The invisible story

7 Ways Front Cover WebOver the last week I have been doing the final proof read for my new book 7 ways to think differently. It’s reminded me of when Kevin McCleod asks questions at the end of Grand Designs, when people are sitting in the lovely new kitchen they have built. Has it all been worth it? What are your favourite parts? As I’m reading there are many favourite phrases, sentences, ideas that have made me smile. There is an invisible story of the last year or so of my life behind the text ; the workshops, conversations, poetry, activities that have changed not only my thinking but who I am. It is a collection of moments where I have changed; there are befores and afters,  a shift in who I become in that moment, where suddenly I have expanded my thinking, opened up possibilities, moved passed a previously invisible wall. Behind these words is a whole host of connections and relationships; teachers, friends, authors and colleagues.

When writing the systems thinking chapter, for example, I needed to really observe my surroundings to get an experiential understanding of systems. I like to use everyday metaphors to build upon people’s existing life experience to gain understanding of complex theory. Last spring we had a big party for our birthdays and 10 year anniversary. While having lots of fun, I realised that I was observing systems in action; the kitchen crew, children, musicians each with differing timings, rhythms and purposes. This part of the book is definitely on my favourite list, not only for the memories but for the way it has embedded my understanding of systems.

Books are also similiar to buildings in that they need to be lived in and used to test their functionality, influence, durability, comfort and beauty. Books like buildings grow over time. I have realised that over the last 2 years since People and Permaculture has been published, the knowledge and skills contained within have grown and developed through other people using them. As intended they have gone out into the world to make a difference in people’s lives. I know that over the last 12 years contact with permaculture how much it has helped me to focus on solutions, to think in terms of abundance, to use nature as a guide. And over the last year these ways of thinking have deepened my understanding of how significant the way we think is on our behaviour, relationships and feelings, and ultimately the whole world we live in.

As for the question has it been worth it? As the book trundles ever closer to the printers I am heartened to know that soon many people will have access to the wisdom that has flowed from many sources that I have collected in this book. And as Dewitt Jones says ‘we never know what ripples there will be when we publish something in our lives’, so yes I am confident it has been worth the journey.

Books unlike buildings do have an end point, but my journey continues with creating an imaginative and playful experiential adventure for the new 7 ways to think differently course. This will be a celebration as well, as my book will be launched at the UK convergence immediately after the course. The convergence, with all the lovely people, food, workshops and sparkly conversations and workshops to expand our thinking, is the highlight of my year. Well to be precise – highlight of every 2 years as that’s how often they are, although next year we are in for an extra special treat with the International Permaculture Convergence coming to the UK.

You can pre-order signed copies of 7 ways to think differently direct from me at

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