History

In 2009, we began a yearlong Beyond Boundaries (BB) pilgrimage that in some unique ways has never ended.  We were an intergenerational group of eight, travelling together in service to centers of regenerative culture around the world, living into the questions of our times and bearing witness to the transformative work being done. With the leadership of Gigi Coyle, and our growing intergenerational team, we continue to listen for new expressions of BB. Together we are a kind of response team for our times, responding to invitations and calls for support from a growing global community of highly committed people and places. These are opportunities to build alliances beyond boundaries, beyond culture, beyond our personal and organizational borders, alliances that foster intergenerational, cross-cultural collaboration in care for people, place and planet. As Beyond Boundarians, we offer our time and energy to these people and places, in service and support of both longtime stewards and modern day pioneers. In this way, we water the best seeds we find and the “watering holes” that attract those committed to change. When asked to do so, when we feel deeply they will serve, we offer our gifts, our experience, and best practices—council, quest, rites of passage, and bearing witness. We are small, allowing at first, perhaps, for a tiny impact, and then like an acupuncture point, we see affects rippling out, contributing to and leaving behind a healthier cell within the body.We continue as students ourselves ready to learn from each community and situation we meet. In 2012 we responded to calls from Tamera (Portugal), Findhorn (Scotland), International Peace Initiatives (Kenya), and Grandmother Margaret Behan of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers (Montana). Each of these collaborations has born fruit and the work continues into 2013. (See attached reports and proposals below.) Beyound Boundaries is blessed to be carried under the umbrella of the Biosphere Foundation. We see Beyond Boundaries not as an organization, but rather as an organizing principal. That means, on some level, anyone can join in to the work that lies ahead. Teammates are starting their own organizations and carrying forward what they learned in a variety of ways.

Why Make a Gift?

Excerpts from Beyond Boundaries participant letters of Intention:    “In my life I have been on both sides of the philanthropy fence, gifting and receiving, earning and raising funds for dreams I carried, having a mother with inherited wealth and a father who started with nothing, made a mint and then lost it all. Check this also https://www.xtremecomforts.com/ . The best gift they gave me in part was to have no back-up and learn fully how to support myself. When some unexpected inheritance came in my late 20’s with my mother’s death, I had already started a non-profit, had a university job and raised over $500K as a grant writer and hands-on advocate for women in “developing countries“. I have been blessed by full-time 9 to 5 jobs, volunteering in the work I wanted to learn about and spending the last 30 years working on the programs that I most deeply value, all the while raising the funds for and gifting funds to what I feel truly needs doing. As said earlier, I see this pilgrimage as a culmination of my personal giveaway, connecting these people, places, practices, projects and prayers. I still feel I have new things to learn everyday and that being with these young leaders will be an amazing gateway for me and many others. The intergenerational nature of this journey has already proved invaluable. I am committed to do whatever to raise the monies needed and so hope you will feel called to support me and the team and the many we will touch.” (Gigi, Mentor and Leader, age 56) ~~~ I am seeking funding so that I can fully engage the many strands of activism that I see as so integral to moving holistically forward as a species and as a planet during these evocative times. A new kind of thinking is necessary to create new solutions, and my experience shows me that many of the pieces to the answers we seek are already here with us. What’s needed is a way to string them together, to bring awareness between the people and the places that are devoted to healing, regeneration, reconciliation, and co-existence …between the pilgrims, the stewards, the innovators, the funders and the strangers we will meet along the way. Then we can see yet again how to move forward, using the best of what we know collectively.  It is a humbling and exciting opportunity to be a part of Beyond Boundaries and join with the many others seeking to deepen both the inquiry and action needed in our world today. (Will, age 28) ~~~ Beyond Boundaries is calling me for many reasons:  It offers a chance to experience first-hand what people around the globe are doing to address the environmental, social justice, and spiritual challenges of our era.  It offers a way to weave more tightly the connections of The Ojai Foundation, which has become a central passion in my life, with kindred spirits in other land. Solutions to all of those challenges will surely require global thinking and alliances as well as vigorous local action…. To me Beyond Boundaries represents the graduate school I never attended, having jumped straight into my newspaper career even before I completed my bachelor’s degree in journalism. It also promises to clarify the strong but unfocused call I am hearing to dedicate my remaining years to building a better world through communication. (This was the major desire behind my call to journalism at age 10, and in my very first circle a decade ago I recognized Council as an even more powerful means toward that end.) …To take this bold step I will need financial support from those who share my belief that I will “pay forward” their investment many times over through the work I do in my remaining years…Throughout my life I have been much more comfortable offering help than receiving it. As the partner of a cancer patient, I found it difficult to accept the many forms of assistance that were offered. I embrace Beyond Boundaries as an opportunity to change that pattern and be less shy about asking others to help underwrite what feels to me like a phenomenal program certain to have many positive effects on the world for years to come.  (Doug A., age 43) ~~~ …The larger questions of our times are calling me out of my known roles and calling me to work for a larger good, to think and work “glocally” in a way previously unknown to me…At this time, it seems we are called to shift in many ways, to shift from being simply national citizens to global citizens, called to re-integrate our development plans to care for the Seven Generations to come, called to re-think our relationship with the natural world, called to find innovative solutions to complex situations.  Beyond Boundaries is an opportunity to live into these calls and questions while centering our daily activities on cross-cultural exchanges, service, learning and connection with international research and community centers and gifting the gift of Council…. Over the past several years, I have been looking for the right graduate program and have not yet found one that fully embraces the concepts of bioculturalism, or the complex set of relationships between people, place and the Human-Nature relationship and the reconciliation and conflict resolution processes that accompany this work.  I now understand that I will not simply find the program that I have been looking for but that I will have an active role in creating it, not only for myself, but for those to come.  Beyond Boundaries is the closest opportunity I have found to embracing these principles and theories, and it is my intention to support a reframe of our Human-Nature relationship, which includes the difficult work of reconciliation and conflict resolution. Funding the BB pilgrimage seems a daunting task given our current economic situation and also given the fact that my recent contracts with Native Oceans and Bioneers have just completed, leaving me just six months to work in some way to support myself in the interim period and raise the money for BB.  I am new to fundraising, and though I have successfully written for grants and raised funds to support past projects, I have never held so much financial responsibility for a project.  Additionally, because I have exhausted my personal funds supplementing income to allow me to work on underfunded projects like Native Oceans, I do not have personal funds to contribute toward the journey.  Personally, I like the idea of building on Barak Obama’s approach, of finding 50,000 people to give $1, and would also love to meet one that has $50,000 to share with a just and worthy cause.  In addition to traditional fundraising, we have seeded an idea to start a small clothing company to share some of the missing messages of our times and should it find success or underwriting (!!) will use some of the income to fund our trip.  Currently, we are developing a business plan and looking for the seed money to get UnderWare off the ground and running!  Clearly, there are many ways to support this journey and money is but one of them.  If there is any way that you can help, please do!  Thank you for listening. (Shay, age 30)
~~~ With all my heart I want us to succeed at finding a way to inhabit the earth together peacefully, regeneratively, as one human race, in a sacred manner.  For much of my life in my personal philosophy I have been moving from belief in the ownership society towards share-and-share-alike, from the sanctity of individual rights towards the spiritual communism my sacred traditions and my conscience have suggested to me. And also to finding oneness and the sacred in nature–in the Tao.  On a planetary scale, I feel some such turn can’t happen quickly enough–and that it might be a long time coming, if not too late.  As a Beyond Boundaries pilgrim I want to visit those places where people are living these questions, where the idealistic meets the practical in many kinds of intentional communities. And I want to seek reconciliation and understanding where others are struggling to keep ancient communal answers alive in their traditions.  It is time to feel first hand what it means to be a global citizen, what it feels like around the world to be human just now, and to ask what is required of me for the greater good, for all of life. I want to encourage and serve and bear witness to those who are working for the biosphere, for the commons.  I want to offer the young leaders we are taking on this journey an exploration of new ways of living together, of activism, of self-giving. I see my participation as an act of prayer.  In a mythic version of this story, a tribe finds it is missing something critical, without which it cannot survive. It asks for volunteers who will risk going on a life-changing quest, beyond the boundaries of the known, to search for what will serve the people.  I want to find out what will serve the people.  Is it enough of a gift to travel with a pilgrim’s respect, to listen deeply? Perhaps to represent others and to go with others and to bear witness and contribute and to report back? To feel into the songlines that may transform us?  These are my questions, and my purpose. I would like support for this pilgrimage because I would like to feel that my tribe sees great value in my group going, sees the immediate need, and wants to participate.  (Win, age 65)

Our Intentions


Aaron


It is highly feasible to take care of all humanity at a higher standard of living, without anyone taking advantage of one another, so we can enjoy the whole earth.”  -Buckminster Fuller
My goal is to apply my passion and imagination to understanding new and ancient ways of meeting basic human needs through innovative commerce, food production, care of children and elderly, agriculture, play, waste management, engagement with non-human landscape and spirituality.  I seek to offer a humble and service-oriented U.S. presence in international communities, gaining increased awareness of diverse needs and conflicts between and among human societies.  I excel at building cross-cultural connections through the art of play.  


Emilia
The desire to explore methods and practices that can move us toward a more sustainable planet, the wish to connect to the world beyond familiarity (particularly through art), the opportunity to experience immense personal and spiritual growth, and the will to give my energy and gifts to a greater good with great intention (especially in these volatile times), all draw me toward Beyond Boundaries.  I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this journey and I intend to dedicate this pilgrimage to exploring the way that we nourish ourselves, both literally and figuratively in ways that promote understanding, growth, justice, and compassion.

Food nourishes our bodies,
and provides extremely powerful universal tools for change and justice through the many ways we cultivate and consume it.  Through food, we honor history, partake in ritual, nurture our bodies and minds, celebrate each other, protest the gross consumption of oil and poisons, invest in local economies, and enrich our communities.

During Beyond Boundaries, I’d like to further my studies of organic gardening and permaculture by investigating the successes and challenges of food production practices and design in the communities we visit.  Food needs to come back from industry into our cities and communities, grown for the people by the people in a sustainable way.  I would like to learn more about how to make this sea change (or land change) happen, and to bring whatever knowledge I have to service. Food is the most basic way that people connect with the earth in the most profound and simple manner daily, and the most fundamental human rights issue.  I would also like to explore the role that food plays in the culture, customs, and history of the communities we visit.


Songs and stories feed our hearts through an age-old tradition that witness universal truths and archetypes that span cultures, the sexes, generations, and socio-economic lines.  For the past eight years, I’ve dedicated my life to the ancient tradition of storytelling through the more contemporary mediums of songwriting and photography.

Nine years ago, I began to focus my studies on storytelling through documentary photography. The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies called me to Maine where I refined my technical skills, but also the art of inquiry, subtly, respect, and examined the role of storyteller, rapport with subjects, and ethics surrounding that role.  Here, we presented the precious stories that every person possesses and found beauty in the seemingly mundane.  While doing so, we preserved the unique cultural heritage of Maine’s people, landscape, and history.  At this time, the visual act of pictographic storytelling began to affect my music, as my songwriting became dedicated to the story.  The medium allowed the sharing of universal struggles and joys through an ancient and accessible form.  Beyond Boundaries would allow me to fulfill my role of storyteller, giving song to those without a voice.

Art remains one of the greatest catalysts for change because it touches people deeply and pulls emotions into play while providing a portal that allows someone to experience someone (or something) else’s story.  That’s how empathy, compassion and understanding are achieved, and these are the tools that will change our world for the better.  During Beyond Boundaries, I wish to document the journey, people, and places that we visit, visually and sonically, as a means to deliver the stories and ideas we will encounter to a broader audience.


Questing cultivates our spirit
by seeking experience that pushes our personal and spiritual boundaries further.  I believe it impossible to create peace, ingenuity, and strength in the world without also cultivating those things within myself.  This year delivered tremendous personal transition, beginning with selling my house and shedding possessions, reshaping my career, and (most recently), intensely re-evaluating my health, happiness, and connection to the world through the way of council and my first vision quest.  Through authentic experiences in different cultures and countries, and people in Council, I hope to challenge my own beliefs and traditions so that I may expand my intrapersonal and interpersonal understanding.

The need to take on a more active role as an agent of change in my community and the world urges me to do more of this work and Council, combined with my study of Integral theory and practice are ways in which I’m finding useful and powerful practices in which to connect people, as well as practical tools for conflict resolution.

Service sustains our vision for a future that provides a restorative social and environmental climate.  We are all individual catalysts for positive change in the world and, after working for a local non-profit for the past seven years, wish to explore different ways I might be a catalyst for projects and initiatives that heal people and the earth in the future, and discover where I might most be needed.

I wish to explore the world’s mysteries, be they those of seed and soil, song and subject, or those mysteries that lie beneath our skin and within our souls.  Beyond Boundaries will provide an outlet to learn, grow, and serve with enormous, mindful intention and immense,
creative enthusiasm.