This is a kind of ‘déjà vu’. It is exactly a year ago that I visited this project ‘Oasis des 7 Cercles’ of Catherine and Laurent for the first time.
It was also thanks to that encounter with them, then still in the build-up stage of their eco-project, which made me decide to undertake this journey Cycloasis. It was very heart-warming to be with them again and witness the changes and progress that has taken place in their project since.
Last year in August I participated in the works to finalise the bathroom for hosting the people for their Biodanza, ‘the dance of life’, workshop in September 2011. They bought his beautiful farm with 3 hectares, including part of a small forest.
This time, I had the pleasure to take a shower in this now tastefully decorated bath room. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to use the most beautiful dry toilets I have seen during my journey through France! Indeed, also a dry toilet can be designed in a way that makes you feel comfortable to be around your own natural products.
Solar lights lid each toilet in the evening and nice magazines for a short reading break where available. Catherine and Laurent have an eye for detail and aesthetics. Catherine tells me she needs beauty around her. I can only agree – “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” (John Keats)
A place of ‘vivencias’ …
Oasis des 7 Cercles is a place to regenerate, a place of transition and pause (‘un Lieu de ressourcement, transition et rupture’). Catherine and Laurent are both teachers of Biodanza, formed at the school of ‘Nantes Atlantique’, and give weekly courses and different workshops. Bio means life and danza means an integrated movement full of meaning. The Chilean anthropologist and psychologist Rolando Toro developed a theoretical model of Biodanza. He was inspired by the experiences with psychiatric patients. Biodanza is the source or fountain of ‘Vivencias’ – the present moment lived fully. If, as is very common in our modern goal-oriented society, we ignore these vivencias, we lose our perception of what it means to be alive. Biodanza, practiced by now in 40 countries, aims to promote a healthy sense of identity and is a humanistic approach to harmony, health and life.
Oasis des 7 Cercles is also a place to regenerate, not just for Catherine and Laurent and their children, but also for those who need a break for whatever reason. In this family surrounding, Catherine and Laurent also welcome mentally handicapped people who live in a home. This can be either to spend the holiday or stay in the weekends (e.g. for those who do not have a family to turn to), but also in case of a crisis and the need to get away from the institution for a while in order to find some fresh air and to breathe again. They work closely together with different institutions in the region, such as ADAPEI. Laurent worked many years as director in the field of mentally handicapped.
This project is a wonderful place to re-source. They undertake daily activities with these guests. This depends on the skills and interests of each person. This can be: working in the organic vegetable garden, taking care of the animals (geese, rabbits, chicken, sheep, a dog and cats), practical tasks in the household, baking and cooking, up to artistic activities, or help with construction works. So pretty much everything one can think of to be done on and around a farm. Of course going for a swim or a walk in the forest is also part of this.
While I visited Oasis des 7 Cercles there were two women on holiday with them. It was a real pleasure to be with them and it brought back nice memories from when I had worked with handicapped people. Special in this project is that Catherine and Laurent host them in their house. So there is sharing, openness and human proximity, and the very important experience to be with ‘ordinary’ people. Next year they also wish to get one or two horses on the farm, very beneficial in this work with people.
As I have seen in many other projects, people are (or must become!) multi-tasking and have very different professional backgrounds. Catherine used to be a physics teacher and physiotherapist and Laurent was as a pedagogic involved in projects on social insertion and in social institutions.
And for many years he also ran a ‘crèperie’ in Brittany. And as the proof is in the eating, I could judge his skills for myself in one of the meals. Very tasteful!
Of course setting up an eco-project like this, demands many other skills. You need to be a plumber, carpenter, electrician, tiler, gardener, know how to transform food, etc. at the same time. And of course learn while doing, with the help of others.
Co-creation and shared intelligence is at the heart of these initiatives, where the use of solar energy for heating water, the use of rainwater, dry toilets, composting, organic farming, use of local and sustainable materials for construction are the minimum requirements for these eco-projects.
Catherine and Laurent joked with me that they had been waiting for me this year to harvest the elderberries again, as I had done last year August. So this year I took upon me to harvest their four trees. We then cleaned the berries together at a table in the shade and so a new stock of fruit is guaranteed for this winter.
As I liked to do this work, Catherine and Laurent suggested that I come back next year to take care of their elderberries. I might do that!
There is more to water …
Catherine is fascinated by water, this amazing source of life and energy. The trouble is the water we drink. This is mostly either mineral water in (PET) bottles or tap water. Catherine explains that actually both these waters are ‘dead’. Apart from the fact that bottled and tap water still contain harmful particles and chemical substances, which affect our liver and brain, these waters do not have the same purity and energy and necessary micro-organisms as water in nature has. Filtering methods such as reverse osmosis (developed by NASA to recycle water for the astronauts) can help to purify the water. But filtering alone is not enough to give it back its original energy. In nature water is alive and continuously regenerates, as it moves around and is constantly shaken. For about 30 years Japanese researchers have developed mechanisms to revitalise tap water by adding specifics stones, EM (effective micro-organisms) ceramics, or red clay composites.
There is a lot more to water then we know. Carl Jung already said: ‘Water is the collective unconsciousness that contains all memories from the beginning’. The Japanese Masaru Emoto has shown in beautiful pictures of water crystals that human conscious intent has an effect on the molecular structure of water. The Aerospace institute of the University of Stuttgart also claims that water has memory and that it carries information into the world.
This could drastically change our way of looking at the world and our understanding of water as a source of life. And hopefully this then can change the quality of our drinking water. Water that then meets the needs of our organism and contains its kinetic energy and healing capacities.
One thing is certain, we need to take care of water and use it wisely!