It has been 18 months since we first locked down with covid. With a high risk person in the house, we have stayed home, had everything delivered, and haven't gone into any building that wasn't a hospital. Luckily we are all mostly introverted, and happy to be home. This year has been used to get a lot done at home, on our land, and to make future plans that accommodate a likely ongoing challenge of interacting in public spaces with a mutating virus and high risk people. This has been a good year to work on finishing my Permaculture Design and Advanced Social Systems Design Certification. To look at ways that we can be more self sufficient, use less resources, build in loops and cycles that are regenerative, grow more of our own food, produce our own energy, and have our home needs grow with the idea of ongoing multigenerational living.
I have realized as we are living in the world of nonstop zoom meetings, that we are losing our connections even while we see people MORE. I for one am in zoom meetings all day every day, and lately miss the days of blogging where we actually connected one on one, communicated, shared, and interacted. When we continued talking outside that one meeting, that one moment. With everyone working from home people have been working more more more and doing more more more meetings and expecting more more more results and connecting on a deeper level less less less. And, with that, people are connecting less, deeply present less. I miss the world of kindness and interactions. Some of it is that people are just overdone and burned out and are not taking the time and energy to be supportive of one another and don't have to deal with the repercussions of being unkind as when the zoom disconnects, the transaction of that energy and moment is completed. The energy of self care supercedes the energy of other people care. It is tough. Permaculture itself is about regenerative systems and relationships and community are systems just as animal waste and energy use are.
So, how do we find those positive connections with people that are people working together towards a common goal in a supportive way that also shows appreciation, respect, and understanding and that does not burn people out? That looks at relationships as regenerative and doesn't chew them up and spit them out? And, builds continuing connections?
There is a point, and that is if we are going to continue living life differently for years (and for us, being carefully protected in this house, due to our needs), how do we pivot our world, interactions, and goals to better fit our place and this land, and create meaningful connections with like-minded people that lift us up and don't tear us down?
I keep coming back to teaching. Sharing in a positive way that supports people and connects while also giving people information that they can use to create their own circle of sustainable existence, or more accurately, regenerative existence. So I have spent a bit of time this summer (after all the zoom meetings) outlining ways to share information and access to knowledge in areas that people don't talk as much about. People teach a lot about how to use herbs. People teach a lot about how to plant things. Grow things. Make things. But what about how to make community, create regenerative relationships that make communities stronger and not undermine them? How can we look at mutual aid, reciprocity, skill sharing, and social systems in a new way and give people ways to make fundamental and systemic change that impacts their whole community? I share this kind of thing one on one with people to help them work in their communities all the time, but there has to be a way to make it more community based and oriented while building upon those connections.
Abstract things are not as simple to teach - I get it. It is easier to say here is a recipe for how to make a salve. It is fixed, repeatable, the same for everyone, and easy. But, there are also 1,500,000,000 salve recipes out there. Is there a recipe for community building? Will it be the same every time for everyone everywhere? Nope. But when we want to make actual change we need to shake up the system or create a new one. So, I have been thinking of how to create something that does all of these things in an accessible way and it comes back to teaching. I want to be a part of something that might share the 1,500,000,001st salve recipe, but also share the recipe for regenerative living, livelihood, activism, simple living, reciprocity based systems, right livelihood and right relationships, and community building.
Working on it.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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