Going it alone
For the last seven months I have been a Transitioners without an initiative, I have been going it alone. I have had the support of my lovely friends and family, but I haven't been able to contribute to local community resilience building. I have realised that in the past this was where I derived a lot of my feeling of resilience from, building these resources, but the last seven months have made me realise that this on its own is not enough, you really do have to pay attention to your personal resilience too.
- the individual internal (why I do - my feelings, beliefs, assumptions)
- the individual external (what I do - my actions)
- the collective internal (why we do - cultural beliefs, norms, collective wisdom etc)
- the collective external (what we do - infrastructure, politics, processes and systems etc)
This is a structure called the Integral Model, which was developed by Ken Wilbur (A Theory of Everything, 2000). I find it really useful for understanding how broad the scope of resilience is. So even without the collective elements currently available I could still work on my individual resilience.
As Mandy so movingly highlighted yesterday paying attention to Individual Inner resilience is very important. In essence I think of it as having the right mindset to respond to change in a positive and productive way. It is a lifelong journey, but one that is well worth undertaking!
One aspect of this is challenging your assumptions and beliefs to see if they are up to the job. It is only recently that I have been realising just how many of my beliefs and assumptions have been influenced by cultural beliefs and norms. Our approach to problems and hard times is one of these that I have really noticed. Culturally problems are seen as a negative, a barrier that frustrates your progress towards where you want to be, we go through really hard times where life is just out to cause us pain. Alternatively we could reframe problems as learning experiences, the times that challenge our assumptions, make us take a step back, reflect on life and be inspired to take a different path. As the permaculture saying goes, the problem is the solution. We could see the good times and the hard times as two halves of the same whole, they balance each other out.
These are some of the topics that should be covered in heart and soul groups. I can't really remember if we discussed this in the Transition Norwich Heart and Soul group, I was at the very beginning of my inner journey then and so everything was new to me. They are discussions I would be very interested to have as a community now though.
I feel my Individual Outer resilience, relating to my actions, has suffered somewhat from being nomadic. Hopefully my actions towards other people, being helpful, caring and understanding, haven't suffered too much, but my actions towards the planet definitely have. Too much travelling, too difficult to always find local, organic food, forgeting to take something with me so I have to buy another one. Definitiely not resilient patterns, but I'm not going to be too hard on myself because I have still been trying, but I am looking forward to settling down in one place again so that I can make positive changes in this area. I think one of my favourite topics, reskilling, also fits into this category. I have actually been doing pretty well at this, learning lots of folk dancing (vital to personal wellbeing!!), starting to investigate fermented foods, doing a bit of green woodwork, trying out some more foraged foods (I would recommend Dulse stew!) and learning about permaculture. As Ann highighted on Monday having lots of strings to your bow is a good way of building resilience.
Well now change has come again for me. I am settling in Shrewsbury, so I have a collective again. I have learnt my lesson though, I'm not going to focus on the collective and ignore my personal resilience. I'm going to advance on all fronts!
A lot of my (still evolving) thinking in this blog has come from reading Looby Macnamara's People and Permaculture book. Lots of invaluable ideas and actions around sustainability.
Photos: Standing on my head in the Lake District & my new home! An aerial photograph of Shrewsbury