Friday, March 26, 2010

Observe and Interact-1 of 12 Permaculture Principles

 "We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.” ~Australian Aboriginal Proverb

The first of the twelve principles of permaculture is to Observe and Interact, which is very similar to Aboriginal Proverb to observe, learn, grow, love. To observe in the purest permaculture sense would be to observe a piece of land, its eco-system, natural resources, the arc of the sun, prevailing wind, drainage, natural pooling areas, identify plants, bug, and animals. So now…what would that look like with self?

You can observe a lot just by watching. ~Yogi Berra

Hint: The elements of self do not look like…
-A list of unrelated items sent to the insurance company as the content and value of ones life.
-A seating list at a charity event with people arraigned according to their ability to donate.
-Checkboxes of species found in your back yard, _Lizard, _Spider, _Bird,..

In all of the above instances the stuff, beings, or nature have been objectified, listing and quantifying are not the same as observing. The first step to observing is to set aside what one thinks they know, along with stories and opinions. This helps to make room for an opening in which information and relationship can take form and flavor. 

With all of the many things that one can observe and interact with, self, community, family, friends, co-workers, nature, try focusing from the ground up. Check out some dirt…can you find ground? Remember eating it as a kid? Do you have edible dirt, or could yard chemicals or other be making it toxic? Is it hard as a rock or soft and earthy rich vibrant and pulsating with life.
Here’s the deal…. It all begins and ends in the darkness of soil.

The ground on which one stands must be grocked to understand life as permaculture and in turn understand to show up as a whole element in a sustainable system. Once one has ground… the sky is the limit because sky plays off of ground.

The body is the interface with this life. I say start with ground because if we want to interact from a place of being a part of the system as opposed to apart from the system we need first to feel our place in the system…Artist, caretaker, worm food…

We are beginning to wake up and realize that ecology and self are one. Yikes!

Forget about hormone-laden milk…Got Dirt? 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Personal Side of the Three Ethics of Permaculture

“We are also concerned about the negative consequences for humanity and for creation resulting from the degradation of some of the basic natural resources such as water air and land, brought about by an economic and technological progress which does not recognize and take into account its limits.” Pope John Paul II

The three ethics of permaculture are- care for the Earth, care for each other, and Fair Share- living within limits while redistributing surplus.

The first two, care for the earth, and care for each other are self explanatory. We are not there yet but the pressure to be ecologically responsible as referenced by the Pope is growing. The seeds have been planted.

Care for each other has been taught for a while now too…do unto others. Progress has been made, progress to be made…

Self-set limits however… for most… sheer heresy.
Sky’s-the-limit is a religion unto itself these days and yet there are those who understand self-limits from a place a of seamless dynamic beauty with-in limits, of stuff, consumption, and reproduction, then sharing surplus. It’s living the embodiment of the story of loves and fishes, owning the abundance and fulfillment in taking what is needed… then passing on and sharing the rest.

What is enough? Must be answered differently by each from vows of poverty simple, sparse and eloquent, or the Bill Gate’s model, amass fortune, keeps plenty for self and strategically invests the rest back into humanity, or…something in-between. It’s not about right or wrong, closer to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, taking the time to understand too small, and too big, and finding our Just Right!

There is another piece which must be in place though in order to begin a sustainable life and that is a real connection with the timeless place of self which connects with all of life. It lives in everyone but not everyone chooses to live from the there. Not living from the place of connectivity to self and the eternal is in truth not living, but that’s hard to explain to those who mistake ideals and opinions as path and passion. It’s the difference between George Washington Carver lovingly coaxing seeds to self-evolve into new and specifically useful hybridized strains, and Monsanto mutating seeds to tolerate poisonous herbicides so they could sell more Round-up.  The thing is, we do this with ourselves, we mutate self into accepting toxic unfulfilling lives which look good from the outside if viewed from one angle. …Smile!

Understand that sustainability is not a to-do list of buy green, drive a Prius, and recycle. Those are optional elements of a whole interrelated system. At the center of the system is self and self’s-connection to the whole…Once clearly owned and connected- life, planet and future can be retro-engineered and accessorized for sustainability. Choices become crystal clear, like food grown with poisons which burn soil, pollutes water and kills off companion eco-systems, can not then be packaged without preservatives and labeled as NATURAL…