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Nov 01
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Dragon Making and the “Weconomy”

dragon with ball, photo by Debbie Evers

dragon with ball, photo by Debbie Evers

Follow-up Activities from the Bright Now Festival, Amsterdam

article by Meino Zeillemaker and Debbie Evers

The Bright Now festival was so successful! Now that it is over, we want to share some news about the events and activities that have come out of the Festival. What did the festival bring? What connections did we make? It is too early to share long term effects, but interesting events happened and people from the festival team were there to see them.

Mindfulness in Law at the Amsterdam University
~ Meino Zeillemaker

For the Festival I was in contact with criminal law lawyers Wikke Monster and Klaartje Freeke who had followed mindfulness courses and wanted to go on as mediators. They wanted to give a workshop about the Power of Forgiveness on the Festival. They designed the workshop together and Wikke gave it in the end.

Wikke Monster at the Bright Now festival – Photo Pieter Schunselaar

Wikke Monster at the Bright Now festival – Photo Pieter Schunselaar

After the Festival I got an email from Klaartje inviting me to a workshop she helped to organize at the University of Amsterdam. They had invited Professor Charlie Halpern who runs the Mindfulness in Law Initiative at UC Berkeley and he would now give a two hour workshop about mindfulness in law at Amsterdam University. The workshop would be a kick off for a mindfulness course at the law facility.

I went to the workshop and walked into a completely crowded lecture hall with around 250 people. Professor Halpern gave a really excellent workshop with meditation instruction and a meditation period. Afterwards he hosted a long and very lively question and answer period. People seemed eager to get something like this into their lives. I have since heard that the following course is sold out.

Dragon Making at the Knowmads
~ Meino Zeillemaker

procession of the dragon, photo by Debbie Evers

procession of the dragon, photo by Debbie Evers

This is a report about a hilarious adventure after the Festival at the Knowmads Business School Amsterdam, our partner in the Festival. Pepijn van Zoest was head of Production at the Festival and was supported by Knowmads. I was a member of the Program team and had contact with the Knowmads musicians who played at the Festival (there are a lot of musicians at this Business School!).

One week after the Festival, Pepijn decided he wanted to complete our relationship with Knowmads by doing something creative. He used to construct gigantic animals of wood, together with the people from his village in France, to burn them on June 21 (the Solstice) in La Fete de la Saint Jean (see on Vimeo).

I suggested we make a dragon this time and Pepijn decided it could happen in the Knowmads building in a quarter of Amsterdam. They were just having a Collab Camp weekend (“a celebration of sharing cities”) and we only had to announce that we wanted to make a dragon, and it was okay. Pepijn seduced the director of a building materials business into giving him a truck full of pallets, and Pepijn and Kay Krakauer started to fabricate a 5 meter long dragon out of them in the Knowmads courtyard.

burning the dragon

burning the dragon

I had come along as ideological backup and gave a talk to Knowmads about the difference between Eastern and Western dragons, culminating in a description of the Shambhala dragon. Pepijn finished his dragon in 3 days. A few days later, after the double coincidence of a meteor shower called “Dragon” and the end of a Knowmads weekend called “Dragon Dreaming”, we and roughly 50 other people, carried our dragon through the streets in a solemn procession and brought him to a meadow between the houses where we solemnly burned him. The people of the Dragon Dreaming weekend had written their wishes on little blocks of wood, which were stashed inside the Dragon and went up in smoke with him.

The big fire lasted 3 hours, and we didn’t see any Police or Fire Brigade. Amanda Jansen (from OuiShare, pronounce We Share) organizer of Collab Camp who really supported us, called it “fulfilling your potential on the way to become a Dragon.”

The Weconomy
~ Debbie Evers

Jan Jonker

Jan Jonker

Erick Wuestman was one of the speakers during the Bright Now festival. He is the initiator of the Foundation for Circular Economy.

Invited by Erick, Liesbeth Scholten, Ed Wiersma and myself visited the launch of his Ecosystem during the Dutch Design Week (an event for innovative graphic and industrial design) in Eindhoven.

The new logo for the Foundation was explained: it is circular, with openings and connections to the outside world, and in the middle is an abstract tree of life connected to heaven and earth. I thought, that is so much like Shambhala, I am in the right place here.

One of the speakers was Jan Jonker, Professor at Nijmegen School of Management, chair of Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Jan held a very inspiring talk about future business models.

Jan outlined his vison on the economy of the future. Actually, he said, we are in this transition already. The ‘old’ economy is defined by big organizations, politics and the financial sector. But the new economy is a people’s economy, the Weconomy. Cooperation and sharing will be at the heart of the Weconomy.

What will change if we decide to produce energy with our neighbors? If we buy food together at the local farmer or cultivate it ourselves in our urban gardens and share it? An inspiring example was a young lady who started cooking some extra food that people could order and buy via the internet. It is a practice at 50,000 places in The Netherlands and by now she is active in eight other countries, varying from the United States to Portugal and Slovenia.

As Jan said we can start our business in only 1 hour, which is a radical change with the past. These new initiatives happen all over the world and they develop at a fast pace. He opened my eyes even further when he said that at Christmas next year it will be possible to make my own t-shirt on a 3-D printer, using recycled waste products. We might experience a shortage of waste, which sure is a big step towards a circular economy in which we do not exploit the earth. Although I feel insecurity about these developments and what it will bring, I also feel joyfulness in my heart. It is really happening, this enlightened transition.

Learn more about the Bright Now Festival here.

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1 response to “ Dragon Making and the “Weconomy” ”
  1. Matthew Green
    Nov 1, 2014

    ‘Nomad’ by Geoffrey Oryema

    The other day I looked myself in the mirror.
    Do not hide your face.
    Do not hide your face from me,
    When I feel sad.

    On the day that I call you, answer me.
    Please, answer me.
    And turn your shy ear towards me.

    No cows and no grass to graze on,
    Makes me feel I am a nomad.

    I am lost and silent in the wilderness,
    Like an owl among the ruins.
    My wings lined with ashes.
    Alone on the roof.

    I feel I am a nomad.
    I feel I am a nomad.

    My days go up in smoke.
    My bones are aching.
    My days go up in smoke.
    My heart is breaking.

    Good walking leaves no track behind it.

    Do not hide your face.
    Do not hide your face from me,
    When I feel sad.

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