“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Things are getting a bit strange for me.
Last year was a real roller-coaster and in many ways, an eye opener. For each one of us there’s always the question of where do we do a better job and what is our role, if any, in all this we call “World”, “Life”, is there any role at all or do we create our own purpose and roles?
I am inclined to believe that the latter is true: there is no externally imposed or planned purpose or role, except that of our biological role in the ecosystem we are part. Anything beyond the common sense dictated by Nature, is just our imagination and we are “free” to decide what other roles and purposes we want to play (free depending on our privileged or unprivileged circumstances of location, class, historical moment, etc.)
My role, and that of any other human being alive today, needs to be then, that of listener and observer of the land and its inhabitants, that of regenerator, repairer and of being that lives within its very real limits: the limits of the soil, water, air, and all what we call “resources” that is no other than other beings (trees, fungi, bugs, plants and animals we use and eat) and elements (which have the same right to be here as we do, not less, not more).
If we each could understand that simple truth! That would be the solution to all our current and future predicaments: live within the natural limits this amazing planet asks from all of us.
The above reflection, added to my deep frustration and disillusionment of many groups, movements and individuals who claim to be doing certain things but fall really short or are delusional altogether, have put me in the spot I am today: I no longer want to be a “community mobilizer” and no longer feel the call to teach anyone anything about resilience or sustainability.
I am called to live my life according to the limits of Mother Earth and to do things when they are truly asked for, wanted and appreciated by those who receive them. No more, no less.
A lot of people promote themselves as saviours, leaders, teachers and experts. They scream their lungs off about how concerned they are about social justice, climate change, food security and the like…and then in the everyday work, they show up as bossy, entitled, judgemental, selfish and end up using more resources and polluting more than many others they criticize…
My own “community” (if community is the place I live and work in, or, in a second option, if community is defined by my ethnicity or cultural group) is truly unconcerned by the things going on in the world. My “real” community exists far away, in towns and places where I need to travel to meet them, some close, some far…
So I have decided to keep my things small at the local level, concern myself for the things that impact me and my family, and contribute with causes where I see a bigger picture, sustained by authentic people who have showed enough courage and understanding, even if we may not be 100% aligned in how we approach things out.
I had, however, embraced two different projects that are well underway:
The first one is that I have been hired for the Work that Reconnects Network Coordinator, along with another woman. Between the two of us, along with an amazing team of caring, authentic and deeply involved people, we will spread the word about the network and the important work that the WTR Network is doing with activists and peoples from all backgrounds and walks of life.
The WTR Network, while based on Joanna Macy’s books (Active Hope, Widening Circles & Coming Back to Life), expands beyond the workshops and explores difficult but important areas of privilege and oppression and how these elements are also part of our predicaments and both the Big Unravelling and the Great Turning that are simultaneously happening in the world.
I decided to join this team because I’m part of a year-long WTR facilitators’ development program that focuses, among other things, in how we address privilege and oppression within the Work.
I believe that the main reason many well intentioned projects, changes and even revolutions fail is because people have not addressed the roots of what’s happening: just turning the wheels without addressing something as pervasive as the roots for oppression and privilege will never be enough. We will be doomed to continue the wetiko model with other players, but nothing will really change.
If you want to know more about the WTR Network and what they do, visit here: https://workthatreconnects.org/ , I will be in charge of the newsletter and social media aspects as well as providing supports for workshops and events.
My second project is with the first Permaculture Women’s guild, where I am teaching a module in the upcoming online all-women PDC along with other ~40 amazing women around the world.
I joined late, so I missed some of my dearest topics in a PDC, such as patterns, the design web, inner and social permaculture…but as this will be an enhanced online PDC, there are a few more topics and mine will be on the Art of Hosting (AoH) and its intersection with permaculture.
The project will include an anthology (printed as a book) featuring all of us 40+ women in permaculture. I’m honoured to share this space with so many amazing women whose work has not been yet fully recognized by the permaculture community (and the world). The project is being coordinated by the amazing Heather Jo Flores, who is also running a few other online courses and who I had the honour to coach briefly last year.
So that’s it!
My life path is not a straight forward road, nor has been paved or signaled. It is messy and full of many roadblocks and crossroads. I had stumbled so much that sometimes I wonder if I came to this world ill-equipped to deal with the choices. Then I realize that all we did, just that the road has been different for each, that we each need to unpack the backpack and re-arrange it again, letting go of some things, learning to accept others, and even fighting to acquire others we were never given.