This month our theme has been ‘Celebration’. We have set out to explore 5 questions: Why do you celebrate? Why is celebration important? What are the ingredients of good celebration? What is the wider context for celebration? What is the personal context for celebration? We started by addressing some of these questions, especially the third one, in our monthly editorial. It reflected on Transition Town Lewes’ recent ‘Seven Year Itch’ celebration, and what some of the key ingredients of good celebration might be.
We published a beautiful article by Ian Wild, drama teacher at Kinsale Further Education College in Ireland, a celebration of the cob and cordwood amphitheatre built at the college, which in itself links back to the very earliest days of Transition, as well as being a celebration of the power of natural building materials. While not really part of our theme, we also heard from Naomi Oreskes about her recent book The Merchants of Doubt and what it tells us about the roots of organised climate scepticism.
Site editor Rob Hopkins has been on the road (well, train) recently, and shared his reflections on two recent trips, one to Germany for the launch of the German edition of The Power of Just Doing Stuff, (Einfach. Jetzt. Machen!), and one to Lancaster for the recent Roadshow event there. He also shared the odd tale of ‘The House That Baz Built’.
Ecopsychologist and addictions specialist Chris Johnstone helped us to address the question of “why is celebration important?” “Without celebration we wither away” he told us. “Celebration is a form of psychological nourishment and it’s absolutely vital to keep ourselves going”, he continued, before wrapping up the interview with some music. For the wider context question we had also hoped to interview John Croft, founder of ‘Dragon Dreaming’, but it just didn’t quite work out. Perhaps another time.
Sophy Banks, in her monthly column shared what felt for her to be some of the key ingredients for building “A Culture of Celebration”. She also discussed why it is so important to build appreciation into how our Transition groups work:
“Brain scientists have found that our brains are wired to be like Velcro to criticism – it goes in really quickly, and sticks – but like Teflon to praise – it slips past and is slow to go in”.
Fiona Ward of the REconomy Project, in a post called On learning to celebrate a £10,000 failure, looked very honestly at the failure of an early REconomy Project, and what she learnt from it, an experience she described as:
“…one of being willing to stop heading in a direction that required too much efforting to make it work (and was perhaps too entrenched in traditional thinking), and to admit it wasn’t working. Then lift up my head, take time to reflect and then tap into a direction that felt/feels much more effortless, where energy and results naturally seem to flow”.
Three Transition initiatives shared their stories of “How We Celebrate”. Crystal Palace Transition Town’s Joe Duggan talked about how their AGM has become the opportunity for a great celebration of all that the group has achieved over the previous year (*Spoiler Alert* which is really rather a lot).
Four members of Transition Bristol wrote about their recent Small Green Sunday event, reflecting on what the group has done over the past 7 years. We also heard how Transition Town Wilmslow’s Energy Group weave celebration into what they do.
Transition Network’s Ben Brangwyn interviewed author, social entrepreneur, thinker, blogger and systems thinker, and also member of Bowen in Transition, Dave Pollard, while he was at Schumacher College recently for their Dark Mountain course. They looked at celebration from Dave’s own very particular angle.
Our theme for August will be, as it has been for the past couple of Augusts, The Power of Not Doing Stuff, where we try to model taking time away from doing Transition, switching off phone and laptops and reconnecting with ourselves, our families and the actual living, breathing world. We will be back for the start of September with the theme of Making Space for Nature, which promises to be fascinating. See you soon.