The past month has been immense. Seeing ‘life as usual’ move into ‘unprecedented times’ is confronting.
Yet this immensity, for me, hasn't felt like overwhelm or breakdown. It has felt like paying attention. Watching. Observing. Seeing what’s happening and responding with the next most appropriate action.
In some ways, I'm not surprised by this situation of global lock-down catalysed by the COVID-19 viral pandemic. Big things were bound to happen in 2020 - the planets were gearing up for this and astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time. The archetypal experience they saw coming was major transformative work on the world’s structures and institutions. 'Brutal' and 'brilliant' are the theme words I use a lens to interpret.
To be honest, I'm glad we're at this point.
As complex living adaptive systems, life's emergent nature simply hasn't been attended to by the status quo. The modus operandi of the industrial zeitgeist has been operating counter to the living systems principles we know sustain life. The situation has been winding up like a rubber band being pulled tighter and tighter. It was bound to break.
I refuse to scapegoat the virus. Like any illness or disease, it prospers in conditions that allow it. The virus highlights any fragility, vulnerability, and corruption within the systems we engage and rely upon. As brutal as the impacts of the virus are, it is the conditions allowing it to proliferate requiring scrutiny. This is a time of healing crisis.
Likewise as with any illness or disease, the virus also presents the polarity - breakdown leading to breakthrough. We see highlighted the opportunity, resiliency, maturity, and creativity built into our systems as individuals and collectives.
Where we focus is our choice. The process isn't linear and we need to lean into all the sense-making frameworks we've got.
So often in the past month I've thought of CYNEFIN (pron. kin-ef-fin) - a sense-making model describing modes of response for a variety of contexts.
We are very much in the Complex response mode in these times of pandemic. The most sound way forward in complex times happens by PROBE-SENSE-RESPOND. This means answers aren't laid out for us, and the 'experts' don't necessarily have clear pathways to guide us along. The ‘Complicated’ systems and ‘Obvious’ procedures continue to be active, supporting a largely functional society despite the changes. Yet, the dominant essence is Complex.
And we must be ready to respond within the ‘Complex’ realm. We must be willing to progress and probe, step by step, without knowing where the path will take us, and without projecting fears upon it.
Being aware of this type of response can make the world of difference to our mental well-being and effectiveness of action. Not expecting a saviour to sweep in to 'make it all better' immediately can ground-truth our thoughts, emotions and actions. In particular, this can help us get real and get active.
We - you and I, our local communities and nation states - are being asked to lean into our living systems foundations. The emergent edge of life is where some of the most fulfilling and gratifying spaces can be found.
Emergency = Emerge and See. These are the spaces of magic.
Yet, so many of us are terrified to even walk close to the edge. It's like we've lost most of our capacity to be response-able. Like a cat who can't land on its feet, this is a sad state for humans to find themselves. Thus, this pandemic period is one bound with opportunity for recalibration to our deeper instincts and wisdoms as regenerative, responsible beings of life on Earth.
A lot demands to be reconsidered, redesigned, and realigned.
While we see shortages of toilet paper in supermarket aisles, we also see alternative toilet accessories like ‘family cloths’ becoming more accessible and understood. Likewise, we see a gardening revolution, where big-box conventional hardware stores are selling out of seeds and seedlings as people sweep in to develop a distributed and home-based sense of food security.
This is an exciting time.
In particular, I feel excitement and relief that the climate crisis has a sense of reprieve as the global machine slows down. We’ve got a lot of work to do bring integrity to the many systems facilitating modern life. This is only just the beginning and we need to be ready for the next stages and phases of this transformation.
Let’s learn our lessons, do the work, and radically transform so we can all live in better world our hearts know is possible.
It’s not just our physical immune systems needing resilience at this time of global pandemic. Our immunity must be sufficiently robust emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, socially, and ecologically.
This year was always going to be a hard one. The patterns of planetary archetypes told us, long ago, that 2020 would be a colossal year. Much like 2001 with 911, and 1982 with the nuclear arms race and potential nuclear holocaust. The historical analogues go back to WW2, WW1 and others.
The planets are dosing us with a bitter medicine right now - and it’s needed. They are rattling the cage of our collective systems, structures, governance, maturity. The medicine will have RESULTS & REPERCUSSIONS, both BRUTAL & BRILLIANT. The medicine is drawing out the shadows of our planetary immunity, highlighting deficiencies and calling on solutions with deep integrity.
The response is what counts. Our response will determine just how brutally or brilliantly the results and repercussions land.
We can see the brutal repercussions starting to unfold more starkly around us. Global connectivity just got a whole lot less enticing when a viral pandemic comes in the mix.
The brilliance comes when the bitter hardship is alchemised into a golden phase-change in how ‘normal’ is done on the planet.
Those of us paying attention to the collective immune system have seen the symptoms of system overload for quite a while. For centuries in fact. The industrial operating system has had so many wonders emerge with it. But at great cost. The pointy end of the planetary stick is clearly jabbing our societies into integrity with living systems.
When our collective immune system is robust - especially spiritually and emotionally - we will see less panic and pandemonium, and more graceful, mature responsiveness.
This is the time for us to get really clear on what reparations are required for integrity within humanity, and to DO them - sincerely, completely and with utter humility to the greater whole in which we’re all connected.
x Erin 🌿
I was interviewed for a great podcast - Impact Boom - while I was at Newkind Conference in Tasmania recently. I'm really happy with how this conversation turned out.
It's full of gems about how sociocracy helps organisations do good work internally so they can do good work out in the world. Have a listen if you're curious!
Transcript and audio link on Impact Boom site.
Delight beaming in the wrap-up our Social Permaculture session at the Grounded Retreat at Earth Frequency Festival 2020 🌿 🌏✨
Such shiny souls discovering regenerative social design. Every moment with other people is laden with possibility to create, generate and thrive. Putting on our Social Permaculture glasses helps us see what’s right under our nose and what’s possible.
Thanks to the great example of the festival to display Permaculture principles at play in social design. And much love for having me sharing this magic once again Grounded Permaculture 🌞🌻
🌿 How to say what’s to be said about such an experience? Okay, here goes.
5 days of open-hearted folks from all ends of the positive impact spectrum. Those who care enough to live in service and intention for a world with balance, justice and joy.
5 days of sharings, talks, conversations, panels, creative expression, deep dives, play, beach & connection. Of indigenous perspectives, social change activism and deep earth care. Of plant-based 500-person meals cooked on biogas. And an event run 100% on solar power and volunteer muscle.
5 days of me showing up to share what I have to contribute in such a potent space. I presented a Sociocracy Intro session on Day 2. Guesstimates say 100 people turned up to learn about shared leadership for positive impact with this social technology I’m blessed to carry. I was a panelist talking about self-care and activism. I hosted a panel on the role of arts for social change. And I spoke-up in others sessions when I had that funny knowing in my belly that I needed to contribute.
This year I had many people tell me of their sincere appreciation of what I offered. It’s a humbling and heartening experience to walk in love and trust with jamming in such a big way - feeling exposed and dancing with the magic of trusting intuition and purpose.
And I connected with soul tribe who inspire me deeply and help me to stay on point in a good way.
I send a heart-felt call of gratitude to Ella Goninan & the event for which she is custodian @renewfest. Ella has been a big part of Newkind & especially for helping me to be a part of it. Renew Fest cultivates regenerative culture and ways with a strong community focus. It happens 9&10 May 2020 in Mullumbimby & I highly recommend going! Watch out for the crowdfunding campaign for Renew Fest happening next week.
⚡️ THANK YOU to all the dear ones who showed up at Newkind Conference 2020. It’s an honour to care about the world with you 🌎 🌟
#wearenewkind #newkindconference #tasmania #sociocracy
Laughter is a medicine we can work with every day. With a fine line of difference to crying, regular laughter helps us process emotion & feel lighter. This clip clues you into a daily laughter practice that will help you keep an even keel, even in tough times.
Prayers for rain in a dehydrated and burning Australia are important and touching. These calls to influence our collective reality by focussing our individual intention and attention on a shared reality is quite special. And necessary.
Though, I’ve noticed I’m not fully content to just submit my prayers and continue on.
There’s something deeper and more profound than a solid downpour wanting to come through. I suspect we’re in a time where such prayers won’t be answered until we comprehend this bigger picture.
These prayer encouragements make me wonder: how are you, person, caring for the rain you already have?
How are you nurturing and protecting the waters already available to your care and management?
Are you aware of how the rain you pray for has a water cycle its connected to?
And what sort of rain do you want? It’s been said we will receive the same amount of rain, just less often. So the type of rain coming (and it will come eventually) will not likely be gentle downpours we’re used to. It’s likely to be heavy, and destructive even. The land is dry - meaning it needs soak time to receive substantial hydration and to replenish aquifers. What’s likely to happen is a massive down-pour onto hardened land which runs off as quickly as it came; possibly taking top-soil, vegetation and infrastructure with it.
Friend, thank you for your prayers for rain. Please - use your words and intention with care and perspective. Be specific with what you want to see happen, and act.
I’m guessing most ‘prayers for rain’ are desiring regenerative, restorative rain. Rain that can be absorbed and utilised to sustain and create new life. Rain that eases our crackling country. Rain that allows elemental balance of water, fire, air, earth.
I ask that your prayers extend into solid action. You likely frequent a toilet that uses clean treated drinking water to flush your excrement to a centralised location where it’s treated and disposed of…somewhere. You likely eat food requiring water to produce and prepare. Same goes with the clothes you wear, products you apply, the innocent napkin you receive when buying that yummy brownie. ALL these things utilise water - and sometimes more water than we can fathom.
Connect your prayers with full spectrum action. Rain is only one part of the water cycle. And in a whole-systems reality - where, inevitably, one part influences the whole, we MUST act holistically.
Composting toilets work. Committed localism has great impact.
Our Earth is praying for us, willing us to GET IT. Get the influence we have on the complex greater whole, and for us to work with slow and small solutions that make least change for greatest impact so all beings can thrive in balance.
May it be so.
x Erin 🌿
For 3 years, I’ve been an installation artist for a special project - the Sacred Union Labyrinth at Woodford Folk Festival ➰🌸➰🌿 Labyrinthine swirls emerge in small standing rock formations as the pathway for this unique journey is established.
Labyrinths have been with humans for thousands of years. They well pre-date Christianity, and come in many patterns.
They are a “model of spiritual cosmology” in the form of an interactive mandala woven by sacred geometry. The movement-based mediation of walking a labyrinth echoes the twists and turns of the human experience.
In the context of Woodford Folk Festival, the reverence for the labyrinth grows. It is now a must-see destination for punters. Weddings and ceremonies are the norm, and people are often found lingering in the space, watching-on like they’re viewing fish in a pond.
The heart-space of the labyrinth speaks an archetypal language. It’s a journey with a beginning, various stages of perspective, and a clear end. Ultimately, a living prayer.
The Sacred Union labyrinth is the creative child of Robin Clayfield. Her conjuring of this entity is a precious labour of absolute love. She visioned the unique design and set about to make it reality. I’m blessed to be in the role of space-creator with her team and to witness her utter care, intention and exhaustive effort to make it happen.
The time has come to construct my own labyrinth space at home now. It will be simple but no doubt powerful - I’ll share the progress.
If you ever have opportunity to walk a labyrinth - please do 🌿
I’m proud I ‘showed up’ at family Christmas this year.
After gifting presents, I announced I had one more thing. I proceeded to wrangle/guide my small family (parents, sister, husband) through a presencing process and used an interactive card game to each share what we want more of in 2020. There were some nervous giggles. We shuffled through doing something that was new to us as a family. And we ended up revealing what was meaningful to us and why.
We accessed heart space and actually heard each other. We completed with a bit more clarity and connection and understanding.
This is kinda a big deal because I don’t really do my ‘work’ so blatantly with my family. We don’t ‘do’ processes together. I was a little hesitant to share something dear to me, wanting it to be received well and unsure how it would land.
I’m the ‘rainbow sheep’ of the family who does slightly obscure things that are unfamiliar & initially a little awkward. I discovered by coming in with no pressure and clear intent that my family took to it with open hearts.
I realised my dreams of sharing these types of processes with my family are, indeed, meaningful and that it’s important for me to show up where I feel called to, even if I don’t know the outcome. I needed to be flexible, meet people where they were at and trust my own process.
Being oneself around family and people who share similar story/karma/conditioning can be a rough gig. It can also be quite surprising, and powerfully healing.
We can’t know the impact rippled out from our authenticity. Backing ourself with grace, kindness, love and trust to ‘do the thing’ can upgrade the family paradigm in karma-shifting ways. There’re no guarantees and the vulnerability is palpable. And that leading edge is what makes it so magic.
So...may we all show-up for reals with the medicine we have to offer life in all the little moments; you don’t know what magic lies in wait 🌿
🌿🌺After years of feeling awkward about Christmas and new year (because it confuses me), I’ve found myself sharing a more genuine expression that everyone can relate to:
HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE
It applies to everyone I meet in person. Meaning it’s inherently inclusive.
Here in the multicultural sub-tropics, seeing woollen-clad white-skinned Santa Claus with faux pine Christmas trees and fake snow in the middle of summer just seems so... dumb. It’s not cold and winter; it’s hot, humid and beach weather. Even the ‘Santa in board shorts’ thing is annoying.
I get that deeper down, the cellular memory of Euro-settler Australians longs for the knowing of this celebration from long ago when it was legitimately celebrated back in Europe.
But, things have changed.
We’re on Black Country in a land filled with people of many colours and practices.
If Xmas is to be celebrated in Australia, celebrate in winter at the end of June when the sun literally ‘dies’ (shortest day) for 3 days and then is reborn. That’s what the practice relates to.
Summer Solstice happens in the Southern Hemisphere on Sunday 22 December. This marks the 3 longest days of the year. It’s a time of:
This time marks the mid-point of the solar cycle - the annual movement of the Earth around the sun. To my knowledge, it’s one of the most certain and steady rhythms we can dance to as Earthlings.
I will be busy in festival build mode with a crew of people who are contributing beauty and reverence to Woodford Folk Festival. I might even go to a solstice music event.
And I will also be joining my family, in the days following, to celebrate Xmas. This isn’t a religious observance. It’s a moment of connection & celebration of life; which I greatly appreciate.
More and more, my traditions are orienting to the real-time patterns that we all experience in our localised area. I encourage you to observe what’s happening around you (and within you), and find a way to align with it all.
When we align ourselves with the reality of life within and around us, we can live with more resonance, belonging and inclusion of all.
Blessed festive times y’all 🌺🌿
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