With a Little Help of My Friends

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much
~ Helen Keller
A thousand candles can be lighted from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without diminishing that of yourself.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Candle Light by Antokr Stock Photo - image ID: 100165673 from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Candle Light by Antokr Stock Photo – image ID: 100165673 from: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

I love when things start working well, when we take the time to “be there” for our co-workers, family members and friends…it takes some effort to “break the cycle” of the patterns of erosion and hurt, and it is so easy to fall back on complaints, blame, judgement and unrealistic expectations that don’t do anything but perpetuating those cycles…

A series of things started happening these past two months, I’m not sure if it was “the Universe”, “the stars”, or just the fact that when we “immerse our souls in love” (and compassion) all starts changing around us…but the thing is that I have reasons to be grateful to many people around me: starting with my family and my partner who are always there and tolerate all my craziness, endless projects and time away from  home; followed by my extraordinary co-workers who are truly caring and wise people and have supported me and showed me the way in this transitioning from one city-to-another and one-program-to-another; I’m also super grateful to my dear friends from Village Surrey transition group and the Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition who continue working towards community resilience and food sovereignty in such diverse and amazing ways!

To my “Permaculture” friends and community: for all the inspiration when I’m down and feel lost, all the wise words, ideas, projects and tireless energy you all combined have: from my Advanced Permaculture Diploma mentor Delvin to my daily inspirations Looby, Rosemary, David H. and so me many more to the closer friends at O.U.R. Ecovillage and those living in Lasqueti and the Sunshine Coast…and even my dear friends from the “doomers/NTHE” support groups who happen to be the best people in the world, full of wisdom and compassion…

As a token and “pay forward” (backwards?), I would like to share two recent posts from VS website/blog and invite all my readers to work on building your own household and personal resilience: resilience is not only about knowing what to do in an emergency or when someone is hurt; or having a reliable food and water supply close to home; or even re-learning all the ancient skills to be responsible and take care of ourselves and our families…that’s just one part of the equation!

Resilience is about how we re-build ourselves every day, how we solve conflicts and deal with challenges in the personal, household and community levels. How we become humble enough to accept we were wrong and that we may give people and institutions a second chance.

Nobody has the magic ball to see the future, but those of us who have dug into science, ecology, systems thinking, permaculture and sociology may know we are not in a bright place. Even misleading articles like this miss the point about what the combination of climate change, resource depletion and human injustice may bring (and are already bringing to so many). But we all have a chance: the option to choose whether we want to be part of the problem, or part of the solution. There is not such a thing as middle ground: mapping where you are spiritually, socially, politically and ecologically may be the main purpose of your life…and then, choosing not to be idle.

Here there are a few gifts for my readers,

The first is about the practical: water purification by Sharon Buydens: she posts practical stuff of what to do in emergencies. Some clarifications: iodine has long-term side effects and some people are allergic; similar with chlorine bleach, you don’t want to be drinking this forever. Before boiling or purifying water with big sediments or floating stuff, you can filter using any clean fabric. I haven’t tried the UV method myself, so will do some research there.

Second: my dear friend Rick (who after retirement started learning Permaculture and working on food sovereignty) has his first post about food forest here. As side note, my family “vacations” of the last seven years have all been at one of the Gulf Islands: they are amazingly beautiful and peaceful places where people have no other way but living more sustainably and practicing some grade of resilience as they are aware their resources are limited. Many of them have big untouched areas, if you go, please leave them better than you found them. All have camping, cabins and options for wwoofing and work-stay.

Third: If you are interested in exploring community resilience “Permaculture-style”, you can download Starhawk’s Five Fold Path of Productive Meetings (a bonus from her excellent “Empowering manual” book)

Or you can try visiting Place-making to start creating more “people” spaces in your community and building true resilience.

If you are ready for “Inner Permaculture” and want to start working on your own stuff, so you can be healthy enough to deal with what’s “out there”, I highly recommend to gift yourself Looby MacNamara’s book “People & Permaculture

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
~ Anne Frank

Thank you for being that candle in my life…


May you live every day of your life.”~ Jonathan Swift

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