Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beyond Boundaries - the project and next steps

The time has been passing, quickly and slowly.  Summer solstice came and went, and the world (in our hemisphere) is now onto its waning cycle again.  The School of Lost Borders/Beyond Boundaries Youth Fast was an amazing experience for us all, and it was encouraging to see such a unique group of newly initiated young people go out into the world.

Like them, Beyond Boundaries is now preparing to go out into the world.  Today is our final full day here in the Owen's Valley, at 3 Creeks.  Tomorrow we head to Ojai   :  )  and after 8 days on the land at the Ojai Foundation (including the Gathering of Council Leaders, service work with the local place & people, and final preparations for leaving) we will fly to Portugal, to begin the international portion of this journey.  The Ojai Foundation is as old as me (founded in 1979), and is a non-profit educational organization providing tools for communication, connecting with nature, community building, and other seminar-based teachings and retreats.  It is a beautiful place to be and I'm very happy that we're on our way there tomorrow. 

It occurs to me as I prepare to leave and write this little blog, that many of you reading may still not know too much about exactly what Beyond Boundaries is: who we are, where we're going, and why.  So, this post may be a long one, as I want to provide some more background information, a rough itinerary, and the likes.

Below is a revised and shortened version of a write up for the pilgrimage that many of you hav already seen.  It's difficult to cut too much out, as the complete story feels necessary to adequately communicate the vision and intention behind Beyond Boundaries.  


Beyond Boundaries

A Service Pilgrimage ~ People Place Planet



Beginning in June of 2009, a small group of leaders of diverse ages and backgrounds will begin an international service pilgrimage called Beyond Boundaries (BB).  We will move through a number of places, centers and communities in the United States, Europe, Asia and Oceania that are exploring the frontiers of creative, peaceful, and regenerative life. Overall, the Beyond Boundaries pilgrimage embodies a deep personal and collective inquiry into the pressing issues and needs of our times through experiential education, cross-cultural exchange, leadership development, and stewardship. Pilgrims will learn from the people and places visited, offer their service and various gifts, listen in deep inquiry in the spirit of council, and bring home valuable information, insight and gifts to share upon return.


Project Background


We live in a time of increased tension and concern over the future of our planet, the wellbeing of our children, and the sustainability of our ways of life.  Indeed, we live in a time of re-shaping and reconsidering, a time when the planet appears smaller than it ever has, and is awakening to its own limitations, a time when it is wise to take stock of our past decisions, and prudent to consider which ideals and systems to move forward with and which to leave behind.  Many ideas and design systems are attempting to do just this, to guide us toward a future that will support the wellbeing of the many and not just the few.  Sustainable, holistic, regenerative…many adjectives today are attempting to describe a commitment that is in some ways very old and very simple: to live in awareness of the generations to come, to live with care for the earth and all beings, to live with heart and truth, to live in remembrance of the gifts that are to be shared. This is not religion or politics but common sense. It goes beyond definitions of class, culture or nation; it goes beyond boundaries.  How to do this is one of the most challenging and pressing questions of our times.  We are not looking for the answer but rather some "best practices" being employed by innovative, thoughtful, and concerned citizens across the globe.  Our Key Questions and Areas of Inquiry include:

-- Who is pioneering effective models for peaceful, connected and regenerative ways of life?  What can we learn from these people and what can we offer them?  

-- Given our increased awareness of the interdependence of the international community and the natural world, how can we live in right relations now and for generations to come?

-- What does it mean to be a Global Citizen?  

The Inspiration and The Way of Council[1]:

In 1980, Gigi Coyle, team leader and visionary behind Beyond Boundaries, was inspired to embark on a year long walkabout, traveling to projects and communities in the U.S. researching what were then considered ‘alternative’ systems, meeting and learning with individuals and groups committed to sustainable living practices and the healing of self, others, and the planet.   Over the course of the past two years, Gigi has been again inspired to travel, this time globally, in keeping with the scope of what's happening on our planet.  Inviting a small intergenerational group to join her on this international service pilgrimage, Beyond Boundaries has grown through the influence of each participant into an individual and collective response to the pressing needs of our times.

Program Overview

Across the world one of the greatest movements in the history of humankind is taking place. Everywhere people and projects are offering their own versions of potential solutions and directions for future development by creating and embodying sustainable and regenerative living systems, restoring people’s balance with the natural world, working through domestic and cross-cultural differences, actively resisting the systems that do not work in today's world, and enhancing spiritual wellbeing.  Beyond Boundaries pilgrims will journey to several places where innovative solutions have been at the forefront for years, including: The Ojai Foundation in California, Tamera in Portugal, Auroville in India, Findhorn in Scotland, Damanhur in Italy and the Biosphere Foundation in Indonesia.  As well, each pilgrim will visit a number of other projects and places during the independent study time, based on their specific areas of interest and inquiry. 

By journeying to these sites, our intention is to deepen into a practice of cross-cultural community living, listening, learning, and offering.  Further, as we are increasingly aware of the need to use scarce resources wisely, we know we must make this journey count on many levels. Given its carbon footprint, literally and metaphorically, we hope to plant trees all along the way. We are inspired to be a multi-talented team and bring a unique set of skills as well as curiosities to a ‘mission’, in the best sense of the word, to elicit the voices of both youth and elders in council, and bring those voices home, back to our people. And last but not least, we are part of a prayer of reconciliation and healing that has been and will continue to be part of our work everywhere we go.

Process Before Product

The journey is not a “results-based” project, though we know that many planned and unplanned results will emerge.  Too many times people, especially Americans, go with a formula, a pre-determined outcome, and miss the genuine opportunities that arise along the way.  We feel there is something important, particularly as Americans, to going and listening, to practicing council with the land and its people and letting an exchange emerge that will reveal the future outcomes.  Thus, rather than pre-determining the outcome from this pilgrimage, we have generated a commitment to listen well for what wants to emerge naturally as we go.

Support and Financial Contributions

Beyond Boundaries is made possible by the generosity and support of many people who share in the vision and spirit of the journey.  Already, many have been very generous in their support of a project focused on long-term thinking and solution-based, holistic development.  We are continuing to fundraise as we go, and any added contribution will bring us that much closer to our goal, while also strengthening the support network of Beyond Boundaries participants and international collaborators.  

To Donate

Beyond Boundaries is a project of the Biosphere Foundation, a non- profit 501 (c) 3 (  General donations to Beyond Boundaries or to a particular participant must go through the Biosphere Foundations tax ID number (86-0686472). 

All gifts are tax deductable, and an official thank you letter from Biosphere Foundation will be sent for your tax records, (also, a copy of our detailed budget and tax exemption letter can be sent on request). To contribute money to a specific participant, be sure to put the participant’s name in the memo section of the check or include a note.  You may also direct wire transfer funds into the account, to do that contact Sierra at:

All checks should be made out to “Biosphere Foundation” and mailed to:   


S. Silverstone

Beyond Boundaries

Biosphere Foundation

Box 808

Big Pine CA 93513


Again, in the spirit of inquiry, hope, and exploration, we thank you.

[1] Council is the act of speaking from the heart, listening devoutly, expressing oneself in a lean manner, and being spontaneous.  Though simple, the practice of speaking and listening in this way is at the heart of the intention behind the journey as it offers a calm, centered way to engage any topic, and brings an egalitarian method for communicating across our differences.


~              ~                ~                   ~

So, that is a bit about the journey.  Our first month is now complete.  We spend the next 8 days in Ojai, and then on the 19th we fly to Portugal, to a place called Tamera.  We will be there for a month.  After that, we fly to Italy to spend a little over a week in a community called Damanhur.  From there to Scotland, to join the internationally renowned Findhorn community for another month.  It will be early October by the time our month at Findhorn ends and we will then begin a 3 month independent study, where each of us will spread to the winds to follow those aspects of inquiry that are most pressing to us individually.  Already some of the BB team are planning amazing visits and service opportunities for this time.  We will rejoin in India in mid-January to spend a month in an incredible international community known as Auroville.  After that, we will go together to Indonesia, to join our sponsoring agency, the Biosphere Foundation,  and their "sea people" on a number of small islands doing coral reef studies and assisting in the formative stages of a global coral reef monitoring center there.

I would offer more information on each place now, but I think it would be more fun for you all to join me as I go... and since I know little more than what the websites and books say at this point, I figure I will leave it at that.

The night has grown late and there is much to do tomorrow.  Thank you for reading, for supporting, and for being with me on this journey.

Adios from 3 Creeks.


  1. Will.. this will be an absolutely amazing journey. I like your note about mostly listening and participating instead of having a preset agenda as if it where an academic graduation plan... travel is best when it is spontaneous and completely open to the unexpected. I look forward to following your tales the coming year, we'll all be living it vicariously through you.

    Blessings always...

  2. Will, this sounds amazing, and I feel like I'm getting a better sense of what you're doing, thank you for this post..

    Who else are you doing this with? I'd love to get a sense of your group, too.

  3. With you in spirit all the way, Will ++
    May the flame burn for you all on this journey and beyond,

  4. Yay... and a prayer for your journey:

    I and You, WE should all be so lUcKy LuCkY Lucky -

    may there be ample humor along the way!

  5. So glad to be making the journey with you from here brother. Can't wait to hear about the amazingness that unfolds.

    love and faith,