leaning into long time

During the last two months Jane and I have co-facilitated two workshops on ‘Cosmic Stories’
for adults. One workshop was presented at Winchester University and the other was at the
Quadrangle Trust in Kent. The over-arching framing of the weekend at the Quadrangle, was
called ‘Thinking for the long time’ and it was all about how we can foster a sense of caring
for the long-term future. Jane and I shared our experience of working with ‘Cosmic Stories’
with children in a way that included telling our own personal stories; Sitting Still, Values, the
power of mythological stories, Free Fall Writing and Planet Care. After the weekend, Ella
Saltmarsh one of the organizers expressed: 

“Your session was so integral to the event. Personally, I found it very profound - it’s left me
with an almost religious sense of awe and reverence for the richness and diversity of our
world. It added a whole new level of depth and perspective to the conversation. It really
helped me see how changing our relationship with our past can change our relationship
with the future.”

Furthermore, we feel that part of our approach in sharing this ‘Deep Time Journey’
perspective is to try and find a way of marrying the mythic with the scientific. At the weekend
we were delighted to meet Dan Goldberg. Dan is a Post-Doctoral Research fellow also at
Imperial College London. After our session he commentated that:

“For those outside of science…….to narrativize and build stories around the science….to fold
those into a world view….it is extremely important work. I really like what Jane and Rod
have been doing along those lines with the Big Bang.”

So, one way you could view our cosmic education is that it is bringing story to modern
scientific findings. In doing so we endeavor to make the science meaningful and relevant.
Many of the children and young people Jane and I work with have traditional religious
views. This has lead us on our own exploration and learning Journey on how to share the
stories of the universe in ways that make room for different interpretations. Oli, one of the
young men attending the weekend (an artistic director with a Nigerian background),
expressed that he had grown up in a religious household that wasn’t looking to science for any of life’s great questions.

“The Deep Time Journey surprised me each step of the way. When you introduced it, I was
skeptical. I grew up in a strict Christian household and the Big Bang theory was something
that was NEVER discussed! I don’t know what it is about your approach, but it felt so much
more inviting - which is so important………..all of these things made me think – WOW! –
there is another way.”

Iris, who has a long history of climate change campaigning, also attended the workshop. She
was particularly struck by the way our work with Deep Time fosters a sense

“I was particularly moved to tears by their sharing of how their work had impacted children.
Particularly, the story of how some 8-year-olds had recognized their infinite connectedness
with of each other.”

Teilhard de Chardin wrote that “In order to finding meaning in the universe, we need to find the personal in the cosmos.”

In relationship to being personally connected to the unfolding story of the Universe, Iris, went on to say: “……. you place us in the story. Very much this relationship between the individual, personal and the universal. I loved the exercise as writing as the Universe. I thought that was so clever and beautiful. Again, helping us feel that connectedness, that clearly you are able to bring out with kids, is incredible, you brought it out for me.”

Our presentation at Winchester University was similar in many ways. However, the
audience was quite different this time in that they were already very familiar with ideas
concerning the Cosmos and its unfolding story. The responses from the audience, Jane and I
felt, were again very positive. Joanna Wilson one of the University organizers expressed

“There was a real sense of enjoyment about their work – both in its delivery and in its
outcomes – it was a pleasure to hear and see the children’s engagement and reaction to
their experiences. There is also a positive sense that the reach of the project is getting
wider, and they have the momentum of a wave of energy spreading outwards to reach
more schools and groups. The films about the Bee and the history of the project are also very well presented and produced and I think reflect well the confidence and professionalism of the project organizers.”

Ian Mowell who was the overall organizer and visionary of the weekend said after the
event: “Jane and Rod do ground breaking work with young people in London. They make the
bridge between the Universe Story and its meaning for people, here, today. For me, the
Universe Story really came alive when I hear young people say that it inspires them to
honour diversity and to take care of the planet. This is the voice of young people who have
their lives ahead of them and it gives me hope for the future. Seeing the Universe Story
grounded in the way that Jane and Rod are doing is like seeing a planted seed growing and
blossoming. It is both beautiful and life affirming.”

Jane and I left the weekend feeling inspired that there seems to be a growing body of
people, out there in society who do care about the long-term future and we can support this
by offering a meaningful sense of the common and creative ground that we all come from.