Looking back and seeing more than five months of inspiration and deep learning – for my personal journey to regenerative activism as well as for Region im Wandel and the small community of people that is forming around the Roots of Resilience project collaboration.
Our Journey to Ulex Project’s Psycho-Social Resilience Training
Since these three realms of my life are deeply interwoven, I will not try to separate them for more clarity, but will share two short stories that can help to get a feeling of the impacts the project has had so far.
Region im Wandel is a project that involves all areas of life: emotional care and community, housing, food production, and shared costs/financial support for basic needs, education, and activism in the region. Although I see the importance of interdependence and changing all aspects of our lives, the complexity of our project and its connection to our daily lives makes it very difficult for us to set healthy boundaries around working and resting.
Insights from Ulex: Work-Life Balance and Reflection
My time at Ulex and their holistic approach to activism gave me time to reflect on the situation at home. The method „Burnout Wheel“ helped me see how the interplay of many individual, cultural, and structural factors can lead to burnout and how important it is to take time together to acknowledge the complexity of our work.
A month after returning back home we had „strategy days“ at Region im Wandel. I felt that my learnings from Ulex had an impact there on two levels. Firstly I helped design the daily structure by inviting people to meditate and by leading some exercises from Generative Somatics which we had learned at the teachers‘ training at Ulex.
Secondly, I emphasized the importance of finding time to reflect on our wellbeing and regeneration together. This shifted the contents of the first day to reflect on our basic needs – had the need for emotional care, financial stability, and long-term perspectives in our work been met in the last year? (And: what factors might lead to burn-out?)
Afterwards, we focused more on developing strategies that would also meet those needs, rather than focusing mainly on the output we wanted to create together. I have the feeling that this was an important step we took together – it shifted our energy to creating a more sustainable strategy for the years to come.
Grief, Rituals, and Transformation
Grieving has been an important part of my journey with Roots of Resilience. My relationship with grief has changed, in my personal life and in the way I look at social movements and choose to take action.
Shortly before my visit at Ulex, my grandfather had passed away, and while my mother did a great job at making his funeral a space for connection, shared grief, and celebration, I was confronted with my longing for spaces in which we can really process our feelings together.
The simplicity and beauty of the grief ritual we did at Ulex touched me. I had time to process the grief about my grandfather’s death that I had brought with me, which helped me to be at the training as a whole person, not only in my role.
And that showed me – once again – how important it is to give time for personal processes in a work or movement context. Also, the framing of the ritual touched me: unprocessed grief can lead to loss of connection with ourselves, others, and the more than human world.
Embracing Grief and Collective Reflection
In reading the GEN Grief Toolkit that Camille (who hosted the ritual) had recommended, many more questions around grief popped up in my mind and informed the way we dealt with conflicts within the Roots of Resilience team. Having the courage to grieve helped me/us slow down and clear my/our vision – instead of trying to find solutions for our conflicts without listening to and allowing myself/us to see what had really happened.
Deepening my relationship with grief helped me support my mother in her grieving process about my grandfather. And it led to opening an online space with Roots of Resilience, in which we reflected on social movements and grief together.