Living the Living Design Process – Workshop report by Catherine Dunton-Mcleod

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Reposted from the Permaculture NZ website

I was able to get away to the four day Living Design Process workshop held in Whakatane in January. I was gratefully able to clear my schedule of family obligations so I could attend. Since the New Year, I was feeling frazzled and so bone tired that I was scrambling for inspiration and direction. I promised myself that I would have some sort of personal breakthrough at the workshop, hopefully, one that would act as wind under my wings for the new year.

This was the second Whakatane-based Living Design Process workshop and many of the sessions were held on the property of Dan Palmer’s parents, a ten-year-old and magical Permaculture designed property, complete with a mixed tree forest, a village green, charming buses and cabins to sleep in and a powerful river flowing on the border.

My personal breakthrough did indeed come barrelling at me on the morning of day two. I think that the combination of being in an intentionally designed natural space and opening myself to the exploration of what is a living design process is what popped me through my fatigue and sense of stuckness. I woke up with that “I’ve found myself again!!“ sort of feeling, with the corresponding shiny eyes, toothy grin, and eagerness to share my revelation with everyone over breakfast porridge…..”

Trying to express it now in words with just a few photos, may fall flat, but I’ll try: I was overwhelmed with how great feeling alive is; how powerful it is to be in an outdoor classroom framed by intentionally placed, swaying redwood trees discussing “immersion and emergence” with other designers; how an afternoon swim in a fast flowing river on a hot day, followed by quinoa salad eaten with new friends and circling flies on a camp table, can bring a vividness and a sense of waked-upedness. My enthusiasm for permaculture people /property design was renewed.

I returned home, fizzing with design ideas to build aliveness into our home and property and life, such that my husband had to hold up his hands in surrender and ask me to take a breath.

This workshop was the co-creation of Dan Palmer, James Andrews, Peter, and Louise Shaw. I heard a whisper that it will likely be held again in 2020. I invite permaculturalists to check it out and see if it would be right for you in the future.

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