Companions for the Soul

从心出发, 结伴同行

For many years, PCD has been exploring appropriate pathways and approaches to reconnect people’s hearts with nature. Since 2008, we have invited Qingshui, an Affective Nature Education (ANE) teacher from Hong Kong, to facilitate many workshops across mainland China. ANE encourages deep experiences with nature and transformations of one’s heart and soul. This resonates with the direction we have been searching for.

Several workshop participants worked with Qingshui and Tianjin Eco-city the Voice of the Land Social Education Centre to develop Seed Actors, a training scheme to nurture ANE trainers. Within one year, the scheme supported the personal growth of facilitators, promoting ANE and nurturing the facilitators deeply, so that they can inspire others to live out what they themselves have learned. Seed Actors aims to facilitate the connection between people and nature, people and people, people and self, people with cosmos, and people with culture, in a balanced way. We provide funding to support curriculum and network development of the scheme.

With years of practice, Qingshui has developed an outdoor curriculum that blends a simple lifestyle and personal spiritual growth. In the year 2017-2018, partners organised the second Seed Actors training scheme, with participants across China joining three consecutive workshops led by Qingshui. Practicing in their daily lives and at work, completing exercises between modules, and documenting their own growth in booklets, were important learning pathways. Participants were divided into different heart and soul groups. Over a year, they met online once a month, sharing experiences of their daily life and practice, and gaining deeper understanding of their internal and external world. Together, they developed the inner strength to continue their learning journey.

Until now, together with the first phase, 55 seed-actors have been trained. Among them, 21 have become junior trainers. One participant shared, “Affective Nature Education is concerned with one’s individual life, and personal transformation. During the process, people are inspired and supported by nature, blockages are broken down, and the wisdom and love from life is revealed. This love flows towards nature and society... Through the transformation of the individual, and through action with wisdom, change can happen in relationships among people, in society, in oneself, and in nature.”

To support the learning and growth of participants, partners have also organised six additional co-learning sessions in a year, as well as several ANE workshops with specific themes. One organiser concluded, “Before, my heart was filled with idealism, yet I now see the value of connections, interactions and challenges of real life situations: they have made me and my companions truly see each other as individuals. We sense the emotions connecting us, and our like-minded passion for nature, land, people and personal growth. We are more aware of our limitations, yet trust we have the strength to get through any confusion and darkness and pursue beauty in life. We need both ANE and the co-learning support network:they are not only part of the project, but an invitation to a more meaning life, together.”

With this calling, Qingshui initiated the Affective Nature Education Nationwide Co-Learning Circle in September 2017, establishing it with several ANE implementing organisations and co-learning partners. Their aim: develop a co-learning mechanism and network, support the growth of facilitators, build up a national team of trainers, and facilitate the popularisation of ANE in China. Developing from a seed-actors scheme to a nationwide co-learning circle, from nurturing people to working with like-minded actors, we are happy to grow with our partners. Together, we continue to explore the pathway to inner strength and to understanding the ways of nature.

(from Annual Report 2017-2018