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Foundations for Freedom Newsletter 24 Greencoat Place, London., SW1P 1RD, UK tel: 020-7798 6000,, Issue 37 August-September 2004 In this issue... What do you surrender to? (L.Botnaru on AfL) I saw the impossible... (B. Patel on AfL) Seeking for the art of living (I. Gutmane on AfL) Discovering myself... (V. Frimu on AfL)

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Caux 2004 - You could not be... (T. Minbaeva) Caux 2004 - The Key is in ME (N. Ghilascu) New team! News from the Treasurer

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WHAT DO YOU SURRENDER TO? Sow a thought, reap an action Sow an action, reap a habit Sow a habit, reap a character Sow a character, reap a destiny Anonymous

learn to switch off conscience. Just go on pleasing others and meet incessant expectations. Is that what I was born for? No, I believe there’s more. And I’d prefer to find my true self, my own part in this

Have you ever asked yourself to what do you surrender? To what thoughts do you surrender and what charecter do you reap? In this globalised era of revolutionary high-tech and scientific achievements, the influences on a human being are overwhelming. Success is measured by the size of bank account, by power or degrees. Spiritual growth and care for society become old-fashioned concepts. And if you dare to go against the stream, you risk to be ‘outcast’ or labelled as a ‘loser’. With so much pressure from around, how can one follow, then, one’s own destiny? For me the answer lies in searching for higher wisdom and finding inner is an exercise of will - to accept a higher authority... strength to withstand outer Creation. Then, bearing the consequences, pressures. Since my return from Action for Life 2 a surrendering to Divine guidance was what I storm of criticism and self doubt came over to chose. Surrendering to God, to Truth, to test my earlier decision to work for people, growth, for me is not a mere floating along not for salary. At a certain point I saw myself the fast stream of life. It’s not a giving up of sinking in fears, doubts, desire for approval, will, it is an exercise of will - to accept a higher until I asked mysself to what do I surrender? authority, to search for deeper wisdom, to take If it is current fashion, wealth by all means action/risks and to let go of the desire for and a ‘good’ image, I should deny all AFL credits. Jean Brown (one of the AFL2 support experiences, accept to live with masks and 1

team) told us once: ‘Surrender is like marriage: you offer your life once, but then each day you’re learning how to give it’. I’m just at the beginning of the road, still learning, discerning, falling and raising again. But I’d like to walk this road to see where it may lead. Liliana Botnaru (Moldova)

I saw the impossible ...

Hey there Friends, it is difficult to summarise Action for Life (AfL), one story or experience leads into so many more. So instead I will draw out some points that I learnt from my time in South East Asia. It was a course in Miracles. I saw the impossible being done by people who believed they could change something. Their belief was not particularly religious, but more that if they started, and did not give up, and stuck to their principles, they WILL eventually succeed. They cared for the PROCESS more than the Result. MRA stands for Moral and Spiritual Rearmament. “Moral” is connected with our Values/Ethics side, and is easier to understand and put into action, such as trying to be honest with yourself, family, and others. “Spiritual” is connected with intuition/guidance, pure intention/prayer, and is harder to understand, practise, and explain. People usually find one or the other easier, but we

Bhav in Cambodia must consciously develop both to really find Inspiration and Motivation. 2

As well as all the high-level strategy stuff, there is a Joy that comes from caring and giving to Individuals who need our help, whether the need is physical, financial, or spiritual. I met many people whose eyes shined from the Joy of caring and sharing. This Joy is an energy that can sustain and support us through difficulties and disillusionment. Meditation is not an Asian thing; it is an essential part of life. Now I meditate every morning for 30 minutes, and then have my 30 minutes of Quiet Time. When I mentioned this to a few people, the reaction was “so what is the difference, do you just sit there for 30 minutes?” Meditation is not sitting around, you need to be trained to know how to do it, so find out if you are interested ! I saw so many similarities between the young MRA/IofC teams in South East Asia, and the ones in Central and Eastern Europe. There is a lot of space for communication, sharing experiences, exchange visits, etc. Katia (Russia), Violeta (Moldova), Ilze (Latvia), Zoriana (Ukarine), and Liliana (Moldova) have gained something that we can all draw from, so let’s give them the chance to share it with us! I would like to finish with a quote from Goethe, the German poet and scientist, who Rudolph Steiner based a lot of his work on: “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or

joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated and a person is humanised or dehumanised. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” Bhavesh Patel (UK)

Seeking for the Art of Living

Officially, Action for Life is a 9-month diverse leadership program. Unofficially, it is a course on The Art of Living, a lifelong path of discoveries. It’s all about the people. Being on Action for Life has been like being in the middle of a tornado! At one moment I am flying high in the sky seeing the whole world together, everything in real shapes and colours and where each road leads (actually finding this between sheets of books, in wise conversations and inspiring speeches). Amazing! And then suddenly the Wind changes the direction, and I find myself on the ground. Recognise where you are! Be sure where you want to go! Find the right way, and Go! I was seeking for practical knowledge, skills and techniques how to construct and run programmes, courses and presentations, but I found something unexpected. I knew that I could not solve anybody’s problem, but I found that my part could be to encourage people to look for their own answers. Well, so far it would be ok, but I had to learn to trust that I am the one who knows the best where to go, why and how to overcome my challenges. Before I make friends, solve headache-raising situations, being honest, tolerant and loving towards others, nothing will really work if I am not honest and accepting towards myself. I have the voice of my truth! During my journey with Action for Life I have met a lot of different people, and I have discovered great appreciation for each and every person. Everyone has an amazing life story and the more I listen, the more inter-

esting it becomes - what words or attitudes build up a person, what makes people happy, and how later on it determines one’s life path. That is the way, in which this world becomes so colourful and interesting, and at the same time - a bit more understandable. Some stories of seemingly small moments of courage still resound in my heart and mind whenever I feel doubts in similar situations. The way to truth… Seeing so many homeless, hopeless, sick, oppressed, abandoned - so much pain around me. I used to lose my heart. Why do those innocent people have to suffer? Why do those kids have to go through all this? And more, and more... But each difficulty, challenge can teach something. Am I brave enough to face it, admit it, see the light behind that and move forward, being aware of my fears and shortcomings, but leaving it aside? Do I appreciate what I already have or am I always unhappy about it and striving for more and more? Thanks to life, destiny, God, the Great Wind or coincidence (however you call it) for pushing me to use and share what I have - experiences, skills, smiles, inspirations and also to use what I did not know I have. Ilze Gutmane (Latvia)

Discovering myself. Discovering the world.

Action for Life (AfL) was a remarkable and unforgettable experience for me. Nine months living in a mobile community of people from different countries, of different ages, backgrounds, faiths and mentalities. I really think Action for Life team should be a study case for those studying conflict resolution and international relations, because despite of the differences we are an example of the fact that it is possible to be friends, work together and make positive things and events happen. On a more personal level, I am grateful that I had the courage and friends who all helped me step on this path. I can say it was a path of discovery of myself and of the world I live in. 3

Violeta in India

Discovering myself Very often, while being on AfL, we found ourselves in the most interesting and unexpected situations: workshops, presentations, talks with people we met for the first time, living in different host families, conforming to their lifestyle and habits. Every day it was a challenge to get my ideas and feelings across to people who speak a different language and think differently. So, I had to learn a lot about communication and team work. There were some cases when I simply held back because, as I thought, there were more experienced and knowledgeble people, who were successful in whatever they were doing. I knew it was wrong to think that way, but I could not do anything about it. Until I looked at the roots of this attitude. There I discovered fear of failure, of what other people will think about me. This fear was nurtured by everyday doubts of everything: myself, people around me, life. Behind it all I discovered a lack of FAITH, which was the missing element in my everyday life. Discovering the world 4

During our journey we saw a lot of places and people. For me, the most striking and touching were the moments when we met CHILDREN. I remember, we were in Bombey at a bus stop and I saw a homeless 3-year-old boy, crying and walking towards us. He had some wounds on the nose and was very skinny. Then I felt very helpless and very confused. In Calcutta we visited Mother TeresaÂ’s orphanage home for children. When we entered the room, all the healthy children started to play with us. Then I saw there were more, who could not move or talk and their bodies were crippled. There were other 3-4 year old children in a room behind some bars, isolated from everybody because they had contagious infections. So again, I was asking myself about the meaning of all this suffering. Another time, on a beautiful morning on the seaside in Cambodia we were having breakfast. Not far away from us some little children were looking in the garbage bin for some food. In that moment, a question came as a shock to me: How come I have the possibility to have breakfast and those children donÂ’t? None of us is better or worse than the other! Also in Cambodia we visited a village were we met about a hundred little children, who came to have a bath and a cup of soya milk. While I was bathing them, I suddenly realised that those children came to have a bath because they do not have a soap or clean water at home. It came to me that those things I took for granted, like soap, clean water, food, a roof over my head, my parents, the fact that I can see, hear, walk and talk, are actually incredible gifts. One of the AfL participants said once that the true Action for Life would start when we are back home. I think it is true. For me the process of home coming is still happening. The main dilemma I face now is how to be able to answer to all the material needs of my family and at the same time to make a difference in the Moldovan society. I do not think we were given the gift of life, so that we can concentrate 100% on the material aspect. Beyond all the appearances there is a human soul, which needs to grow. I have faith it is possible to combine these two sides. Violeta Frimu (Moldova)

You could not be left untouched... Tatyana Minbaeva (aka Nicole) from Novosibirsk team on her first time in Caux

I would like to start by saying how much I really wanted to go to Caux. My friends, who have been to Caux more than once, and their amazing stories convinced me that this incredible place cannot be described by words. Then I have read the article ‘Strange people from planet Caux’, which made me want to go to Caux even more. And there it was – Caux – an incredible place I wanted to visit so much. And even though home was really far away, I felt peace in my heart, and the feeling that ‘I am home’ has never left me while I was there. Day by day I was surrounded by a lot of people, but the feeling of inner dialogue followed me around, and, perhaps, this led no only to getting to know a lot of new friends, but also to getting to know myself better. From Mountain House I had experienced an amazing view of the Lake Geneva and beautiful town of Montreux. If I was to paint that view, I do not think the colours of the paint would be beautiful enough to do that. But the most important thing in Caux is people that come here to fill the house with light and warmth. The harmony of nature around us inspires to create inner harmony within me and think about global human

harmony. You could not be left untouched, when you see people from fifty different countries on the stage of the Main Hall – these are the women and men, bankers and workers, politicians and doctors, of different backgrounds and faiths. They all speak different languages, and yet they all speak about the same – honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, how they try to live according to these principles, giving valuable and inspiring examples from their personal lives. Actually personal examples have been a very special feature of the Mountain House for me, something that was very moving, something Reunion. that led me to want to apply the new knowledge in my own life. But the highlight of my time would be the moments of having those thoughts that make you say ‘Oh yes, this is it!’ In between all of that there were plenty of dances, music, songs and plays. Caux is the stream of energy. It’s the kindness that never leaves you, it’s meeting friends, it’s looking into future, it’s the freshest air, it’s smiles and it’s a place I would love to come back to. Tatyana Minbaeva (Russia)

The Key is in ME Not a long time ago, I discovered myself as a point in an infinite space of human existence called “the column of infinite”, which goes upwards in a certain direction. To pass from one point of the spiral to the other I needed the key, which may be different from the previous ones used so far. And so, I discovered that the key was not so far, it was in ME. So, WE are the key, without even knowing it. We just have to find it in ourselves! During my time in Caux, I made some other discoveries and I would like to share with all my friends: I discovered about spirituality, that I live in other dimension different from the one

where I lived in the past. This dimension is full of peace and kindness, other times it is full of pain and sorrow. It is about another way of making your brains work, of looking at the world and analyzing behaviors and emotions as if you were looking at yourself from one corner called “the peace zone”, as you can achieve this state only when you are peaceful with yourself! From this zone you become similar and equal to other human beings and get a benefit to be truthful to yourself by being able to reach a depersonalized and decentralized ego point and start then making honest and personal critical analysis of yourself and the outside 5

world. Reaching this zone helped me to give myself the love and compassion when I saw a hole in my heart, other times I gave myself forgiveness when I saw I was wrong and resentful on my neighbors and friends, other times wisdom, when I saw I behaved unconsciously and could not find any answer, other times I gave myself a sense of childhood when I saw my life lacked those moments, other times I gave myself freedom, when I saw I was deprived and dependent on my parents and on what others may say. And I called this series of personal decisions selfempowerment, which many of you come after at different stages of passing from one point to other points of the “infinite column”. I discovered about recognition, a space between inner and outer world, which makes me unique, which makes me be different from others. There were moments in Natalia my life when I was ashamed and unconfident to see the difference in me. In one moment I observed that this was me, it was my identity among many other inneridentities discovered before and I accepted me as I am, with the whole gratitude and love that God gave me and first of all, I identified myself as a human being, as a human creature. If people in this world would accept others as who they are, with their whole identity and human creature different from their own, I guess many of the problems would have been solved now. I thank God for being and making me different as this help me seeing the DIFFERENCE and being able to make a DIFFERENCE in the world! I discovered about the sense of recognition when I denied my human being, when I was running away from reality and when I was too judgmental with myself in form of God. I realized that I was part of the stereotypes of society and, hence, I was a victim of myself, a model that society imposed me to be. I learned to take more risks in life, more decisions and 6

make more choices and take responsibility for my life! I was surprised to see the miracle of exposing myself by truly being honest and making opened dialogues. We have to learn more about enlarging our inner-world with Smileaof space the month! other inner-worlds and build of uniqueness and trust. We will discover together that the answer of many questions lives in this space of wisdoms and you will feel a sense of security and dignity among these worlds and the realities become ONE reality! I discovered about friendship and that it can be inherited when each of us creates a space for other’s pains and happiness. We start building a bridge to each other’s hearts by love and honesty and being able to come out from our own comfort zones to hear and be heard, to support and get the needed support. I experienced this spiritual friendship throughout my stay in Caux and each person met was my new friend whom I did not even expect to be. I honestly thank for the friendship support given by the group of Action for Life in Caux, by the group of Gente que Avantza from Latin America, by members of IC-UK, IC-Australia, IC-France, IC-Canada, IC-USA, IC-Moldova and many other new communities of friends I met. I discovered about role models and spiritual leadership. I take this memory of each role model you shared and make a vision and model of myself and my country! I embrace the future with less fears and more faith to what this unexpected space of holiness can offer me and the world! I discovered… Natalia Ghilascu (Moldova)

As you may know, this year is the year of changes for Foundations for Freedom. First, new team members will arrive in the second part of September. Second, the F4F office is moving from London to Sheffield due to different reasons, but mainly because the majority of the UK F4F team lives around that area. And this is the right time for the new arrivals to introduce themselves. Full name: Angela Starovoitova Full name: Anna Pozhogina Age: 26 Age: 24 Place of birth: Saint-Petersburg, Russia Place of birth: Riga, Latvia Place of residence: Simferopol, Crimea, Place of residence: Riga, Latvia Ukraine Citizenship: Latvia Citizenship: Ukraine Education: Professional Degree (BA) in Education: Bachelor of English and Politic Science German Philology Profession: Political Scientist Profession: Interpreter Profession by Heart: NGO worker Profession by Heart: Social Worker Areas of interest: intercultural dialogue, Areas of interest: personal development, identity, personal development managing events Last book read: “1984” (J. Orwell) Last book read: “The Devil and Miss Prym” Last movie watched: “Sheakspear’s Twelfth (P.Coelho) Night” (England) Last movie watched: “Nightwatch” (Russia) Skills: organizational, office management, Skills: organizational, IT, leadership, office project writing, networking, management, communication, facilitation communication, presentation skills Idea that holds: God shows the way- I make Idea that holds: Be the change you want to the step see in the world (M. Ghandi) A n n a says: “…We met in S u m m e r 2002 at Caux. I was – down to earth, but ambitious y o u n g politician, full of desire to get the power and rule the country the way I saw it right. I came to Caux convinced that IofC ideas are far too idealistic and utopic. And I came to prove myself I was right. Angela was there. When I first met her – she asked me hundreds of questions (she still does many) about my life and my ideas for the future, my attitude and my beliefs. She was funny, lovely person to be around and full of inspiration. I was afraid of her a bit, as I was willing to prove they all were wrong – but I liked her and many others from F4F….” Angela says: “…I went through a number of IofC activities and courses; have experienced change in my life that also made an impact on people in my environment; discovered personal responsibility and passion for the situation in my country; decided to deliver those thoughts to a wider community of the

world by organizing conferences and playing a part in Caux; met people, who were discovering something of their own and for their own – their true self, rather than choosing what circular thinking was offering them - Anna Pozhogina was one of those. Cannot really remember anything specific about our first time together, only the sparkle in her eyes and that we were laughing like mad, as well as talking about serious things.” Anna says: “…I think we will make a very good team together. We have different backgrounds and skills, but we can put them together to work for one thing. I feel we can learn from each other a lot and can help each other to grow (and I am talking not only about me and Angela here, but rather the whole region). I am looking forward as this experience will be something very new for me. Learning to develop community from the beginning will give input in my future life (whatever aspect of it we are talking about)…” 7

Angela says: “…We are different, but working for the same goal. I hope I can play a part in our common spirit-led activities and develop our co-operation. I am hoping to fulfil the needs of F4F in the regions…” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------And the farewell words from those, who are about to enter a new stage of their lives... Recently I Little I knew about F4F found myself back in June 1998, just bein the unufore the course I went to. The sual situacourse was good, and sometion of sumthing happened to me. I felt ming up my secure and comfortable in a life in form of newly found circle of a standard friends. This was a feeling CV. And I then, and it still stays with was amazed me. I have worked in the at how diffiF4F office since August cult I found it 2002. To say that I have to express my learned a lot would only diminish the imF4F work ex- portance of it all for me. Since I found F4F I perience in have met amazing people from all over the terms of con- world, but more importantly a lot of young ventional job people from Eastern Europe. Young people a c h i e v e - are so different, and yet we are so the same. ments. Be- And I believe that Foundations for Freedom cause the 2 can provide that something that’s missing in Fs in “F4F” a lot of young people’s lives. I have to leave do NOT stand for facts and figures, but rather the office, but I cannot leave F4F – it is a part for faces and faith – pure and inspiring faces of me. that I was allowed to exchange a little bit of Oleg Ermurati (UK/Moldova) soul with, on a journey of faith. Thank you Siberia, Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia for News from the Treasurer... touching my soul. Thank you F4F committee We would like to express our warmest for making the IC principle of “not who is right thanks and appreciation to the Karl Popbut what is right” come alive for me. Thank per Foundation in Switzerland for the grant you F4F for being a platform to discover and of 35,000 Swiss Francs (about £15,800) to develop and a soul family. Keep the spirit and enable F4F to support people from Central the Con-Viction (that’ll be what CV stands for)! and East Europe participating in Caux this May God bless this work! summer. Apart from that there were donors Gabrijela Leovic (Germany) from South Africa, Netherlands, Switzerland and UK, and we are extremely grateful for F4F Diary your donations and gifts. Central and Eastern Europeans make a notable and increas4-11 September - CC in Lviv (Ukraine) ing contribution to Caux conferences and 23 September - F4F UK committee meeting the Mountain House, and these grants and 20 October - F4F UK committee meeting donations are vital to the personal growth October - ICIC visit to Eastern Europe and the world outreach of Caux. November - CC & VC 2 in Novosibirsk (Russia)

5-12 December - CC in Kiev (Ukraine) January 2005 - F4F course in Latvia

Watch out for the next issue in December 2004! 8

For the Foundations for Freedom programme to expand closer to its potential, more people are needed who could make regular contributions. If you feel you could help in this way, or would like further information, please reply to F4F, 24 Greencoat Place, London SW1P 1RD.