The Belonging and Heimat Project

November 18, 2009

Last night I went to a talk at the Garden Museum near Lambeth Bridge, once obscure, now an eco-icon to the history and future of gardening and our human connection with the land. The event was called ‘Landscape and Belonging’ and the speaker was Professor John Rodwell, a research fellow who has been setting up something called The Belonging and Heimat Project. Analysis in to belonging can be middle class and nauseating, but this wasn’t. The professor was saying that the problem with our retail parks and shopping centres and modern houses is that we have lost a sense of distinction and risk in the spaces we occupy. Everything is designed for consumption and comfort. He mentioned the importance of the ruin as well as the home part of our understanding of landscape and belonging. This the same with the body – there is an element of risk as we experience and listen to the body in yoga, but the practice grounds us and inspires us to let go into our efforts. As I recently heard someone say, ‘Belonging is not an idea or a moral. It’s an event.’ We are invited to belong in every moment and movement of our lives.

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