This year’s autumn conference, which was attended by 450 people with and without special needs from about thirty countries, offered diverse ways of access to the broad field of health:
from Argentina on neglect and abandonment,
from Georgia on being open in meeting others,
from early childhood therapy, the gentle gesture towards trust;
also: how to find a balanced diet that suits me; dealing with those who have passed away; healthy organizational development; learning how to speak about my own vulnerability; how to develop compassion in the encounter with the You; and finally, ‘Be where you are not!’ – to name but a few.
Jan Göschel opened the conference with a contribution that included myths and stories about balance, which continued to resonate throughout the five conference days. The morning panels focused on love, vulnerability and balance. The conference concluded with a talk by Christine Gruwez on gentleness and the creative tension between life and form. Life holds all the potential, all possibilities, and the form principle limits these possibilities. This allows a direction and an intention to arise, an open determination. Recognizing that this determination implies that no other directions can be taken – that causes a first wound, the first moment of pain, the moment of consciousness.
A warm and joyful mood prevailed, a mood of gratitude, especially since, as early as the second day, participants had to improvise on a grand scale: due to sudden illness, the planned folk dancing evening had to be self-organized and turned out to be wonderful, passionate and very international!
It is evident that living with people and as a person with special needs is, and will increasingly be, an essential interdisciplinary theme in society, because the field of definition keeps expanding. Disabilities and barriers, the lack of possibilities for social participation – the subject of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – is a challenge for all of us, everywhere. We keep working on it, anthroposophically, in the 52 countries currently represented in the network.