No Judgement

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.


About thehouseofjam

I am a Trustee/Director of the Permaculture Association of Britain, and I make jam with wild food. Lots of it!
This entry was posted in Earth care, Fair Shares, People Care, Permaculture, philosophy, Tavistock, teaching and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to No Judgement

  1. Louise says:

    Thank you, a really well written post. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a journey and there will be ups and downs, and living in a crazy world means we’re always going to make compromises! xx

  2. Great to have you back Rebecca! It’s good to focus on the positive, however frustratingly small it may seem sometimes & appreciate that we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment. Happiness is a good measure of success I reckon, especially if things don’t seem to be going to plan. 🙂

  3. Justin Moran says:

    Rebecca, thank you for your honesty! Realising that each positive step, however insignificant it might seem, is indeed essential to allow us to continue on this journey of ours. Acknowledging the many compromises we will have to make whilst in the midst of transitioning through and throughout the complex systems we live and work within, is vital to our happiness whilst taking those steps.

    Then when things are going really well (and they will do so!), being able to take stock and realise that, without adapting to or overcoming the challenges and absurdities of living within imperfect systems, we wouldn’t be so happy when we get closer to what we are aiming for!

    P.S. You’ve inspired me to my blog going again, only erm…. 16 months since my last post…! Watch this space ;o)

  4. Rachel says:

    oh this is a lovely post Rebecca, yes we can only do what we can and as the evil Tesco’s say “every little helps” I bet you have learnt loads this year 🙂

  5. Silcoe says:

    Thanks for sharing this Rebecca – have missed your blog over the last few months. I’ll be honest and say I’ve always been intimidated by ‘Perfect Permaculture’. My own little arrangement fails the test entirely. But sometimes the little things matter most.

  6. Peter Cow says:

    Yay, thank you for your honesty and courage, and for working on your inner garden – a hugely important part of regenerative living. Nice to read you once more, and i appreciate all you bring to your readers with your inspiring, fresh, honest striving for a better world. I wish you beautiful and productive inner and outer gardens, of all kinds. Judging ourselves and others can be very disconnecting, shrinking and closing down, kind of the opposite of inspiring, and we all do it. How can we create spirals of inspiration and creativity in ourselves and others..
    Honest and open blogs like this are very inspiring for me, thank you.

  7. Karin Probert says:

    Its so good to read you Rebecca. Living life is an imperfect business and it cna be really difficult when our idealism has to soften slightly adapt to reality. But its also part of the wonderful process of mellowing in ones understanding of life and the part we can play in making the world a better place. Yes, your honesty is very inspiring as you are dear friend.

  8. Well done Rebecca, it was lovely to receive notice and read your post today. I love your honesty, it’s very refreshing in a world full of blog posts telling us how green people are being. Sometimes the perfectness of it all makes it quite artificial. What is real is to keep doing what you are doing, learning while you go, looking in the mirror and accepting ALL of you, and knowing that all of it is part of who WE are. Perfection is an illusion, and one that blog posts will often try and sell us (giving us snippets of moments in a ‘rosy’ life), but I’ve always really enjoyed your honest, frank and unpretentious blogs.

    I’ve stopped writing my blog as I think we just have too much information swimming around on the internet, which is sometimes just mind-numbingly boring (that is my judgement!!) It seems like people have come to believe that they must share something (or everything) – that they do, every day/week/month, simply because they have a blog. It is as if the whole world has turned into writers, with something really interesting to say every week, with an assumption that all the rest of us want to hear about their daily lives. I decided that too much sharing of my own internal voices and ‘self-chat’, was, just too much. There are moments for sharing, and moments for reflecting, moments for being in our own head, and moments when we realise that putting it all out their on the world wide web (blog) just doesn’t seem the right thing to do. The smallest details in our lives, are often the best learning material, for ourselves, and it is only later, with reflection that it makes sense to share.

    So I’d go for quality over quantity anytime, and your posts are worth waiting for 🙂

    Go girl, I’m sure you’ll be zipping around in that car, sharing you passion and zest for life with even MORE people, much healthier than writing blog posts 🙂

  9. Natalie Maas says:

    I agree with all previous posts. Permaculture will never be perfect – as I know myself – I have had fruit trees taken as well. But the fact that you continue and keep going is the inspiration and having read your blog I know that you do make a difference. And you have a lovely honest writing style. Look after yourself!

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