Another month has gone by at the Berlin Hub. Much has happened, this time told again from the perspective of Hubmanager Ilja, on a rainy yet warm evening in Kreuzberg.
Bringing the building together
How often have you come together in the couryard like this?
and how long have you been living in this building for?
Setting up an international community in the middle of a building housing many locals has the potential to become the very embodiment of gentrification. Predominantly young, international people, working in jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago, living like a foreign organ in a body that had seemingly grown organically before.
But does it have to be like that? And if not – how to avoid that?
I believe the answer is connection.
An implanted organ needs to connect to the rest of the body.
Understanding the importance of this I followed the trails of what the building next door is doing: Once a year they come together for a summer-gathering. Easy as it sounds it took a while to get there though: “We need to make it a workshop to really connect people!” “We need to have everyone there! How do I get everyone’s contacts?” “We need…” …and so on went through my mind and kept me from inviting people.
“How I can make this important thing easier?” is what I finally asked myself before I decided to just invite all those neighbors whose email addresses I had already collected over the last few weeks. The rest received printed out invitations stuck to their doors. We did a potluck – meaning everyone brought some food. We brought drinks and asked a musician friend of ours to perform some songs. Done.
Sometimes it doesn’t need more than for people to come together and share something to make a special occasion.
Food. Music. Names. Thoughts. Perspectives. sometimes in this, sometimes in a different order. We had a great time. And people were asking “When are we gonna do this again?”
If you want more beautiful words and pictures you can also check Sens Facebook post here.
Like a river flows, the hub is in constant motion. Sometimes this means that someone leaves and someone new arrives. Next month, our longest-standing member Jacques will share with you about his more than two years at the Hub. This month we say hello to his successor – Melissa.
Here are a few words from her:
“I’m Melissa, the newcomer in the Berlin Hub. I just landed a week ago in this amazing place but feels very good already(thanks to my great flat mates ;).
I grew up in Mexico City but went to a German school, which is the reason why Berlin feels somehow familiar to me. I arrived in Berlin two years ago due to a Climate Protection Fellowship that I obtained.
I have always been interested in other ways of living in community beyond the traditional ones, and have live in other intentional places in other parts of the world but mainly over my trips. Thus, I’m excited to get to experience more in depth life at the hub for a longer period of time.”
To many meaningful experiences together!
The dance of structure and spontaneity
At a monastery you wake up every morning at the same time, you meditate, you do the practices, you follow the structures, you immerse yourself, you look inwards – but to an extend you also separate yourself from the world. The opposite of that doesn’t leave space for shared practices and structures – everyone’s life is its own universe with it’s own rhythms, obligations and priorities – separation from each other is often the unfortunate result.
At the Berlin Hub we face the difficult challenge of trying to bring these two worlds together. And sometimes they perfectly do, embodied in this picture:
For one of our community practices Sen prepared a beautiful journey on the roof, following three questions we reflected on the wellbeing of ourselves, our fellow hubbies and the space.
What you can’t plan: What if one person starts to balance their meditation cushion on their head – prompting others to follow and challenge themselves to go from top to bottom of the building like this. Is this how rituals are born?
That’s this months update for you! We hope you enjoy the summer and wish you much love and joy. Until next time,
your Berlin Hub