Written by Oak Jedi, reposted from her blog with permission.
I recently went on a retreat, one centered around nature, spirituality, and community. While I certainly didn’t get the best sleep while I was there (perhaps the opposite, in fact!) and was nursing the leftovers of a cold, still I found myself returning feeling particularly recharged. With my own history of going through relative periods of depletion, having motivation and energy upon coming back was a breath of fresh air. I found myself feeling “eyes wide open,” with renewed curiosity and desire to continue striving down my path. I’ve had rechargings in the past, but this one made me feel grounded, like the energy I was feeling was sourced from something solid and renewable and wouldn’t just evaporate before me. It made me realize I need a bit of permaculture to my spiritual life.
Permaculture is a word that is typically used to describe agricultural practices that are more sustainable and self-renewing. Rather than dredge up soil year after year, you build an ecosystem that supports continued growth. It’s much more labor intensive at the start and if you don’t take all factors into account, you can fail in your sustainability. But it’s much more in harmony with the natural world. Everyone I’ve encountered who’s taken part has learned something about the nature and living systems in the process.
I would like to grow my path in this method. What point is there to make big life changes if you can’t sustain them, or they prevent you from functioning in the other areas of your life (ex: being physically or mentally burnt out all the time)? But then the most important question would be, how do I accomplish spiritual permaculture?
I think the answer lies in a few different methods.
1. Go slow. Changes take time to take root, to become habits. I easily fall into the trap of too much too soon that goes with an enthusiastic start. So this time, no rush. I’m inspired by a Sanskrit saying that translates to “Practice becomes firmly grounded when continued for a long time, without interruption and with reverent devotion.” (First heard that because of a beautiful tattoo of belly dancer Rachel Brice)
2. Ground physically. Rooting with a physical practice such as yoga or running will help my physical body be involved, and help ground some of the extra scattered energy.
3. Ground in nature. Walk outside. Be present for the changes in the natural world around me.
4. Ground mentally. To me now this means get back to meditating on a regular basis, 10 minutes a day
5. Assess interpersonal roots – Talk to the people in my personal web. Make sure I’m not becoming isolated. Assess whether what I’m doing will affect those around me, and if so, talk to them about it.
I hope that together these things will allow me to go deeper into my practice and allow me to establish habits that will sustain me.