This weekend was filled with love, laughter, learning and connecting during a Permaculture festival organized at the Wild Spirit farm & backpackers, a beautiful spot overlooking the mountains and magical afro-montane forests of the Crags. In these latitudes of planet Earth it was the shortest day of the year, and campfires, dance and warm feelings kept the chill at bay, while in Finland people were celebrating the longest day, sun and midsummer.. as well with fires, community and summer night activities.
I felt very grateful for being part of this weekend. There were talks revolving around the themes of growing one’s own food, using things of and co-living with nature in a “circular manner”, benefitting from the earth’s wonderful design for things, energy use, alternative economies.. as well as nutrition, making the link thus complete – if we are to think of “sustainability”, it better include the inside as well as outside.. 🙂 We need to take care of our intestinal micro-organisms, was one rather important message that I took with from the workshops! As some say, they are connected with other organisms, with our thoughts, emotions, things we eat, things we produce and put out.. we are an interlinked living organism part of a bigger Earth organism and a Universe, and from the smallest thought to our biggest deeds things influence each other.. There was also inspirational informal discussion, socializing and sharing of skills and knowledge during the meantime. Such a peculiar but wonderful group of people gathered together for the weekend!
And there was music! Saturday morning kicked off with a dance movement meditation, engaging those sleepy minds and stiff legs in a releasing, uplifting expression – of as many kinds as there were participants. Music was mostly “co-created” by the Capital Arts Revolution, who truly offered something magical over the weekend.
The CAR folks also started the whole event by giving a workshop to the semi-finalists and finalists of Tshisa Talent Organization, as part of a series of Professional Development workshops that these talented, wonderful artists will attend over the coming few months. To read more about it and the Tshisa Organization, or if you wish to support the work they do in the communities around Plettenberg Bay to provide opportunities for emerging performing artists and in uplifting communities, visit the following site: http://www.givengain.com/cause/6284/posts/137119/
Permaculture is a lot about figuring out ways of living “harmoniously”, with all of existence, taking as little as possible.. a sort of a holistic way of living that has been prevalent as long as living creatures have existed but has in certain ways been partly forgotten, or lost, from some of our cultures over the course of development.. as it seems, that could mean some practical skills but also values such as respect, gratitude and unconditional love that, some say, are things that could well be the starting point of any conservation action, social action.. any action, really; for something positively “sustainable” to truly take place, if such a thing exists.
With the T’Niqua farm owners I was helping out just a little at a house they were renovating in a nearby village for a pastor who is to work in the community. We were to start a veggie patch there – but before the pastor could move in, the plot of land around the house needed to be cleaned of rubbish. Getting into it, garbage back after garbage back was filled.. Wrapping papers, containers, packages, plastics, wires, clothes, condoms, cigarettes, dead rats.. Examining the garbage, I thought how, when you just look at a piece of garbage – it is actually just that, a piece of something. If you don’t put a name on it, you don’t know it, there’s nothing “bad” or ugly about it. I figured that what we perceive ugly depends a lot on how we feel about the things around us. I guess we often see garbage ugly, for example, because we actually know that it’s not supposed to be lying around – or it doesn’t necessarily HAVE to be there. It’s as if we on some level know that the physical aspect of waste is maybe a reflection of waste of our minds. It is so easy to swipe things under the carpet in our minds.. as it is also easy to drop a piece of plastic somewhere without the further thought of what will happen to it.
So, we were intending to dig the garden – and there, under the very top-layer of grass, lay a whole layer of plastic rubbish, dug into the ground. Scraping around, I saw that most of the garden had been used as a dump site of sorts. So – to just do the simple deed of digging a garden, one would need to dig up the plastic first. And that hit me as well – that indeed, with so many things, we have something in our hand, or in our mind, and we can choose at that moment what we do with it. It seems short-sighted to dig plastic in the ground where surely someone will want to work the land one day again. Plastic is of this Earth but manufactured in a way that makes it slow at disintegrating.. and this is just a direct, easy example. Throwing out a piece of rubbish and realizing it may end up in the ocean and thus in your food somehow and thus will come back at you maybe causing illness or shortage of food, or the possible effects on any other creature, are connections not so easy to make – because it also might not be real.. as much as it might be. But we don’t know, not all of it, and we can’t know; not all the consequences of all our actions.
Yet; that exactly is what we may try and do.. live considering our every action, and its consequences. At least realize that there are consequences. Some people live this way, of course.. some out of convention, or social conditioning, or to feel good about “doing good”; some out of sheer will and the inner ignition, they do things without no one else knowing it; for some it is so clear there is nothing to decide or choose because it is just what they are. And we do change of course – behave differently over time. One way or another. 🙂
Where is our home; to where does it reach? Who are we supposed to take care of?
A friend told of this old Indian saying.. Pretty much that, maybe a good way of living is if one thinks ahead 7 generations with every decision one makes.
These sorts of discussions were relevant during the weekend at the Permafest. Responsibility and caring for each other and ourselves. The importance of community.. we are in some ways linked with the communities around us, the natural and social, it all being one. And we can also benefit from these communities – we are here to help each other out, and thus, by asking.. one may receive. And it is a great blessing to have people around who one can trust in to be there to help when needed, and to Co-Create with. The skills and knowledge and wisdom accumulated during our experiences are unique, and in that sense each and every one of us can be the greatest teacher to others.. Only by being whatever one is, at any moment. Just that; and it is enough..! We all are here right now.. there’s no where else you are – so you are right where you are meant to be, right at this moment. These kinds of exchanges were fruitful and made one ponder during this Permafest weekend, and it feels rejuvenating to reflect on such things with others as well as exchange with this “community”.
We are provided with so much, such abundance! Such love and generosity to dip into at any moment of our lives. Sustainability probably can’t exist without equity, though. And thus, some think that if only everyone were to GIVE, and give only.. just take care of their neighbours.. then there’d be no more need. Ideas, perhaps; but seeds of truth to it. We’ve been speaking of conservation, what it is – these set and defined actions. But equally well, non-acting may be conservation. Lots of these permaculture folks try and leave as little a trace on Earth as possible; their approach is one of conservation, and so are those of conserving energy.. using things efficiently and taking care that all loops are considered, if possible. We can all give, love ourselves, extend to our neighbours.. maybe it reaches the whole collective consciousness all over. But it starts with you, with me. Living it and choosing it.. and that choice can be made only right now – and now again; ever in this elusive and eternal moment of now..!
Waste-less life could probably take ones whole time if one was to fully settle into it! A full-time job. The Lunchbox Theatre intends to do a tour with a Waste related show a bit later in the year, to visit different municipalities and just share these messages with the young audiences. I am keen to see how all of that goes, and what sorts of dialogues, or perhaps further actions, this sort of tour might instil. 🙂 Maybe some chats & inspiration the very least!
For a moment of inspiration and enjoyment, if you are keen, have a look at one of these Lunchbox clips:
The Tree show: https://youtu.be/KzVnDdt65yU
The Last Drop, about water conservation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iybn0f1b66g
Or the Whale show, which is about whales and humans and what all there is for us to learn with, from and about the marine life: https://youtu.be/K_yuLpCh4kQ
Speaking of whales: I recently met Alejandra, a researcher based in Plett doing population dynamics research on whales and dolphins. She collaborates with the local Orca foundation that has greatly helped Lunchbox Theatre, too, by linking up with them through their volunteer program and thus enabling these educational shows to reach audiences.
If you are in the Garden route.. :), they welcome citizen science data to help them with the current research and the objectives of trying to link up various previously and currently collected datasets of photographs and audio files.. making more detailed sense of the populations of these wonderful marine creatures inhabiting these waters. On their website, you can also listen to sounds of whales and dolphins:
With that special kind of magical music.. let’s tune in, clear up inside&out and take each new moment as that exactly – a new moment full of potential for creation and life to flourish.