Apparently personal hygiene is the first thing to go for me.
Showers take time, enough said there.
I made a connection on Saturday. I can understand time here if I pretend that one day is not actually 24 hrs, but instead 168 hours aka 1 week. It is difficult to remember yesterday or this morning but if I could paint it for you it would be one continuous brush streak blurred in some areas with moments of clarity where the tips of the bristles began to make themselves known.
I awoke rested for the first time today in two weeks, this is why I am here. Often when I try to describe this place I say something like, " I've never been so inspired, it's exhausting." I've discovered that inspiration and exhaustion walk hand in hand and that it is true, one can actually be 'too inspired'. It is the feeling of always being 'on' and even when you don't look it, your is brain is snap crackling away making connection after connection, throwing forgotten memories in your path that match ideas to your today while simultaneously racing impulses down your arms and legs so that you can't help but walk in a half skip. I am eating at a constant steady pace all day long in an attempt to match the seemingly never ending input --> output --> input --> output. I found out that thinking madly makes me break a sweat. I sweat a lot here even though the cold arrived over a month ago.
Our days are growing longer while ironically we are losing light. It is dark by 4 and steadily increasing at a rate that often leaves me vaguely confused while I rapidly walk to a meeting in the pitch black.
This physical and emotional space feels at times like an endurance race, yet I still feel giddy when I think about the fact that I am here, experiencing and living YIP.
I have realized my two major challenges while being here at YIP.
1. Learning how to say no to the many offers and opportunities that are constantly being made available. Really it has come to this, but the root is understanding and sticking to my larger priorities.
2. Starting and seeing a project through all the way to the very end.
A few days ago I was given one of the most amazing gifts that has helped me to better understand and work with these challenges. I was guided through a process that ultimately helped me shift my mindset from consuming my time to instead savouring it. I am feeling extremely grateful for this little tidbit as I have been able to actively bring awareness to moments when I feel a lack of time and move to a space that is consciously slower which then allows me to actually enjoy. Aaaaah what a revelation!
So what does a week, a day at YIP look like?
My days Monday through Friday start at 7:45am and end usually around 11pm. We eat breakfast in our shared common room. I consider it a successful morning if I make it to the coffee. At 8:56 it is a mad rush in the shoe room as we all fumble with boots and coats. I never tie my boots in the morning, as I've considered this is a waste of time, since The White House is only a three min. walk away. Once at The White House, there is an opportunity for one more morning clutterfuck as we get our boots off and hang our coats.
We start at 9am with our morning workshop/contributor (this changes every week) with a half hour fika (coffee/tea) break and then continue on till 12:30. 12:30 brings lunch in the Kulturhuset and at 2:00 we begin with the afternoon activities. These also vary every day of the week.
Monday- Internship Preparation
*As part of the program we have a one month international internship starting at the beginning of January. This is a huge process as we have formed groups, had to find organizations, book plane tickets and try to keep our entire cost as much as possible within an allocated budget.
Tuesday- 2nd Semester Planning
*This YIP group is the first year that does not have the 2nd semester planned and booked in order to give us the freedom and space to self organize our own curriculum around shared learning goals. This has been such a gift and also the best lesson on what it is like to hear 19 other thoughts and desired learning expectations outside of yourself. All of that aside, we have to invite contributors while staying open to dates that work for them, and again work within a budget.
Wednesday- Check in Groups/ Art Therapy
*At the start of the year we were assigned at random to a group of 6 or 7 with a member of the Organizing Team to facilitate a safe space. I love that we had no choice of who was in our group or over who would facilitate. It has given me the opportunity to branch out and build relationships with individuals I might not have had the chance to do if left to choose myself. I can't reveal much, other than that we often drink tea, and when I leave I know I've learned a little more about letting go.
Thursday- Vegetable Prep/Free time/ Biographical Counselling
*Depending on the rotation of our check in groups (every week we flow between lunch duty, dinner duty, and house cleaning) whichever group is cleaning house that week gives their Thursday afternoon to helping the kitchen that prepares our meal with any type of food prep. The other groups have a few hours off before dinner, and some individuals participate in biographical counselling.
Friday- Community Meeting
*This is a time for the entire YIP team from peers to Organizers to gather and go over group practicalities, give general announcements, reflect on the week and give a prep for the coming week.
At 6pm we eat dinner again in the Kulturhuset and then shift into our evenings. Sometimes they are free, but more often then not there is some type of meeting scheduled.
Sunday- Conversation Group
Monday- Food forum planning/ Choir
Tuesday- Yippie meeting
Wednesday- Swedish class
Friday- Community Dinner
*after community meeting, a dinner is served prepared by the dinner check in group.
Once a month the dinner is opened up to the larger Jarna community.
Okay, so this is the most basic breakdown I could come up with. I asked a peer the other night to count how many meetings she'd participated in that day. She came up with the round number of 8. Between all of our scheduled time we often have smaller meetings that take place during Fika, lunch, dinner, after dinner, basically any spare piece of time we can find. Within this week I have not included the planning of Initiative Forum another big project that are somehow interwoven into the week. And then, besides all of this, there are constant invitations to lectures, concerts, parties, and anything other thing one could possible think of. I won't go into relationships, the individual process or the fact that little things like your laundry have to get done.
All I can say is the human being can and will adapt.
I've adapted and am experimenting with what it means to live on my edge. I sprinted so fast by any previous threshold I've ever known that I didn't even have an opportunity to wave goodbye, which means that everyday is new, and every step forward is unknown.
The International Youth Initiative Program
I am a Yippie class of 2013/2014. These are findings, thoughts and captured moments of mine from here in Jarna, Sweden.