The last week with the principle designing from patterns to details has been interesting on many levels. When I start to look around me I see so many patterns; patterns of thinking, behaving, eating, sleeping – and so many of these patterns interact with each other.
I have also become aware of how important it is to focus on the details as well as the patterns. It’s not just enough to say I want to eat healthily, exercise and I have to be clear on what that actually means to me.
One of the ways I enjoy thinking about patterns is to look for metaphors in nature, natural processes and other activities around me. Using metaphors can be a valuable way of looking beyond the surface and seeing the hidden structure. We can use the patterns from other activities to explore a problem and search for solutions. For example when I am thinking about my poly income (my income from several different sources) I was initially focused on the metaphor of juggling. Not being able to juggle I realised that the metaphor I was using was not helping me to view the benefits of what I was doing and all I was thinking about was dropping balls. So I switched metaphors to something I enjoyed. Firstly I tried a cooking metaphor. I saw how different activities took varying times to prepare and then to cook. How some things can be prepared in advance, and some left on the back burner. This helped me recognise the need for preparation and maximising the use of time in between activities, and not letting things burn by having too much going on. And of course some things need to be taken off the heat occasionally.
I also tried a gardening metaphor to gain insights. Here I saw the benefit of having a healthy soil for any plant to grow in, this leads me to prioritising self-care to build my energy for everything I do. I also saw that here too there are different timings and growth rates. Linked with abundance thinking I recognise the importance of harvesting yields from my efforts and celebrating them. In the garden nutrients from one plant can feed another, in my work life, my teaching can feed my writing and vice versa, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of both. There are many connections between what I do and instead of seeing them as isolated parts they came together in a vision of one garden as I explored this metaphor.
Over the next week I will focus on the principle apply self-regulation and accept feedback. Please post any thoughts you have on this principle on the people and permaculture Facebook page.