We have now been at Tamera for 19 days, living in the guest area of the community. We took part in an introduction week last week where we gained an insight into many different aspects of the community. Based purely on our availability we were a part of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) Introduction Week, a first for Tamera. Being a part of this wonderful group of people was a real blessing and we ended the course marching through the streets of Lisbon with our friends Dara and Uri, the course facilitators, in the gay pride parade. The topic carried weight as the openness and equality for this unconventional group here at Tamera remains limited. At a presentation in the Political Cafe, a fortnightly evening hosted in the bar for the wider community shedding light on current issues, several members of our group spoke of their experiences of being ‘different’ in Europe today. The evening sent waves through the community who practise and preach free love and sexuality but with a significant focus on healing between the conventional male and female unity.
We shared one space on the course which despite allowing us both an isight into the content, meant for a disjointed experience for us both. The daily new insights into the visions and workings of the community stirred up a lot in us and at times felt extremely overwhelming. Trying to contemplate it all and care for the children was also at times challenging as they fed off our muddled energy. We made great friends however and soon the community experience began to come alive as the children navigated their way through the loving energy open to them.
We took 2 days in Lisbon after the course and returned to the community grateful for some processing time. I then took part in the 4 day Horse Course while Tom cared for the children. The course could not have been a more different experience from the Introduction Week, grounding me in my body, in the moment and in the energetic practise of leadership. I was allocated a horse to work with whom on initial open eyed connection I responded to in fear and a desire to change. I took this back to the course leaders and asked to work with a female horse. As I voiced my request it became suddenly clear that I needed to work with the horse I had been allocated, Amor.
Over the next 3 days I fell in love with Amor, I arrived to him with an open heart and he opened his to me. I have never been more present in a course than I found myself during the horse course. The imminent need to plan the next moves on our trip vacated my mind and I felt still. This translated into a humbling moment when Amor chose to walk with me, free from any obligation and physical tie, in an exercise to achieve exactly that.
The course presented on every level parallels to the work of being a conscious parent. Being a clear and confident leader in who’s company children trust they are safe. I returned every day inhabiting a softness to what it means to be guided through daily experiences blindfolded.
And here we are now, where exactly I’m still not sure but something new feels like its trying to sprout. The quest for alternate education still remains very much alive in me but this experience has again confirmed the role of a greater social experience in that quest. The new paradigm, the new story, is I believe greater than simply a school that challenges the conventional journey of state education systems, it is a right of passage to a new way of life. My question now revolves around my and our part in that new story. Our experience at Tamera has raised the option of whether we should join this community. Putting our energy and drive into a project that has momentum and form could be somewhat straight forward. The school here hasn’t got me excited but the greater social structure has and as we move on from here, Tamera will stand as a guide to remind us of this essential component to our search.
The experience here for Basil especially has been extremely rich. Unable to reenter the place of the children and therefore engage with any of the communities 20 children he has relished in the many and varied guests, the trees, the ants, food foraging, dirt and open familiar safe space. The kitchen team love him, Sabina the german grandmother, nurse and now chief gardener for the guest area and Tameran for 12 years has provided him open ended grandmother love. He knows more people here than we do. We have had to let go, to trust that here he is a divine being that we are all responsible for. That way is part of the new story, or maybe it’s part of a very old story that has been forgotten, as separation and isolation have become the norm. My experience of the world outside of here has, with my own inner story, led me to act on the fear that children are a burden, their parents problem. I still have a lot of work to do on that but our time here has allowed me to sit back a little and observe the world take care of him as a complete being worthy of its time and energy. Basil is an amazing child, so curious, so eloquent and when free from the unnecessary constraints placed on him by a somewhat caged life, he is calm and kind from somewhere deep inside.
We will leave Tamera in the next few days and make our way over to northern Spain and the week long 20th year conference of the Global Ecovillage Network Europe. This is a sidestep in our original plans but we’re excited to explore further the ecovillage movement. As to what lies ahead? I remain without clarity. I do however feel a new impulse to explore the maker education movement and to keep dreaming and visioning for alternate education, to that I remain in service.