Diverse-r-us! Of course! Embracing diversity in self, other, nature and humanity. 19-20 August 2023

This is our long established annual gathering on the third week of August.
We look forward to being with friends old and new. We are a year into the journey of calling in like minded people form community and take on guardianship of Lisdean Farm.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

The theme this year arises out of the process of gathering as like minded individuals and in deepening our relating we realize that we are also different. So this gathering will be an
exploration of difference and will look at healthy community as embracing the joys and
tensions of being diverse. Difference embraced positively brings us to the edges of ourselves and into spaces where we can grow. Difference can also be used to separate us from others and ultimately be the source of othering, shaming, marginalizing, persecution and

We are inviting community members to step up and facilitate workshops on this theme which transcends boundaries of domains of knowledge and practice.

Biology We might consider how this human body is a diverse ecology of what we call me. To realize that this body is a sack full of different species including fungi, bacteria, viruses,
parasites, yeasts; and that the mammalian cells are only a fraction of the total.
In our embodiment journey from conception to birth we pulsate through a series of forms that are memories of evolution of animal life – we are fish, reptiles, mammals and primates in turn. More recently neuro-biology is confirming that we are diverse the way our nervous systems are structured and function. From the old ideas of handedness – right-left-ambi
dexterous, to the more recent neurodiversity. Our ‘mind’ is no longer seen to be located in the brain alone with the knowing and processing capacity of receptors in the intestines and heart. Over time skin itself has been recognized as an organ with multiple functions
including connectivity functions within us and between us.

Psychology We could well consider how the numerous psychological models and map of the psyche again and show that we are a community of selves or parts. At the level of three that might be id-ego-superego, or parent-adult-child. The map can be complex with child parts, inner critics, protectors, wounded parts, wise beings, fools, queens, princes, hermits, and ‘animal parts’. A Jungian perspective brings animus, anima, archetypes and shadow parts. Jung also brought the idea of the ‘collective unconscious’.
We also have creative parts – poets, writers and other artistic capacities which allow us to journey in the imaginal layers of reality.

Spirituality We might be guided in considering this paradigm brings many other lenses to examine our reality. Other ways of defining ourselves, parts of our experience and those around us. There is soul and spirit. Our community now potentially includes many others within us and in the team around us: guardians, angels, daimons, totem creatures, imagos and ancestors. Outside of our ‘personal’ constellation /domain are millions of others. The embodied others that we can name have layered realities too – plants and animals have
spiritual aspects. Animism tells us that everything is ‘alive’ and ‘intelligent’ and that we are all connected in a web of relationality.

Ecology We will certainly be out on the land. We could playfully call up our inner naturalists and consider how many other living things are present on the day and how many habitats we could identify. This does not have to include the right names for the other than human biological beings as our direct experience to and relationship with them is more important
Ecology is the study of the relationship between living ‘things’ and their habitats. There is a myriad of others within and around us. We are part of a planetary community that has evolved over millions of years. A network off living beings that connects everywhere on this Earth – our shared home. New species are being identified on an ongoing basis.

Sociology This paradigm offers us ideas that we are all social constructions. We might have someone ask how we conceive of ourselves through the lenses of race, class, gender,
nationality, ethnicity, ancestry.
From a socio-cultural perspective, my identity and yours is socially constructed, formed from the mosaic of factors within our early childhood including relationships and experiences with others. This is where we learnt a sense of uniqueness (difference) from others, and a sense of affiliation (sameness) based on our membership in various groups like family, church,
ethnicity, and occupation.

Ecopsychology and ecospirituality These modalities attempt to bring lots of the other ways of understanding our existence, our being here into one conversation.

So how can we dance with each other and all these ways of seeing ourselves and the others around us whilst we commune together, as humans and the other than human for a day and a night. Essential attitudes will be curiosity, openness, wonder, humility, respect, flexibility. All of the paradigms names above are only lenses into the mystery, the mysteries. They are maps and he map is not the territory, not the real thing. Using one or multiple lenses we are still probing the surface. Perhaps humour can help too – isn’t it simply absurd being this being in this calling myself human. We are at a pivotal time in the story of human life on this planet – even as we tread the the edge of extinction of our kind and many others we have the opportunity to become more fully who we are and always have been. As we step from the binary ways of defining ourselves and position ourselves on circles and spectra, some of us are already birthing the possibility of finding our definition within 3 or even 4 dimensional networks or matrices. Colonialism and capitalism have promoted and thrived on our limited sense of selves and or separability from body,kin, community, nature and the earth.

It promises to be a soul nourishing time for all involved.

As usual you are welcome to arrive anytime on the morning of Saturday 19 August.
The gathering will open just after lunch on the Saturday and close just after lunchtime on Sunday 14th August. Onsite overnight accommodation is camping or barn camping.

The plan is:

12- 1.00 pm Bring to share lunch

1 – 1.30 pm – Welcome and orientation to the process of the weekend. Intention setting for our individual and collective process. Shared agreement for the weekend on establishing a safe-enough space and self care.

1.30 – 4.30 pm Workshops on the theme of embracing diversity. There will be a mix of offerings – workshops between 1 and 3 hours with a tea break for everyone at 3pm. Please get in touch if you would like to facilitate an experience for a sub-group of the gathering during this time.

4.30 – 5.00 Solo time on the land .

5.00 – 6.00 Sharing Circle to process what is emerging.

6.00 – 6.30 Break – free time

6.30 – 8.00 Dinner – with an at-table update on the New Chapter of Common Ground

8.00 – 9.30 Open Mic at the fireside if weather permits – otherwise in HenHouse

9.30 to Music will be by the wonderful and soulful Ann Faulkner followed by dancing

7.30 Yoga – Movement – Mindful Walk – Qi Gong

8.30 Breakfast

9.30 – 10.00 Ideas on embracing diversity and working creatively with difference. Where are our growth edges.

10 – 10.45 Reflective time on the land. Take what you have been experiencing into the land and ponder on it. And ask land to be a mirror for you in this process.

10.45 – 11.00 Tea break

11-11.50 Sharing Circle – Check in – what is happening for you? What does this process bring up? How does it touch you? What happened when out in the land. Did you dream in the night whilst being here?

Comfort break

12 – 1.00 Open session – Discussion of diversity in context of forming community. Renewed invitation to participate in the new chapter – to find your niche in the ecology of what is emergent. How we might practice or apply this bringing ourselves to the edge again and again.

1.00 – Closure

1.30 – Lunch

Departures ….

We do hope you can join us. We will send joining and staying over instructions once you have booked.

Online ticket sales for this event are closed.