JULIE | MELBOURNE (AU)
Welcome to Bamboo!
Bamboo is a community of people around the world - of different faiths and no faith, across cultures, and from a variety of backgrounds; we're connected by a fundamental belief in the interconnectedness of all life and we're seeking to live our understanding of this, committing to three shared principles - living simply, solidarity and contemplation. Bamboo wants to connect people and to support and nurture them in living this out.
That might sound like a lot of words! But Bamboo is about action - what we do in our day to day life. You can read more about Bamboo and the principles here. But right now I'll tell you a bit about how Bamboo got going and my involvement in Bamboo.
I'd had the opportunity over many years to see first hand how many people and particular groups of people get sidelined in our community. I'd seen first hand too how some people bear the brunt of the ugly side of the growing wealth and comfort that many of us benefit from; that our planet is groaning under the weight of our demands and that once again it is the poorest and most vulnerable who pick up the tab here too. I think we're all increasingly aware that, whether we like it or not, our lives and our actions are interwoven - how we live in one place impacts on and is impacted upon by how others are living elsewhere.
There are so many people of good will dotted across the globe. It's more important than ever that we connect and support each other's endeavours to build a better world. So often we get captured in identities that are more superficial than our deepest, truest identity - that of creature sharing the same life as every other person and all creation. It's natural to put energy into other identities and these matter too - for me my identity as woman, Christian, family member, Australian, are just some of the identities that bring meaning to my life. But beneath that is my deepest identity - and I'm drawn to connect with others at that level; and, more than that, I feel propelled to do this - I think the world needs it.
A number of people close to me, and so many others I kept meeting, shared this understanding of our interconnectedness and the importance of living according to these principles and were doing this in their daily lives already - sometimes alone, sometimes with others, but desiring to cross boundaries of faith, culture and background to connect with others and build a global community of like minded people. Others I knew or met, were searching for some structure or framework for their own searching and efforts; they weren't connected in with groups such as faith, community or action groups, and wanted to connect with others to learn, to share and to have a sense of solidarity and community.
For me personally, my faith is vitally important and I draw comfort and sustenance from it. I'm really grateful for the gift of that. But as I look around the world and see its variety, complexity, and interconnectedness - and I see too the huge challenges we face and the suffering of so many people - I'm struck by the urgency for us to step out beyond our familiar, comfortable identities and reach across the silos we inhabit to connect with others and build a global community of people who hold dear an understanding of our interconnectedness and strive to live lives that reflect an understanding of that.
And so Bamboo was born! Since late 2012 a few like minded people across the globe (from different faiths and no faith, from different cultures and backgrounds) have been communicating about these ideas - refining our thinking, exploring concepts, trialling some possibilities. The pull to tie Bamboo down to a particular shape, expression, formula has been resisted - Bamboo is for you to take up in your life and make it meaningful for you in your particular circumstances. The danger of leaving Bamboo so open is, of course, that it might be too nebulous and amount to nothing much at all; or that it leaves itself open to being taken down a path that distorts its founding purpose. That's partly why the group decided to give it some roots, to ground it in the Ignatian tradition. It's an approach that I, personally, have found fruitful - and that others in the group from different traditions felt would provide Bamboo with an orientation that is solid while being broad and open to being enhanced, expanded and enriched by other experiences and traditions.
There are many different ways to connect with Bamboo. You can simply check out the website or follow Bamboo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to join in the conversation. If you want to become a member of the Bamboo community, register online via the 'Join the community' form, located on each page of this website.
All members receive a weekly email with a reflection quote and a monthly email with news and highlights from the Bamboo community around the world. As a member you can also join online discussions on particular themes; or if you're wanting to share at a more personal level you can be part of a small group - possibly in your local area or by joining an online group.
Action is an essential component of Bamboo - putting the Bamboo principles into practice. As a member, you can choose how you want to engage, depending on your preference and current circumstances. You might already have lots of ways you're living out the Bamboo principles and being part of Bamboo might be a way of connecting with others who share the same commitment and values. Or you might be seeking new ways to give expression to your values.
Bamboo is yours. It's for you. Take it up as you find helpful. Invite others in. There are a number of ways to engage.
Welcome to Bamboo.
Julie is the CEO of a community service organisation and is a member of a number of national and international networks and working groups across areas of justice, education, social services and ecology. Julie lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family.