Integrate rather than segregate

In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s magnificent book “Braiding Sweetgrass” she invites the reader to think about the fact that, in her view, “All flourishing is mutual.” Or put simply, that when we fail to be mutual we cannot flourish. We are only as vibrant, healthy, and alive as the most vulnerable among us. She goes on to illustrate this idea by thinking about mycorrhizae – the fungal strands that inhabit tree roots and which connect the trees in a forest, distributing carbohydrates among them:

“They weave a web of reciprocity, of giving and taking. In this way, the trees all act as one because the fungi have connected them.”

So if we are thinking about this from our perspective as creative people who want to stimluate regenerative cultures what might it mean? If we try to work to “integrate rather than segregate” as described by David Holmgren in his Permaculture Principles how might our lives look? As creative practitioners how may we cultivate inclusion and inclusivity in our work, and how may we bring regenerative thinking right to the heart of our practice? And how may the varied aspects of our often multi-faceted portfolios be brought together in a way that allows the different aspects of life to come together in an integrated way?

Thinking about inclusion in its widest sense it is interesting to ponder what it might mean to us. If we were to try and define the intrinsic characteristics of inclusion what might they be and what might that mean to our life and work?

What might intrinsic characteristics of inclusion be?

In contradiction to this sense of an integrated whole it is interesting to think about how you can allow space to “say yes to whatever turns up”. To embrace the things that grow that you didn’t plan and to make them part of your wider practice. How is it possible make space for the wild and unexpected so that the door is open for it to come into your life in all its richness and energy?

Then if we move away from ourselves to our communities what does this mean? As creative people, especially those working in engaged settings, we frequently have a strong sense of how art and creativity brings people together. This becomes particularly interesting when this community and societal integration alligns with our feelings, and we feel comfortable enough to bring this into our practice or work- relaxing into the diversity of our unique and individual, but equally connected, life! What additional power and energy does it bring when we truly allow oursleves to engage as a creative being within a wider community? And at the times that we feel a sense of otherness how can permaculture tools and other regenerative thinking help us?

Finally in contrast to all of this it is imprortant to acknowledge that a creative life wearing many hats can be overwhelming especially when all of those hats feel merged as one. At these times It can be good to segregate interests to protect our personal energies. Furthermore sometimes segregated allocation of time is really crucial in order to allow meaningful time to focus upon something specific that may keep getting pushed aside in the melee of everyday life. Though maybe rather than thinking about segregation in this context it is more useful to think about a different third space which is a protected space that sits in perfect balance alongside alongside integration and segregation. A space that provides balance and time to think in the reciprocal internal and external give and take that is creative practice, art making and life.

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