Friday, 30 July 2010

Pausing for Reflection (Pattern 4.15)

The challenge of Pattern 4.15 Pausing for Reflection/'How Am I Doing?', Rob Hopkins writes, is to be aware of possible burnout due to being swept along from "exciting idea to exciting idea" and getting caught up in the great maelstrom of possibilities that Transition offers, whilst neglecting other areas of our lives. One solution he suggests is that once every six months or so, we stop to reflect on how life is going, and look at the balance between what we are contributing to Transition and the rest of our lives.

You go to meetings in the beginning and are thoroughly energised by the ideas and possibilities. This is definitely what I experienced. All the potential for coming to terms with finite planetary energy resources on a community level seemed infinite! The promise of us all getting together and getting on down to help restore some sanity and balance to ourselves, our world and the planet was very exciting indeed.

At the Transition East Regional Gathering in Downham Market in March 2009, I remember just how intensely impassioned I felt about it all. And I wasn't alone. But after that meeting I felt tired and drained in a way that didn't feel quite right. You can see what I mean by this photograph that Josiah took of me that day.

There’s a Spanish saying, "del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho", which translates literally as 'from the said to the done there's a great gap.' My feeling now is that the talking about all the exciting possibilities is tiring in itself. That talking and theories often get in the way of what we actually need to be doing in this Transition time, all the practical things for preparing to live together with less available energy, a different climate and for many of us, less money.

So I find myself more and more drawn towards doing. Not in the sense of busy busy busy lovely to see you must have lunch can’t stop so many community projects on the go darling, but wholeheartedly engaging in what it means to be in transition in reality.

In the days of post-Unleashing Transition Norwich at the early Heart and Soul meetings, we would each bring something of meaning from our lives, a photograph say, or a poem, for the check-in at the beginning. Then we would speak from it. I've spent most of my adult life engaged in inner work and transformation, so I would bring Mexican tin butterflies of various sizes and speak about the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly and how the old immune system of the caterpillar in its death throes rises up and attacks the newly forming imago. Then something extraordinary happens as 'imaginal buds' start communicating with each other and the butterfly forms, eventually emerging as the comma, cabbage white, peacock or scarlet admiral that dances around the buddleia at this time of year.

So how am I doing now is really how are we doing now? Because the butterfly only happens when we need to join. And communication and working together is the only way I know about to help this happen.

So, shortly I shall upload this post to the blog from the studio our neighbours Philip and Irene let us use for all our Transition work. We have a conversation now, the two households, which has become deeper, more relaxed and more neighbourly since our involvement with Transition, even though we’d already been friendly for some years, and they wouldn't consider themselves transitioners in the slightest. Then I'll be off to help shift five tons of topsoil for the Bungay Community Garden at the library. I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Blogging in Philip's studio; At the first Transition East Regional Gathering, March 2009 (by Josiah Meldrum); Comma Butterfly on Buddleia in the Garden

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