“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it,
I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
You don’t have to look too hard these days to see the social and personal activism that has been going on for quite some time just under the surface of the modern consumer machine. I’ve been talking about it here in this space for years now, the hope that lays just under the surface, the communities of people who are transforming the way that they approach the world, the people who are challenging the norm, perhaps even challenging their own social conditioning, their own upbringing, pushing back against a world order that is so wasteful, so damaging and at the end of the day, so lonely.
It can be daunting to step forward and say, ‘after all these years, here I am. I am now ready to make a change.’ It can be scary to step out of your comfort zone, because even when you are morally opposed to certain societal norms, sitting within them can still seem comfortable because it’s familiar – and familiar feels safe, even when we know it isn’t. Ever since I moved to Indonesia five years ago I have been on the long and winding path that moves me away from the world I lived in before, and toward to the world that I dream for us for the future. It’s easy to begin to feel disheartened, as if we aren’t doing enough, as if we aren’t doing it all… because we still buy items wrapped in plastic from time to time, because sometimes I forget our backup containers, because I drive more than I should, because I still haven’t achieved the communal dream… like everything else in life it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it all and it can feel too big to even try. We live in a world that is very much based on an all or nothing approach, we either have it ‘all’ or we have ‘nothing’… we seem to approach most areas of our lives like this in our culture. It’s a nasty habit of my inner voice that I’ve been consciously trying to break.
When you are making conscious choices to change the way that you live your life, conscious choices that change the way that you approach the people and the land on which you live, one thing at a time is more than enough. We all do the best we can with what we have, there is no use getting twisted up in knots over things you have done wrong in the past (or even yesterday) as long as you make an active effort to change the choices you make for the future. When something new becomes an every day part of your life (ie. composting, recycling, water saving techniques, gardening, engaging on a personal level with strangers) then you can feel comfortable to move on to the next thing. It’s sustainable, gentle change at your own pace… and it works.
We are all capable of so much more than we think we are, if we are patient and give ourselves the time to learn.
On Sunday we were lucky enough to car pool down to Margaret River for the Forgotten Skills Festival that is held at the very beautiful Fair Harvest Permaculture property. A day of workshops held showcasing and teaching local skills that promote sustainability and community – from cheese making to basket weaving, from herbal tinctures to weed identification, from worm farming to hula hoop dancing – there was truly something for everyone. It inspires me to be around so many barefoot, smiling, genuinely community minded people who offer their time, their skill, their whole self to give and to share and to come together. It’s something that we have been really working on in Bunbury to foster more community energy… and to access something like this broadens our scope and inspires our minds.
There are bloody wonderful people everywhere – with tonnes of skills that should never be forgotten… in fact, coming together to remember skills long forgotten is an amazing way to cultivate strong, powerful and resilient communities.
I know not all of you will have access to amazing festivals like this one, but you all have access to people – and I guarantee you, those people have skills. Why not set up a little skill swap within your group of friends? If you’ve still got grandparents get them to teach you the skills of their times, things that we take for granted these days. Offer some free workshops teaching something that you love to do, share your knowledge, reach out to your community, nurture strong connections and learn some amazing skills in the process.
Alone we can only do so much. Together we are unstoppable.
This is a seriously photo heavy post… 🙂 Enjoy.