In October 2009, I went on  a 10-day trip to Austria with my adopted nephew Aji Palar. I taught two workshops with Jon Young – a weekend workshop on Peacemaking, and a week long called Cultural Mentoring (with an emphasis on family). Traveling to other parts of the world, and meeting people who also have a desire and vision for resilient community, have shown me that this is a universal need at this time. The cool thing is that they have pieces that we don’t, and we have pieces that they don’t. I’d like to take some time and share with you what those pieces are.

Sense of place.  On our way from the airport, Ron Bachman, co-founder of the Natur and Wildnisschule Der Alpen rolled out a beautiful story about one of the seven sacred mountains of Tyrol.


Local language and Local song.  There is a strong connection to the language, history and music of their place.  To know that the yodel we sang was from Tyrol specifically, a place half the size of massachusetts, set my imagination in motion.  What would it be like to create a strong sense of heritage in Southern Vermont ?  How would that feel to grow up in a place that knew about its land, language, history and song ?

Local Food.  Frank, the son of a butcher, could tell you about the local dish that used an upper thigh portion of a juvenile male cow.  The dried sausage meats and cheeses are served for breakfast, or anytime of day really.  The refrigerator was 20% the size of the average U.S. fridge.  These things pointed to a time not so long ago that food was preserved and stored without the need for electricity, made from local animals right there on the valley slopes.

5 replies
  1. Judy Metzger
    Judy Metzger says:

    Mark, Your dad sent me your story, which I so enjoyed. As a companion earth and Peace seeker, I look forward to future stories. Shalom to you and your family

  2. Pam Hawes
    Pam Hawes says:

    Hi Mark
    Great to see your web site. I so enjoyed reading about your Austrian trip. What a fabulous place and I feel envious of those people with such a sense of place, history, etc.
    Will you be traveling again soon?
    Please say Hi to Lucilena (?sp)
    Keep up the great work!

  3. monique
    monique says:

    I have visited those same mountains with my family(from germany), and have felt deep gratitude for those peices you mentioned when i am there. i have been trying to recreate those feelings here. The Art of Mentoring and Extended Family workshops have helped me greatly. I would love to hear more of what you observed there and also what pieces you feel we have that they do not, yet.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] be indigenous means to be connected to place.  I told the story of going to Tyrol, Austria, where the people there inspired me with indigenous song, knowledge of place and the feeling of […]

  2. […] my way out of town on the way to Austria, I felt a previous lesson rising within me.  This was a teaching, a lesson, that I had learned […]

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