Fourth Council Meeting of Council of European Grandmothers
Grandmothers present at the meeting:
Sabina, Erika, Madeleine, Irene, Elisabeth, Helga, Mary, Soizig, Sissy, Sofia, Vibeke, Maria, Swami, Tina, Isabella, Beate, Monika, Bette, Wenche, Aldona, Daiva, Christine and Toni.
Unfortunately MaryAnne was not able to come.
Friday 6th of April 2018
All the grandmothers came travelling during Thursday and Friday to the beautiful spot of Ostello del Bigallo. On Friday around 5pm we were all enjoying a warm welcome from Sabina and her helpers in the lovely garden, an olive grove, where the traditional “Opening Ceremony” could take place. We all walked to the far end of the beautiful garden, where Helga guided us all in a quiet, peaceful and lovely ceremony, and we all blessed the water.
Then we went inside, had a nice dinner around the wooden tables in the wonderful environment of the old monastery. Hereafter we gathered in the big hall for our first meeting. Sabina welcomed us again and explained the plans for the coming days.
Friday 7th of April 2018
After breakfast we gathered again in the big hall, where Sabina initiated the meeting. The topic “Exploring the timeless Wisdom” - Traditions & Rituals – “What is a grandmother, then?” was introduced. We shared and debated in the circle. Everybody put forward statements and opinions. Here is a selection of quotes:
- “Tradition is the link between human ….and the next generation”
- “Traditions…experiment, find possibilities, be open….find new traditions”
- “Wisdom (cosmic laws, which are everywhere) & traditions are totally different things. The connection between you – nature is a problem. We have lost the link. The parents have not been able to tell/give the great understanding, which goes beyond particular place.”
- “grandmothers should talk to young people, where ever they meet in everyday life.”
- “sitting on a park bench, being in a bus …..talk to the young people you meet!”
- “children have lost the connection….”
- “traditions are important. They become part of you, you understand who you are. People/refugees/immigrants without traditions can have hard time finding/understanding themselves”
- “tradition is important, but not enough. You must decide, what part you will keep/pass on – and what part you will let go. Deep in the roots, you will find timeless wisdom. If you stay in traditions you cannot grow.”
- “It`s a big inside work in our souls to know what you want to pass on”
- “traditions come from the male and from the church”
- “tradition is the Nature. We cannot change it. It is blessings of God, we cannot give it to others, we have it in us ….be in it”
- “…about singing…in a women group (UNESCO) young people take up old folk songs”.
- “….I feel blessed listening to us all (with brain and heart). Show young people: learning by doing. The key is: be kind to yourself and to others. It`s easy, the world will change.”
- “knowledge: the wisdom of the heart – (just an old Greek interpretation, passed on in Europe) Wisdom is in each cell, love and passion, to pass on”
- “We are all enlightened. We must show power (not weakness)”
- “don`t forget : storytelling gives guidelines between feelings (woman) and brain (man). Don`t just use stories/pictures from films.”
- “we/our generation is brought up with Nature. So, take the young generation to the forest, the sky, the sea…”
- “we`re destroying our nature with garbage. Tell stories to the children to make them take responsibility.”
- “my source of wisdom/inspiration is children. Use vinegar and soda instead of soap”
- “The young people in Trondheim showed us how to connect and talked about what they needed.”
- “it doesn`t have to be difficult, just to show the children wisdom”
- “tradition: choose what you bring from your country – mix traditions.”
- “wisdom: open up for the source, it`s easier when you get older.”
- “I feel enriched….like a flying fish”
Sabina had invited a number of guest, and they joined us for the next parts of the Agenda. First was “Gong experience” by Elis, Eleonora and Silvia. These 3 talented young women really reached our senses and so did Nadeshwari with her beautiful song. Later we were all guided by Sabina in phenomenal “movement session”/”dances” to different rhythms, which in the finest ways gave us mentally and physically experiences in our body.
Eike Eschholz (and Petra) had travelled from Northern Germany to be with us. Eike told us about “The Walfahrt Project”. She had had this dream to find out about these grandmothers, she decided to get to know 13 of us, to make paintings characterizing the individual grandmothers and finally get it all together in a book. We learned that she had already met Helga, Sabina, Monika and Aldona and prepared 4 small books about these grandmothers. Eike’s lovely paintings are impressions, based on interviews concerning the questions:
- Who are you?
- What are you doing?
- Where are you?
- What do you say?
Learn more about Eikes project: http://www.eike-eschholz.de/walfahrt/
After another lovely dinner in the Ostello del Bigallo, the grandmothers had a circle meeting.
Sunday 8th of April 2018
This Sunday we had all been looking forward to. We were going to Florence to meet Florence in “Sala degli Specchi” in Palazzo Medici Ricardi. It was the most beautiful place for a grandmother conference. The hall slowly was filled with men and women, young and old ones. Chairs were placed in a circle, where mostly grandmothers were sitting. Sabina and Nadeshwari moved and danced for us all. Such a splendid performance.
Sara Funaro, councilor of equal opportunities in Florence, made us a warm welcome and talked about the need of breaks, of meditation and of presence in the present, and about the need of time away from the digital world. Sabina was a fantastic hostess for this conference. She professionally introduced us to the guests, told about our council and about our topic for this year. Every grandmother told about themselves and Sabina translated. Guest were encouraged to put forward questions to the grandmothers, and in a very nice and loving atmosphere people debated and exchanged and shared.
After the meeting we all walked through sunny Florence streets to a cozy little restaurant, where we had marvelous lunch, anti-pasta and pasta. It was late when we all were back at Bigallo, having a little rest before dinner and the following “sharing”.
Monday the 9th of April 2018.
Again the grandmothers met in a the circle.
- Next year’s meeting is in Lithuania,18th – 21st of January 2019. Aldona and Daiva will send out information as soon as possible. The topic will be: “Sound”. Homework for the circle (about sound):
- What is it to you?
- What are you in sound?
- What is sound in your country/family?
- What role does it play in your culture?
- Presentation: show your sound. ………….it will be like a wave, we will develop, many people..a symphony
- The following meeting, around sep. 2019, will take place at Island, Monika happily announced. And maybe next time Ireland?
- On this Monday morning we also had the pleasure of trying “Vedic Art” as Christine led us through a lesson of this. With a blank piece of paper, a pencil, silent music and our eyes closed we draw on the paper whatever came to us. This we did for a long time. Afterwards we were asked to try to find pictures, things, beings in the doodles. Interesting art work came forward. Thanks to Christine for teaching us.
- Closing ceremony:
We gathered in the big hall with the guests, who had come to be with us. Sabina had the last information for us. In a silently falling rain we walked in a long line to the far end of the olive grove. The blessed water was brought to the middle of the circle again. Helga and Sabina lead the ceremony. Aldona gave out the bread brought from her country, and we all gave it to the birds and to the ground. With the rain falling heavier now, as a blessing from the sky, Daiva took some of the blessed water into a bottle to bring home for next years meeting, before she spread out the water in the circle. Many guest were joining us in this closing ceremony, and finally there were lots of goodbyes, hugs and kisses under the umbrellas. The rain stopped after all and sunshine was back.
Before everybody took off into Europe again, we had lunch at Ostello del Bigallo.
Many thanks to Sabina and all her helpers, Chiara, Silvia, Eleonora and Nadeshwari, and to the guest, who made this grandmother meeting come alive and flowing. Thanks to photographers. Thanks to Ostello for hospitality and a good spirit.
May 2018/Wenche & Toni