The End and Uncertain Beginning

And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been
Rainer Maria Rilke

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning
(Little Gidding)”
T.S. Eliot


Big and Small pictures: the lives of those surviving Chernobyl, the Syrians fleeing their country, Argentineans being persecuted for how they think; me wondering about 2016`s goals and changes and my next week`s workshop on making fruit vinegars from scratch…

It all depends…

While everyone is wishing “Happy New Year’s Eve” and arguing whether Carrie Fisher looks like a 59-year old woman should in “The Force Awakens”, my thoughts are somewhere else: the reports saying that 2015 was the warmest year since recording started (they say the same about 2014); the climatologists’ predictions that 2016 will be even warmer and the fact that the North Pole December’s temperature is over freezing point…



My questions navigate around whether I should stay in a job I like and for which I’m good (career counselling for vulnerable communities in a non-profit) but is stealing all hours and energies from all the other projects to build more resilience into my own self, my family and the communities where I live…

I’ve going around in circles for a few years now and things seem not to progress as I had expected: yes, I’ve acquired lots of amazing skills, but what is their value if nothing truly changes?

Reviewing the now ending 2015, I can see the small picture and feel somewhat “accomplished”: I finished four courses from Gaia College’s “Diploma in Permaculture” and have deepened into my knowledge and practice; I’ve read many excellent books on Permaculture, urban food production, self-reliance, simplicity living and the state of the world; I’ve presented workshops on Disaster Preparedness, First Aid, building Soils’ health and Food Preservation; I’ve learned about Remote and Wilderness First Aid, Psychological and Mental Health First Aid and I have finished the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (except the Capstone Project that I still need to submit).

I’ve also started new paths and partnerships: the Herbalist diploma for which I’m still studying and collecting samples; the advanced Diploma in Permaculture with Gaia Craft and Delvin Solkinson as my mentor; workshops on self-reliance presented at diverse venues and on diverse topics and my new role as Master Trainer for the Canadian Diabetes Association program “Food Skills” for vulnerable communities…

I’ve managed to do all this while being a mother of two teenagers and a partner of a very patient man and lately, I have also navigated the difficult transition from a full-time job at 15 minutes from home to a very similar, also full-time job at 2-hours by transit from home (and other 2 hours back!)


2016 is a special year for me: It will be 50 years since I came to take this shape in this body in this planet, my home…Greek philosopher Plato once said that people would only start their adult lives at 50, so I better oblige!

The end of any year is only meaningful for us humans: none of the other species truly care. They may care much more about the pass of the seasons, the availability of food and the stability of their habitats and ecosystems that sustain their life.

Whether I work in a non-profit or as a vagabond community-activist-teacher sharing a variety of self-reliance skills is only important to me and my close family. Others may be concerned about having a roof, fleeing from war, terrorism, corruption or hunger, having enough food or paying impossible debts.

Life is all about the small and the big pictures: for each one of us, our issues and decisions matter; however, there is a bigger world out there that should matter the most: nothing of what we care about and concern our small lives with would make any further sense if the systems that sustain our life and the communities we are part of stop to function…


My Resolutions

  • Put my own house in order: focus on my own health and recovering the energy and strength I need to continue doing what I`m doing until I`m allowed to do so
  • Simplify to the bare minimum, so I can finally become fully dedicated to what I perceive as needed: building household and community resilience through self-reliance, re-building basic skills and simplifying
  • Work on my Inner and Household Permaculture Map and Design (will help with above goal)
  • Work on the extended Permaculture Map and Design with a focus on system intervention to build different patterns of independence and resilience


I suspect 2016 will be both an inspiring and challenging year: we will probably notice more how Climate Change has now became unstoppable and truly dangerous. However, as COP21 showed, those with the power to legislate and implement at a bigger level will continue to be in denial until is too late.

I suspect that what has been predicted in terms of how our behaviour would affect soils, air quality, water, crops and social/political stability and the like is already happening and will worsen…

When despair and pain wants to settle, I turn to the big picture for comfort: to the trees and the forests ecosystems, the birds and the small worms under my feet…I turn to travelling and wondering around those I admire and love: those who have already chosen a different path…

In this end of another spin around the sun, I wish you all well: May 2016 be a year of deeper awareness and independence-seeking; may you create more resilience for yourself and your loved ones and may your ecological footprint become minimal while your impact in the world grows bigger.

I leave you with a beautiful short video produced by Conservation International:

I am Home. I give you comfort. I shelter your family. See me for who I am: home sweet home. I am your refuge. I am the floor that supports you. The foundation that keeps you steady. The walls that give you shelter. The roof that protects you. I am your home. If you don’t take care of me, I cannot take care of you.” ~ “Home” (Conservation International)

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Radner

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. 
…live in the question
Rainer Maria RilkeLetters to a Young Poet

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