Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Posts tagged “permaculture

So… why “Resilient Existence”?

The reed that bends does not break...

The name of this blog is a mouthful.
I know it better than anyone when I have to type it into the address bar, ftp server, etc.
But the name is purposeful and has a lot of meaning.

If you look at the right side of this blog, under “RECENT POSTS”, you’ll see the “TOOLBOX”, which is chock-full of awesome tutorials, videos, podcasts and other resources. It’s all there to help you figure things out on your own, do things yourself (DIY) or do things with others(DIT, Do-It-Together)!

In recent years, there has been a subtle undercurrent that I feel has been diluting the solution-driven, permaculturist movement, and the name of this blog also addresses that on some level.

The reed that bends does not break...

The reed that bends does not break…

You see, there are a whole lot of Lone Wolf types out there, who think that the way to address breakdowns in culture and infrastructure is to hole-up, hunker down, create a wall of resistance, and hoard. They might apply this approach to many different situations – a hurricane, new neighbors, or even general overall uncertainty.

I’ve seen the “I’ll protect me and mine” mindset one too many times, and I believe that it creates more problems, because it’s furthering the idea of scarcity and rigidity. Rigidity is not Resilience, but is often mistaken for it, when paired with a huge body of DIY-type knowledge.

But knowledge is not wisdom. And rigidity is not resilience.

The name of this blog is about what it says- “resilience”, and applying it to how we “exist” in the world. But also, if you remove a bunch of the letters, you are left with the word “RESIST”.
It is a reminder that there are a whole lot of options to go through before one must resort to simply resisting. I do believe that resisting has its time and place, but I am of the firm belief that energy flows wherever your attention goes. If you put your attention and energy into resistance, you’re going to meet a wall. If you put your attention and energy into creating alternatives and solutions, you may get better results.

I was once involved with creating a public charter school, and the biggest lesson I learned from that experience was gleaned by watching not the kids, but the parents. I recognized that there was a distinct split into two types of parents. On the one hand, there were the parents who totally believed in the mission of the school and wanted their children to be in an environment that encompassed the ethics, processes, etc. that were our vision. On the other hand, you had parents who were dissatisfied with the local public schools, many having had bad experiences, and just wanted their kids to go “somewhere else” that wasn’t an expensive private school. The first group may have also had bad experiences with other schools, but were more focused on building what they WANTED. The second group was more focused on what they DIDN’T want. It was often this second group that created drama, made it difficult to get through a board meeting, issued unrealistic demands, and in the end, even caused one incident that cost the school tens of thousands of dollars! I realized that this was a prime example of creating what you put your energy into.

So… once again, I’ll just mention that I think resistance can be useful. For instance, I think it is sometimes necessary when being applied to very large scale issues, like civil rights and social justice, when you really need something to give, shift or heave. Resistance can be non-violent and still work – just ask Ghandi or MLK Jr. But we’ve been conditioned to think of resistance as violent, so that is why I think that other options must be used first, even if they are just buying time while we are reflecting and looking ahead to the possibility of perhaps having to use any kind of resistance. The time that it takes for the “other letters to be removed”, is necessary in order to properly assess what is needed and what would be useful.

Hidden within the name of this blog is a reminder to “slow down” and make sure that any resistance will promote resilience rather than rigidity, and also nurture the existence of all, rather than undermine it or create competition.

I hope this makes sense!

Transitioning through the seasons and pattern recognition

This post is chock-full of stuff, so be forewarned!

I don’t know about you, but this year I’ve been a little “ahead” of the seasons. Maybe it’s the crazy weather, or maybe it’s just the “hurry-up” pace of work, life, technology, etc.
Whatever the reason, I found myself fantasizing about Halloween and apple cider early last month, and although my kale hasn’t even fully invaded my garden yet, I am now looking forward to curling up in layers of blankets and socks, and hibernating with a cup of hot cocoa as snow falls silently outside.
Perhaps I just need a good crisp day of hiking in the autumn foliage to set me right.
With that said, it seems serendipity stuck her foot out and I tripped over this wonderful diagram of the Seasons of Transition.
(click the image to view a larger version)

Diagram of Seasons

Diagram of Seasons

Diagram of Seasons

This diagram actually reminds me a LOT of the 8 Shields model, which allows you to “map many of the phases and relationships occurring in nature, both on a grand scale, and also within the nuances of human learning and culture.”

This includes phases of the day, physical needs, seasons, lifespan, etc. It is an EXCELLENT and very flexible tool for permaculturists who want to map patterns in nature, behavior, and really, just about anything.





The Eight Shields Model:

I’ve used it myself as a guide for mapping the relationships between generational tendencies and Euro-American history, based on the work of Howe & Strauss.  I’ve also used it as an attempt to map our own sentient thought processes and behavior based on the work of David Bohm.
So, as you can tell from the applications, this model is a pretty powerful, useful tool.

8 Handshakes

8 Handshakes

Pattern recognition is a VERY important skill in itself, and there have been tons of really great articles written on its uses in self-sufficiency, the economy, etc.

I would also like to take a moment here to give credit where credit is due. It is my educated guess that all of these models are probably derivative of the Native American use of the “Four Directions”, or “Medicine Wheel”:

Other ancient indigenous cultures used similar models:

Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

YungDrung Bon

YungDrung Bon


Permaculture Free Library

Permaculture Free Library

“…an online service to those who are seeking information about various aspects of Permaculture… The Website is structured to echo the 14 chapters of Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual with an additional 3 sections.”

IDEP's Companion Planting Guide (Permaculture Perspective)

IDEP’s Companion Planting Guide - This chart lists companion plants from a permaculture perspective, and includes things like “antagonistic” or “companion”, and also insect repellant tendancies.

Click here for full PDF

FREE Permaculture eBooks!

“Permaculture is all about one part of a system trying to help another, so this is our attempt to help replicate that, by sharing permaculture knowledge as freely and as widely as we can.

In this section you’ll find a selection of completely free eBook downloads on permaculture and wider environmental topics…”