By Anna Hanschmidt,
One sailing ship called Lovis, 31 brave sailors, four countries, the wide field around the topic of youth and elders, seven days of crossing the Baltic sea. For me this sounds like an invitation for stories to be written. This was my thought from the very beginning when I entered the ship.
So then maties, let’s hoist the masts of life and sail into the seas of time…
…with 31 sailors being pre-sent in the future:
I want to share a story with you, yes with you, the one with open ears and an open heart to truly listen to these stories which are written by life. Forgive me if I might forget some parts of the story or if the story is leading you on some strange paths, you must know, I am an old lady and this story was told to me a long, long time ago by my grandmother. I hardly shared it with anyone before but now I know that you are the one who must listen to it.
Once upon a time in a village far, far away, there lived four brave friends who loved this world, the seas and to sail. The four friends knew each other for a long time, they were bound by the stories of life, their ability to observe and feel what was happening at this moment of life on our planet.
It is important for you to know, beloved one, is that at this time our planet was in a huge crisis – this is what we were told. In fact, only a few people knew that it was not the planet, but humanity that was in a crisis. – Yes, of course you know that there is no such a thing as a separation of us and the planet, that we are the planet and the planet is us, but in these times people found comfort in giving responsibility away and blaming others. This sounds strange doesn’t it?
Well, during this time of crisis the world had grown dark, heavy and scary. As in all crises, people lost themselves and forgot that crisis simply means „turning point“. Luckily these four people were among the few that knew this and so they explored the fields around this turning point, and on their explorations around the world a question found them: „What does it take to create next steps towards cultural maturity and stewardship of our planet?“.
As you know, sometimes a question is an invitation for a journey.
Questions carry half the answer in themselves and the friends found out very quickly that they were going to explore a deeper sense of steward-SHIP. This led to the idea of sharing some time on a sailing ship. As there is always a journey before the journey – a journey of thoughts and feelings – they started by exploring what might be connected to their huge question. They discussed who is really steering this ship, this planet; the young beings – the ones that have their whole lives in front of them, or the ones that have travelled the world on their feet and in their hearts. What the four discovered was that there might be a huge value in co-creation between Youth and Elders. Other questions were quickly born: “What does youth and what does eldership mean to you?”, “where is the ship that can carry us on the journey full of explorations?”
In this way it came to pass that they set sail on the good ship The Lovis. A little cherry, I told you stories about this ship before – it is the one that can sail through the gates of rainbows.
So they had a ship and now they needed a crew to sail with them to explore the dance in between the youth and elders and how this may connect to the bigger question concerning the stewardship and the maturing process of our planet.
28 brave sailors from all over the world heard the call of the question „What does youth and eldership mean to you“ and joined the voyage.
To me it seems that the question around the field of youth and elders was one of the most important questions of this time. Because in these former times we were in the middle of a shift- a shift from the I to the We, a shift from I am alone to I am al-one with all the other living beings on this planet. In these times we learned again to listen, to accept everything how/what it is, appreciate and love each other. Because of that, we needed the elders to remind us of what we once knew and the youth to bring this gift/knowledge to the next generations.
Once they all entered the ship together, prepared their home for one week, they started to tell each other stories. Stories about who they are, what they are dreaming of and that most of them never sailed before. Which was fully okay, because they were all eager to learn it and there were three experienced and patient sailors on board with them. The journey of the 31 sailors started in the ancient harbour city Greifswald and on their way the sailors discovered beautiful places like Sassnitz, which since two of the of the sailors discovered a new animal species there is called Fleder-island, Ystad in Sweden, Tejn on Bornholm in Denmark, Christiansø which now that the hobbits came back home there is called hobbit-island, Hél, Gdynia and Gdansk in Poland.
You see little one, this was quite a journey, and naming all the places only shows the voyage one can see on a map. In truth there have been at least 30 journeys which only each person can tell you about. These journeys took part inside of each one of these brave sailors.
But now I’ll tell you this: I was on this ship as well.
Little one, it is late, and you should sleep very soon but maybe you want to listen to my Lovis story?
When I got invited by one of the four friends I said YES. Without knowing why. I just followed my intuition, you know this is this feeling that sometimes is tickling your belly from inside and somehow it always is a bit louder in its whispering voice then all the doubts. I heard the call of this journey. Maybe I was old enough to hear it and young enough to join them all on board of Lovis.
Said – done, in a summer long, long time ago I found myself on board of this ship.
At this point of my life I was carrying a lot of questions on my shoulders: „Where are we heading to as humankind?“, „how many wars still have to happen till we know that we cannot create peace with weapons?“, „how will somebody take me seriously if I am talking about the beauty of this world if there are still people starving?“
I was in love with the earth but so full of doubt at the same time. With all this in my heart and mind I joined the voyage.
During the next week I found even more questions. This is one thing I learned on the ship, beloved one: Good stories do not bring answers, they unfold the questions.
Most of the time we shared each other’s stories, and exchanged insights around some new questions. Questions like: What stories are emerging on this planet at the moment?“ „What is your story, why did you choose to be the one you are during this time here?“ „What is your next step, the hardest one you could take?“ „How can we support each other to take this step?“
I cannot give you answers to all these questions, I still do not have them. But I learned that it is not about „having the answers“it is about living the questions. What does it take to do so?
To listen. To listen and to accept everything that I am hearing. Listening to the others and to myself.
I experienced that I often skipped the part of listening to myself, but my dear, it is worth it to listen to your own stories. We all have a treasure box full of stories inside of us.
So what I brought home from this journey is that this turning point we did experience at this time of humanity on this planet will not destroy us – and you see, I was right with this feeling. I came home with the feeling that there are ways to live in peace together on this planet.
Why was I so sure about this, you ask? Well, I think that our journey has been a pure reflection of the situation of humankind at this very moment in time. It was a journey into the unknown, every day we did not know where were we going to end up at night, we had some ideas, we had a compass, but the wind was the one to decide. Just as we did not know at this time where this crisis was going to lead us. There were stormy days, there were talks of how in- or exclusive our group of sailors was, what did the sailors need in order to sail into the same direction together, and in what direction we were sailing?
The journey was a story full of turning points, on a personal and a collective level. It was a journey towards transformation and towards new questions.
The time we shared together on Lovis was a time for storytellers, peace-makers, critical voices. It was a time for us human three marathons in a row? It was a time to claim a break, to sit down and talk. It was a journey to invite the future by living the present.
Yes, my little one, it was a journey into the time you are living in right now.
So now, close your eyes and sleep well. Tomorrow I will listen to your story.
It’s a sunny Saturday in the Netherlands. I am sitting somewhere in the forest and have finished the story you just read. Almost one month passed since we had our first day on board of Lovis. Sometimes this journey feels so close and at the same time so far away. There are so many other stories to tell but for today this one might be enough.
At this point I want to say thank you to the amazing crew of Lovis ( www.lovis.de ) , to our hosting team (Mary Alice Arthur, Benjamin Kafka, Mark Hessellund Beanland, Erik van Lennep), to all my lovely co-sailors and to all the ones that supported us with every kind of input towards this journey.
So, this is it for this moment. If you have any questions, suggestions or other kind of feedback/feed forward, feel free to contact us here: