Permaculture Principle 7 – Patterns to Details

“Can’t see the forest for the trees”

The more we get closer to something, the more we can’t see the bigger picture.

I can get really overwhelmed and fixated on projects, gardens, and outcomes. The exact specifics of what I want my life and journey to look like. The more I found myself getting caught up in the the details… the farther away I was from what I actually wanted. I took a step back, decided to incorporate this permaculture principle and focus on that patterns of what I wanted in my life.

This month really taught me about letting go of the details. By letting go of the details, I released so much anxiety I held onto within my body. I allowed for the process to unfold in an organic and natural way, as long as I got the patterns down.

For example, every Wednesday I teach the permaculture class at Kashi Ashram. When I first started teaching, I would plan and plan and plan out all of the details, creating a picture perfect image of what the class would look like. Rather than just setting the class project up with broad strokes, I would try to harbor all of the details to create some form of controlled “masterpiece.” Then as the class began to take place, it would start to unfold in ways that my mind never expected… We had way more people than expected, less people than expected, someone had an allergic reaction to ant bites, the work truck was missing, the exact tools weren’t in the place they were before, and it rains…

Where did my detail orientation get me? To a place of fearful control ridden with anxiety! So I decided to take on the pattern of water. The blood of Mother Earth. The ability to flow with whatever falls into the river. The fluidity of the movement and organic process. The less I gripped onto control, the more the group was able to grow and expand, as we all co-created a space that was unique and organic to each of us. I was no longer in control. I simply held the space of the river, allowing each individual to flow within it.

The more I stepped back and observed, the more I saw the bigger picture of the work that I was actually doing. It wasn’t about the specifics about the plant information or how to grow your own food (although it’s important.) It was about creating a space where others can come, connect, and learn from one another. A space where others could have real and genuine connection to one another and Mother Earth. I was able to see the class in a whole new light and perspective, allowing me to fully step into my place as the guide.

Nature is incredibly intelligent. There are patterns within all that exists. If we take the time to stop and observe, we can see it within all of existence.

This principle is also applied when creating designs for our properties or life. What patterns do you find in nature that you would like to mimic into your space? What is unique about that pattern?

We can implement these patterns into different ways to collect rainwater off the property, the pathways within the garden, or even how the garden beds are planned out. Mandala and keyhole gardens incorporate valuing the edges and allow for a flowing access throughout the garden beds. There are no straight lines or linear approaches in Nature. Everything is fluid and when we incorporate that fluidity into our designs and lives, we learn to work with Nature, rather than against her.

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