Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Minimalist months

I failed to keep up to date with my Minimalist posts on my blog but I have been doing them religiously over the last year. Ryan, the Communications Coordinator at the Permaculture Association, added a lovely post about my idea on the Permaculture Blog here reminded me that I hadn't written about it over the last year so here is a recap!!


 March saw a whole load of grown-out-of toys find their way to new homes which is always fun. Dh and I have been trying to get all the games in one place in the dining/sitting room area of the house where we only have a certain number of shelves to dedicate to games so we got ruthless even with some games like the one to the right as well as bigger ones we don't use.

Educational toys also got the heave-ho. We would rather someone else use these things than hold onto them. Other things that were bought and only used once or twice also went to new homes as did knitting sets which I had to admit I was never going to get around to doing!!


I got a lovely message from the man who picked up the chess set that his wife loved knitting it all - very satisfying.


Then there was all the stuff that we are just never going to use that went to charity shop. All-in-all a good minimalist month.


 That was April/May time last year. Then November happened with some of the stuff shown below finding new homes as well as a lot of other stuff. Again things that we are never going to use.



What you then realise is that this thing becomes slightly addictive and so now we always have a charity bag on the go and both my dh and I are always looking for ways to reduce our belongings. Even dd has got in on the act and is always looking for ways to cut down on her stuff.

So in preparation for February's minimalist month we have already got rid of a PlayStation 2 and all games, Nintendo DS XL and all games, inline skates, Life of Fred books, I am going through all my CDs at present, I have thrown out at least 100 pens which we didn't need work or we didn't need, etc. We are in a minimalist cycle and although we may never make it to actually living a minimalist life, I would highly recommend this game to everyone. It is fun for all the family.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Ah Permaculture Diploma / New Year - where am I going?

I suppose it is always around this time of year that I contemplate where I am going in the upcoming year. I find January is a time of reflection for me as my birthday falls near the beginning of January as well as being the actual start of a new year.

Well, I got a great surprise in that one of my diploma projects got signed off in January with another one nearing being signed off. I have nearly finished writing up my wonderful collaborative Introduction to Permaculture course design that culminated in York's Introduction to Permaculture course run by 2 other permaculture diploma apprentices and myself back in November.

All very exciting but the diploma is also taking a lot of my time and that is something that I do not have a lot of. So the time has come to re-evaluate.

Something I always thought near the beginning of my diploma journey was using the permaculture principle of designing from patterns to details to concentrate, via my projects, on the circles of my life split up as follows:

1. my house
2. my street
3. my easily walkable neighbourhood
4. my walkable area (within 30 minutes)
5. my locality
6. my city
7. everything else needed to create community / remain connected to everything

with more effort put into 1 through to a lot less effort for no 6 and a weird amount of effort for 7 due to wanting to reclaim entertainment tasks from the economy such as cooking, childcare and fun. Across all the circles there is a need to connect with people, nature and myself and then contribute to the communities in those areas.

I also wanted to honour my quadrinity, as taught in the Hoffman Process, of intellect, spirit, emotion and physical body.

This is not something that I have touched on explicitly so far in any of the 10 designs but they are always in the back of my mind. However all these 11 areas are very important to me in different ways but how do I deal with them all in a way that is understandable? This is something that I have struggled with a lot whilst doing the permaculture diploma. Being dyslexic I tend to think big and assume that everyone is going to get where I am coming from. They don't!!!

All you need to do is look at the number of spreadsheets in my diploma journey planning, logging, documenting project plan here. It makes perfect sense to me but it isn't that easy to follow without some sort of explanation. And therein lies a problem because when it comes down to it I really cannot be bothered to explain all the many small details of my inter-connected way of thinking. I don't have the time and even if I did it would be taking me away from doing all the fab things I get to do. So what do I do now? I don't really have an answer. So I am going to keep doing the things I have been doing since starting the diploma and I will just see where this year takes me. I am going to stick to my plan as long as it doesn't cause me stress.

And so I am going to start with a re-evaluation of myself:

1. I am more than a someone doing a diploma in permaculture, I am more than someone who home educates their children, I am more than a wife, a daughter, a sister, a volunteer at my local community hub, more than a self-employed IT / PA / social media person, more than a friend, more than my jobs, more than my relationships. I am all those things and more.

I am the embodiment of all my relationships / all my connections with the world.

2. What I do does not need to be measured to be valued (do not mistake measurement for value eg. salary, school grades, etc) whether it be via salary, signed off diploma projects or whatever.

3. When I forget who I am and I become disconnected - I need to be aware eg. shopping for stuff I don't need, eating stuff that doesn't fuel my body properly, etc

and then:

4. Celebrate the connections in my life and build more:
i. honour the space I live in eg. declutter (minimalist month), use the space in a conducive manner
ii. continue making cider with people on the street every year, connect with my neighbours in other ways, help-yourself front garden
iii.working at the local community cafe & volunteering at the local youth club
iv. regular walks - health and wellbeing and awareness of my neighbourhood & member of my local Timebank
v. use my local shops eg. greengrocers - local produce, local businesses, local market
vi. walk/cycle as much as possible
vii. grow the great connections I have with my friends and with nature

Intellect
Admit my dysfunctionality
Recognise it = awareness
Confront it = will
Move on = take action

Emotion
Recognise the need to listen (observe)
Recognise the need to be heard
Enlightenment is a group effort or Charles Einstein's idea of us being inter-beings

Spirit
Honour the fact that I am part of nature

Body
Just do stuff and find positive body issues

These are just ramblings that I have written as they have occurred to me against the backdrop of the 11 areas mentioned above. A journalution of sorts (click on the link to find out more about journaling) and there is so much more I could write because working on myself and my place in this amazing universe is never going to end. The universe at present seems to be presenting me with many amazing opportunities to help people get the word out about brilliant courses, fantastic services that will help people find themselves or great products that honour the planet.

I get to continue honouring my planet by being part of the lives of the wonderful natural resources that are a whole host of amazing home educated children (including my own.) The next creative generation!! Every day I get to be part of that. It really needs to be celebrated.

So whether I take a pause from my diploma, give it up, keep working on it - it doesn't actually matter because those 11 areas mentioned above (and so many more) are always in the back of my mind along with the need to looking after the planet I live with.