Monday 30 January 2012

Breaking Isolation - How Transition Changed My Life #1

Each day this week we'll be hearing from a different crew member on the TN blog about How Transition Changed My Life.

So to introduce the week I've been looking back at some of the posts I've written on This Low Carbon Life over the past two and a half years and seeing how they chronicle the changes in my own life through my engagement with Transition Norwich, Sustainable Bungay, and the Social Reporting project on the wider Transition network.

Choosing a random selection of six posts what strikes me most is how they all relate to breaking isolation, joining in and working with other people. Bringing myself out of the cupboard, getting involved, sharing the skills and resources I have - and letting others share theirs with me.

From introducing fellow Norwich and Bungay transitioners to wild medicinal and edible plants on a Spring Tonic walk in April 2009, to learning the basics of permaculture (and paying attention to where we are) with Sustainable Bungay on a weekend with Graham Burnett in January 2010 (was that really two years ago?), to exploring all aspects of our food systems as part of The Low Carbon Cookbook team in Norwich, throwing myself wholeheartedly into transition has transformed my experience from that of feeling like a loner on the outside to an increased sense of being part of it all.

I've also come to know a wider circle of people, all of us attempting to come to grips with what is, face the difficulties and work on solutions. And I've learned to chop my own firewood!

At the Sustainable Bungay core group meeting last Tuesday, Josiah spoke about how the original motivating factors for the group coming together - a response to climatic change, diminishing fossil fuels and latterly severe economic constraints – were more relevant than ever as we enter the coming year.

And that all those community events we have organised, websites we have constructed, community meals we’ve shared, projects we have pulled off and conversations we have had together since 2007 have given us invaluable experience in terms of facing and responding to adversity.

And the changes keep coming. Last Tuesday at Sustainable Bungay's AGM, to my utter astonishment, I was voted in as Chairman for the coming year. I thought Josiah was joking when he said he felt someone else ought to take the role he has done so brilliantly up to now. We all did. Then he said it again. He was serious. So Margaret thanked him and we all looked around at each other. I even said let's all be co-chairmen and do it a bit differently. This was not taken up.

"Will you do it, Mark?" said Margaret.
I laughed. I'd never even considered it.
"Go on," said Richard.
"Well, I'm not..."

Then there was a vote and suddenly I'd apparently accepted and was chairing the rest of the meeting looking over at the agenda Josiah had organised. I actually felt slightly dazed for the next fifteen minutes.

"I might need a bit of a hand at first," I said to him. "Okay, I'll help you out if you need it," he said.

And that's one of the best things about Transition and how it changes your life. You get to do things as part of the community you would never have thought of. Call it re-skilling, being flexible, saying yes to opportunities, rising to the challenge, now's the time to resist the desire to remain in that not-so-splendid isolation.

To join up with our fellows to make good our fractured world, make the shift "from empire to earth community".

Later postscript: I've just read Ann Owen's (Transition Bro Ddyfi) excellent skillshare post on the Social Reporters project today (how to make a bender). It really relates to this piece so here's the link.

And keep an eye out for tomorrow's post where I interview fellow transitioner Nick Watts on How Transition Changed his Life!

Pics: Transition Is Also...; omg I thought it was just me; Gemma, Me, Josiah at Introduction to Permaculture Course 2010 (MW)

1 comment:

  1. good for you Mark - all organisations need to rotate formal positions to gain new energy and prevent hardening of the arteries - clearly 'transition' means change within as well as change outside.