“The first step toward re-imagining a world gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those who have a different imagination – an imagination that is outside of capitalism as well as communism: an imagination which has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfilment. To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past but who may really be the guides to our future.” ~ Arundhati Roy
“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi
It has been difficult to come back to work when my mind, heart and soul are still somewhere else.
Last December I made the decision of leaving a volunteering position where I’ve been for years and learned about resources, inclusion, service and resilience. I left because I asked myself a question: “am I making enough impact?” “Is this what’s needed and is this where my skills and gifts have their best of uses?” My response was obviously “no”: there are many other caring and great people who can do that job…I’m being called somewhere else.
At the same time, my commitment to another position at the same organization grew stronger: in this one, I have had the opportunity to certify myself as Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management trainer and be called to present workshops at many places, reaching hundreds and becoming (as a mirror) stronger and more resilient myself.
Now I face another big decision: where am I having the biggest impact with my lifestyle, choices and livelihood? Is this work I do what I will remember and will feel proud of when my days come to an end?
Because questions don’t just pop up in your mind out of the blue, this has been an ongoing question for the last two years…last December, I was invited to present at the upcoming BCCDA conference as I did last year as the reception was really good…and I declined.
My heart is somewhere else. And the calling is getting stronger: I feel humbled and inspired for the things that are starting to happen around, things i hadn’t anticipated nor planned: one of my dear sisters in Argentina (I have seven younger siblings, five them sisters) is asking me to provide classes to her and her friends, who want to learn and try Permaculture…then a dear old friend asked me for documents in Spanish because he wants to start a hub with some projects…other friends have been asking and starting projects in Spain and Italy and even here, around me, some ex co-workers are growing their food in community gardens or in their backyards after endless chats at work about Permaculture and the like…
It is funny that a career counsellor may need career counselling herself. I find it difficult to take decisions when they involve other people living with me..and I can’t deny that there is fear to the unknown and a bit of complacency in the mix: after all, everybody likes me where I am and I am good at what I do.
But this split life and personality is taking its toll: during weekdays, I work full time and put on my “CCDP” role to support people in their career choices and settlement issues. There is a lot of desk, computer and administrative work involved, along with workshops, presentations and one-on-one meetings. In a perfect world, I would be absolutely honoured and thrilled to continue doing this and then go home to enjoy the rest of my life around a small garden, books, cats and my kids.
In this world and surrounded of all the predicaments we have as species, things turn out different. I work way into the weekends, evenings and even “vacation” time to complete other tasks such as workshops, meetings and projects for food and gardening resilience, disaster management and first aid. I also blog and offer support to two other organizations, write articles for a magazine, help my children go through their days and moods, read books, articles and news and relax through this blog.
And it is just winter…
Looking at my projects, I feel recharged and motivated. A member from an NTHE forum recently asked me what I do to stay sane…another asked what are we doing to “prepare” ourselves.
As I mentioned to a friend from Transition, I don’t think there are solutions: I think we have to stop thinking about a “Way Out” of this mess and start thinking on a “Way Through” , because we won’t be able to avoid it: quoting William Gibson: ““The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”
I am currently excited preparing new activities and materials for the upcoming EP/DM presentation on Jan 25:
I will post the handouts, case scenarios and outcomes from the workshop here and at my EP/DM blog/website. I always learn new insights and get feedbacks from every new presentation, so no presentation is ever the same…
While being prepared (and experienced) for emergencies and disasters and knowing how to design for both mitigation and adaptation are great skills to acquire, they are not infallible: even the most experienced DM people learn new things from each deployment. With climate change and resource depletion on our backs, things will be increasingly unpredictable and any preparations may fall short: we may need to improvise.
I am also preparing myself for the tough (but fun and resilient-building) work ahead as a TA for Jude Hobbs at the upcoming Permaculture Teachers Training. In between and beyond, I am already committed to many presentations, consultations and projects.
But as I said in my EP/Dm and FA (First Aid) workshops, the best “preparation” is not in the stuff you buy:
No helmet, gloves, bug-out or survival kit, no scout knots, no First Aid technique and no DM strategy will get you through if you are not prepared inside to accept what you can’t change and if your household and community are not prepared.
It is in how you prepare your heart and head for the new and the unknown what gets you through…and to the other side, whatever it may be.
It is said that when we are inside a hole, we can’t see our way out.
“Why do you stay in prison When the door is so wide open?” ~ Rumi, The Essential Rumi
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~ Mother Teresa