Finding our path in the Tyrolean Alps - a youth exchange of wilderness and spirit
During ten days we practiced both practical wilderness and survival skills as well as meditative nature connection methods, which supported us to gain confidence and clarify our vision in life. The practical and the spiritual were oftentimes weaved together. For instance, one morning we would make fire without using modern tools, a deep experience as such. In the afternoon we would talk about fire in a symbolic sense, what it means to nourish “the fire in ourselves”. We learned how to use an ancient tool called the Medicine wheel, a concept originating from various Native American cultures. It is a tool used to recognize when something is out of balance and to work on our inner peace. During the week, each of us meditated daily in one self-chosen spot in nature.
Tuomas Lilleberg (28), teacher from Helsinki, discovered a new awareness of his life situation. “Using the medicine wheel from Native Americans, I learned how to figure out my dreams more clearly and ways to get there. This realisation has brought awareness to various challenges I currently have in my life... teaching me how to grow. The exchange helped me visualise forthcoming challenges and see how to overcome them. In our imagination, we are free!”
Annemari Salminen (25), occupational therapist from Turku, found that the exchange gave her a place to rethink her connection to nature. “One memorable moment for me was the sweat lodge ceremony. Going together into this underground lodge, singing in the dark and making wishes for peace together felt really good. Afterwards, going out and seeing the beautiful night sky full of stars, listening to the river and smelling the earth connected me to the moment in a special way. All my senses were open and mind quiet, I could truly enjoy the moment.”
text: Soile Koskinen
photos: Aidin Jodeiri
The “Life and Nature Youth Camp” was the seventh international exchange in the “Yes to Sustainability” programme, coordinated by NEXT-GEN Europe, the youth branch of the Global Ecovillage movement.
Read more: https://ecovillage.org/our-work/nextgen
Native Spirit: https://www.native-spirit.at/en