People Care Tools
There is an already well-developed (& expanding) section in the Integral Permaculture Manual for how to DO Evolutionary Relationships, in practice.
Our aim is to apply all those models, information, techniques & objectives to building & evolving our relationships, as a critical base for this project. In this way we hope to make our premises explicit, clear & transparent (& therefore questionable), & so decrease the likelihood of risking the health of the project to habitual or irrational (& usually assumed) beliefs we carry.
All of us have of course learned many of toxic habits & concepts as we grew up in a culture with plenty of those, and our job here is to question them, evolve past them & learn new forms of relating – not just to our environment, but to each other & ourselves.
We don’t pretend to know what all those are, but commit to learn, study & apply from the best proven & practical, logical, coherent & most effective sources we can find (not to stay with what is most habitual or comfortable for us), and to honestly document & share our work & process.
Our friends in La Palma have had people say that they didn’t find any mention of the sacred, or of spirituality in the presentation of their project. Here’s how they respond (and we feel the same way).
For those who don’t see any spirituality or sacred work in giving our lives to the service of the Earth & the evolution of a rational humanity, we suggest watching this very useful video, “Know Thyself”.
As pointed out in the excellent article on how to form community, a main ingredient is Emotional Well-Being. How do we ‘select for emotional well-being’? Would we be able to recognize well-adjusted people if we met them? How emotionally balanced can any person who’s the product of the destructo-culture get anyway? (without living in sustainable community at least for a while … that’s why we want to create sustainable communities: only sane-ish people can re-design some kind of sane society, after all).
The chicken-&-egg nature of this question is covered in the article, as are some proposed ways to try to select for emotional maturity in the founding group.
What we need now are people who are emotionally ahead-enough on that path to be able to co-create the exit-velocity to start a community based on a deep commitment to reversing
the destructive path of current society, supported by rational agreements, good design & lots of determination, creativity & skill.
We realize we are asking a lot. And we are prepared to work hard &/or wait a long time for people (& agreements) with these basic qualities. The crucial thing to understand is that we are looking for founding members. So of course we’re extra-careful about who we are going to welcome into our home right now, at this early stage.
We agree that in order to evolve human societies we need to engage in evolutionary relationships. This is a definition of “Evolutionary Relationship” from Andrew Cohen’s work:
“We agree that the context for our relationship will be leaning into our evolutionary edges. Rather than meeting in our limitations and problems, fears and doubts, we take a stand for meeting in the expression of our highest potential. We take up the challenge of showing up and engaging from that place, stretching to manifest that potential now, and explore that potential with each other.”
Basically this means we all agree, on joining this project, that we are eager to change & grow, by learning & trying new things (starting with all or any of the models in the e-book, and proposing more effective ones as we come across them), rather than assume we are ‘finished’ or ‘fixed’, as we are, at any one time.
We use RC Theory as a basic model & understanding to support each other in evolutionary relationships as it is one of the simplest, most effective & well-developed models for self-help in dealing with the tensions between thinking & feeling that characterizes so much destructive conflict.
It basically consists of people taking turns to listen to each other, with deep respect & good attention (which we learn how to provide & use). It doesn’t rely on therapists or any special equipment, as all the listening tools can be learned by anyone who is willing to learn, & there is a wider world-community for reference & support, which is itself constantly questioning the suppositions of the theory, experimenting & evolving.
This is one of the best & longest-tested practical & immediately usable human liberation philosophy we have to date, so we teach it in the Integral Permaculture Course as well as encourage especially activists to adapt it & apply it to designing their personal support-structures for their difficult work.
This model is coherent with all the other tools & models also listed in the PeopleCare section of the e-book, and we use all of these, flexibly & as proposed by the members, who are all expected to take a pro-active & group attitude to designing this as all other parts of the eco-village, as per the two directives of permaculture: be pro-active (take 100% responsibility for our own lives) + cooperate.
Documenting our Process
This is primarily an action-learning & action-research project, so we commit to document our designs as well as personal processes (all ideas, plans, results, successes & failures) in order for this project to serve the wider community – whether we fail or succeed in our aims.
By actively & consciously experimenting with the models & tools in the Integral PC Manual, we are continually questioning them in the most strict & holistic of laboratory of all: complex real life.
As permaculture action-research scientists we commit to –
1) aim to hold no dogmas (unquestionable assumptions or un-founded beliefs),
2) put all of our models to test in our own lives, individually & collectively, &
3) offer constructive & doable proposals for every doubt or criticism we have of ours or others’ work or behavior (we are not interested in academic or philosophical discussion unless they lead to useful practical experimentation)
So it is important to document our work, and each resident agrees to contribute actively & regularly to this process.
I want to know if … by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.