Attuning to the Harmonies of Home

Attuning to the Harmonies of Home

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”

– Arundathi Roy

You can find hundreds of definitions of “permaculture”, but none speaks as clearly to the global Indigenous origins and millenia-long practices of permaculture than the one shared by a dear classmate in a permaculture course I took at SoulFlower Farm. After unpacking the meanings of “permanent”, “agriculture” and “culture”,  and pointing out that land is the connection shared by all three, they defined permaculture as a practice of honouring ecological systems in order to be in sacred reciprocity with what is. 

The goal of permaculture is to sustain the cycle that has allowed life to continue and evolve since it became; it names a timeless network whose resilience has depended on the diversity of–and sacred partnership amongst- the life forms that are a part of the network. Everything that is, from the microorganisms that sustain life in the soil to the water that carries nutrients across land, has a role and responsibility. This wisdom of life continues to nurture the place-based and life-sustaining worldviews of Indigenous folks around the world.

While the beliefs and desires underpinning systems of domination have disconnected much of humanity from this truth, they have never had the power to completely sever us from the network of life; instead, they have attempted–and are dangerously close to–unraveling the network of life itself by limiting humans ability to attune to the laws that have governed this network of life on Earth since time immemorial.

Liberation from the ideas, beliefs and desires of systems of domination is a matter of recognizing and repairing the relationships between the links so that the nodes that hold us together restore diversity and build resiliency within this ecological network. We can begin this process of repair by listening, attuning to and living in solidarity with the Earth, her life forms, and the beings that have always listened.

Listening and Attunement

Listening is an active choice to be available to and present with what is, while attunement is an unfoldment into harmony. Both listening and attunement rely on humility and surrender. We must be honest and be willing to continuously let go of our agendas, especially the ego-need to be right or in control, in order to be present with and open to being shaped by what needs our attention. That openness to attune to the symbiotic symphony of animal, plant and element life can be our guide into a world grounded in liberation for humans and our beyond-human relatives.

Below I offer a simple and incomplete list inspired by permaculture principles which offers strategies to begin strengthening your quality of listening and attunement to the Earth, to her life

forms and the global Indigenous communities who have been stewarding and leading Earth care for millenia.

Observe and Be Available to the Patterns, Rhythms and Networks in Human and Beyond-Human Experiences

Seasons, birthing and dying, and generational migration are some of the cycles we witness in micro and macro ways every day. Being available to these rhythms, patterns and cycles allows us to see what is already in relationship, and to explore how we can enhance life by supporting the nodes that create and rebuild links within the network.

Everything, whether annoying or pleasing, has its purpose. As you connect to the soil, the waters, a ponderosa pine or a cankerworm, ask them, “What is your role? What is the lesson offered in your being? What purpose does your pattern hold for all?”. There is wisdom and possibility in the space between questions and answers; you can trust that space.

Cultivate stillness; trust in/insist on rest

You cannot hear nor appreciate the subtle songs of the Earth in an overworked, disconnected state of being. Practicing moments of stillness with the Earth and the life forms she nurtures can help you attune to your own voice in the chorus that makes the song whole again. You can only tend to what you acknowledge; when you create the conditions for stillness to emerge between you and other forms of life, a pathway to a reciprocal relationship opens up between you and that which you connect to in stillness.

Accept and Integrate Feedback

Any system, from the digestive system to the computer, will let you know when something is out of balance and something needs to change for the system to function. Not being fixed in the ego-need to be right and in control, but being flexible enough to be in choice and flow through what works for the whole to be well begets action from our listening and attunement.

What is the goal of our ecological system? To sustain the cycle of life. When there is a disconnect between the goal of the system and the outcomes of our actions within it, we must adopt radical changes in order to restore harmony within the system.

The next step through and beyond this era of disconnect and into an era of harmony will require deep listening and allowing our attunement to the voices of Nature to inspire action. Will you hear these voices of the Earth, heed their wisdom, and allow them to guide you home?

Offerings, Support Opportunities and Teachers:

Sydney Searchwell-Simpson is an Earth-listener, writer and abolitionist committed to speaking from love and using their voice for truth. Their creations are grounded in serving the world to bring forth collective liberation and unity within and amongst our relations. They are the founder of Sowing Seeds: Community Food Forest Gardens which works with communities targeted by food apartheid to increase food security, holistically repair ecosystems and restore community well-being between human and beyond-human kin using food forest gardens, life-affirming educational tools, and community-based support and resources. It is their hope that our communities unite to take joyous and fierce responsibility for a liberated world and our ways of living and loving so that they may honour those of the past, those in the present, and those yet to come.

featured image art : “Nature Nuture” by Tawnee Corning

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