As we approach the longest night, and the end of the trip around the sun we call 2023, what feels worth noting? What do we wish for? Jo Sayers shares his 2023 reflections…
It’s been a year of big change for LearnJam, and for me personally. There has been a lot of joy, and a realisation that there is much grief too; grief that I’m not fully connected to yet.
Grief of a world ending, grief of the missed opportunities and the impacts on our children of the decisions we are making and not making, grief for the people suffering right now. It feels desperately sad and doomy, but in a way that I’m detached from and can’t yet fully feel. I want to turn away from the grief and find the joy, but I’m starting to see that you can’t have one without the other.
It’s also been a year of inspirational connections. As we move towards doing learning and unlearning work that is in service of people and the planet, we’ve met with wonderful folks who care deeply and are seeking something better. Some of these people we’ve met in person or online in Zoom calls and such like, others we have met through their writing, videos, podcasts and other offerings. It’s powerful to feel more a part of this movement for social change than I could have imagined at the beginning of the year.
How did the year unfold?
In May, we got ‘to the bottom of the U’ via group learning experience The Week, and started on a new journey for LearnJam, with more commitment to using our learning design skills for good.
We discovered a deeper understanding of the underlying systems causing the climate emergency, and a desire for this to be where we direct our energy.
We realised we struggle to see radically better futures clearly: we need to feel our way towards them, with experimentation.
To this end, we engaged in an action inquiry on Cyclical Organising with The Slow Work Garden, a Huddle navigating Turning Points and a course on Co-creating the Emerging Future at Schumacher College. We learned so much.
We worked with Doughnut Economics Action Lab to imagine a Regenerative Economics curriculum for young people. We started a programme to imagine alternative midwinter rituals. We created You are Nature, a physical zine which we posted out to people. We hosted a weekly co-learning session.
We got lost and frustrated along the way, unsure of how to pursue the direction we want to take. We took on too much work at times, and didn’t have enough at others. We got tired, ill, both. We took our shoes off, spent time outside. Tried to rest more.
Now is a time to slow down and connect with darkness, a time to make a fire and give thanks to the light. To both reflect on the past and look ahead to the future as we ‘turn the year’.
A wish for 2024
May we find a path that feels right
And connect with people who can help us navigate it
May we do work that nourishes us
In service of life on this Earth
May we be inspired by the offerings of others
May we be inspired by the cycles of the natural world
May we hold our nerve
Know when to say yes and no
May we notice our entanglement with nature
May we feel the grief of the predicament we are in
May we learn how to rest and fallow
And respond with happiness and joy
May we be able to imagine something radically better
And inch ourselves towards it
If you would like to attend our co-learning sessions in 2024, you can fill in this form.
Please get in touch if you would like to collaborate on any experiments in the new year.
We hope you enjoy the longest night and can find joy in the darkness of this winter.
With love, Jo and the LearnJam team
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