I’d been feeling rather out of touch with my permaculture side when I noticed a poster on one of the many copious bulletin boards in the CU Law library where I work part time as a barista. “Front Range Eco-Social Solutions Conference” it said, “hosted by CU Bioneers.”
“Eco-Social Solutions???” I said to myself as I walked by the poster on my way to a bathroom break, “Wait. That’s my jam. I should definitely go to that. I’ve walked by that poster at least five times today and I’m only now registering that? Man, I’ve got to take some time to look up more.” Forgive me, myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve been working for three weeks straight without a day off, but I seem to have developed a small case of tunnel vision.
In any case, I did go to the conference of Bioneers at CU last Friday, and my oh my what a refresher it was. Shout out to my permaculture family back east. I miss you all. I miss talking about sustainability and beyond, socio-cultural solutions, plants, food, design, all that good stuff; but I got my fill at the workshop I went to the afternoon of the conference.
The presentation was about “financial permaculture,” I topic which I had heard of but had failed to dive into until recently. I think a lot about economic viability and the way our economy shapes our culture, as well as the various probable and improbably changes I would love to make to that part of our system, but I had yet to hear the permaculturists’ perspective on the matter.
To be brutally honest, I didn’t get as much of an overview of financial permaculture so much as a rehearsal wherein each choir sang at each other. Don’t get me wrong, it was extremely validating and it felt good to be around people who think the way I do, but I didn’t learn anything particularly new.
I learned that I can persevere through the exercise of looking deeply into another person’s eyes for one solid minute.
This was one of the exercises our presenters had we, the people, do. We broke into groups then took turns in pairs, looking into each others eyes. I highly recommend you put yourself through this unique brand of torture at some point. I did not remotely know the names of the people with whom I was gazing, but it was an incredibly vulnerable experience. I started to sweat, blush, and shake. The energy created in my body made me strip down to my tank top in the otherwise chilly classroom, and, as I gazed into the celery green/gold eyes of the young man across from me, I began to feel as if my head was disconnected from my body. It wasn’t another person I was looking at anymore, but a swirl of colors, cells, molecules, and atoms making up another physical being.
It was strange.
I have no profound conclusions to make of this exercise, but I will report that after the workshop I felt a buoyancy, an energy that I did not possess when I entered the conference. Perhaps this is the power of human connection? A simple and important lesson to learn and learn again.