Six Weeks Deep Adaptation Challenge

Playing with design on the shoreline…knowing it will be destroyed makes it more worth…

No, I’m not immune to setbacks, roadblocks, huge philosophical and practical doubts and struggles when it comes to Deep Adaptation, or the huge shift we need to do both internally (inner work) as well as externally (practical life and communities) to navigate the difficult times that are emerging and the ones ahead.

For people who know me well and those who have followed my previous blogs (now closed), you know I have been speaking about climate change, social injustices and resource depletion (among others) and the urgent need for change. Not only speaking, writing and sharing in many ways (person, social media, etc.), but also learning, implementing and even teaching or facilitating many of them for groups, 1-1 and organizational level.

It seems, however, that the saying “once knowing there is not un-knowing” is not so true after all: we don’t just “know” about the predicament and suddenly start changing our lives and systems forever…

For many of us, the changes come slow and may prove as terribly difficult or painful: there are many factors, from health and age to levels of privilege (or the lack of it) to personality (i.e. more introvert people may struggle with the “building community” call for resilience building) to old and well stablished relationships and dynamics (i.e. the spouse, children or other family members are not supportive and may even sabotage any resilience building changes you want to implement). Many of the changes are sometimes reversed: survival and priorities or the urgent always comes before what is perceived as long-term and abstract. We change depending on our level of privilege, not just awareness and caring. Those with some privilege will protect their privilege through complex abstract constructs and justify the slow changes, on the opposite of the spectrum, those with low or no privileges will act from survival and changes may be from unbearable to impossible.

In the Deep Adaptation discussions at the many groups and forums there have been discussions about privilege and how much DA is a privileged thing, as so many have been “adapting” to the changes imposed on them by colonialism, genocide, ecocide, slavery and the many ways humans have been oppressing others.

Learning about the target and agent skills spectrum by Leticia Nieto has helped me to develop compassion and understanding of why we move from indifference to allyship and from survival to re-centering even when it comes to the climate change emergency.

My own response to all this is to come up with a “challenge”. This challenge is supposed to be open and inclusive enough to be helpful (hopefully) to as many individuals and groups as possible.

The technique is not unique, and I have been using it in different ways for my 1-1 and group coaching on regenerative life and livelihood design and resilience building.

Its roots come from permaculture design, whole systems design and regenerative design that I learned, practices and taught, among other places from/at OUR Ecovillage and Gaia Education and are spiced up with practices or ideas from the Work That Reconnects, 8Shields, Cultural Emergence, Transition Network, Good Grief, Art of Mentoring, Art of Hosting, Disaster Management and Deep Adaptation (four “R’s”).

The challenge will take place from now till December 31 (2019) and will have six areas/posts:

  1. Observation, what’s there? What’s happening? Who’s there? How? Why? (auditing)
  2. Assessment (analysing processes and patterns, relationships and dynamics)
  3. Acceptance (what can be change, what cannot, circles of influence, uncertainty, Life)
  4. Deep Listening (what needs to emerge, what can emerge, roles and paths)
  5. What needs to change inside (inner work)
  6. What needs to change outside (outer work)
  7. Bonus week #1 (January): helps and blocks
  8. Bonus week #2 (January): Going Forth


For each week, I will post some reflections, some questions to help you go through the challenge and some suggested resources.

Note: this is part of a program I’m creating to support individuals and groups during these Deep Times. Any feedback would be truly appreciated.

Next week’ challenge is “Observation”. Come back soon for the post!

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