Lovescaping and Holistic Education
Dear Fellow Lovescapers,
I want to share with you all where I’m at presently…. I’m starting this blog from Guatemala, where I’m interning with UNICEF to complete my last requirement to graduate from my Master’s degree in Education and International Development. Through my posts, you will be able to know me and better understand what Lovescaping is, and how it came about… I will share with you my thoughts, dreams and ideas in hopes that you, dear reader, will share yours as well! This movement is meant to be collective, and the more we grow, the stronger and better our ideas will be. Come Lovescape with me!!
After concluding my Masters, I returned full circle to where my passion, will and love for education had started. The path of my Masters was often hopeless, I confess. So much so that at one point I was on the verge of giving up. Not because of academic difficulty or workload, but because of internal conflicts of purpose, values and conviction. I felt hypocritical and incoherent in academia, where we spent most of the time criticizing everything that has been, and continues to be wrong with what we call the “development industry.” It’s fine to criticize, I think that criticism is necessary to improve and change things. But criticizing for criticizing’s sake without presenting solutions or alternatives does not seem right. I became very critical of the academic world in general, with the few exceptions of teachers who speak from experience and from the heart, and not purely from theory. In the end I decided to continue. I have no regrets. For everything was a process and it led me to this moment. In one of my favorite classes, Participatory Educational Research, I wrote an essay in which I return to where it all began for me: love. I declare that love is the sine qua non of development and education. There, inspired by Christian’s Dreamscaping, I envisioned a new term, “Lovescaping,” where I propose a paradigm shift where we welcome a holistic education that sensitizes, that nurtures and that promotes peace.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do, where to channel my love for education and where to go/how to do it. My teacher loved the essay and we have been keeping in touch. A few weeks ago, she wrote to me saying she’s still thinking about my essay and recommended a Mexican scholar named Ramon Gallegos Nava, who is one of the key figures in the movement of holistic education. So I bought one of his books called Holistic Education: Pedagogy of Universal Love. I was commenting this with a new friend who began working in the office below mine and she asked if I had heard of the Costa Rican Francisco Gutierrez.
I said no, so I wrote down his name in my book and on Friday, June 26, I started reading Francisco’s blog and a renewed sense of excitement and happiness filled my heart while reading his words. Reading this blog was like reconnecting back to the meaning of my life, my purpose and to what I’ve always wanted to do and dreamed of: A holistic education where learning is encouraged and where the teacher serves as a mediator in order to promote love and passion for learning, in order to achieve the emancipation of the student. The words of Erwin Schrödinger that he mentions at some point, echo my words in my essay about love, “the transformations and changes always start within every human heart. The academy should not be at odds with the heart.” Exactly, the academy should not be at odds with the heart, and after the disappointing lack of love and heart that I observed at the academy, and in the “development industry,” it is comforting to find a place where the academy is connected to the heart, where a completely different and alternative educational model is built. That’s right, there is a PhD program in Education with Specialization in Pedagogical Mediation founded by Francisco Gutierrez at La Salle University in Costa Rica.
Reading about the PhD program gave me great joy. The education model embraced by this program is exactly the kind of education that I believe in: a holistic education that prepares the individual to live in harmony with nature and among fellow humans, an education that promotes peace, love, empathy, compassion….an education that fosters a love for learning, and that provides individuals with tools so that they can build their own answers from experience. I feel that this model, this paradigm shift that we so desperately need in the world fits perfectly with Lovescaping.
I want to focus on education and teaching, and so want to have the tools to promote this completely different form of education that counters the traditional and mainstream model presented globally, and to implement this learning methodology. The truth is that after my masters I thought I would never get a doctorate degree, much less under that system. But this is completely unorthodox, alternative, and it speaks directly to my heart. Words are not enough to express the feelings I’m embracing at this moment… As Rainer Maria Rilke says ”things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered…”
I still don’t know if I will proceed with this PhD, but the important point is that no matter what happens, I am on the right path, connecting all the dots and finding ways to spread the word and start creating change. Starting this blog is part of that process. Christian and I are eager to share our ideas through this platform and start the Dreamscaping & Lovescaping movement around the world. Join us!
More to come,