Transitioners’ Digest (January – February 2016) Burn out and Balance.
By rob hopkins 29th February 2016
During January and February, we have been exploring the theme of Burnout and Balance, and it’s been fascinating. We began with an editorial piece from Sophy Banks that focused on the causes of burnout – the physical, the personal, the cultural and some of the unconscious processes that are much harder to spot. She also shared her thoughts in an in-depth interview in which she told us, “There are extraordinary levels of defence against very simple pieces of good human technology in our culture”.
In ‘My name is Claire and I’m in recovery from addiction to activism’, Transition Network’s new Inner Transition Coordinator Claire Milne shared about her transformational experience of recovering from extreme burn out. We also talked to Chris Johnstone, who, in an in depth interview, told us “there’s a saying that “in order to burn out, you need to first be on fire””. He also gave us 5 wonderful Tips for Avoiding Burnout, which we collected in one place here. Clare Power, a Lecturer at Western Sydney University, shared her research findings about Transition and burnout: the Australian experience. “That so many of us in Transition experience burnout suggests we haven’t quite achieved the balance”, she told us.
We heard the ‘Burnout Tales’ of those who’ve burn out, and found a way out the other side. Chrissie Godfrey was formerly a co-ordinator of Transition Town Taunton (which she co-founded in 2008), but in 2012 suffered from a serious case of burnout. We asked her to tell her story, and we are deeply grateful for her honesty and for sharing her experience:.
Catherine Sutton of Albany, CA, shared her burnout tale. “A Winter Solstice wreath-making party in Albany, CA. was a wild success with 50 adults and children having a whale of a creative time”, she told us, “And I wasn’t even there! My burnout is officially over.”
We heard the story of Transition Initiative of Linda-a-Velha (in Portugal) who told us that thriving is about ‘Neighbouring’, a new verb that they invented. They shared their story of our particularly unique and mysterious path, one that invites us to reflect deeply on the mysteries of human nature, of relationships and of what really matters, of what is essential in order for us to thrive.
In a fascinating and insightful piece, Unangan elder Ilarion Merculieff shared his reflections on what indigenous cultures can teach us about burnout. Lou Hemmerman, a sustainable activism researcher and facilitator with Ecodharma, shared her thoughts on activism and burnout, arguing not for “an activism that saves the world for those of the future through the sacrifice of those who live in the present”, rather for one that “embraces the transformative potential of everyday action”. We wrapped up the theme of burnout and balance with Rob Hopkins and Claire Milne creating a ‘Burn out Audit’, which Rob then reflected on. Perhaps you might like to try it too?
Away from our Burnout theme, Rob Hopkins mused, following an exhibition about Tibetan culture, on what makes a good export, reported on an evening in London about the importance of oral history for Transition initiatives, reviewed a book called ‘The Island That Never Was’, and another called ‘The Urban Farmer’, reflected on “Why we need more mavericks, not less”, viewed the emergent new economy thorough a glass of craft beer, and chewed over ‘How Amazon debases our language, and how we can take it back’.
Justin Kenrick and Tom Henfrey shared their latest paper on Transition, Climate Commons and Hope: the Transition movement in global perspective. We heard the inspiring story of Transition Kensal to Kilburn‘s Unthinkable Drinkable project. We had an update on our guide for how Transition groups can most effectively work with their local Neighbourhood Plan process.
And finally, we heard about the unstoppable rise of the film ‘Demain’, which last weekend won ‘Best Documentary’ at the prestigious ‘Cesar’ awards in Paris. We send them our heartiest congratulations.