Shillim is a place in the Western Ghats of India - Shillim is the name of a small village, and it is the name of a retreat I have worked on for almost twenty years. For me Shillim is also a concept, a practice, and a promise. It has been for me a place of restoration, renewal, as well as struggle and frustration. Often Shillim is a place that I can venture to physically, or simply in my mind, when I feel I am losing myself.
We all have our Shillims - those precious landscapes that have formed us, nurtured us and possibly saved us. We need to safeguard not only the landscapes, but the role all of our Shillims play in the lives of the human species. We are increasingly distanced from wild places, where we connect with who we are as part of a larger natural system. Shillim as a concept is that place where we can reconnect. As a practice it is the ability to move beyond the chatter and exhaustion of our everyday lives, to tap into the deep sense of renewal that a place like Shillim provides, and come back to ourselves. As a promise it is this: that for our children and our grandchildren landscapes like Shillim will still exist.
Margie Ruddick, co-founder and director