more clarity to what our initiative could possibly look like.
With him we found ourselves practicing aikido in the morning, learning about the Art of crafting Powerful Questions in the afternoon and playing the Flow Game in the evening. The Flow Game could be described as a process in which we can ask questions that are relevant to us in that moment and where the group helps each other gaining clarity around these questions. This generous helping of one another was a beautiful process and brought me closer to the people I played with.
About Toke, I felt touched by his humbleness, curiosity to who we were and his eagerness to help where possible. For me, what he brought was of great value and I hope to cross paths again.
For now I have set my mind on a Personal Initiative and I feel excited exploring it. What it is?
You’ll see. Something with theatre, empowerment, and a workshop? Who knows ...
Written by Esmée Begemann
Original Instructions 
with Patricia McCabe
Picture by Maaike Verbanck
Patricia McCabe arrived on Friday night, and the weekend that followed was a very beautiful one, with sun, clear skies, a bit of rain in the distance and a few rainbows - all quite rare for our Hoy adventure, and on Monday the course started.
First, we were introduced to a few rituals for the week. We would move through the room around the centre in the direction of the sun and we would use only one door to enter and leave the room in order to keep the flow of energy, and to enable Patricia to keep track of what was entering the room and what was leaving.
Each day, one of us would take care of the fire and someone else of the water, representatives of the ancient wisdom and life forces placed in the centre - a candle for the grandma grandpa fireplace and a jug of water that held and soaked in all information. Each day these would be acknowledged by Patricia first thing before we started. Most days this acknowledgement would be followed and/or accompanied by a song after which we dived into the course.
We listened to Patricia’s stories, wisdom and lessons coming from her experience as well as from the experience of other indigenous/native people(s). They were stories of life, love (for the people, the land, nature, …), loss, standing up for who you are, owning your identity and claiming it righteously as well as all that comes with that. Naturally, some stories were easier to listen to than other ones and all were met differently by different people – sadness, sorrow, curiosity, joy, compassion and all sorts of emotions were present in the room.
Around mid-week we went out to do a tobacco offering to the land, taking a pinch of tobacco, holding it between our fingers facing east, acknowledging the Sun, the Earth and all that happens in between, finishing off by sprinkling it onto the ground. On Friday we officially finished the course, on Sunday evening we had an opportunity to participate in a pipe ceremony and on Monday we waved Patricia goodbye.
It was a full week from which questions and wonderings arose and so I’ll leave you with a few quotes and a few questions that have been said, a little food for thought.
  • “Anything you take from the Earth to live your life you have to be able to replace by the end of your life." - A principle that indigenous people of Guatemala live by.
  • “Lowering spiritual capacities of people(s) by lowering the nutritional value of the food they eat or is available to them." - Is this related to the capacity to connect? The capacity to feel each other?
  • “Logical mind is needed but is not necessarily the primary way of knowing and/or problem solving.”
  • “I get to see them, I get to feel them, but I don’t get to access them all, even if I feel like I have to contribute to each one of them.”
  • “Your joy matters. It is the purest fuel you’ll ever run on.”
  • “We should be putting (thriving) life into the centre of everything we do.”
  • “Understand what your skills are so you’re able to put them into action.”
  • “What kind of healing does your spirit need? What is it going to look like?”
  • “Ask yourself: ‘Why am I here?’, rather than ‘Who am I?’”
  • “How many times do you have to experience it to finally accept that it is real?" - In the realm of spiritual experiences, what are you going to do with it? What does it mean for your journey?
  • What’s preventing me from reaching harmony?
Written by Adéla Honigová
Autobiographical Storytelling 
with Roi Gal-Or
Picture by Chi-Fang Wu
Once upon a time in a far away place, where the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea kiss, between mountains and hills, shelter was given to 28 traveling souls.
One gloomy evening, as they were enjoying the food of their fairy-cooking-queen that had been blessing them with the most delicious food ever - No kidding. It was the best food they had ever tasted in their lives! - everything felt as it should. That night, an elf found his way to the place of warmth, loud laughter and love. He came through the door and introduced himself to each and every one of them.
“Hello, my name is Roi…” and before he could continue his path, the souls took him in and greeted him with great joy, as they felt something special was about to happen.
The elf stayed for four nights and five days. He spoke to them all, with a voice so calm, with a voice of truth. As he opened his mouth, he sat down and shared with the souls what he had experienced on his journeys in life. And with every time his vocal cords started vibrating, the house did too. Magic would happen. A big golden cloud would rise and hug the souls. It would take them along, no matter which place he spoke of. What he said, would feel like a reality for as long as his voice would echo. They smelled what he smelled and they felt what he felt. And with every day that passed, they asked themselves: what was this magic he was using on them? As the time came closer for Roi to leave, the souls were eager to find the source of it all.
The final evening came and the elf lit a fire, and all of the souls sat around, waiting for his grande final story. With a twinkle in his eyes, Roi cupped his hands to his ears and dared the souls to speak their experiences, their truths and their stories, too.
Written by Lina Ashour
A message from the Yippies:
Save the date for Initiative Forum 2020!
It’s that time of the year again! Not only is Christmas around the corner, but we, YIP12, are glad to announce the first details of the Initiative Forum 2020: Redefining Growth through Interconnection!
This year the goal of the Initiative Forum is to shift or redefine the meaning of growth through Interconnectedness.
Through the exploration of current systems, may they be economical or personal, we hope to understand their functions and their relations to each other better.
This new definition and awareness that we want to move towards will serve as a lens to carry forward in the conference and hopefully in the future.
Our hope is to go on an exploration together, so we can feed each other with ideas, experiences and knowledge. We believe that the interconnectivity of all people will allow us to see the change evolve on a greater, more world wide spread, scale.
We believe in healthy growth that will lead to action taking, because we support and are supported by all the people that are aiming for the same.
The event will be happening from the 8th-12th of April 2020. 
If you are intrigued and would like to join us for this wonderful journey, you can find our Super Early Bird Tickets for 1550 SEK until 15 January 2020 on our website.
If you want to stay updated on further changes and information, you can follow us on Instagram (Initiative Forum 2020) and on Facebook (Initiative Forum: Event, Page & Group).
We are very excited and hope to see you soon!
Check the Initiative Forum website for more info
Looking forward
Picture by Reinoud Meijer
In the next newsletter you can expect to read more about:
- Arriving in Findhorn
- Experience Week in Findhorn
- Togetherness Unleashed
- Facilitation & Group Process
- Open Masters
- Storytelling
- International Internships
Kulturcentrum Järna 13
15391 Järna
+46 73 097 36 37
© 2019 The International Youth Initiative Program
This email was sent to
You received this email because you signed up for our newsletter.
Sent by