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Issue 40: November 2020
 
Seeds of hope for the winter season
 
IN THIS ISSUE:
 
Editorial
Feature Blog: 2021 and the seeds of hope
Hope in local communities
Future Conversations: Gardener's Way: seasonal tips blog
New YouTube video: how seasonal gardening tips can help your wellbeing
BONUS GUEST BLOG: hope amid cancer and covid
Events
FUTURE CONVERSATIONS: menu of events available for 2021
A Sufi Garden

EDITORIAL:

 
Dear friend,

As we head towards an uncertain Winter and New Year, I hope this Newsletter can help you. As the feature blog shows, there is plenty to hope for, but we need to redefine what hope means and the Gardeners Way blog and tips explore what we can learn from Nature at this time of year.
Wishing you well,

Alan

Feature Blog: 
2021 and the seeds of hope 

In the gardener’s year, November to January is a time for clearing and fertilising ground, and starting to plant seeds for the new cycle’s growth. And when we plant a seed, we plant a bit of hope with it. The process of realising that hope takes plenty of time – so let’s be patient.

Although it may not seem it, there’s plenty to hope for next year: it just needs us to redefine hope, and change some habitual ways of seeing the world. The book Active Hope, by Chris Johnstone and Joanna Macy, expresses this reframing of hope very well. “Whatever situation we face, we can choose our response,” they advise. 

They outline two different meanings for the word hope. One is “hopefulness, where our preferred outcome seems reasonably likely to happen.” But they add: “If we require this kind of hope before we commit ourselves to an action, our responses get blocked in areas where we don’t rate our chances too high.” 


Read the full blog here.
Hope in local communities
This is an update on two community resilience initiatives which I and my team in Seeding our Future are running currently.  
 
Future Conversations: This is a series of 6-8 facilitated sessions designed to help members of a local community to raise their resilience skills to face climate change and other crises.  In 2019, we ran three successful pilot series in three disadvantaged communities, and in late 2020 we're running a programme online.  For 2021, we invite group or individual bookings: see more under Events or here.
 
Bridport Food Security: Since late 2019, our small team has been exploring this issue in our home town in West Dorset. We commissioned research showing how adaptive cultivate methods and different crops would enable local production to increase despite future climate conditions.  We hope to increase responses to food poverty, encourage new producers and processors, and more.  One aim of this work is to create pilot initiatives that other communities can learn from.  To learn more, click here or to receive our food security newsletter, click here.
Future Conversations: Gardener's Way: seasonal tips blog
This is the start of a series of blogs to highlight gardening priorities through the seasons of the year, and how we can learn from these for our own resilience and wellbeing. This blog covers the period from mid-October to the end of December.
 
Although the weather is getting darker and colder, this should be an enjoyable  part of the gardener’s year. It’s a time of completions and beginnings, when the pace of physical activity slows down. November 1 st also marks the beginning of the Celtic year, which is appropriate given how this time fits in the annual cultivation cycle. So, let’s look at seasonal gardening tasks, and what we can learn from them.

Harvesting
Depending on your crops, you may be gathering in till the end of the year: for example, apples, parsnips, leeks. This is also the time  or processing and preserving: for example, freezing fruit, making jam. We had a bumper yield of tomatoes, so Linda made passata for freezing. It’s useful to see the harvest as having several stages: picking, processing, storing, and celebrating.
 

Where are the human analogies?  We’re often so focussed on output that we forget to celebrate success, process our harvest, and lay up stores for the winter.  With pandemic restrictions, the emotional stress of this winter could be considerable, and that’s why we need to use our harvest to nourish us: for example, by savouring happy memories of the summer, valuing the resilience we’ve learned, and appreciating ourselves and our blessings.  

Read the full blog here.
New YouTube video: how seasonal gardening tips can help your wellbeing
BONUS GUEST BLOG: hope amid cancer and covid
Hope amid cancer and covid Introduction from Alan: This is a recent blog from a long-standing friend, Palden Jenkins – a deep thinker, old soul and astrologer. You may be inspired by his hopeful responses to his own cancer and to our shared covid crisis.

 
At times I give out the wrong impression. When I write my blog or talk to people, I'm usually in an "up" state, so people get an "up" impression. But at present I am "up" for only about 5-6 hours each day, then I start drooping. The rest of the time I'm fatigued, flumped in bed, watching the birds outside my window or floating in the ethers. I didn't know what fatigue was like until I got it. It's not just serious tiredness: it's a helpless, leaden megaflop. Time slows down and disappears. Brains clog up, and lifting an arm or keeping up a conversation becomes an act of will. But when I flop, it's bliss. I float into faraway realms that, forty years ago, I strove hard to enter.

Cancer is a strange gift. It focuses you and rearranges all your priorities. You have to work at being alive. You find out what's important. Things that used to worry you just evaporate. You have to focus on being with the cancer and also with the side-effects of medication. You find out who your real friends are. Some people you just can't deal with any more - like those whose opening gambit is the inevitable "How are you?"; (for the umpteenth time today). There's no remission with bone marrow cancer: you have to live with it and manage it until you pop your clogs. I've been helped by positive attitude, inner openness, exercise, rest, the love and care and the prayers of many people and beings (bless you all).

Read the full blog here.
Events
March 5-7 2021
A Hazel Hill Wood, we hope!

Natural Happiness: cultivate your resilience with the Gardeners Way

How can you stay happy when there’s too much change and uncertainty? This book shows you how: to cultivate yourself like a garden, and grow your own wellbeing by learning from natural ecosystems.

You will be able to experience the Natural Happiness approach yourself, with lots of time outdoors in this magical wood. The event is led by Alan Heeks who originated this model, and two close colleagues, Jane Sanders and Marcos Frangos. 

This will be a residential group at Hazel Hill Wood: if covid restrictions prevent this,it will be run with a series of online sessions with personal time in between.

For more info and bookings, Click here
FUTURE CONVERSATIONS:
menu of events available for 2021

This is a series of facilitated conversations designed to help communities raise their resilience in response to Climate Change and other challenges: see more in the update.

1. If you'd like to take part in a training as a facilitator of FC, let us know: we hope to run a training process during 2021

2. If you would like to participate in an online FC programme, join our list and we will aim to schedule one.

For individuals
Eight 2 hour sessions for 10-20 people: Online or In person

For Groups
Seeding our Future ran three pilot programmes in person in 2019, and is currently running an online programme. For 2021, we are offering several options, which can be booked by community or environmental groups, or individuals:

For more information and bookings click here.

A Sufi Garden


This is a monthly online group led by Alan Heeks and Karim Hadden, with chants, body prayer and Meditation drawing mainly from the Sufi tradition.

On Wednesday evenings, 7.30-9.00pm.


For more information or to reserve a place, contact Karim: mikejhadden@gmail.com

 

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