Permaculture Designers apply their philosophy beyond gardens and farms. That’s why there are classes in social permaculture! I am working to expand my view on ways in which design can be integrated into my life, especially from the permaculture perspective. In addition, as an environmental educator I live in the world of the Eight Shields of nature connection. We use the eight shields model of nature connection as a framework for our pedagogy and curriculum writing.
I was pondering the power of symbols in design last week, while at the same time trying to devise a morning routine that would start me off in a positive way before work. You see, I don’t love going to work straight from waking up. I like to address other parts of myself that go beyond my money-making. It helps me ground myself before a hot day of teaching kiddos outside. Plus, I love mornings, especially as we draw near to the summer solstice.
So here is my design for a morning routine, routed in the spirit of nature connection, symbolic in visual and practical in implementation:
The circle encased in a square symbolizes a “whole being.” An anti-clockwise spiral of opening energy shaped by the Fibonacci sequence is surrounded by the “whole being,” which is guided by the cornerstones of the Four Agreements (don’t take anything personally, be impeccable with your word, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best). The anti-clockwise spiral of opening energy depicts the way our energy grows as we move through the phases of the circle. The phases are modeled after the directional energies of North, South, East and West.
North- Integration, East, Inspiration, South- Growth, West- Harvest
While the spiral is opening counter-clockwise, time is still moving clockwise. We chose the activities we want to incorporate into our routine based on the quality of the energetic phases of the circle in combination with the quantity of the energy available to us. For instance, my routine looks like this:
I begin in the Integration phase, still sleeping. Next, under Inspiration, I wake. Moving to Growth, I make my first movements. These first three parts of my routine are very small, low energy activities. I’m just waking up! Finally, under Harvest, I move to do my personal hygiene, which, for me, is simply brushing my teeth.
The next rotation around the circle follows: Integration: Make tea. Inspiration: Drink tea. Growth: Practice Spanish (on duolingo). Harvest: Read a small section of book.
Third Rotation: Integration: Meditation (3-5 minutes). Inspiration: Get dressed. Growth: Eat breakfast. Harvest: Pack my bags. Integration: Depart for the day.
So, my routine is this: Sleep, Wake, Stretch a bit, Brush Teeth, Make Tea, Drink Tea, Practice Spanish, Read, Meditate, Dress, Eat, Pack, Leave.
It is important to me to do each of these things ONE AT A TIME (although I will sometimes drink my tea and practice Spanish at the same time….) Also, my main activities for this routine are really the growth of language practice, harvest of reading, and integration of meditation. I chose these three activities based on the things I wanted to incorporate into my life as part of a natural rhythm. This helps making habits easier!
I’ve provided a blank PDF version of this design in this blog post. If you are interested in creating new habits or formulating a morning routine, feel free to have a whack at doing it this way. And if you do, let me know what you find! I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s the PDF: Routine Design.pdf