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.