The Inner Landscaping Story
If I had to define life in a word, it would be Life is creation. - Claude Bernard
One of my favourite definitions of culture is "the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves." Clifford Geertz, one of the great anthropologists of last century, defined culture in these terms after visiting Bali in 1957. In his seminal work, an essay titled "Deep Play: notes on the Balinese Cockfight" Geertz observes that the cockfight embodies a "constellation of enshrined ideas" that reveal the complex network of social relationships within kin groups that govern traditional Balinese life. Tradisi in Bali is inherited and passed down from one generation to the next through every day life activities and relationships, as well as religious ritual, food, story and music. Anyone seeking insight into Tradisi would do well to explore the "thick descriptions" of Geertz account. Similarly, in the west, our traditional cultural stories, first told a fairy tales, myths and legends define our legacy, but it is the stories we continue to tell ourselves, and each other, about ourselves now and every day that shape who we are in the present and who we may become in the future.
Story, then, plays a powerful role in defining us and our ever-evolving culture and in the creation of visions of our future. Through telling our own stories we take responsibility for the future. The stories we re-imagine, tell, write, paint, dance, play, make, watch and teach are a wonderful opportunity to consciously create a better future.
Inner Landscaping explores story as a potent force for change, increasing our conscious awareness of our individual, social and cultural story.
The words story and narrative and creativity increasingly feature in today's Zietgeist. This may be partly because of the rapid and critical changes we are experiencing. It's as if we're seeking new stories to help us make sense of the confronting scope and pace of change that is throwing many of the pillars of our tradititions into question. Inner Landscaping is a journey into story and narrative in way that is new and unfamiliar. It is an exciting call to adventure in which we explore the imperative role that creativity plays in re-imagining and the world that our children and grandchildren will inherit.
How Inner Landscaping evolved
When I invited people to join my first group in 2015 I had no idea what this group process would lead to. I was temporarily leaving my balmy jungle home in Bali to live in the cooler climes of the Southern Highlands of NSW. It was spring, and the gardens were glorious, attracting people from far and wide for it's annual tulip festival. The perfect place to stop and smell the roses! Life in Bali was intense, so I was ready for a breath of fresh Highland's air. I'd planned to stay for 3 months with the intention to simply use this quiet time to reconnect to my own creativity and to my new community. Using Julia Cameron’s, Artist’s Way, as the basic framework and with Permaculture design principles as inspiration, a process evolved that touched on something surprisingly powerful - as one the participants said, it was an idea ‘just waiting to happen!’
The first group was only 6 people, and when word got out within a few months of returning to Bali there were 3 more groups. When I moved back to Sydney and there were more. Now, 3 years later, after running groups in Sydney and Bowral, I've been asked to go back to Bali to facilitate more groups for the Green School community at the start of their new school year. This time we're also doing a 12 Day process and facilitator training, so, past participants will soon be facilitating their own Inner Landscaping groups in Bali and back in their home countries.
As it turns out, although the purpose of the process is to live more creatively, the positive consequences are far more reaching. Most importantly, participants say, the outcomes include increased connection to their best self, to their creativity, to the natural world and to community. This heightened interconnectedness generates a wonderful experience of joie de vie and clarity of purpose.
Inner Landscaping was borne out of my own need to feel connected, to find community and to express my creativity, and as it turns out I'm not the only one with these cravings!
Inner Landscaping is a response to our essential human cravings for creativity, connection and community, and as old structures are being replaced by the unknown these needs become more and more profound.
Why is the process so successful?
I’ve been asked this many times, so I asked the participants. You can read some of their responses here, but in essence Inner Landscaping is a process that offers creativity, community and connection. You'll take a step back from your everyday life, pause, tune into your essence, refocus on the important questions and learn how to hear the answers. By the end of the process you'll feel more awake, more alive, more enthusiastic and have more clarity about your own life's purpose.
Inner Landscaping creator
What inspires me?
Whole systems design
The child of post-WWII immigrants to Australia, from Hungary and New Zealand, I too have lived life as an immigrant, always wondering where to call home.
During the past 25 years I've lived with my family, in 5 countries, 10 cities and countless homes. With each move I explored new opportunities, re-creating myself each time.
After 10 years of working in venture capital, IT and banking, specialising in startups and product development, my love for the corporate world began to fade and I started an MBA to reinvigorate my interest in business.
While studying an MBA subject called “Human Potentiality” I came across a book that changed my life: “Free Play - Inspiration and Innovation in Life and in the Arts”, by Stephen Nachmanovich. I knew from then on that my work would be in creativity. I switched to a Masters in Creative Writing, won a national award with Fox Studios (TropNest Screenwriting Development), and went on to complete my Masters in Fiction Writing in Columbia College, Chicago.
While writing will always be my true love, my journey has led me to many other wonderful green pastures and diverse experiences.
In Sydney I started a tour promotions company called "Touring Gurus", in Singapore I was co-founder and designer of a non-profit grassroots organisation in youth cricket. In Chicago my tribe was a thriving cohort of creative writers. In Bali I co-designed and co-coordinated a community based strategic review for the Green School (building an education model for the future), and then designed and facilitated group workshops to ignite creativity and inspire community. At the same time, I was studying for a Masters in a whole systems design model, known as Permaculture Design. Since back in Sydney my focus is on Inner Landscaping groups and the recently launched Springfield Creative Writers Workshop.
Redesign your life
The intention of Inner Landscaping is to guide you to consciously redesign your life to increase creativity, joy and purpose, remembering the life of your dreams and developing the courage to take on new challenges. As they say, this is not a dress rehearsal, so let’s make the most of it!