Why you should say YES to the most impactful year of your life – study in Sweden…

The name of this blog rests completely on the reason for starting the blog. This blog was initially intended to be a portal of information and keeping in touch while I studied in Sweden at the International Youth Initiative Program. It has since evolved into a space of connection, sharing and a place that others that have studied there come for comfort, joy or the reminder of times gone by.

Today I received an email which announced that applications for the 7th year of YIP are now open.

yip-apply-now (CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW —> DEADLINE 15th MAY 2014!)

It is only now (about 2 years since completing my year of study) that I see the invaluable experience that YIP was. Since YIP I have seen my dreams and wishes come to life. Since YIP I have re-discovered myself and the power that Didintle Ntsie possesses. I have felt so inspired that there was no other way to live life but to live it as I have always wanted to. YIP offered me the fertile ground to plant seeds, nurture the plants that grew and take the fruits from that plant and share them in the world.

YIP has been the catalyst to me finding the best version of myself (an ongoing expedition…)

YIP is the reason I forgive, it is the reason I understand people better, it is the reason I am able to accept, it is the reason I am able to remember that there is nothing (and I mean that) that can stand in the way of me reaching my goals, dreams and desired outcomes.

It made real to me the truths I had whispered in my ear since I was born, that “anything is possible”

(CLICK HERE TO APPLY NOW —> DEADLINE 15th MAY 2014!)

Since YIP I have been an important part of a team that co-founded an amazing global citizen-driven initiative called 100in1day Cape Town, I have also finally plucked up the courage to birth an idea I have had for over 4 years, it has come to this earth as The Travelling Speech Bubble. I am now working in an organisation that is forward thinking and impactful in it’s work. I am where I should be, and there are no doubts in my mind.

Since YIP I have begun writing a short story.

All these things because YIP reminded me that I could and I can.

Take some time to think about the things you would like to achieve.

Take a moment to think about the YOU that YOU would like to become.

Take a moment and think about a wall of mirrors that are all there to show you something about yourself.

Take a moment to do this for yourself, in order to better share yourself with others.

I humbly, warmly, lovingly invite you to apply to participate in the most enlightening year of your life with other phenomenal beings from all over the world.

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My words have power. So do yours…

This post was meant to be about my experience at Pecha Kucha Cape Town and how powerful words and sharing them is. But this morning I opened my facebook to find a wonderful message from a young lady from Hawaii who is going to be embarking on the  Social Entrepreneurship experience I have experienced on YIP in Sweden. The very experience that activated me to start this blog.

“Aloha Didi, My name is Kailea Frederick I am from Maui, HI and I am going to be participating in YIP this year ~ I just wanted to be sure to let you know that your blog on your YIP experience has proven to be such an extremely powerful tool for me. I myself had started a blog with the intention of chronicling my YIP experience for future Yippies, because I was having a hard time finding anything written online regarding personal experience in Jarna. I was so pleased when I stumbled upon your words, and have since used them in times of doubt when it seemed my YIP goal was out of reach. I have now started reading it as a way of preparation. I found it to be incredibly insightful. I appreciated how truthful you were in chronicling hard moments. It has been a great reality check!

The time you put into it, is so appreciated.

Mahalo, Kailea” 

Power of blogging

This note gave me a little pat on the back. I often wonder who reads my blog (apart from some really close friends) and what they get out of it. This reminds me of the power of our words and the power of sharing them. Also this highlights the power of blogging!

Check out her blog over here. Paying it forward.

The above image was taken years ago by my wonderful friend Nonku Phiri, lover, music-maker, artist, extra-ordinary female human soul.

Where does my responsibility to act & do begin and end?

This is a rather hard topic which has been weighing on my heart and shoulders for quite some time now and before and so I have decided to open up an invitation to your thoughts, comments and insights. They are welcome in all shapes and forms.

I’m having a little dilemma, and I’m not quite reaching a concrete and comfortable resting place. I believe deeply inside myself that “To whom much is given, much is expected”. I feel that I have been given much. In the way of talents and a gift which I am consciously working towards turning into a craft. Something more beautiful, genuinely useful and helpful to those I meet along the way. Until death do us part I would like this to be my contribution to the waking world, the dream world as well as the cyber world.

My time at YIP has been multi-dimensional.

One of the biggest aspects being that this place is one where I am offered the opportunity to do ANYTHING I want to do (within the realm of positive work). The key word here is A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. A terrifying reality in the way that there is actually nothing standing in my way, there is support, there are resources, there is time and there is space to pursue all that I wish to pursue. It is now and here that I am faced with my fears, they follow me around and sit beside me asking “what are you going to do with me and about me?”, staring me dead in the eyes, also, are limiting beliefs – constantly saying “no, but you can’t do that”, and “that’s impossible” with a smug look on their face. In addition to all this; there is the bitter, uncomfortable truth of excuses, which paralyse me from taking the steps I need and want to take. Excuses cooked up by me, myself and I, puffed up and being fed by the other previously mentioned accomplices, namely; limiting beliefs and fear.

I feel that I am privileged, not just me, but the rest of the youngsters from different parts of the world gathered in this one place called Ytterjärna. We are privileged in many differing ways, we are privileged to have the insight we possess which allows us to see the things we see, to feel that which we feel. We are privileged to be here.

Although I come not from a financially comfortable background, I can confidently say that I have used what I do have to do the best that I can to be where I want and know I need to be. I am privileged enough to access the courage to follow my own little path despite my material and very obvious challenges.

I have had several conversations with people who have been lead to this little big pond called YIP – those that have had the chance to be participants of The International Youth Initiative Program, also friends and family of those that have been a part of this experience.    Many are still searching for what to do next – obviously, as this entire experience of life is a journey in itself. Also because we have all waded through the little big pond of YIP with different intentions, expectations and being in different stages of our lives, growth and development, seeking different kinds of nourishment and truth. This already brings much difference in what we embark on following the experience.

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However, I can not help but feel a little annoyed and *disappointed (I know that this feeling comes from having expectations which I am working on, feel free to read more about my struggle with expectations and letting go of them in this post) by the general level of laid-back-ness of some of my fellow yippies as well as my generation as a whole.

I believe that given the privileges, talents and gifts we are all blessed with, we also have a responsibility  which comes with these. Sort of how it works with rights and responsibilities – e.g: All beings have the right to clean drinking water, and also the responsibility to do what we can to use it well, not waste it and take care of water sources.

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Similarly I believe that there is an unspoken agreement, that we have the privilege to be who we are, stumble along our lives making the mistakes we need to make, see what we see, possess the gifts and talents we hold and therefore also carry the responsibility to use these in order to co-create a better living environment. We have a responsibility to make use of those to bring enlightenment, happiness, alleviate pain and suffering and whatever else we see fit.

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YIP is a fertile soil where I am offered that which I need, to be who I want to be, do what I want to do, do what I need to do in order to advance (both myself and humanity as a whole).

I am fully aware that there is a portion of myself that is feeling this way due to years and years of being brainwashed to do, think and act in a result-oriented manner. Yes, however, I still feel there is a level of responsibility we need to acknowledge.

My question to you then, is this,

“Do we have a responsibility to act and do?” 

If so

Where does my (and your) responsibility to act & do begin and end” 

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An invitation is THE MOST important thing of all

So as I have mentioned in my previous post (which can be found here), I have been having a rather challenging time lately and am slowly unpacking my insides and exploring my layers as well as working on what needs to be worked on. Most of it being attempting to mend broken relationships in an authentic way (not trying too hard, pushing too hard, taking my time) and finding an effective and good way of saying “no”, a way of doing what I love doing and giving what I enjoy giving whilst making sure I give myself what I need in order to do it in the best way. In other words turning, what I call, my work and my calling into a sustainable practice. A difficult thing.

At YIP we share everything – bedrooms, time, moments,space, love, laughs, tears, happiness, sadness, the sun, bread, bathrooms, the laundry machines, difficulty, work.

When I zoom out and pretend to be a hawk looking upon my life, and all of our lives as streams (or timelines) I see tiny streams leading to this little big pond called YIP, if I fast forward a little; I see the pond becoming split up again into individual little streams going in different directions again. Some closer than others, some in the same direction as others, some looking a little different than they were when they were lead to this pond. However, essentially we are all here, in the same place, in this time, sharing this very particular portion of our individual journeys on this earth.

There are many words that keep being used around here –  I’m so familiar with them, I could create a little booklet of them with quirky explanations of each. The one that falls, quite easily, in the top-5-most-used-words is INVITATION. At first I liked it, mainly because I have been trained as a coach and one of the biggest learnings I have taken from my training process was that if I want to make suggestions or give advice I need to ask for permission to do so, or I need to be invited or asked to do so. Under no other circumstances do I step into that zone. Understandably.

The Invitation, is what has been lacking in many interactions, situations, stories where the intention of the action or words has been good but has been missed or has caused pain and destruction due to the lack of the invitation for the action, suggestion or words despite the (good) intention.

It comes off as imposing. Dumping ideas, thoughts, actions, deeds onto an unwilling listener or receiver.

Of late I have been realising that part of what is causing me intense aggitation is being given words (in particular) that have simply been unwelcomed. Words that have just not been invited in. This is uncomfortable, because the intention in most cases is good, the aim is to assist or alleviate some sort of negative feelings or activity or lack there-of. It comes from a good place and yet it is still intensely being rejected by my insides. It’s like receiving spam in the form of unwanted and uninvited words of wisdom – “spam words of wisdom” as I like to call it.

Here is another example, slightly more focused on a particular area of work which has been, personally, a really difficult topic to tackle, the topic of “development aid”. This topic – for me – begs the question: “What is help, really?” and “what it true freedom?”.

I believe that this article begins to touch on what I’m talking about, through looking at the instance of the KONY2012 video.

My final thoughts when dealing with people, especially those in a dark place, approach with caution and assist only when assistance is asked for.

Wait for the invitation. Listen for it.

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Bubble Bee Love!

I have previously mentioned my sheer adoration for the Bubble Bee Project ( the brainchild of Pieter Ploeg as well as Diederick Bosscha).

Here is the little big guy himself – The Bubble Bee!

(Photo courtesy of Pieter Ploeg)

Inside this cool case is a camera that assists the magic process and I was fortunate enough to be part of the magic! YES!

The idea
“A camera is sent into the world with a question to young people, generating a chain of stories of youth. The interviewed becomes the interviewer as the camera is handed over after each interview.”

Here is the interview that was done on me by Mahlubi aka Brother Love from my beloved country – South Africa.

Here is the interview that I did with one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with. Her name is Truus and she is phenomenal.

What if we made a conscious effort to bridge the generational divide and gap in knowledge and information?

I live

It has been really hard to get back into sharing here. Mostly because there is so much sharing I do in my daily life here.

Sharing space, sharing time, sharing moments, sharing thoughts, sharing food, sharing the bathroom, sharing the shower, sharing the kitchen, sharing my clothes, sharing my creativity, sharing my love, sharing ideas, sharing tea, sharing questions, sharing possible answers, sharing warmth, sharing strength, sharing my deeper listening self, sharing my Self.

And so now – after a FULL week of conversation, laughter, tears, questions, hard work, patience, spontaneity coupled with responsibility and sheer productivity in the form of a magical space called Initative Forum – I am snuggled in my bed and finding that spark within myself that is ready to come here and share once more.

I have begun slowly piecing together my experience of the International Internship which I did (together with 3 ladies from Nepal, Nederlands and Bolivia) from mid February until mid March.

The first of these posts being “First Impressions” and more to follow over the next couple of days as well as the weekend.

Initiative Forum is an event organised by the YIP participants (us). I was not particularly connected to it and had a really hard time slotting myself into a role. However, I rose to the occasion and decided to offer myself fully. What unfolded following this concscious decision surprised even myself. I began to LIVE Initiative Forum, BREATHE it, EAT it, LOVE it.

I observed myself and took notes. Hopefully those that I may pull out at some later time in my life to remind myself of what I am capable of and what a group of people with a shared goal can achieve. That intricate relationship between individual contribution and (sometimes amounting to) collective contribution. Let’s call it co-creating.

A well-crafted and interestingly packaged gift to me and our entire YIP network (I don’t particularly like the word “network”, so please read as “net”).

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(Photos courtesy of Hannah Steenbergen: YIP participant 2010-2011 and Pieter Ploeg: YIP Organising Team, YIP participant 2010-2009)

It re-awakened me to the reality of how much we all have to offer, the magic of bringing genuine gifts forward, the real and nearly tangible collective energy humanity posseses and our ability to channel it.

There is so much power in collective intelligence and resources. This experience woke me up to the shifting focus. The shift in the way in which we can bring to life what we dream of and feel is best for our lives, our planet and humanity as a whole. That we are completely capable of creating together with our individual gifts (however insignificant they may seem to the holders of them).

I am filled with hope. A precious and beautiful thing.

I want to remember this feeling.

To bottle it would be ideal, however, for now I clutch it in my up-turned palms and rest in the knowing that it dances within me through my veins into my heart. That it never can be extinguished. It may lose its brightness but it is a vibrant particle of my entire being.

Where the heck am I & what am I doing here?

A lot of you have asked me numerous time where I am and what I am doing here. Often times my response is that it is extremely difficult to explain.

I hitch-hike my way around this far-away-from-home place and with all the different conversations I’m constantly having I keep refining my explanation of where I am and what it is that I am doing here.

Here is my sharpened description:

The International Youth Initiative Program is a study program where we are given ideas and techniques of solviong different social ailments that we feel most connected to, our job within that is to remember that we can do anything and to truly go ahead and do it, when we fall we are caught by the people encouraging us constantly. In short – a year of experimenting with the concept that anything is possible while tackling social imbalances and issues.”

Today we have launched a video which explains (beautifully I might add) where I, together with 40 other students from around the world, am and what I am doing here.

Applications for the study program have also recently opened. Click here to browse through the application and site and perhaps apply?!

A magical place

It’s a leapyear. TAKE YOUR LEAP WITH YIP!