Jan 122017
 

Kelly Fernandez 1/11/17

Although a priority does need to remain on one constantly evaluating their progress toward their vision and manifesting their quality of life, service manifests on taking time to listen and pay attention to the vision and quality of life for others, still emphasizing the quality of life of those not born yet and whom won’t be born for the next 200 years. I have learned much from a particular style of service by working among Americorps members. This national group has endless possibilities and opportunities for bringing their own ideas and creativity to an organization’s shared mission by enacting service hours. These individuals are being immersed in populations either familiar or unfamiliar and are given the means to live by which are equivalent to the median means of those already living within the community. Thus, they are given an opportunity to share an experience with the population which they are serving in however talents they bring forth. This group structure provides a strong example of providing space for shared experience while filling their mandatory hours with strong work for community building.

It is always okay to not know the correct answer to any question. It is perfectly valid to not understand the feeling or action of another. We all have different experiences for the potential sake of sharing these experiences and feel enlightened and feel gratitude toward those we learn from.

These are mantras in my brain when dealing with questions of one’s privilege and what that privilege means for that person’s existence. I have been able to grasp a solid mindfulness of my own privilege as a white American through paying attention to the world around me and allowing myself to feel uncomfortable. In this realm, I welcome skills that help me pay attention and understand that it is okay to not understand, such as listening and participating when necessary. This participation takes place when there is an identified need for service, which can exist on many different levels.

Service requires one to learn and do something that is benefiting the existence of other beings around them, including and not limited to the Earth, animals, community, and for the overall biological community of the next 200  years minimum. Thinking seven generations ahead becomes more and more natural as one participates in service and listening. Service can include the simplest movements of the hands and mindful actions of a human for the sake of serving another’s experience, even if that other is not even born yet. These are potential reasons for why we recycle and why we choose to learn to grow our own food. Those who write policy and act as advocates have the option of serving the next seven generations by thinking ahead and keeping in mind the resources at hand now and what resources can and will be lost in the future. Resource building for the future potential births and deaths of the planet is an example of serving life.

Acknowledging life and many potential qualities of life is an option available to all developed thinkers. Builders have the choice to create building blocks for sustaining life for the next 200 years, rather than building structures with a roof that might need replaced within the next 20 years. This is true of business model structures and habitat management, one has an option to utilize functions with the future of potential life in mind. The potential for life can hold endless possibilities which can be humbly accepted by sharing experience and hands for available service.

It is of service for a mother to acknowledge her own breath and quality of breath for herself, her child, and the next 200 years of individuals who will transform simply by the existence of herself. Humans have a bizarre impact upon each other and we can acknowledge the potential impact of one action on another’s feelings, which will eventually manifest into their own action. A human service to one’s life experience can potentially serve as a disservice to another one’s life experience. To be mindful of this is potentially a manner of service within itself.

I wanted to provide these particular examples of potential service and potential impact to get away from the idea of service popping into someone’s head as a volunteer opportunity for which they can earn credit by tracking hours for. This is an image that has directly affected academic students who acquire means of service in order to fill a requirement for an almost invisible selfish need, such as a scholarship or a resume builder. There is something more concrete and sustainable for one’s heart to acknowledge the heavy potential of life around them and the heavy potential of life for the next 200 years. The individual having to justify an action of service within their heart can exist on a much more natural plane if we can peel off the obligatory layer that has been nailed into the back of our heads. Justifying the means of a service is doing ourselves a service for satisfaction with the choices we decide to make. Let’s try to take a step back from the urgency that has been placed upon the progression of our own utility and our own mark on the planet.

The heart of service swells and dances with taking time to remember why we live and what it means for us to wake up everyday. We can remember how our loved ones make us feel and how our own biological community operates with us in mind. Acknowledging the service that the planet does offer to us and what disservices us can help us to maintain this particular mindfulness . This thought process in the work we do should justify why we would buy something, participate, listen, speak, and learn. Whether or not embracing this heart of service is a requirement for whatever career/personal development may exist, one will have to answer to themselves regarding their own vision and quality of life eventually. If serving the next seven generations has not made it to one’s consideration, then what makes you live everyday?

 

Jan 042017
 

Kelly Fernandez 1/4/2017

When discussing process with Kathy and Constantine, Kathy first looked up a dictionary definition of process: “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”. Process can be examined and carried out in many different scenarios. Constantine was using Pantsuit Nation to teach me an example of process and the consequences which are aligned with broken process. This has occurred with Libby Chamberlain’s book announcement that she had declared to the followers of Pantsuit Nation. Upon hearing this and watching an uprising of followers feeling somewhat unheard, it appeared to me that the space has undoubtedly changed. There are now many possibilities toward hurt feelings, misunderstandings, mission creep, and minimizing voice. Individuals seem to fear their name and/or story being shared for public eye, possible profit hunger, miscommunicated funding facts, and the underlying idea that some causes can/will be highlighted and other causes could be seemingly swept under the rug. Although observation and participation with Pantsuit Nation has proved to be an anomaly in sociology, the biggest glitch we are observing is within the process. Constantine helped point out that regardless of the good cathartic outcome of the group, at the end of the day Pantsuit Nation was not a group that belonged to one or a few people to one-handedly provide to the public, which is true for any group.

There are a lot of bitter sweet possibilities for a group of 4,000,000 plus and one of the greatest challenges is staying true to a process of communication with those participants. It would have been quite difficult and not plausible for the admins to reach out to each individual and seek their opinions toward this decision. Therefore, there must be revaluations of style of process for a group once it has grown to such an exponential amount, especially so quickly. Perhaps a different way of process would have been to announce the opportunity for the group, rather than the announcing what was going to occur for the group. Even with this solution, there come many more obstacles including backlash hype, deliberation, majority ruling, and whichever causes and ideas maintain the focus. The admins have quite difficult tasks and roles as of now and for the upcoming existence of the group. One thing is certain: the group has evolved on a vast scale quite quickly. Change is always a challenge and an adventure. I look forward to learning more from Pantsuit Nation as an observer for the remainder of the group’s existence. I trust the intentions of those who take the time and courage to share their experience in whichever fashion they choose.

Kathy provided me a great example of process by using a smaller scale group, a neighborhood. She explained the origins of group collaboration and idea implementation. A fault in the process appeared to Kathy when she witnessed one particular neighbor not being heard on a comparable scale to the others. This foreshadows troubles with communication, lack of sustainability, and an imbalance in the neighborhood process. The consequence came about in way of communication being completely severed between this particular neighbor and another neighbor. Even if this story sounds like it might only affect two neighbors, the experience surely affects the entire system, in different ways of course. This can be taken as a learning experience for everyone in this system, but the lesson can be viewed in different ways as well. A feud or any other form of severed communication can be unfortunately passed along as just another consequence within the human condition, but that would be a lazy and unsustainable picture. Groups such as Pantsuit Nation seem to acquire much more global attention and focus because of the large scale of the group. Even with the best of intentions, group work requires attention and special maintenance in order to examine each member’s feelings and quality of life importance.

Process is a challenge that I am feeling a newfound mindfulness toward and I feel that I have achieved greater confidence in group work now that I have these types of perspectives. It is now time for me to move on to my challenge of motivating another individual or potential group to work with me to develop my personal goals toward macro social work and develop the personal goals of others. My contemplation has turned to ways of scoring my mission and Constantine has reminded me of an important perspective that I have not used in a while. This perspective refers to my long lost love for video games, specifically rapid game player. I am remembering what drew me into these games, the character development and team design, the ways in which I can focus on upgrading particular powers, and learning about the different dimensions of the world. Part of these dimensions requires understanding what it means to acquire particular items, places, feelings, and scores. All of these factors move to benefit my character or can become my character’s demise. This lens is serving the duty of helping me brainstorm the world of scoring and upgrading individuals and groups.

This lens is also maintaining my current focus on one of the most sustainable characteristics of humans: our superpowers and weaknesses found through experience. I am hoping to further develop my own powers and explore my weaknesses while also inciting this kind of thinking within any individual or group that I will be working with in the future. My superpower is one of a Reminiscent creature and two my mini powers include Sorting Through Chaos and Self Drive. One of my hugest weaknesses, brought forth particularly at this time of my life, is the Managing the World of Numbers. I am keeping these powers and weaknesses in mind as I seek out my future team and/or partners whilst self-examining my own video game as a Reminiscent. A video game lens and a theater lens are very powerful attributes to me as of now because these are areas of my life that serve as areas that I can only access successfully and most sustainably as a Reminiscent. Therefore, my most present challenge is mindful maintenance of my superpowers and using these qualities to motivate others, especially in their quest to examine their own self hero.

 

Jan 012017
 

Kelly Fernandez 1/1/2016

I had never heard of Pantsuit Nation (PSN) until Constantine had brought the group to my attention by invitation, so I was surprised as to how many notifications I received from my Facebook friends reacting to posts. There is something to be said about the impacts that stories have on readers and listeners. Experience is an underrated tool. This type of spread of information has undoubtedly evoked a mass scale of emotions on a global level.

The evidence of this is visible in the numerical involvement, the stories, the content of the stories, all of the speculations, and the backlash of those speculations. Constantine shared an article written by Harry Lewis entitled “PSN is a Sham”, which is a reaction piece to a book deal announcement on behalf of Libby Chamberlain and PSN. The author notes that PSN seems to have transformed to a “collective grieving space” after Hillary Clinton did not become president of the United States. There perhaps seems to be a miscommunication between participants and leaders of the organization, which seems to be regarding the intentions of everyone’s involvement and personal missions versus group missions. These speculations have brought accusative conversation. Lewis says that it seems the mantra of PSN began as “everyone here is welcome” and has now morphed into “why are you ruining this environment by attacking our sisterhood?”

I find it uncommon for ideas of space for direct conversation or philanthropy to come under criticism. I have seen this conversation dwell mostly toward the neoliberal aspects of said organizations, but does neoliberalism change the effects of story sharing? Learning from one another’s experiences occurs on a personal level and evokes a macro idea of opening diverse perspectives. Call it neoliberal, call it a non profit, speculate the profit, but shared experience has always proved inspiring.

Libby Chamberlain responded to this backlash to her book announcement via Facebook post. She began by noting that PSN started by encouraging participants to wear a pantsuit on November 8th. It is important to recognize how the group has evolved from a movement beginning as a gesture of direct action, a perspective that I feel I have noted incorrectly in my previous post. PSN itself has morphed into a provided space, structure, and participants whom have filled in the body. She brings about an emphasis on this being a group for humans to celebrate and contribute to social learning through different points of view.

Diversity is stability!

Now that PSN has an opportunity for diverse storytelling, it is up to participants to examine their level of trust in the group. Is the idea of storytelling for a seemingly neoliberal profit the breaking point for you? What has the idea of publicizing a safe space done to the group? How does evolution of an organization change the trust level in its participants? What happens when an area for support becomes an example? Chamberlain does say that participation in the book is voluntary and she answers particular funding concerns. “Proceeds from the book will support PSN and the causes that are central to this group…we will also use PSN to raise money for other likeminded nonprofits.”

 

With regards to the questions posed by Constantine on December 22, 2016… There will be emotional and personal responses to the issues that receive emphasis. There is now an overarching responsibility for the conversation space to respect and consider all input. Otherwise, discriminated feelings remain perfectly valid. It will continue to be a challenge for this organization to construct a book that will remain attentive to possibly 4,000,000 group members. 

The process of PSN appears to be much smaller than one would think of 4,000,000. This is because there is lack of clarity between the process of the admins and the process of participants. The mission is weakening through winging many different conversations involving an array of different types of grievances. Clustered conversation is distraction with an intention of healing catharsis taking the immediate attention. The controversy of the intentions of PSN is valid, yet the importance truly lies within the intentions of those filling the structure. However, there is no reason to take away the organic nature of the evolution of this group. The space of PSN is only an opportunity for offering stories, funding support, seeking support, listening ears, and/or attentive readers. Good intention can humbly begin by everyone taking time and energy to fully consider and recognize one’s own privilege. This allows room for open understanding and patience. The political and financial speculation seems to be wasted energy to me. If trust in the group is won, then what can be done for this movement to replicate on a local level? If trust in the group is lost, then what does work for you and your experience?

 

http://www.pantsuitnation.org/book.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/panstuit-nation-is-a-sham_us_585991dce4b04d7df167cb4d

 

Dec 202016
 

On Monday December 19, 2016 at approximately 11:45am I entered Constantine and Kathy’s home and was greeted with eggs, sausage, bread and butter. I began discussing updates and feelings towards my internship with Community Food Initiatives. These thoughts and feelings were guided towards communication and observations within my experience. There is something exhilarating about leaving one internship and journey to another and have time to reflect over the time previously spent.

          Constantine then gave me a radio in order for me to locate Kathy’s whereabouts in the beginnings of her journey of planting ginseng. Although the word ginseng has been tossed around in different conversations throughout my young adult life, I did not know much about it. I arrived to Kathy as she was tossing seeds that had already seemed to begin sprouting within the bag they had been stored in. The area she was tossing towards appeared to be an area that was just gently raked against. The soil was not deeply grooved, as I expected it to be. I guess my expectations came from my basic knowledge and mental image of garden experience.

          Kathy explained that there are different ways of course to plant ginseng and this was a good way to incorporate the Earth’s, and particularly this forest’s, input as to the biological community. An example of this input is the idea of the seeds possibly moving or blowing against a different side of this new garden, perhaps by the dog’s through steps or the wind swaying the rake and leaves one way or another. Kathy taught me that ginseng is endangered and I distinctly remember her noting George Washington’s particular interest in ginseng.

          Ginseng enjoys sitting on a slope facing East. Kathy asked me if I was oriented to my cardinal directions in this particular area and I replied no. Although I know to use the sun as my tool, my answer came much quicker than my thoughts collected. Although I would discourage myself and/or anyone to answer quickly without giving sufficient thought, I am glad that this particular answer came about in this way because my answer opened up the opportunity for Kathy’s response.

          She began by directing my body to face East and to allow my feet to be planted into the Earth, allowing myself to notice that I am a plant of the Earth. Kathy told me that the East was for beginnings, perhaps a type of birth, this is where the sun rises from. We then turned towards the South, a direction for growth. This particular direction resonates with me on a very firm level of understanding. We then turn to the west, a direction for change, perhaps a type of death.

          Finally, we turn toward the North, a direction for community. Kathy’s guidance reminded me of a tradition that has been a part of my life since I have had memory. Every Winter Solstice in Evergreen Hills, we would meet as a neighborhood at someone’s home for a bonfire celebration and a dedicatory speech to our different cardinal directions. This was a tradition that ignited a form of spirituality that I would believe in and trust in, since I began collecting memory from this practice. After providing thanks to these four directions, Kathy asked me to follow behind her footsteps with my footsteps in order to give a final pat down and salutation to the Earth before moving on to the next potential ginseng garden. Kathy said that this was how I could help her; the dogs joined us to help just as I was.

          Previous to my departure outside to join Kathy, Constantine made a special effort to explain the transfer of chain of command that was going to occur once he gave me a radio to join Kathy. This particular clarity is an aspect that I have learned is vital through my introductory education of Incident Command Systems and Holistic Management. I have learned the vital aspect of this clarity through many different types of experiences regarding effects of confused roles within a system. The effects of this confusion consist of wasted resources, opportunities, and time. Thus, tasks and product are not completed to their full potential of efficiency and accuracy. The catalyst for change in these situations is lack of quality.

I would have not been able to articulate these feelings and scenarios in the way that I was able to above without beginning to study Holistic Management. I did not imagine that learning of this structure would apply to so many different aspects of my life and other lives as much as it truly does. The tools given by the structure reshape language and manner of attentiveness towards a broader view and long term solutions. This view and these solutions can apply to everything from business structures to personal relationships.

Although I still have a lot left to learn towards Holistic Management, I have been able to identify aspects of myself that led me to my holistic goal and my vision. I did not imagine that I would be able to incorporate so much of myself into a structure like such. I have been learning the importance of knowing oneself in a life’s journey and Holistic Management seemed to come at an ideal time for learning ways to apply oneself in order to manifest the impact on a problem and solution.

This internship has been quite inviting to my passion towards my journey through my social work education. Part of that invitation includes an environment that is quite mindful of self-care and professional development. Social work can be a broad journey and it has been for me thus far. After exploring social work on a micro and macro level, I have found my strengths within my thinking process to be guided toward thinking at a macro level. Athens Own seems to share excitement with me through my macro level thinking, leading to some lightbulb burning conversations.

The first and one of the most striking conversations consisted of social sustainability efforts, perhaps the solar plexus of my passion. A light example of this type of thinking is to explore ways that a particular social structure could operate in a more sustainable manner, in order to achieve long term goals and visions of those individuals. If one way is not working, then what does work? There are ways to use our human energy in inefficient and efficient ways and the ways that are used always have short term and long term effects. Perhaps the differences between those long term and short term effects exist on a vast scale. My interest level is high in allowing attention to be brought to the perspective of the social conduits of perceptions and how those perceptions affect the rest of the world around them. Could these insights and experiences be channeled in a different way, in a way that affects the involved systems in an efficient long term means?

I have found that these situations can be found within a business, whether for profit or non-profit. Holistic Management assists in providing many examples of applications of structure that can assist in the completion of tasks in a sustainable manner. The addition of personalities, experiences, and feelings is where I find my communication to come through naturally with my constant mindfulness of my desired quality of life. These human aspects can alter any process within a business through disconnection of communication and from not taking much time and effort to assess a situation from different points of view. A Holistic Management learning process preludes with an exercise regarding thinking outside of the box. Not to sound cliché, but this is a good phrase and way of thinking to begin with for this type of processing and communication.

A major part of my vision consists of creating an open space for healing by setting intentions towards connection and self-reflection by starting with personal vulnerability. This is a result of assessing my desired quality of life which heavily involves having open space for healing. I have begun to learn that this kind of space can look and feel many different ways, it could be found in a business setting, a family setting, or a perfectly intentional setting. Holistic Management and Athens Own have taught me that this atmosphere can exist in a business setting and I think that that is a very important lesson to take from Holistic Management. One can manifest their goals, visions, and quality of life by simply maintaining a mindfulness of those images and what those images involve.

Constantine recently introduced me to an example of macro social sustainability in action that is happening because it simply just is. This group is called The Pantsuit Nation and I have been introduced to this group via Facebook. “Pantsuit Nation exists to harness the power of collective storytelling. Stories shared on our public page from the Facebook group are only shared with enthusiastic permission from the author,” the description of the group reports. This is exactly what is occurring within this group, stories are being shared from across the country, currently involving almost 4,000,000 individuals.

This is an example of shared catharsis using genuine personal experience. This is a way to introduce stories that can be used for learning and relation. There is a hidden invitation within this group, an invitation to open one’s spirit by sharing and listening in response to chaos that the world might share with us. I see social sustainability in the way that these individuals have decided to respond to actions and speech of the world that can be seen as intolerable and defeating. Success in sharing is happening very quickly within this group, this is a hub for healing and maintaining spirit. There is a lot to be learned from this group and other groups alike.

Now that I have been led to apply myself to a manner of systems thinking, I have been able to firmly grasp the importance of taking the patient effort to identify the systems of the atmosphere and environment around me, as well as the systems of the pursuit I decide to take toward my vision. My hope is for my next steps to involve more investigation and involvement with social sustainability in action. I want to find these actions in all sorts of different realms of experience, everywhere from a for profit business atmosphere, all the way to any intentional space created in lieu of a different way of communicating for the betterment of the world around those individuals. I want to begin to contribute more facilitating of these types of dynamics within the realms I am provided, practicing using all resources available to me to my best potential.

As I followed in Kathy’s footsteps, following her, the rake, and the replaced leaves, I initiated a mindful thanks and good bye for now to the new ginseng garden. We then carried on to a different area of the forest, paying special attention to the different water flow patterns on the land. This was a good time for Kathy to teach me of these patterns because of the recent rains that came through the area. She showed me the impacts of the water flow from just those few rains and she also showed me the lasting impacts of erosion from quite a few different causes. An example of one of these causes is past logging, examples of loggers not paying particular attention to how their equipment affected the land.

          Kathy showed me how the dams she has built help guide the water to flow one way or another and how those particular ways affect the entire biological community of the forest. We spent time assessing details provided by the land as to how the water flowed through different barriers, such as leaf piles and silt piles. The details were seen first by Kathy, and as she pointed land messages out to me, I knew that I could see the messages as well. Attentiveness to these messages is a new lesson for me; however, a lot of this process evokes a strong sense of familiarity within me. Perhaps this familiarity stems from a macro social work process; a broad form of communication with the land sends us towards patient attention towards the details which is where the feelings of the forest are inhabited.

          There is a striking spot in the forest where Kathy and I came to stop. There is a landmark view that is difficult to describe with just English language and/or a written description. You might just have to see it yourself sometime. This is where a new ginseng garden will reside. Kathy began to teach me how to rake in the form of a circle, perhaps a sacred circle that evoked a pattern that is familiar to my inner child. She reminded me to be communicative with this area, especially since there was bright green, thriving Sicily and bright green, thriving stink bugs.

          I paid attention to the cardinal directions of our current location and I checked with my gut while Kathy also checked with her gut. Although it has always felt like a familiar nature for me to check my feelings, this gut check is a final and quite important part of the decision making process presented with Holistic Management. If our gut says no, perhaps our instincts are noticing something that our eyes and ears are not. We were asking the forest and this biological community if it felt okay and/or felt good about us adding a change to the community. I wish I could have asked exactly how the community felt about it and have heard an exact response. Although, perhaps we do know! Maybe we feel the exact answer in a twitch or a fidget, maybe a thought.

          Now that our guts felt sure of this location, I offered thanks to each of our cardinal directions and then began to rake. Kathy asked me to share with her the name of the garden when it came to thought. Thus, this garden is now called ‘A Child’s Garden’. Once Kathy and I returned to the house, she showed me an approximate location of where ‘A Child’s Garden’ on one of her maps. This was a very neat moment in the day, to see a different perspective of a shared creation between Kathy, the biological community of Broadwell Hill Sanctuary, and I.

         

         

         

Dec 152016
 

Conscious decision making requires the simple sequence of constructive thought prior to making a choice. Holistic management highlights this sequence and provides a set of testing questions, all of which could apply or not apply to particular decision making processes. The testing questions include identifying the root cause of a problem, the weak links within a decision, comparing decision choices, an input analysis, a vision analysis, and last but surely not least a gut check. I love the highlighted emphasis on the testing questions ending specifically with the gut check because at the end of the day or at the end of any decision, the gut check is what truly matters. How do you feel now?

I decided to try using food insecurity as an example with a process of identifying a root cause. This process involves identifying an initial problem and then peeling back layers of the issue in order to find decisions ranging from immediate to long-term decision making. Examples of these layers include the beginning of a family of three unsure of what each member of the family will be eating for dinner on a particular evening. Dinner timing could align between 4:30pm-10:30pm and the consequence of the later time is the hunger level of the family members which influences health, mood, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and potential panic. There is a 8 year old child to be taken into consideration and an immediate decision could be to ensure that the 8 year old child eats the most diverse meal that is able to put together as soon as the child expresses hunger verbally or their stomach is heard. Another layer includes the details of  the food accessibility for this family.

Are there any free and/or discounted meals available at a time that aligns well with the family’s hunger level? What are the available food pantries and are their times accessible for the family? Are there friends, family, or neighbors available to assist with meal planning or meal providing?

Other layers include the current stress/fatigue/health levels of the parents in the family. How do these mood and health levels affect the family’s food access ability at this particular time? Whose mood or health is being sacrificed during times of acquiring food?

Causes seem to be including financial instability, living in a location with comparably inaccessible food resources, lack of transportation, and lack of nutritious foods and/or nutrition education. The long-term decision could be a range of different approaches, all up for more in depth interpretation.

I enjoyed the exercise of comparing options toward my holistic goal. I decided to take a more personal approach with this exercise and I identifying ways that I spend my time and how those activities move me away from or towards my holistic goal. An example of this process would include two different hobbies of mine: reading and hiking. I deemed reading +4 and hiking +4 towards my holistic goal. Another example would be watching films, +2 and watching reality television, -4 towards my holistic goal. I am remembering here that my holistic goal is to provide open space for healing with use of self reflection and connections.

My favorite part of this chapter was to identify the difference between degenerative activities, generative activities, and regenerative activities. The author uses a great example of comparing her son’s choice between asking for a video game or a pool table for Christmas. Through this type of thinking, her son could decide that a video game would be a degenerative activity because of the energy consumption of this activity. On the other hand, a pool table would be a generative activity because of the energy input and output being from his own doing. Plus, then a decision could be made between a foosball table and pool table and her son was able to realize that he could play with a pool table alone, unlike a foosball table. This is type of thinking is beneficial for assessing energy input and output when deciding on ways to spend whatever currency is up for discussion, whether it be money or energy.

I divided up some of my own activities into three columns, whether they ended up being degenerative, generative, and regenerative. My biggest degenerative activity is the use of my car, my car is using fossil fuels and using up a lot of external energy sources that are non-renewable. This is a tricky activity to assess because if I did not have my car, I would not be able to keep my internship with Community Food Initiatives. However, this type of thinking helps guide me to more in depth thought on how to minimize my use of that degenerative activity. Examples of my generative activities included reading fiction, playing board games, and spending time with friends. Spending time with friends can be arguably degenerative or regenerative, depending on the way we decide to spend our time together. Examples of regenerative activities include writing, painting, and cooking.

This exercise reinforced my confidence in the use of my time, at this point in my life. This type of mindfulness is helpful to avoid confusion and contradicting feelings towards activities, especially once one has their holistic goal fresh in their mind. Things seem to make a lot more sense in the way they react with one another and with myself.

Dec 152016
 

Examining my whole was a strange process for me since being on my own. It is strange to know that I am now the decision-maker of my whole. My resource base is however plentiful, beginning with my mother in Westerville, Ohio, my old Evergreen Hills neighborhood community in Granville, Ohio, my house in Athens, Ohio, my Grandma Mary in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, my sister Stephani in Boyton Beach, Florida, my sister Jessica in Delray Beach, Florida, my Spirit of Kairos community all over the country, my Taco Dans community in all over the world, my mom’s car, my car, ICS training, advocacy training, trauma informed care training, motivation, Athens community, passion, teamwork experience, and individual experience. Money is another strange aspect to analyze because of my being near the end of my bachelor’s degree in college and I am paying for my own education. My money resources are currently the Ohio University work study employment with Community Food Initiatives salary, OULN operator salary, savings, bank, federal, and private loans.

Creating my holistic goal was a very thought provoking process. I felt as though my mind was racing with different images with if/ands/or buts, all different realities that would make me happy in all sorts of different ways. I tried focusing on ideas that dwell most often with me throughout my most present time frame.

As of now, for my quality of life…

I want to live a humble life. I want to coexist. I want natural human healing powers to be manifested. I want open space for thought. I want to have fun. I want to lead. I want a loving atmosphere. I want open space for healing. 

Behaviors and Systems to achieve this quality of life…

Know the significance of one’s ego versus one’s spirit. Remain within a constant learning process towards sustainability. Talk to trees, as well as others, and listen. Listen to the heart and remain open-minded. Remain welcoming and communicate with resources. Ask questions. Give. Be vulnerable.

My Vision…

We will create open space for healing by setting our intentions towards connection and self reflection by starting with personal vulnerability. 

Nov 272016
 

Combining one’s visions and long term goals with everyday output into the workforce seems to be a dormant art. Although I have not had a considerable amount of time as a being of Earth in comparison, I have deducted my reasoning for the loss of this art by noticing that my goods and services have been predetermined to satisfy me quick and to break soon. I do not want a short term output from my own hands and mind, nor do I want to invest in short term ideas. I find satisfaction in ideas that have developed and been further analyzed because it shows me that the creator cares. I find this type of care and mindfulness within the structure guided by At Home With Holistic Management. Ann Adams quickly introduces the learner to the vitality of thinking outside the box, in every sense of the phrase. This structure emphasizes the idea of paying full attention to one’s surroundings. These surroundings are one’s environment, causes and effects on that environment, and how these experiences make the participant feel.

I have really enjoyed focusing on learning the very basics of the water cycle, mineral cycle, energy flow, and the biological community. At the end of the day, these are the vitalities that matter before all else. It saddens me that this sort of logic has gotten lost in the hunger of some industries, but our Earth speaks back to us, whether we listen or not. The art of listening is a new gift in my own experience and is brought to immediate attention within Holistic Management. Learning of the different language that is communicated amongst many beings is another lost art. There is a lot more emotions for one to feel if they allow themselves to pay attention. Without this communication, I can see why emptiness is a popular feeling for conversation with many humans.

Holistic Management has currently been guiding me to define the ship that I want to further invest time with.  One of the fun parts of this thought process is examining the habitat that I call home. Not necessarily my house, but I mean my soul’s forest. I have recently been able to identify that I have been one to landscape my own field, my field where I play loudly with the sun. Since entering college, I have been preparing myself for the idea of building my own ship in that same field. However, some things that have happened to me in life have affected me on a deep level and have caused me to run back into my soul’s forest to climb up into a tree to hide. I have quite recently been learning to instead dangle and hang upside down from this tree, in order to prepare myself for climbing down and building again.

These are all ideas that are very difficult to discuss in a group setting, let alone a business setting. I am becoming less afraid of these ideas since being exposed to alternative methods of learning and practicing business because I feel a strong sense of belonging and equality. Business is especially exciting when one feels the worth of their opinions and ideologies. In my own experience, this feeling brings forth contribution.

Nov 102016
 

During Community Food Initiatives’ Donation Station distribution on Friday October 28, I got to unexpectedly speak with Constantine. We began talking about my residency at Ohio University’s eco house. The eco house is part of the sustainability department of Ohio University. The house itself is a tool to guide one’s lifestyle towards sustainability, along with the tools provided within the home to further minimize one’s human footprint. The house is unique because it is a class credited opportunity for the tenants to develop a project within the home that aligns with that individual’s personal and/or professional interests. Constantine shared with me that he and Kathy were part of the development of the eco house project.

I was excited to have two individuals to thank for their investment in the eco house project because living in the home has amplified a lot of joy and understanding in my life. Thinking back to when I had moved in, I felt a lot of history in the home because of the homeliness of the house and also a lot of resources left behind by past tenants. Most of these resources include books, cooking utensils, self care quotes, and recipes for chemical free housework. Other than these resources, the rest of the history of the home is a bit of a mystery to me. This mysterious factor is bittersweet because it adds a charm to my experience but I am also highly interested on the history of the home and the different eco house experiences that have occurred since its establishment.

Constantine shared in my curiosity and we decided that it would be a beneficial project to organize documentation of experiences, projects, pitfalls, successes, questions, and resilient activity of the home’s tenants. I think this history is important because the eco house is an opportunity to change one’s living patterns in order to align with the Earth’s best interests. Mindfulness of what makes a home, environment, or a tenant resilient through a process of sustainability can help establish better ways to communicate vitality in sustainability. This project would involve me partnering up with another motivated individual who shares an interest in this work. We thought that a history student would be a good place to start.

I asked Constantine what he thought would be a good incentive for a history student to work with me. Constantine then guided me to think outside the box by asking me what would be a good incentive for myself to invest in this project. This is a resourceful way to look because it would require me to use what I already know, which is how I feel from a macro social work student perspective. I asked myself questions like:

What initially struck my interest with this project?

Why does this project involve me?

How does this project make me feel?

What am I learning?

What do I want to learn?

What does this project mean to me?

What do I already know about teamwork?

I do not want to get caught up with the question, “What is a good incentive for a history major?” because the answer to that specific question would most likely guide me to learn more about a history major and the differences between me and that history major. If this thought process were to occur, then I have been guided away from my initial mission. This situation would place me on the line of ‘mission creep’, which is a common flaw in grant writing that I would prefer to address in a separate post.

This conversation inspired me to first continue with my eco house documentation project with a partner. I have not found a partner yet but being a current tenant keeps me motivated on a very applicable level. I also feel more confident in my ability to lead in motivating others to take an interest and act in, not only my project, but any project aimed at grassroots and understanding how something works. I am hoping to embrace the history recollection of my home, along with taking further steps to improve my writing abilities and having mindfulness of systems thinking in everything I work on. I want my writing abilities and thinking processes to help a future project of mine in altering the grant writing process in order to avoid mission creep. Along with grant writing purposes, I would like my writing to portray motivational attributes for taking leadership in whatever one may do.

Nov 042016
 

In pursuit of my social work education, I am currently enrolled in Dynamics of Human Behavior at Ohio University (SW 3701). I have recently learned of Family Resilience Perspective*. This would be a lens that a social worker would use post family distress. This perspective “seeks to identify and strengthen family processes that allow families to bear up under and rebound from distressing life experiences”. To me, this perspective is vital for hope, confidence, and security within a family unit. Three dimensions of this perspective incorporate family belief systems, organizational patterns, and communication processes. I think this perspective can be helpfully used in community intervention, along with families. An example of this is taking into consideration common local or regional belief systems, routine community patterns, and political or business communication processes. This would be advantageous post community distress, including economic and natural resource deprivation.

*Hutchinson (2012) Essentials of Human Behavior Integrating Person, Environment and the Life Course SAGE Publications, inc.

I have personally been putting a lot of extra thought into this type of post distress intervention within communities, rather than families. This is because of a high personal interest in community collaboration, especially in the face of a high-risk future due to climate change and resource access.

I have been reading a FABULOUS book entitled Last Child in the WoodsSaving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. This book is ideal for parenting strategies, along with personal coexistence strategies. Coexistence with our environment, that is. Through this reading, I have been introduced to ideas regarding ecopsychology, naturopathy, horticultural therapy, and learning ‘nature smarts’. I look forward to a future of incorporating these techniques and information into my practice.
“David Orr, professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College and founder of the Meadowcreek Project, a conservation education center, calls for a new environmental literacy requirement at the college level…The dominant form of education today ‘alienates us from life in the name of human domination, fragments instead of unifies, overemphasizes success and careers…Orr calls for a new approach to education to promote “ECOLOGICAL DESIGN INTELLIGENCE” that could, in turn, create ‘healthy, durable, resilient, just, and prosperous communities'” (Louv 2005). This excerpt reminds me of my personal learning through reading At Home With Holistic Management by Ann Adams.