Source for Educational Empowerment and Community Development
Sky & Todd would like to extend their sincere gratitude to all those who have preceded us and to those who will share in this new season of planting together.
SEED: Source for Educational Empowerment and Community Development, a New Mexico nonprofit corporation, was incorporated on December 8, 1997, for the purpose of providing alternative, holistic non-sectarian education to the communities of northern New Mexico. The original mission of the organization was to empower individuals, through a practical and heuristic curriculum, toward greater self-fulfillment and service of the community at large.
Based in Alcalde, New Mexico, SEED launched a graduate school "without walls", providing an array of courses that emphasized experience as well as academic knowledge, and students working in cooperation rather than in competition with one another. Similar to the mentors recruited for the Inspire Santa Fe program, teachers were chosen primarily on the basis of their life experience and passion toward their subject, not simply because they may have had high level degrees or certification in their area of expertise. Categories of instruction were as many and varied as the teachers themselves, including: visual arts, folk art/crafts, performing arts, writing and publishing, communication skills (including language study), community development, body/mind spirit (holistic health, personal growth), computer training, dance/movement, child/parent relationships, intimate relationships, ecology, sports and outdoor activities and science/paranormal.
The educational programs were begun initially through a partnership formed by two individuals - Glenn Aparicio Parry and Aryeh Swisa. The argument that education does not work due to “fragmented thinking” served as their motivation for the idea that we, as humans, need to unify beliefs through “participatory thought," as described in their vision at the time: “What is needed is an original model of education that is coherent, cohesive and whole in itself, in which all aspects of a school are in relationship to each other. SEED is establishing a graduate institute with such a structure, bringing together four lodges of learning in one whole: Science and Cosmology; Ecology; Expressive Arts; and Integral Healing”.
As SEED evolved, it launched an annual series of events known as the Language of Spirit Conference. The eclectic group of participants featured physicists, elders, linguists, philosophers, authors, and even an astronaut, in an effort to complete a cycle in which indigenous, holistic thinking, once suppressed and disregarded, reemerged on equal footing with leading edge Western science. SEED considered these series of meetings to be “Science and Cosmology conferences” integrating Native science and new scientific models of wholeness, including quantum theory, general systems theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory with comparative philosophy and religion, mythology, depth psychology and cosmology, believing that dialogue itself has the potential to diffuse seemingly intractable dichotomies.
During this exciting time at SEED, indigenous elders, social visionaries, ecologists, philosophers, and healers with different backgrounds from around the world were asked to help prepare for the future by taking pages out from the tribal culture system of religious belief. SEED attempted to examine and discuss the prophecies associated with various cultures and to reconcile them under one common theme by declaring “we see this time as an unprecedented opportunity to co-create our collective future; a time when people of all traditions and races are called to come together to explore and rediscover what it means to be human.”
SEED adopted many different tenets in its structuring of these conferences, including the beliefs of physicist David Bohm who had developed a unique method of dialogue that asked participants to suspend their present assumptions and beliefs and listen deeply for the purpose of understanding, rather than to convert another to one’s point of view. Bohm was said to have postulated that this “participatory consciousness” might be found in tribal societies.
Glenn Parry's book, Original Thinking, is available online at: http://originalthinking.us/
Through its deeply rooted history and infinitely expansive potential, SEED's everlasting spirit will continue to inform Kristin & Todd in their work to cultivate conscious communities.
They are both committed, heart and soul, to SEED's ongoing stewardship and fertilization.
Glenn and Aryeh devoted themselves to obtaining qualified instructors and cultivating their SEED, initially offering over 100 courses taught by more than 75 individuals and eventually growing to offer more than 150 classes/semester with a regular faculty of more than 100 different instructors across northern New Mexico, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The educational center was conducted as an "open university", meaning rather than have students gather at a central campus, SEED brought learning to the community, uniting the mutual purpose of sharing knowledge. Classes were affordable and accessible, located everywhere from instructors' homes to community centers, and targeted for students who had a passionate desire to acquire practical tools and knowledge they could immediately apply in their lives.