This is my story – even though I have not always believed so, I now know: it’s worth sharing, and I will continue to do so in the upcoming months 🙂 Welcome to my world!
So, I was a very cute and anxious child, who turned into an anxious still cute young women. I was scared of diseases, of something terrible happening to me or my family and always being the cute girl pleasing the hell out of everyone. I just wanted everyone to be happy, putting all the pressure and worries on myself. I had this inner worry and restlessness, mostly putting me second or…last. For me that was just normal. My upbringing, my family situation, the culture I lived in taught me. This “normal” became too much in 2019 when I really felt that my anxiety level reached a state that made me want to see a therapist. My system was out of balance and I did not want it to collapse. At that time I alst just finished my Masters in “International Development” having deeply engaged with all the shit happening in the world. There seemed to be alarming states of crises and collapsing systems everywhere, including my own.
Sooooo. I knew something needed to happen, but what? I got a job offer and thought about the life that could await me next: taking this job in the academic sphere researching about alternative solutions to our economic model, living in a big thriving city, seeing a therapist and trying to slowly find a way through my anxiety and become, you know, an “adult” with a real job, my own apartment and money to finally “raise my life quality”.
Even though I really wanted some money after my studental financial “brokeness”, I simply could not picture myself going down that “normal” path (although seemingly privileged path, I know).
I had this urge for deeper change, something completely different, something that felt more real somehow. I also was not so sure that my potential academic efforts would bring the impact that I wanted to create. It felt so superficial somehow, so far away from reality, so far away from “the people”. I longed for something more substantial. I had no idea how to get there nor how the life looked like that I was longing for. But I felt I had no other choice than finding out. So I researched about alternatives and ended up borrowing money and buying myself a 1-year break on a tiny farm in the middle of Germany following a learning program about permaculture. My family and friends were mostly surprised by this choice of living in a tiny “boring” German village surrounded by large farming fields and small forests – and even getting into financial debt for it. While at times I could not believe where, with whom and what I was (doing) myself, I am so happy I stuck with my choice, listened to my intuition and stepped out of my people pleasing mode for what might have been the first time really. It felt both challenging and fulfilling of going against everyone’s ideas and expectations of me.
Looking back, it was my first step into the life I longed for, into the unknown and into investing into my own fulfillment.
What happened during the year was simply magical.
I finally felt able to take a deeeeep breath. I dove deep into the concept of permaculture whose intelligence, complexity yet simplicity fascinated me. Being in the garden often until late at night and understanding how nature, living ecosystems work excited my mind so much. What fascinated me even more was my observation that the principles of these ecosystems are true for me too, realizing that: I am a living system too! Hurray, and by applying the principles to my own life, I can bring my system back into full balance, resilience and vitality.
Designing a balanced thriving system just like I was trying to do with my own plot in the garden by allowing and planting as much diversity as possible, saving and reusing energy, honouring zones of edges, going with the seasons and creating a flowing system that tries not to waste energy.
Something that seems so obvious was life changing for me. The intellectual realisation of “I am just like nature” was the first breakthrough for me. The second one was when my nervous system started to adapt to that realisation, trusting and relaxing more into my own seasonal energies, bringing down my restlessness, feeling a growing relaxation in my body and mind, slowly melting away the layers of anxiety within me, allowing me to connect to what is below that fear which made me feel more like myself again, more alive, joyful and what not.
What I can say now is that what I experienced there was the start of – what many would call healing process – liberating myself from all that was not me – a journey that we at it’s thyme came to call regeneration, inspired by the natural process of nature: where plants are letting go of their seeds and dying to make space for the new seeds to germinate and grow into an even more powerful plant.
A process where the old feeds the new and the dying “shit” becomes nutrious soil that allows the new to arise. An inner process of letting go and connecting to our “inner nature” that can be initiated by understanding and connecting to our “outer nature”.
How personal regeneration is linked to social justice, or what we call: community regeneration
As a graduee from International Development studies, the reality of ongoing colonizing patterns of inequality in the world and in our systems are always on my mind. The time on the farm allowed my to dive deep into my thinking process because I had realized that the process towards both social justice and personal healing is the same: individuals letting go of learned harmful patterns to build new life-supporting beliefs, thoughts and actions. The creation and learned patterns of oppression, superiority and separation that have influenced our social and economic systems and thus our ways of thinking are rooted in the dehumanizing of ourselves:
Deconstructing these patterns within ourselves will bring us back to seeing, feeling and embracing our own and others’ humanity and individuality, not putting humans into boxes but meeting them exactly where, how and who they are. This fosters the compassion, understanding and sense of community in groups and make us aware of all the inequalities within our systems.
I have learned so much and want to celebrate all the intersectional social justice and human rights movements and actors that have tried to make clear that “your liberation is connected to ours” for centuries and are standing up against dehumanizing attemps of solidarity like Lilla Watson, who said : “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
Looking back now, I can see that I took the experiential path rather than the intellectual one. Instead of simply writing and thinking about change behind a desk by myself, I entered a regenerative environment and community, which allowed me to engage intellectually, emotionally and wholeheartly in it and started to come into regenerative embodiment, which means: I am now able to better know and care for myself and regulate my own living system, so that I can blossom more into my own potential and follow my own path which has brought me so much joy and fulfillment. I am grateful for my ability to deeply listen to myself and others, grow my understanding and compassion for us and see below layers of fears and stereotypes, calling out my own tendencies of oppressing myself or others when not seeing our unique humanity. I am in awe with the power and beauty of our nature, following my inner desire to continue to build soil, biodiversity and my very own beautiful relationship with the beautiful earth. In fact: a whole new career and life have grown out of it (well, in the very beginning, but I can feel it will grow into something beautiful). My experience touched me so much that I want to create spaces for others to experience similar things, share my collected theory and knowledge around it and build structures that actually serve humanity and nature and bring joy, hope and love to the world!
So with it’s thyme my sister and me aim to create these physical spaces that invite people to come, take a break from their normal life and empower them to learn from and with nature how to regenerate so that they can bring the(ir) system back into balance and co-create a better world out of joy and love. Because just imagine what that world would look like in one, five, fifty or a hundred years?
It’s thyme says: let’s find out!
So much more to share. Will soon.
*the illustrations shown in this blogpost are from the amazing André Correia and can now be found on our website 🙂