WHY HOME? WHY HUMANITY?
Why each of us and all our homes are needed
to respond to today's planetary emergency
THE POWER OF HOMES
To Become Launchpads
for Local and Global Transformation
by Alexander Schieffer
No word is more local and personal than “home”.
And no word is more global and shared than “home”.
For, at once, home points to our place of individual origin, the place of personal belonging, the place where we can “be who we truly are”, unmasked and unfiltered, while it also alludes to our home planet, as a whole, the planet of shared belonging – Earth as our common home.
At best, the home is the place where all our qualities can live and show up, where we can practice and manifest the fullness of our humanity – as a brother or sister, as a mother or father, as a grandmother or grandfather, as a friend welcoming friends, as a lover receiving the beloved, as a host to strangers.
It is from our home that we depart to engage with the world; it is to our home that we return, having discovered ourselves in the world.
It is in the home that our most intimate thoughts are entrusted, our persona can disappear, our personality can expand with ease. The home is a vital gateway to experience unity within ourselves and with others.
And it is in homes that many of the world’s most influential ideas and thoughts, innovation and initiatives have been seeded, cooked up, and birthed.
But then, for many people, home has no longer this quality. Or, if it has, home is no longer in reach. For millions have been dislodged – as migrants and refugees – and millions have disconnected – as uprooted global citizens with no place of true belonging.
Then, all of a sudden, Corona confined almost the entire world population to its homes. And people around the planet (re)discover the immense value of their homes as a place of retreat, safety, communion and solidarity – while others experience it as a place of terror and tension, domestic violence, loneliness and separation. But through it all, we are seeing the potential and possibility of our homes as places for personal and collective restoration – for ourselves, our social fabric, our humanity.
As we reflect on the deeper reasons for the global crisis, in a time of standstill, we might recognize our personal response-ability to contribute to a more regenerative future for all of us – in that our personal lives and lifestyles move towards regeneration, in that our homes become learning and practice places for integral development.
In fact, in my own research and transformative educational work around the planet as co-founder of TRANS4M, a global community of “worldmakers” working actively with our Integral Worlds approach, I found that many of the world’s most impressive role models for the emerging integral paradigm – from Sekem in Egypt to Sarvodaya in Sri Lanka, from Sinal do Vale in Brazil to Pax Herbals in Nigeria, all the way to Jean Houston in the US, who hosts salons for social artists in her own home cum “living museum of humanity” in Ashland, Oregon – have been started from a simple home of a committed visionary, often together with the family.
This insight guided me 12 years ago to ground my worldwork in my own home. Together with my wife and co-creator Rama Mani, we evolved our own home in the French Jura Mountains near Geneva into a living campus and practice ground for our current and future community of “integral worldmakers” – thereby centering our global work within the very center of our local lives – our home. A home that we named Home for Humanity. A home that has grown incrementally through each visitor-student-worldmaker into an integral sanctuary, a healing haven, a safe stage, a living-learning laboratory, and a catalytic launchpad for local and global transformation. A home where transformational journeys enable people to find, live and expand “home” on three interconnected levels: the “inner home”; the actual home or workplace; our home Planet.
As we expand and reach out to others – from home to home – we recognize not only the value of each of our homes, but also, if homes become connected, our collective power to rebuild our societies and our value bases, our potential to participate and engage, our capacity to move from individual powerlessness to collective citizen power.
Yes, home holds power! Our homes are the foundational cells of our society. It is here – from our most intimate places – that the paradigm shift towards a regenerative future (for all humans and for all of life) needs to be rooted, practiced and lived. It is from here where we need to experience and embrace the ancient and now newly emerging knowing that “The Universe is a single Family”. It is from here that humanity can rise again, renewed, feeling itself as an integral part of the indivisible family of life, called to discover, also, the underlying unity of all life, and the unity embedded within our very name: humanity.
TO OUR HUMANITY
To Enact Global Transformation
by Rama Mani
Home is where we start our lives on Earth.
Home is where our earthly lives end.
Home is a palace for few, a hut, shack or flat for many.
Home is a distant dream for those living rough on city streets.
Home is an aching memory for those forced to flee.
Home is a safe haven for some, a harbour of security and freedom.
Home is a prison for others, a torture cell, a straitjacket fettering their unfolding.
Yet, we all carry in us a longing – for belonging.
A timeless memory calls us silently, inescapably
To seek our way
Back and forward at once
To our true ‘home’.
Yes, despite its diverse connotations for each of us, we all intuitively long to ‘come home’
However joyful or painful our present or past experiences of home, a yearning sustains us to build a true home: from whose safety we can grow to our full potential, and enact our unique role in effecting global transformation. A home where we can be at ease with ourselves or our family, and whose door we open gladly to friends, neighbours or strangers in need.
This yearning for home is embedded within a deeper yearning, conscious for some, unconscious for many, to be at home in ourselves: to dwell in our inner ‘soul’ home. The undiminished lure of home is ensconced within the larger longing to find one’s place in the world: to be at home on Earth.
At no time has the promise and power of ‘home’ been more potent for humanity than now, since the Corona confinement that sent humanity ‘back home’. As we sat at home day after day, as never before since we learned to walk, we became witness not only to the realities of our own lives, but equally to the realities around us, more starkly than our past busy schedules allowed. We saw and felt the disparities in the realities we humans inhabit simply in relation to what each of us calls ‘home’. We blanched at the grotesque inequality that separates those in spacious villas from those cramped into hovels with no possibility of social distancing. We shuddered at the inequity between those of us who have homes at all and those rendered homeless by wars, by climate chaos, or by our rapacious and reckless economic system.
This infinitesimal virus that spread mortality in its wake heightened our cognition of our common humanity that underlies the greatest disparity in our economic, cultural, ecological and metaphysical realities today, just as it revealed our unity as humanity beyond our invaluable cultural diversity, and our intrinsic interconnectedness with all lifeforms sharing our Earth home. As a peacebuilder-performance artist, I’m as uplifted by how humanity is uniting and rising through COVID, as I’m heartbroken by how many people, including my own collaborators and co-creators in my peacebuilding and performance work have seen their suffering aggravated in war-torn countries, refugee centres and slums on all continents.
The Corona virus has pulled the rug rudely on the horrors and the hopes embedded in our human unity – our humanity. It has amplified the imperative of transforming without further delay the man-made systems that is exterminating millions of our fellow species and confronting us with self-extinction. As a start, let us commit to end the ever-worsening injustice of ‘homelessness’ created by our exploitative economic system: of our fellow humans and of our innumerable fellow species whose habitat we have totally destroyed.
The trauma and promise of these times of COVID confinement has deepened the commitment my husband, Alexander Schieffer and I share as Co-Founders of Home for Humanity. We seek simultaneously to offer our own home as an integral sanctuary for co-creative journeys to heal, envision and enact personal and societal transformation, and to connect our homes across cultures and socio-economic realities so we become a simple but unstoppable collective force for planetary transformation.
Home-confinement has connected us in unimaginable ways: across our soul-homes, between our physical homes, and within our shared Earth home. Now, amidst this unprecedented planetary crisis, we are ready to reshape our collective future based on the paradigm of the interconnected wholeness of life.
Dialogues on Home for Humanity as a Response to our Planetary Crisis
Written on the International Day of Living Together in Peace, 16 May 2020
Join the Dialogue
Share your Reflections on the Power of Home and Humanity
to regenerate life on our shared Earth Home