“We are alive because we are serving life more than security, serving growth more than comforting stasis, serving the soul more than the anxious, distracted and fugitive crowd.”

James Hollis

Dear Springhouse community,

Reacting to something known can sometimes be easier than building something new. Have you heard the Native American story of the two wolves? It speaks beautifully to what it takes to create something life-giving. Here it is:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”  The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

What we feed matters. Springhouse is a response to what our culture needs. Our vision is regenerative culture and we build this by creating vitality-centered education. We are fiercely committed to feeding the wolf of love, vitality, and freedom, and like the quote from Dr. Hollis above, we serve life and the vitality of the soul in everything we do. Education is the best cultural leverage point we can see to build life-giving sustainable culture. It is the avenue we take to pass down values and practices to our youth. We have a choice as to whether we will use that pathway to perpetuate unsustainable ways of being or to build something regenerative.  Education must wake us up to life and give us the courage we need to take better care of ourselves, each other, and the planet.

Springhouse teen learners gather outside at the end of a learning day for closing

As we head into our eighth year soon, the identity of Springhouse is becoming clearer. It takes time to develop authentically. Whether we are talking about the development of one person or that of an organization, it is an organic and messy process. We are more aware now of who we are, and who we are not. We know that to build regenerative culture, we must do things very differently than what we are used to when it comes to education. We are not simply an alternative to conventional schooling. We have an entirely different purpose–to build regenerative culture. Because of this, much of what we do, and what we strive for, is very different than the current conventional educational paradigm. 

Springhouse exists to be an example of what is possible when it comes to sustainable communities and culture. We know this happens when vitality is at the center of the design; when human development is tended to appropriately and dynamically; and when we attend to the self and community, foster a sense of place, and explore what authentic work means in education. 

We now share what we are learning with others from around the world in intimate ways through our Education Design Labs. We recently wrapped up our second cohort, and in the capstone project presentations, one participant shared this spoken word poem by Kate Tempest. Take a listen, as it speaks to our vision in a way that made tears stream down my face. If you are curious to engage with us, there are many ways. We are enrolling in our day school for teens, in our adult learning collective, and in the Education Design Lab. 

This life is meant to be lived. I am grateful to be in a learning community where we are doing our best to remember and remind each other of this. Let us all wake up to love this world more deeply. It is time. It’s been time. 

Gratefully yours,


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