Exploring permaculture with new eyes

bee-on-flower-permacultureThis week we have a fantastic “Change the world Wednesday” challenge from Reduce Footprints which involves International permaculture day.

She writes “The first step in practising permaculture is to observe. So this week, let’s start by observing nature. Take some time, step outside and observe everything around you. Look at sunlight patterns and the direction of plant growth. Are the plants in your area native and how does that affect their growth and care?

Make note of where water collects on your property and where it comes from. Observe the phases of the moon and consider how that affects the natural world. Pay attention to insects and birds … observe how their interaction with plants, animals and each other affects the environment. Then, come back here and report your findings. Were you surprised at anything you discovered? Will you make any changes based on your observations? We want to hear it all!”

Well I can’t wait to get stuck into this for a very personal reason.

Recently I’ve been struggling with my mental health. I’ve felt anxious, stressed and felt as if my life is out of control.

Last night I was woken from a dream which had such a clear and simple message: treat yourself with the compassion and tenderness you give to your child.

Wow! I woke up crying as I realised I have been beating myself up for years. My inner critic and perfectionist is relentless; she’s always telling me I’m not good enough, that my best isn’t good enough and that I need to do more and more and more…

The trouble is, the more I do, the more stressed I get and I forget to stop, smell the roses and focus on my achievements. I’m always chasing the next thing because my perception is that what I’ve just done isn’t good enough.

So you can imagine my inner child is really excited about this week’s challenge – I get the opportunity to switch off my mind, lay aside judgement and spend time with the greatest teacher and most compassionate and giving of beings in my life – Mother Nature.

I’ve forgotten to notice, I’ve become so wrapped up in my thoughts and emotions that I’ve identified with them and become them. I feel disconnected from the Universe and nature but, as crazy as it sounds, I’ve not known how to fix it. You know how it is when you are so emotionally attached to something you can’t see straight…

So here, thanks to the wisdom of small footprints, is my answer – nature!

I’ll let you know how I get on!

What about you; are you up for a week of noticing and being? Would your mind like a break from the busy-ness of life?


  1. nadine sellers on May 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    hello dream healer! had you been at my doorstep at dawn, you would have heard the song of a finch no doubt fetching for his female partner from the tall shade trees..with full view of my berry bushes below..temperatures still mild for transplanting native species..toads making tunnels–ready to feast on the slugs and bugs which devour seedling okra–sunchokes gaining height toward the moon.. loads of branches trimmed from over-eager trees have been laid at the feet of the young fruit trees–the really dead peach tree making way to manchurian apricot trees.
    here was the morning tour of our narrow plot on a hillside. you are always welcome here to scratch the dirt and come up with local goodness. with tender thoughts.

  2. Mairi Stones on May 13, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Nice and simple, observe and be with. I know about dealing with the inner critic and perfectionism both of which were part of the drivers that led to my burnout with CFS, not worth it. Anyway I had to go there to learn to stop and be still.
    Something I think about the observation phases of permaculture is that it introduces us to the idea of slow simple solutions, and helps me to be more patient in a world that whizzes and whirls along at a crazy pace.
    Taking time to notice and reconnect is so important and learning not to be controlled by what the inner critic says.
    Something I found helpful was to ask it what it’s positive intent is, this has been most revealing for me. The thinking is distorted but underneath it is trying to gain something positive for me, or trying to protect me in some way.
    I’ve written about it a few times and add the link below incase they are helpful, you are not alone!

  3. Small Footprints on May 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily business of living. I sometimes think that I can’t “take time” because I have work to do or emails to answer or subjects to investigate … or laundry, housework, cooking, etc., etc. Last week, my hubby and I decided to take a day off and go hiking. We grabbed our camera and off we went. As we walked the camera helped us to notice things … the shape of the mountain laurel flower bud … the lovely red spots on a chameleon near the river. And while we walked & observed, I suddenly realized that I was totally in the moment … I wasn’t thinking about work or emails … I simply existed in nature. It was a wonderful moment.

    I really like your comment to “lay aside judgement”. I can see a perfect application for that when we observe nature. Often we judge what we see in the natural world, labeling some plants as weeds … some “critters” as pests. In reality, they just are. Once we get beyond the label, we can learn how to live in harmony with them.

    Wonderful post, Mrs. Green! Thank you!

  4. Mrs Green on May 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    @nadine sellers: absolutely beautiful; thanks for sharing the scene from your home. I’ve never heard a finch; I think we may have received a visit in the garden just once. THe sound of the blackbird and robin are most tuneful in my corner of England.

    @Mairi Stones: Ah yes, the old positive intent nugget can be extremely revealing if we’re prepared to hear the truth; it’s not always pretty is it? I’ll check out the post later – thank you 🙂

    @Small Footprints: Sounds like a beautiful and wonderful day; a day that mattered, a day of being with the person you love surrounded by nature – what more to life is there?