I Was Mistaken About Resilience

As soon as enough people in contemporary societies progress beyond adolescence, the entire consumer-driven economy and egocentric lifestyle will implode. The adolescent society is actually quite unstable due to its incongruence with the primary patterns of living systems. The industrial growth society is simply incompatible with collective human maturity. No true adult wants to be a consumer, worker bee, or tycoon, or a soldier in an imperial war, and none would go through these motions if there were other options at hand. The enlivened soul and wild nature are deadly to industrial growth economies – and vice versa.
~ Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World

The gifts are near the wounds. In order to get to the gifts you have to go near the wounds,” Michael Meade

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I started this blog with the intention to bring permaculture to mainstream and to demonstrate that even in the middle of the suburbs and with all the real excuses we have (9-5 jobs, family, mortgage, social commitments, un-fitness, lack of proper initiation on so needed skills, etc.) we could still start what in Permaculture is known as an Energy Descent Action Plan, a transition to a much more resilient, ethical and sustainable life.

In the years that passed, I have been somewhat inconsistent around posting, staying on topic and sharing the tools, resources and adventures in learning and sharing new skills. That inconsistency is probably the biggest challenge and the main barrier we have when still attached to an industrial, extractive, capitalistic society.

I started by throwing myself into PDCs and permaculture projects; I explored the many connections between resilience, permaculture and my own skills and passion for emergency preparedness, wilderness survivalism and food sovereignty. I presented workshops at community centers, classes, family and church gatherings, grassroots groups, transition groups, ecovillages and more formally organized conferences. I preached the ethics and skills to my more mainstream but wonderful co-workers in the non-profit sector and some even adopted some of the practices in the form of community gardens, home gardens, homemade food preservation skills or even complete life-changes that including selling houses and moving to rural areas.

No matter where I was or who I had beside me, through all my journey I noticed a pattern: the “People Care” of permaculture was not fully embraced, even where best intentions were present, there was always a piece missing, either through subtle hierarchies, patriarchic approaches, subtle oppression or power struggles, lack of full inclusion, low compassion, etc. : all of them ego-feeding issues, issues from disconnection, from ourselves, each other and nature.

I did learn a lot and particularly in the People Care department from some special mentors and places or groups. My own veil of prejudice (of which I was unaware) and oppressive or negligent practices started to fall.

The last year (2016) pushed me more and more towards the center. I finally understood that my strength may not reside in Wilderness First Aid, Disaster Management, Organic Gardening or Permaculture, even when I’ve been practicing and teaching all these. Nor were there in my (failed) attempts to wander into the worlds of horticulture and herbalism.

My real strengths were with inner work. Being a tool to support others in getting their veils taken away, finding their path and showing them their gifts (which are most of the time, close to where their wounds are, as Michael Meade says), so they can use them to heal the world, one person at a time, one ecosystem at a time…

Here are some words that support my Life Coaching practice and beliefs: “You can see that what is feeding your creative path is not about you and your ego; it’s about service and what supports the future generations.” Says Jon Young from 8 Shields Institute, and then: “it is a citizen’s duty to look for the gifts in others, because maybe you are the only person that can recognize that gift and it is therefore your responsibility to help that person to recognize it themselves.

Like Jon Young, I started out to build “external” resilience: build a garden that feeds you, learn emergency preparedness, disaster management and first aid, look at the systems that provide energy and transportation. Look at the systems that provide income and structural support.

I look at all of them and learned a lot.

But in all the aspects I saw the same: you can’t survive a disaster, a collapse, anything if you are not strong enough where it matters: inside and in community.

That doesn’t mean you won’t build a food garden, detach yourself from what you don’t need, learn new skills to save lives…

Now is the time to build the real resilience: the resilience of the soul. The only one that truly matters.

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