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permaculture design well-being

Breaking the logjam

Reflections on the permaculure approach from Elizabeth Lomax


After my first Permaculture day with the Northern School I wrote the following in February 2020:

I woke this morning feeling quite tired and full of ideas following yesterday's Permaculture course. Where do I start? What can I do? I looked back over my notes and the phrase; 'Festina Lente - Make haste slowly' jumped out at me. I continued to read, "Observe, Assess - will take about 80% of your time, and Design and Implement about 20% of your time".

I started to think about how I spend my time and where I choose to put my energy. Something that's been on my mind is time doing dishes and keeping the kitchen tidy so I thought maybe that's a good place to begin. We're lucky to have a dishwasher but I'm not using it in the best way and have been thinking about this and not getting to grips with it, so;


That I spend a lot of the time in the kitchen preparing food and doing dishes. I do the majority of dirty dishes at the end of the day and save stacking the dishwasher. Other members of the household are only available to help for a small amount of time. I don't like doing dishes when I'm tired at the end of the day


That the log jam of dishes causes problems in the smooth running of my life


If I take the responsibility of unloading the dishwasher in the morning (changing the allocation and timing of this job), then everyone can load their dishes straight into the dishwasher during the day. This shares the responsibility and keeps the area clear for food preparation. This would bring me ease and clarity. As other people are affected by this idea it would be subject to discussion.


I cleared and tidied the kitchen which has enabled us to use the space differently today, including space for me to sow some seeds this morning. So far win, win."

Little did I know how much was about to change shortly after I wrote this - how lockdown and illness would change so much. I'm reflecting on these words eighteen months in, and I'm really glad that I looked at something that was a logjam in our house. Identifying priorities to allow flow and ease, particularly in relation to food preparation and chores has become even more key for me as I've not been well during this time period. I've returned again and again, to small changes and make haste slowly. Permaculture thinking has really had a tangible benefit for me.

kitchen Mrs Beeton

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