We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 38 - Fransje Voncken

A spotlight on Fransje Voncken

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Guest Spotlight

A spotlight on Fransje Voncken

26 Oct, 2023
We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 38 - Fransje Voncken
Fransje Voncken, affectionately known as Fran, originates from Haarlem, Netherlands, where her early years were profoundly influenced by her family's lineage of educators.
This upbringing instilled in her a deep appreciation for both the commonalities and the rich tapestry of differences among people, as well as an innate connection to the natural world and diverse cultures.

As Fran embarked on her professional journey, she wholeheartedly committed herself to challenging the norms within industries that lacked transparency and were environmentally detrimental, particularly in the field of sustainable energy in the Netherlands.

However, as time progressed, she began to feel a growing urge to pass the torch to the next generation. Despite her youthful age of 33, she recognised the need to explore her inner calling—a journey focused on humanity, the Earth, connectivity, and the acquisition of knowledge through shared experiences.

Fran's path led her to the vibrant energy and ancient wisdom of indigenous communities. This profound connection eventually guided her to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, where she spent significant time among the Yawanawá people, with a particular reverence for the sacred Samauma trees. These colossal giants, reaching up to 100 metres in height and spanning over a millennium in age, serve not only as the geographic centre of Yawanawá villages but also as the guardians of the entire Amazon ecosystem. The ceremonies held beneath them are not mere rituals, but profound communion with Mother Nature and the spirits of their ancestors.

Fran vividly recounts how the Yawanawá's harmonious songs, interwoven with the symphony of nature and ancestral spirits, were nothing short of transformative for her. The melodies coursed through her, awakening a profound realisation: the modern Western world has become painfully disconnected from the natural world. This disconnection, both physical and spiritual, underscores a shared amnesia among humanity that must be remembered.

In an era fraught with environmental challenges, Fran's words beckon us to awaken collectively and to rekindle our profound, ancestral bond with the natural world. Her message serves as a poignant reminder that the time is ripe for the restoration of this essential relationship.

Fran has always possessed a natural proclivity for positivity and connection. She thrives in settings filled with light, love, and deep conversations that unite people. However, she candidly acknowledges that in the past, she has struggled with embracing discomfort. In the latest We Walk The Earth podcast, Fran shares a personal example of her previous approach to dealing with headaches—seeking quick relief through methods like ibuprofen.

Her perspective underwent a profound transformation as she began to view every emotional trigger or discomfort as an opportunity for growth. This newfound awareness led her to value the beauty of introspection and to listen attentively to her inner world. By delving deeper into her emotions and thoughts, she sought to understand the root causes of her discomfort, much like identifying the underlying source of a headache. This shift in mindset not only revolutionised her approach to life, but also enriched her relationships—opening doors to a deeper understanding of human capabilities and the significance of inner exploration.

In a world perpetually inundated with news and external stimuli, Fran further reflects on the overwhelming nature of constant consumption, underscoring how the ceaseless stream of news can flood your inner world with external energies, diverting attention from personal lives and the profound connections that can be fostered with those around us.

Fran's dedication to learning and development carries on the educational legacy of her family. With a treasure trove of life experiences and a profound love for the natural world, she is passionately committed to rekindling ancient memories within all of us.

At the helm of Learning Mission, she collaborates closely with mission-driven organisations, equipping them with cultural and social tools gleaned from her interactions with wise elders in remote communities worldwide.

Throughout her journey, she has navigated diverse challenges in various global settings, and recently forged a partnership with Water Now—a United States-based NGO focused on providing clean drinking water to isolated communities grappling with water source contamination. Next year, Fran will return to the Amazon with Water Now, working to establish safe drinking water for the Huni Kuin community.

Fran eloquently conveys that each person, regardless of their origin, is a unique individual, yet they all share a common humanity defined by emotions and desires. Her travels have expanded her horizons, offering fresh perspectives on the world.

She extends an invitation to Sergio and the entire We Walk The Earth community to join her on a learning journey in Brazil's Cerrado territory next year—an inspiring call to action. This journey aims to unite individuals who share a profound passion for transformative experiences. It will bring together indigenous leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds and traditional communities, alongside leaders and change-makers from Western countries.

This convergence presents a unique opportunity for these diverse voices to embark on a shared exploration of the Cerrado region, forging connections with the land, addressing contemporary challenges, and engaging in meaningful dialogues. Fran's words carry a powerful message, resonating with her commitment to fostering understanding, unity, and collective learning, all in the pursuit of creating positive change in the world.

To delve deeper into Fransje Voncken's passion for people, nature, indigenous cultures, African and Brazilian music, and dance, tune in to Episode 38 of We Walk The Earth, "Our Indigenous Memory with Fransje Voncken," available now wherever you get your podcasts.

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