Regenerative Living

Hammock welcoming the first permaculture intern to Tanglewood Farm

“What DO You Do Exactly?”

“I co-create dynamic living spaces and in doing so, hold space for the healing, transformation and regeneration of soil, soul and society for all to flourish.”

Neither you, I, Tanglewood, nor any part of nature can heal or regenerate or flourish in isolation.

Healing is a collaborative and interactive process, a process of becoming whole.

This is a story of journeying towards healing and wholeness.

Once Upon a Time

Over twenty years ago I moved to the countryside in rural Australia. I had no concept of the term ‘regenerative’ anything when I started out on this leg of my journey. In many ways I was out of my depth, a city girl with a stary-eyed dream of country living.

Moving to a rural location was a new level of outdoor opportunity and huge learning responsibility for me. And I was about to discover that nature is both a demanding collaborator and a generous nurturer.

Introducing Tanglewood

Tanglewood has long uninterrupted wide horizons and vast skies. To look at 25 years ago ( the above pic) , it was a bare windswept two acres of remnant farm land. The earth was barely covered by a mixture of struggling native grasses and invasive species which provided very little possibility of either food or shelter for anything.

The Climate

very hot and dry in summer

very cold in winter with frost and sometimes snow,

windy year-round (the gentle neighbouring hills are
peppered with wind farms).

it sits in a rain shadow and rainfall is very low.

The Characters

First up is my partner in life and love, Dave. He brings to Tanglewood previous experience in off-grid living, building cottages and furniture, tending animals and growing food. He is adept at reading landscapes, interpreting natures signs and signals and generally being useful.

Other characters who come into and out of the story include dogs Pepper, Jester and Panda; cats Minstrel, Captain Questo, Coco and Sooty and multiple much-loved chooks and ducks, too numerous to name here.

The cast also includes many native and a few non-native bird species, possums, rabbits, reptiles and rodents; insects, bees, wasps, mossies, spiders, bogong moth and grasshoppers, and occasional visits from echidna, wombat, fox and wallaby.

Me: at this point in time in the story I am feeling more decorative than useful, more suburban than bucolic, but my heart and body are in the right place and m body clad in old clothes and stout boots, outside in the yard meeting and greeting all who pass through.

The Plot Thickens: Healing of Soil

Healing for Tanglewood had to begin with the soil. We began to enrich the depleted soil one bag of sheep (horse/cow/chicken) poo at a time.

Although my ecological literacy level was very low, I was guided by my intuition and my love of gardening. My thought was

“We need to plant trees, so let’s make sure they are edible!”  Planting proceeded something like this: dig hole (Dave) , add manure, fill in hole, deeply mulch and protect young plant with plant guard ( me) . Move onto the next and repeat.

Fruit trees were ordered, sited appropriately and planted. Little did we know at this time that these initial purchases would become the genesis of a 50-tree orchard ( stone fruit, apples, pears. Quince, mulberry fig…)

Slowly But Surely

Tanglewood began to take shape.

Spurred on by curiosity and necessity, I asked questions and soaked up information from multiple sources: books, talking with locals who were passionate about gardening, permaculture, organic farming, and alternative ways of living and being, country lore and more.

Things began to grow. But we were in a multi decade drought and progress was slow. Nature often is.

As we built Tanglewood and the soil began to heal, the vegetation grew, ecosystems were restored, providing food and shelter for wildlife who began to visit and settle in with us.

The Plot Thickens: Healing the Body, Mind and Soul

As I worked collaboratively with the soil, healing happened: to the soil, to me, and the landscape. We regenerated together. And despite the harsh conditions, the lack of rainfall and the many mistakes we inevitably made, over time:

  • I became physically stronger.
  • I took off my shoes and learned to love walking barefoot (me who had THE shoe collection!)
  • I became more attuned to the subtleties of my environment through the visceral relationship with the earth I trod; developed a love of clouds, skyscapes and nightscapes.
  • Birds and other wildlife moved into the trees and shrubs we planted. 

  • Seasons came and returned with cyclical predictability.
  • Trees grew, vegetation thickened, and finally gained height.
  • The harsh landscape slowly softened into shades of green.
  • Shadows from maturing trees spread across the yard in early morning and evening.
  • Veggie beds were constructed, planted and tended.
  • Biodiversity proliferated
  • Harvests were followed by preserving food and re-planting.
  •  Healing was also re-wilding part of me that had been too long in a ‘domesticated darkness’.

Regenerative Living

My ecological literacy was improving in leaps and bounds, I was healing my body and re-wilding my soul. I was regenerating, grounded, and sure in my emerging authenticity.

The quality of my relations and connections to others begin to change.

 I discovered that I had fallen into something which, for want of a better name, I am calling regenerative living: the collaborative healing between soil and soul which facilitates flourishing for all.

Transformation and Regeneration Steps Up

Healing however is not linear. It is a spiral process, sometimes circling upwards, sometimes, seemly, stagnating.

And so day by day  the interweaving of all these influences, the ongoing collaborative relationship between soil, soul and society continue to shape and make me and Tanglewood.

The Never-Ending Story

This brings me to the next part of my journey. It is with great joy that I introduce the Pomegranate Circle which is another space for “co-creating and healing soil soul and society”.

And that is the chapter of my story which will be told in the next blog.

In Conclusion Tanglewood Flourishes, I Flourish

We can all co-create and hold space for the healing of soil soul and society. With as little as pot of herbs on the window sill and a compost bucket on the kitchen bench, anyone’s healing adventure can begin.

Remember that no part of nature (which includes us) can heal and regenerate in isolation from the whole.

If we can heal and regenerate together within the greater whole, then we will not merely survive, but truly flourish.

Will you?

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