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A balanced life through permaculture  RSS feed

 
                            
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I first heard the word permaculture a year and a half ago and have been pursuing it pretty relentlessly ever since. Taking courses, reading, studying, observing, experimenting and contemplating. I have gotten together with a group and we are holding courses, attending festivals, giving advice and installing systems on both a volunteer and commercial basis.

Honestly I am tired. I feel as though this has become like some sort of religion to spread and I am getting burnt out. I still feel as strongly as ever that living in harmony with my environment is the way forward. But I also wonder if perhaps I am bring too much upon myself, putting more weight on my shoulders than is healthy in the long run. I am looking to know if other people have come upon this, and is so what was the response?

I think a lot of the draw to permaculture was the idea of handing work over to nature rather than human meddling. But in the desire to see people adopt, utilize and install these systems I have brought a lot of work on myself. How do I encourage people to engage while disengaging to some extent myself?
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 416
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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In my experience, the best way to get people to move in a certain direction is to relate your own personal experience to them, and to show them successful, local examples of the "future state" (e.g. permaculture) in action.

My favorite example is the design of a new park in my neighborhood.  The neighborhood was invited to give input on the park design.  After the meeting I spoke with the landscape architect (who was not particularly sustainability-minded) and floated several ideas with him.  He suggested that I send him all of my ideas, which I did.  At subsequent meetings the design team went over my list, and was interested in many of them.  One of my suggestions was to use an eco-lawn mix instead of standard turf lawn.  I invited the landscape architect and city parks maintenance supervisor to go on a little field trip with me.  We went first to my house, where I had a small patch of the eco-lawn mix that I had planted a few years earlier.  Then we drove to a nearby town where I had seen a large eco-lawn at a commercial property that was LEED certified, and introduced them to the site facility manager who had spearheaded the LEED efforts.  This was enough to convince them to use the eco-lawn mix instead of standard turf grass.

So if I were you I would mainly focus on making at least one successful local example that interested people can visit and ask questions.  If you are too far for many people to visit, hone your video skills and make some videos for youtube.  There are not many good videos of successful permaculture sites (but lots of people have videos of just starting out in permaculture).  I think there is great interest in seeing mature permaculture sites for all the various hardiness zones and climates.
 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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Sounds similar to runner's burn out. When you get that, what do you do? Don't run for a while. Now I wouldn't go and say don't practice Permaculture for a while since it is easily integrated into your life with cooking, composting, community ect, but you can take off your Permaculture fan shirt for a while and not attend every single meeting or whatever. Pursue all your other interests that make you a well rounded person, whether it be athletics, science, poetry, ect.

If you stop concentrating on it for a while, which is perfectly fine and maybe even necessary, then you will probably be raring to go back in due time. Good luck!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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Oh Tuski I know what  you mean about being tired..I just spent the last two weeks digging by hand a 40 x 48 ' area of quackgrass..and other noxious weeds..not beneficials..and talk about tired !!! i still have some areas that need to be tackled and I feel like i can hardly go on..

but the rewards are endless..so i do
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Honestly I am tired. I feel as though this has become like some sort of religion to spread and I am getting burnt out. I still feel as strongly as ever that living in harmony with my environment is the way forward. But I also wonder if perhaps I am bring too much upon myself, putting more weight on my shoulders than is healthy in the long run. I am looking to know if other people have come upon this, and is so what was the response?


Sounds like the "worked hard to create the garden but forgot to build a meditation bench" syndrome.    You tried to push the river didn't you?  A bench and Van Morrison is my recommendation. 
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
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I am using permaculture to balance my life, we farm showjumping horses, breeding on site and shipping semen across North America and i have two stallions that show extensively  and it is something I have loved all of my life, I was drawn to it but it began to feel like a very superficial lifestyle and all consuming, even my personal relationship was with a rider.    I didn't tend a garden for years because I was busy on the show circuit . And I had shelved some of my desires like the garden, so I am now taking the time to balance my life .      I changed how I manage my horses lives so they have more downtime in a higher quality of life setting and integrating organic  gardening and permaculture in baby steps ; in starting hedgerows, protecting swales and drainage and plan to conserve some of that water in future pond catchments.  I am making water catchment and storage off our drainspouts of our house and farm buildings.  I am making solar heating units  for differing uses for our home , to heating and circulating air in our tack room in the barn to keep mildew at bay in winter,  heat areas where our water lines are succeptible to freezing in winter and making a solar heated stock water tank for winter use and lots of other idea are perking. And I do it in tiny steps  so while i am not out there spreading religion, well i am in a way because now i am planning to put examples of these little ideas I am incorporating in our lifestyle, about farming on a very intense small scale incorporating permaculture on my website and newsletter. And in the course of my doing this I am setting and example for my children, arranged a successful heirloom seed/plant/scion wood swap and seed saving circle amoungst 4 other horse breeding friends and  they too are planting trees, incorporating water saving and grey water utilization  and small scale solar they would not have other wise.  so I am no expert I just look here on the internet to learn and be inspired  but the small and very inexpensive projects i am initiating , the little lifestyle changes such as incorporating more raw food in my diet, more concious consumption of goods and services (cut off the TV and clothes dryer) are making a difference in my life and influencing others in small ripples.  It is pleasant work, not overwhelming since i am not taking on saving the world but rather being more responsible for my own lifestyle bit by bit nd keeping a very synergistic approach.  Today i am off to make adjustments to my electric fencing system, I was gifted a used but  good deep cell battery from an RVer and I am going to use it with my solar charger to take more of my fencing off grid. 

Don't abandon your principals but give yourself some mental breathing room to really love what you are doing.  Just giving my kids a clean living lifestyle, giving my show stallions a radically different life than how others are kept, is setting an example for friends, maybe even taking pictures and documenting what I do and updating my website might influence the "horse world" i live  in.  I was so centred on that horse showing oriented lifestyle it was hard to fit my childrens interests in, now in the last two years I have more of a balance lifestyle  and  I live in a permaculture type environment that is ever evolving slowly, in balance with my time , energy , money etc.

So take a deep breath and think how your passion for permaculture can be a balance in your life, slow it down if need be .  I know I will have little projects on the go my entire life.
 
Sam Surman
Posts: 64
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Lead by example ... don't try and live anyone elses life ... when they're ready they will be there at your side wanting to learn from your experience...

Took me many years to learn this simple fact ... If I'd only known or perhaps listened I could have saved myself so much hassle ...

Cheers

 
Toby Hemenway
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Posts: 105
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I would definitely back off and stick to doing the things are satisfying. You sound like you are at the edge of burnout. Permaculture won't disappear if you take a break from spreading the word--there are lots of us out here doing that. Do what's fun and enjoyable for a while; like the man says, follow your bliss.
 
                                            
Posts: 59
Location: Bellevue, WA
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gary gregory wrote:
Sounds like the "worked hard to create the garden but forgot to build a meditation bench" syndrome.    You tried to push the river didn't you?   A bench and Van Morrison is my recommendation. 


This 

Step back, look at what you've accomplished, and follow where your interests are pulling you now. Plus, you just can't go wrong with just sitting in your garden, listening to Van Morrison.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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