Reflecting on the power of individual choice…

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Winter mist on our local lake ~ a perfect place for reflection

In the great seasonal cycle of the year, Winter; when there is little for us to do outside, is the time that nature has offered us for reflection. Yet instead, our artificially-created busyness keeps us pre-occupied (working all hours to earn enough money to pay the mortgage* & keep on top of our debts) & this, as far as I’m concerned is happening for a particular reason. If we were actually allowed the time to think, to feel… most of us would quickly see through the way that we are all being manipulated & demand significant change.
In his younger years, Aussie Bill Mollison was a logger, until he realised that he & his fellow labourers were being worked to exhaustion to keep them from finding the time to think about what they were doing. That realisation led him to take responsibility for the choices that he was making & to reconsider his life path. He went on to spend many years observing natural systems & noticing what made them so inherently stable. From this he redesigned existing human systems to work in harmony with nature, something he was later to call ‘Permaculture’. His set of design tools & methods has since inspired milllions worldwide into making more ecologically sustainable lifestyle choices & we can use them ourselves too.
So, taking the time to reflect can be a life changing experience & getting out into nature & leaving behind the things that remind us of our busy lives can help us to do this. Walking alone can be very meditative & helps us to remember that the true nature of the World in which we live is actually a completely supportive one. Recognise that we are nourished in every moment by the warmth of the sun, the air that we breathe, the abundance of water both inside our cells & all around us (just notice how much there is around in the morning dew & the clouds in the sky). All of these are freely given to us & food grows abundantly all around (mostly unnoticed & unrecognised!). The World is not out to get us, regardless of how it may seem…
Training Nepali women in permaculture gardening techniques
Training Nepali women in permaculture gardening techniques
Yet, even with this new perspective on the World, most us still feel powerless to change the way things are. Regularly, tragedies sent shockwaves across the globe through the global media & yet we are still being led to believe that the most that we can do to help is to send some money. This might be a good idea if this money all got through to the people who needed it & was spent wisely (there are some excellent permaculture projects in many two-thirds world countries), but in one friend’s home I saw an appeal letter that was asking for, amongst other dubious things, sweets! Ironically, I suspect that most of the aid money that is being sent will be spent buying medicines, pesticides & numerous other dubious products from the very same multinational corporations whose drive for ever-greater profit has been causing these problems in the first place.

We have the power….

It can all seem very depressing, but these companies can only sell us a way of life that we are willing to buy. The real power lies with us, the consumers (now there’s a word to ponder too…). The simple truth is that we are all in a position to make a difference on a day to day basis & that we have all been in some way responsible for what has occurred, not just this time, but on many previous occasions too. I believe that our climate is being stirred up by a collection of factors that we have all been inadvertently funding. The situation is certainly serious, but instead of being scared about it (which is worse than pointless), we all need to take some positive action.
Buy locally grown seasonal produce...
The daily choices that we make have either a positive or a negative effect upon our environment & believe me, those choices are significant. Have you ever considered how much of your income (& time) that you spend each week on just obtaining food? Now multiply this up for a whole year. Then multiply that by the number of people in our country alone. It’s a big number isn’t it?
So, where do you currently choose to spend that money (at the supermarket or from local producers & family businesses)? How do you spend that time (travelling back & forth from the shops & queueing at checkouts or growing your own in your garden)? These are choices that we can decide to change in any moment. We can decide to do that now. Every little thing that we change for the better makes a difference & is always worth doing. Is it clear now that we are not as powerless as we have all been led to believe?
* Get an English-French dictionary & translate ‘mort’ & ‘gage’!

To find out more about permaculture have a look at my blog, videos, publications and courses page