Over, at the online community of Powers of Place, I received this beautful story via Raffi, an online friend. He speaks about Eiwor Backlund, who started a cafe in a rural area… Eiwor is in Sweden, and the cafe is called Divine Country. We might take some inspiration for the future for our own project, and make a ‘neighborhood that matters’.
Here is her story:
The story about Divine Country is that I wanted to go back and live in the area where I was born, in the countryside. And suddenly last spring there was a house for sale, an old store where I myself had been many times, buying food for my grandmother and my mother. I used to ride my bicycle there and I remember exactly where the shelf with the candies was. I had an idea of creating a meeting place where people could talk about what matters to them and also heal old wounds, get new ideas and create something together. One part in this was to have cooking classes and do handicraft like knitting and weaving and maybe some carpentry. The name came from somewhere out of the blue, can’t remember how, but I did get clues that I pulled together and there it was. The journalist who came to write about the opening in the local paper actually noted that the countryside was divine and that I had angels in my store and all around it. The house is at a crossroads and if you don’t turn your steering wheel when you drive by you will run into the front door. The garden behind the house is a sacred oasis (at least the feeling of it, it is more wild field than garden), even though there is some traffic here it is never disturbing. There are huge oak trees and a hedge around it and someone said that it is as if there was a bubble around the house and the garden to guard it from the outside world. He who said so is a mechanic and I never thought he would even feel such things but he said that when he was standing on the road he felt lost but when he was standing in the garden there was such a wonderful feeling of coming home, safe and secure.
So I started on that path and to get people interested I also opened an
American style gift store. But in a little while that gift store got in the
way of the meeting place and I lost focus. In June I went back to the first
idea again and opened a café over the summer. I also had what I call
dialogue cafés or salons, during the Spring. I invited a person who talked
about something interesting and we then discussed it over some nice food and
coffee. There was not many people to start with but the last times in May we
had about 15 participants which is as much as I can take in the store. I
have now made a schedule for the Autumn, with a café every second or third
week. People who come here get an introduction into some topic, most of them
has to do with connection to your spirit, and then we talk. There is always
something a little bit more luxurious to eat and of course coffee and tea.
Many people have come during the summer to get the Autumn schedule so the
interest is growing. I have also started to change the things in the store,
there will still be a small part of the café filled with gifts, mostly
angels and other things people use to connect to Spirit. I find that people
are searching for spiritual growth and want guidance for how they can manage
their lives in this time that seems so chaotic.
By the way, a salon is what they had in France after dinner, when the men went for a smoke the women gathered for coffee in the salon. There they discussed things that were important to them, such as politics and childcare and the neighbours relationships. A salon requires an interesting topic, something nice to eat and drink and a mirror with a golden frame.