The Heart Stone invites us to fully listen and to communicate from heart to heart.
We invite you to join us:
It seems appropriate to first explain why:
This is what we feel and think: The main tone of communication in most or our lives is too much about competition. It is too fast. It is too much about being right. It is too much about occupying the space. It is too defensive. People around us listen too much with the purpose to reply. People don’t listen enough to hear or to truly understand. Communication is not enough about truly hearing the other person, there is not enough empathy, there is not enough time. Communication is under too much pressure.
This way of communicating isn’t always helpful to connect with the people around us. It usually results in dissatisfaction, not feeling heard, more competition, more arguments and conflict and less connection or even disconnection. When we don’t feel heard we are unhappy. Not hearing each other is a perfect kick start for a negative spiral of disconnection.
“Western Culture”, the currently dominant culture, since Roman times, is rooted in colonialism. This colonial culture is now powered by disaster capitalism. This capitalist colonial culture is fundamentally a destructive and disconnecting culture.
On a personal level, it is a culture that makes us feel uneasy within our bodies and in our minds. It is a culture that makes us feel insecure and incomplete within our selves. It is a culture that disconnects us from our feelings. It is culture that turns us into commodities and leaves us unfulfilled. It destroys our happiness and our well being within us.
It is even worse than that. It is a culture that is ultimately self destructive in that it can only end up in destroying everything around us and us with it.
This colonial culture leaves many of us walking around in a dim eyed gaze, chasing happiness that is just around the corner.
We are often not aware of it, but culture permeates everything around us. It is in our language, in the way we see each other, in the value we put on things around us, in the way we treat our bodies, ourselves and each other and the planet. It is in the way we still do the things we know are bad for the planet, but we can’t stop. Culture is the way we unconsciously interact with each other and the world.
This largely unconscious way of interacting is destroying us, so we need to consciously redesign it or we will perish.
If we forget that the quality of the air we breath and the hurt we cause to the planet are linked, we destroy ourselves.
At Rubha Phoil, we choose to live in a healthy culture, a culture which is about connection.
We feel we need a culture that is regenerative instead. A permanent culture that is about connection. All forms of connection: within our selves, between our selves and with our environment around us.
We think it is a good idea -rather than to reinvent the wheel- to build on what works well in other cultures.
So here we find ourselves with a challenge:
A bunch of largely white skinned people from within the dominant colonial culture, grieving about the absence of a connecting culture, looking with hungry eyes at the cultures of connection from peoples colonized by our ancestors, people with our color of skin and with our colonial culture. Copying that culture would be the ultimate theft and insult to those people. Our ancestors invaded their lands, murdered and pillaged and destroyed their culture to break their resilience and to subjugate them. They were seen to be inferior humans, if human at all.
And then, at the very moment in time when while we realize what we did was wrong, we would be stealing their culture to fix ours that is broken. It is obvious that this would be completely unethical to do. Not without permission, and how awkward is it to even ask for permission?
There is also the argument that cultural elements need to sprout out of the environment the people are living in. Out of the language, the traditions and the ecosystem. Copy and pasting a culture that works well somewhere won’t necessarily work as well elsewhere.
So, do we have to reinvent the wheel after all?
Not quite, luckily 8-Shields comes to the rescue with an answer to that conundrum:
Jon Young and the 8-shields over many decades of hard work have -with permissions- learned a lot from indigenous cultures and have a large network of indigenous supporters, colleagues and passionate people that work with and within the 8-shields institute. By studying what the patterns are that bring connection in indigenous cultures from all around our planet, they have deducted what the cultural elements are that are essential to have a healthy culture of connection. Using these cultural elements, we can design our own culture of connection in ways that fit well with who we are, where we live and what our values are without copying or stealing from other cultures, without permissions.
One example of one such cultural element: Gratitude. Almost all known long living cultures say thanks or give gratitude to the people around us and to what nature provides for us in one form or another on a regular basis and not just on special occasions. Looked at through the eyes of evolution, that element must be something that our ancestors started doing long before our times, maybe even when we were all still one family group. Maybe it survived because it gave us an evolutionary advantage in one way or another. The alternative hypothesis would be that it has independently evolved in all these different indigenous peoples cultures since we split up into different groups and spread around the globe. Which ever hypothesis is true or not, doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever the reason why, evolved or survived, it seems clear that gratitude is an important aspect of a healthy culture.
It is not difficult to hypothesize why saying thanks can be an advantage: the aspect of gratitude as a reminder of the interconnectiveness and interdependence of all living things and thus the humbleness and appreciation it brings into your life, giving you a much more optimistic and happy outlook on life and will bring a culture of respect for nature that looks after us and provides us with everything we need: food, water, warmth, shelter, medicine, tools, and so on.
It helps us by reminding us how precious resources like food are. It inspires us not to waste it, it inspires us to value it and cherish it and look after it properly. It motivates the people that grow it and cook it. It gives them a social standing. It motivates us to make it nice tasting and healthy. It helps us to connect with the people who grew and cooked it for us. By being thankful to them, they enjoy growing and cooking food for us more. And so fort, health in the group and as such survival chances are increased. Evolution at work.
The 8-shields institute have identified 64 such important cultural elements of a culture of connection. You can read more about these elements here.
It is an exciting journey to learn about these elements. It is exciting to experiment with them in our community on our rock. It is heart warming to feel the connections to our own emotions, between ourselves and the rock deepening as we consciously design our culture and it gets more and more established and when eventually our culture becomes more unconscious again, when the new conditioning of connection is starting to become established in our habits.
We at Rubha Phoil fully embrace the idea to not copy and paste cultural elements from other cultures without permission and we like designing our own, so here we are proud to introduce our own versions of the first cultural elements:
Our own self designed cultural tool to support a healthy connection:
Heart to Heart Communication.
The history of our First Heart stone:
Rosie Balyuzi and I were walking on a beach in Moray, having a deep conversation.
Under our feet was the sound of the stones moving under our weight. It was millions of them washed and tumbled by the sea for who knows how long. Among these millions of stones was this stone, spotted by Rosie:
Rosie gave the stone to me: “This reminds me of your big heart, this is for you.”
It was one of the most beautiful presents I have ever received. It lived in a prominent spot on the table in my living room which doubled up as a community center of the project. It is so inviting to be held and cherished that it was always being passed around and admired. One day I needed a talking stick for a difficult conversation and didn’t have one at hand, so the heart stone became that tool instead.
Talking sticks are used by native cultures in the America’s and else where too to indicate who’s turn it is to speak. Many cultures use a stick or similar tools. A microphone in a big meeting functions like that too.
Our first Heart Stone grew from a normal talking stick into a stone with super powers:
What are superpowers? A £20 note is only worth £20 because we all agree to that. The actual value is a few calories of heat when you burn it. But because we all agree that it is worth more, it simply is. You can swap it for a few gallons of fossil fuel, that will produce a lot more heat! It is so powerful that it can make people work for you for two hours or even more if you’re a greedy boss! You can swap it for all sort of useful or not so useful goods! That surely is a super power. That convention, that agreement is what changes it from a piece of paper into a super power.
We, at Rubha Phoil, all agree to give two super powers to the Heart Stones:
Power 1: The super power to make everyone listen deeply.
When someone, anyone, holds a Heart Stone in their hand, be it in an organized meeting or spontaneously, we stop and listen. We don’t listen to reply. We don’t just listen out to hear when the other has stopped talking to spot when it is OK to interrupt. We listen to try to fully understand with our mind and with our heart what the other person wants to share with us. We give time to each other to find our words. We encourage each other to speak, by being fully present, listening with our whole being and giving space for each others words to land fully. When the speaker is finished sharing, they pass the stone to others. We make sure we fully understand before we give our own mind time to form our own words to reply, should that be needed. Surprisingly often it is not.
Power 2: The super power to help us speak from the heart.
The shape of the stone invites love into our hearts. As a reminder for us to speak from the heart. To filter our words through the questions: Is this the right time for me to speak? Is the situation so that the others can hear me? Are my words as kind as they can be? Do I remember that I am speaking to other hearts? Am I using my finest words to speak my message? It is an invitation to speak with empathy and kindness, choosing our finest words to speak our truth.
The Heart Stone invites us to fully listen and to communicate from heart to heart.
So to fully set the scene:
This is what a meeting at Rubha Phoil looks like:
* Usually, firstly we ‘Shake Off The Road Dust’.
Any well mannered visitor who enters a home, will shake of the rain drops off their coat and wipe the mud off their shoes before entering. So we too, we shake off the things that we do not need to bring into the meeting.
We ask ourselves questions like:
What is distracting us and preventing us from being present? Maybe we spotted an eagle on the way to the meeting and our hearts are still excited! Maybe some sad news makes our heart heavy and distracts us?
What is going on for us that can help others understand us better? Are we stressed about the rent? Is a child not well?
Is there any information that is good to share before we start? Do you need an exception to leave your phone on? Do you need to leave early?
* Then secondly, we share gratitude.
To set the scene for all our meetings, however small they are and before we share food, we supercharge the stone with gratitude and we create a blanket of gratitude that covers us all and the world around us.
One person, when they feel the time is right, when all the road dust is settled, holds the heart stone in their hand, checks the room to see if everyone is ready and when everyone has fallen quiet, starts to fill their heart with gratitude and share the words of gratitude they feel want to be spoken. They do this until they deeply feel it in their hearts and when their hearts are over flowing then add a little more for the room and a little more to nature around us and to the stone to charge it up and when it is all overflowing with gratitude, they pass the stone to the person next to them. The stone goes round until everyone’s heart is overflowing with gratitude.
All the hearts of all the people are vibrating on the same frequency. Now everyone is ready to deeply listen. Now we can carefully weigh our words. Now everyone is present. Now real magic can be created in the flow of the connections between people.
Then do we use the stone to start sharing our message and listen to each other.
When your group is new to this method, it is really useful to give the person with the most experience some moderation powers. The need for one will quickly disappear once people ‘get it’.
This routine of preparation takes a little time to practice to create a good flow. I remember how awkward I felt sharing gratitude in a group for the first few times. Now it’s hard for me to have a meeting without it. It feels so much better. Without it I feel something important is missing. Also on a practical level, the results of these meetings that start with gratitude are much better than what I ever experienced in any variety of the many thousands of other meetings I have attended so far in my life.
If you feel inspired: look out for our Rubha Rocks Heart Stones for sale here:
How to create your own Heart Stone:
It’s easy: Just all agree to give any object the super powers of listening and empathy. You just agree to make it sacred. Something sacred is something that is untouchable by us mere mortal beings.
It really is as simple as that. The tricky part in this picture is us: We human beings like habits. We like repeating unconsciously what we have been doing forever before. We do what we have been conditioned to do.
To break that cycle of conditioning, rituals are a powerful thing. Especially with kids, but even more so with adults who’s brains’ conditioning is much more ingrained. Rituals help to mark change.
You can make up your own ritual to make the object sacred. It could just be that the chair of the meeting explains the super powers of the stone and the stone gets passed around and everyone speaks the words of agreement such as: “I agree that the stone has the power to make me listen deeply and make me speak my finest words”, and pass the stone around.
Or you could let people decorate their own stone together, sing a song, put it in the full moon to charge up…. What ever you feel sits well with you and your values and what is important for you and the people you want to connect with. Or maybe where you live a stone is not the best object, use your imagination.
Or you can support us by exchanging £’s for one of our Rocks that are already sacred.
These rocks are just perfect to facilitate communication and listening in a Permanent Culture, by grounding the participants of the conversation in the ancient perspective of time. Much like the stars make us feel small:
A rock from our beach that already have had these super powers instilled in them by the power of Rubha Phoil and the loving intend of our hearts. These stones once were part of the Rock Rubha Phoil. 1 billion years old! Older than life on our planet! They were formed under intense pressure and heat deep under the earth’s crust for a very very long time. The heat and pressure deep down was an energy so intense that the rock has completely crystallized. Some cracks in some stones have been filled in with Quartz. A mineral that is said to aid meditation, awareness and concentration.
This rock has travelled all over the planet, even spend some time in the tropics being a desert. Glaciers during the ice ages, then scraped the younger rock that was on top away and exposed these rocks to further massive and relentless forces of erosion and growth. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, frost, acid rain, ages and ages of being tumbled by the waves into the perfect shape they are now.
They have then been found and seen for the beauty they are. Gathered and loved by us.
Each of these stones has a story to tell and is special. Check the shop for the latest finds for sale. You’ll need to register in the Village to buy one. Registration is not expensive and gives you lots of benefits and discounts.
Some stones have been made even more special by Rosie Balyuzi. Rosie found the original Heart Stone as you can read above. Rosie is an amazing artist and illustrator with a huge warm heart. The heart is central to all her work, which makes the Heart Stone story even more special!
How to use the heart stone in social distancing situations or online meetings.
It works just the same, but everyone has their own heart stone and instead of handing the stone to someone we say: “I pass the heart stone to Kenny.” and we put the stone down. Kenny then picks up his stone and feels if there are any words he wants to share.
Other agreements and tools to facilitate communication can be used: hand signals, vibe watchers, time keepers, chair, all are compatible with the methods we use. It depends on the type of meeting we are having.
We encourage you to design your own cultural tools.
We give you permission to copy ours and adapt it to your needs. Please credit us.
Feel free to use and share the image below.
A final note.
We human beings also easily forget that the real power lies in our hearts, not in the stones.
Lets not forget that these heart stones are a tool to help our hearts connect. That the real value lies in our hearts and in love.
It would be sad if connections break because a stone breaks or gets lost. These stones want to travel and spread love. Like Rosie did when she found the stone.
So I’m setting the tone and I have gifted the stone to some warm hearts. I wish the stone filled with thousands of words of gratitude a wonderful journey.
May the heart stones of the world travel far and wide.
We here at Rubha Phoil have adopted our own stone. From our own beach. From our own Ancient Sacred rock. Visit the shop if you want one of our rock too.
Join our Village to learn more!
Thank you for reading the whole page!