This is a review of my experience creating my third Gaia University Output centred on a permaculture design for my family’s smallholding.
At the start of this output I imagined creating lovely looking CAD designs of our land for people to swoon over. The lightbulb switched on however when I realised the design isn’t about the drawing at all. Its about the work, sweat, caring intent and passion to create a lifestyle that is truly sustainable in a landscape that is regenerating.
The design isn’t the finished A3 print out, its the process. Its the principles. Each of the A3 summaries I have created about various systems at Brook End have been a major learning journey within themselves. Hours spent pouring over books, looking through course notes, searching online and then walking the land in the pouring rain.
Its been a whole year of absorbing information about these beautiful 4 acres and storing them in the back of my mind somewhere only to be pulled out when decided how we can beneficially intervene in this ecosystem. The pdfs paint a picture but behind the summarised paragraphs are hours of work, years of learning and finally the birthing of a succinct summary that can lead to something in the real world.
Looking through my learning journal which also detail my emotional reflections its clear through this output process I have experienced everything internally from emotional divorce from the project, feeling ‘guilty’ investing so much energy in the project and the garden when I ‘should’ be do the radical organising I was before, to feeling deeply connected to the land and ecstatically alive. This output process has also made me realise that as much as I am emotionally engaged with Brook End, my heart lies in ending animal oppression and I know a lot of work lies beyond these hedgerows.
However I can evaluate the role of Brook End in my life and design my future in a way that the problem is the solution – can Brook End offer a way to support my ‘external’ goals e.g. working to end animal agriculture? Through this output I now see that it can and that it doesn’t have to be one or the other, Brook End is integrated into my pathway and heart for good. Reflecting on this has made me value what role Brook End does play in my life:
– Its an emotional sanctuary, a centre for recharging.
– Is the way to reduce my costs of living
– Is the absolute centre of my earth based life & pathway
– Is the source of nourishment on multiple levels
– Is the centre for my livelihood creation – abundance awaits!
– Is a way that I can actually achieve my social change goals, meaning I can work less allowing more time for social organising. Hence the problem is the solution.
“If one focuses on one’s life passion & purpose, money and all goods will come as a result” – Michael Tierra
The main goal I didn’t achieve was being able to use CAD to produce designs. On reflection the main reasons where:
* The output was already quite computer dense and I couldn’t re-design more computer based work anywhere else into life as my evenings were taken up producing the design report and my days were spent at work or in the garden.
*I’d underestimated how challenging I would find the software, it needs a massive amount more energy and attention than I could give.
*I wanted to embrace the depth and content of the design process instead of concentrating on producing an attractive design
* There’s only so many hours in the day!
These lessons will all be acknowledged in my Output 4 Re-design which will be uploaded shortly. I also intend to complete a 6 month Gaia Uni review which will go into greater depth of what and how I am learning and any elements I’d like to re-design into my pathway for the remaining 6 months.