It has been a long time since I sat down to write this blog. About 9 months. I used to write in the evenings, when I had something that I thought should be shared. Something inspirational or worth reading. But then everything started to fall apart on me…
I had written a post about guerrilla gardening useful and edible trees in my local area. Then one of the trees I had planted was vandalized – in stealing the large stake (I can only imagine why), someone had snapped a sweet chestnut tree off it’s roots. Then another chestnut tree died in the drought, because I had neglected to water it. Then an apple tree simply disappeared into thin air……I had bought these trees with my own money, and I felt really sad. I felt silly for trying to be inspirational with an idea that had backfired.
In another blog post I wrote about a man who had been angry at me for cycling on the pavement outside his house. I was really proud of myself for talking to him and providing a space where we could both talk and be listened to. We were both knowingly in the wrong, in an effort to protect our children. I felt like I had connected with him….Then a few months later, he came yelling and screaming at me again. He is a big guy, and when he waves his arms around and jumps up and down and yells, he is really quite terrifying. I yelled back. It wasn’t a very inspired moment.
In another blog post, I had written about my quest in becoming a Permaculture teacher, and running introductory courses. In the last course I ran, my main feedback was that I didn’t have an inspirational venue which showed Permaculture in action. I realised that I had backed off my house and garden, because I had fallen out of love with my arsenic ridden, road side lawn. I want to move house again. I don’t want to apply more time and effort to a garden I can’t eat out of and don’t want to be in. There isn’t anywhere else in my local vicinity which would be a good venue for running courses, and I had been stubborn about not investing in a car. I decided to not book any more courses until I had a good venue. I decided to invest my time to working in non-Permaculture related fields, to save up so that I could move house. I consequently had even less inspirational material to write about.
Then I traveled home from a Permaculture Board meeting on a Sunday evening. I have to take a train from Leeds to Plymouth, and then a bus up from Plymouth to Tavistock. The Sunday evening buses had been canceled, and I had to pay Thirty pounds for a taxi. A few weeks later I bought my very first car.
By this time I felt like I would never have anything to write about on my blog ever again. Even if I did have something worthy of typing, I felt like it would be hypocritical to leave all of my previous posts online, and not fess up to the fact that I am now a car owning, money making, angry man yelling, failed guerrilla gardener, with a lawn full of arsenic. I can’t just pretend that all those stories had happy endings. I wish they did.
Then I remembered one of the first lessons that I learnt on my Permaculture course. No Judgement. When you go on a course, you are surrounded by people from all walks of life, who come to the course with a complete spectrum of experience and knowledge. Some people come to a course with more knowledge then the facilitator. They live off-grid and only eat homegrown food. They cycle to the course in their handmade clothes made from hemp which they grew themselves……other people come to the course having never used a compost heap, and living on a diet of 99% tescos microwave ready meals. But they come. They are there because they want to learn. They are accepted onto the course with open arms and there is absolutely no judgement what-so-ever.
Everybody is on their own journey and nobody is perfect. A Permaculture system is never perfect – it is always tweaking and evolving and searching for an equilibrium, but it is never stable and stagnant. In my last 9 months I have been busy. I have been working on myself. I have been doing lots of wonderful things and I am happy. However, when it came to writing my blog, I judged myself as not doing enough that was worthy of asking people to read about.
Now I am checking myself. I am learning to not judge myself. It is okay to not be perfect. Saving one plastic bag by carrying your own bags won’t save the world, but it is better then nothing. Every little action or in-action that respects the earth and all the creatures and people within it, is something that is worthy. Maybe not worthy of a blog post, but it’s still worthy.
I don’t live a perfect Permaculture lifestyle. I am a working progress. I think that’s the point.