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.

YIP_Testimonials_Orland

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.

Mission-U, Mission me, Mission us!

Those of you who follow my tales on facebook and on my blog know that I have spent the last week in Berlin – here is a snapshot of the journey Noemi and I took to get there.

I am now on the 4 hour ferry portion of our trip back home to Sweden and I am beginning to reflect on the week I have just had. There is still much swirling around, much that has not yet landed. However, here are a few thoughts I have managed to harvest. Here is a link to the Mission-U page. This was the very first of these, call it a prototype, so what I describe here is what I experienced and therefore my definition of what it is. A slice of the full story, a piece of the puzzle of the entire picture.

My despcription of what Mission-U is would read something like this “Mission-U is a call put out as a challenge to work with Berlin-based companies and organisations on various tasks. Mission-U is an experiment. An experiment which looks at many aspects of the social landscape – doing this practically – it draws the magnifying glass onto group dynamics also the self in the group, it looks at processess (both internal and external – because often the external reflects the internal), it is a process in itself which maps out the interesting practice called Theory-U which was developed by the man with a welcoming, friendly aura, his name is Otto Sharmer. Mission-U is on the pulse of something new which is silently and slowly awakening and in turn emerging, one of many new forms of meeting each other and ourselves, a new form of gathering, sharing and working. It is something that can be taken anywhere, with the trust that what is needed will crop up from the unique group participating. Mission-U, I imagine, would look different in different parts of the world. “

That is my attempt at explaning what it is.

I approached Mission-U with the full intention of being open, with the intention of being fully involved, my understanding of “fully involved” being to attend each minute of the program and to participate and contribute to all that was offered.

Whilst taking part it soon became apparent that I was in no shape to plunge in as I had initially intended. A learning that has repeatedly appeared at my door re-surfaced and knocked again, that, in order for me to do and give my best, I need to be my best, and this is an extention of a realisation I came to regarding the sustainability of my work. How to give myself what I need in order to better give of my gifts.

I soon realised that I was cynical about group processes and simply not keen to try, this was my final attempt at it before a long sabbatical (or so I thought).

The group I worked with exceeded my expectations of how it would play out, they were phenomenal, we were in flow, something I remember consciously tapping into on a catalyst course offered by Lucca Leadership where I began my training to become a coach.

What was also fascinating was what I automatically expected my role to be in the group, but that role was no longer valid and relevant, it was not fitting in this setting; what this realisation felt like was at first a feeling I would liken to getting the carpet pulled from under my feet, what was happening? What’s my role now? Who AM I? Yes, the feeling of panic was that dramatic! As soon as I let go of my expectations of what this was and who I was in it, something new was allowed in. Something that had not yet been.

During the challenge a lot of really heavy realities (mainly about going back to South Africa) surfaced, my old way of being was also coming back in little snapshots. Again, I panicked, I had forgotten this person. Who was she? Where had she hibernated to all this time? Why was she back? A lot of sadness gripped me, suffocated me and paralysed me, to a point that I couldn’t physically make myself present for a portion of our mission. Which, upon reflection, was best – I wouldn’t have been present in other ways anyway.

I also noticed in myself the “pressure to perfrom”, the pressure was coming from many sources but mainly myself. This caused me to re-evaluate my view on what “contributing” meant. That it is not only limited to the act of doing what is expected, it is also doing what is not expected also. For instance when 30 people don’t show up for a portion of the experience, I see it as an indication of something that needs to be acknowledged. Could be anything from the heat should have asked us to move outside all the way through to the need of more regular breaks. Still, it is pointing to a certain something that exists in the group.

Our challenge was working with an organisation called Sinnewerk who’s main principle is to acknowlege the people in society who are often alienated, so in their 2 cafes (Cafe Tasso and Morgenstern Cafe Und Antiquariat) they sell donated books for 1 Euro each and they employ the “unemployable”, in this case mentally or physically handicapped people from all walks of life.They also have DELICIOUS organic meals on offer for a reasonable price, especially considering the quality. We were asked to assist in helping them sell more books in the new store (Morgenstern), to help with ideas for the opening of the cafe section of Morgenstern and then also to assist in making the marriage between the bookstore and the cafe work better.

So in our challenge one of my brilliant team members – Christianne – came up with the idea of using all the books that they can not use to create items for the store. The ball was rolling and we were revved up! We were dreaming, even as far as building houses using the abandoned books! In that moment nothing was impossible, we allowed eachother the beauty of “outrageous” creative imagination. It was beautiful. We found some pallets and pieces of wood in the streets and used that also. I believe that the ends and the means are the same and so this made my heart overjoyed – we were making use of the same heart as one of their main principles to co-create something new.

In the end our clients were smiling from ear to ear and extremely inspired and open to a new way of working.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I suppose the biggest learning for me is that there is a new way of meeting, working, dreaming, giving birth to ideas, creating. This new way involves and includes all the intelligence present in that moment. It calls for our gifts, our individual gifts to build onto the center in order to build something new. Hierachical leadership and old and current structures are wanting to transform into something else, something new which is currently being developed and worked on. Something new that wants to be born.

In short – EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST (this wording and idea was introduced to me by Mel – check out her blog over here)

There is a collective intelligence that wants to build together for each other in a new way.

MissionU is an example of this “Something New” that wants to come into being.

The images used in this blog were taken by The Incredible Pieter Ploeg, Katie Dobb, my great team-mate Christianne Sinoo, Karen Schmidt, Antoinette Klatzky and the flickr images were taken by Guido Crolla (Here is a link to the images he took).

What have you inherited?

The last couple of weeks and days have felt like I have been a circus performer, juggling all kinds of tasks and thoughts, while performing multiple tricks in the kitchen including illusions (part realities depending on your perspective) of abundance.

So writing has been on my mind but not quite coming out in the form which I would like it to. But here I am finally; letting the words occupying my mind free.

About 2 weeks ago we had the pleasure of having Charles Eisenstein as a contributor. He was and is phenomenal (In case you have not read or heard about his work yet, look here). During his week I took the opportunity to be really honest with my community about something that has been weighing heavily on my shoulders, head and heart. It is a heaviness that follows me everywhere I go and is constantly there, it just sleeps sometimes, but it is always there.

What is this weight I speak of? Well, I have a lot of ANGER. An anger about the pain I carry, anger about inequality, anger about race relations, anger about South Africa and the situation my generation and I have inherited.

This anger does not always feel like mine, to be really honest, it feels like something built into my DNA, engraved into my bones. Something I have no choice about carrying and dealing with. Something which has been passed down to me due to the fact that it was unresolved in years before my arrival on this earth. I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I feel it so strongly sometimes, that it feels like the gall bladder in my body has burst and the bile is contaminating my internal structure, poisining my every cell, my every organ and affecting my thought patterns and actions. I hate it. I feel so bitter. Unbearable. Unloveable. Unable to love.

Coming to YIP has been a challenge in allowing this anger to be, in a constructive way. A way that can bring enlightenment and awareness instead of darkness. I still feel like I need to consciously reign it in – not always in the healithiest ways. Clearly, a long journey lies ahead of me in working with this heavy sandbag. Sometimes I feel ready and up for it and other times I fear going there because it is so exhausting.

I do want to work with this anger. I want to explore it, examine it closely and understand it. It is here to bring some sort of truth to me and others. It in necessary. Although that is hard to swallow.

There is a part of me that feels that this anger (more specifically about racial inequality in South Africa), wants to give birth to something beautiful, something transformational, it wants to be the mother to something easier to pass on to those that come after me to continue working with. A lesser anger perhaps, a more pleasant truth. I’m not yet sure what it is exactly and how I will bring it into being. It will come, I know it will and it will be beautiful and it will buid and not destroy. on second thoughts it may destroy, it may destroy in order to allow a new foundation and a new reality to come about.

This makes me think about what legacy we leave behind…

What habits, actions, words are you releasing into the world today that are going to affect those that follow you on this earth? Long after you have gone, turned to dust, what precious treasure or ugly truth will you leave behind for someone else to walk on this earth with, engraved into their bones, sprouting from their DNA, being carried on their shoulders?

What have you inherited due to those that came before you? I mean physically (offcourse) but also emotionally and mentally – even spiritually, those intangible yet very real aspects? What are you walking around with that does not feel like yours, that which now belongs to you but feels inherited?

(Source of image)

The dark cloud has dissolved

Today was easily the best day ever.

As many of you know I launched this campaign a couple of months ago with the aim of raising funds for my studies and year in Sweden. It was by far the BOLDEST and BRAVEST task I have ever taken on. I pushed internal boundaries that I have never pushed before and still get goosebumps when thinking back on the process leading up to the launching of the campaign , the duration of the campaign itself as well as the time following it. Sometimes it feels as though it is not my life and my deed (if that makes any sense – almost as though I am standing outside myself and watching myself do all these things).

However, following the end of the campaign, I have been hard at work giving birth to this page and this entire section on my blog whilst sending out emails to potential funders and organisations attempting to cover the remaining fee. At times I found myself drifting from the here and now. Feeling my body in the room but my mind, soul and heart pacing elsewhere, on the proverbial dark cloud looming above my head and shoulders.

With my time at YIP soon coming to an end, I was growing even more anxious and feeling like I was not deserving to be here. That voice of judgement can be rather loud you know… Stressing about saying goodbye to this phase of my life, this place and it’s people and attempting to reflect on what I have taken in on this portion of my journey while constantly aware of this debt.

Today is a happy day.

A day that reminds me that anything is achievable – despite the obstacles,

that it is true that whenever

I (or anyone) takes steps of complete confidence

in a certain direction, all else falls into place, the universe does it’s job of providing

every single thing needed to continue on.

I am filled with joy and gratitude for all my talents, gifts and all other inexplicable and unnameable elements that have guided me and assisted me in reaching this place. This point of taking a DEEP, SIGH, OF, RELIEF…

I can never be able to express this feeling I am experiencing towards the goodness, care and sheer kindness of people. Strangers and loved ones. I feel loved and deserving.

THANK YOU.

(If you’re not particularly into high fives then here’s an altenative cyber celebratory “handshake”)

I have received news that a foundation based in the Netherlands will cover the rest of my fees.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Despite this gloomy, grey, rainy and rather cold day in the countryside of Sweden; the sun is shining as bright as ever within my soul.

Below; the video that started the ball rolling, whilst I sat on a friends bed in Copenhagen over Christmas break. Wow.

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.

(Source of image above)

A few essentials

As I was writing a heartfelt letter to a dear friend, I remembered this beautiful piece of truth, which somehow finds me when I am in deep despair.

Source of image