Dreaming Big in Japan

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Permaculture Workshop

We've been back a few days from our first Permaculture workshop in Nagano Prefecture. It took us about 19 hours to drive there with a little nap, and 22 hours to drive home, with a little longer nap the second time!

There are some pictures below, and more here at this link. The whole page is in Japanese, but if you click on any of the thumbnails, it should produce a larger image.

Pass the Hula Hoop Icebreaker
Michie's Self Introduction with Her Homemade Rain Stick
This Year's Permaculture Group in Nagano Prefecture
This first workshop was just what I needed right now. It was great to be surrounded by a group of like-minded, creative individuals. It is a challenge to find anyone, let alone a group of twenty, in Japan willing to go against the grain, against the norm. But the fact that we had so many participants is testament to a greater revelation felt in Japan and the world over: the status quo is broken, irreparably, and it is up to each of us to create a new way forward.

Permaculture does not purport to have the answers, to be the revolution the world seems to seek right now. It does, however, suggest a few tools and ideas to help individuals and communities find the best way forward. There are three tenets that self-fulfill and self-perpetuate one another: Earth Care, People Care, Resource Share. The focus is on relationships and the interactions among everyone and everything. If we live sustainably on the Earth, the Earth takes care of the people, and we have enough to go around, which in turn helps us live more sustainably and justly, so forth and so on...

This is like a virtuous circle, but even more so like a pattern of dynamic renewal as in the flow of one season to the next. It is more a spiral through space and time, as we never really end up back at the same place we were before. It may look similar and familiar but each time around we have a new set of paths to take, with our decisions informed by an ever expanding bank of previous experiences.

I truly believe we are on the precipice of taking our greatest steps forward. Where we proceed next could have us stumble to our our greatest defeat, or ascend to our greatest achievement. The choice really is ours, be it condoning the status quo through inaction and suffering everlong, or manifesting so many individual revolutions culminating in the creation of a new and just world where we intend to thrive.

I got this inkling from more than just a two-day workshop this weekend. There is chatter of imminent change on the horizon. This could be as apocalyptic as the silver screen would have us believe, but I prefer to affect real change towards the enlightenment so many of us seek. This collective and universal shift in consciousness is ours to make and mold. I believe this change starts with each us, individually, and that it will spread like wildfire.

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