Design Web Creation; Danish Delivery, A Real Time Positive Transition

The summer has arrived, the wind and earth is warm, the seeds have matured and are yielding fruit, so now it is my time to do the same. In dealing with a big transition of my own, nature is a constant inspiration as I strive to create the ideal environment in which my family will flourish. This is my time to sew hardy seeds, to nurture, love them, and protect them. Allow them the time, space and optimum conditions to dig deep, grow strong and generate sturdy, healthy and sustainable yields that carry us all through this next real time positive transition.

As introduced in my previous blogs in this Danish Delivery series.  I am using the Design Web Model, created by Looby Macmanara to help manifest our ideal scene for our real time positive transition; The Danish Delivery.

In this blog I wanted to look in more detail at the ‘how’. How do you proactively create and manifest your ideal scene when faced with such a seemingly overwhelming prospect?

Where to start – Reflection and Pause

When you begin, and you really can begin anywhere, then the design will flow naturally. The key is to start!

To begin my design using this model I took the Design Web diagram of the 12 anchor points.

[diagram taken from people and permaculture with permission from Looby Macnamara]

Twelve scraps of paper, and coloured pens, and I sat in my greenhouse.  I knew already that my design topic would be about our ongoing transition to Denmark and all that it entailed.

I had no title, just twelve blank bits of paper.  Without thought I began. I wrote each anchor title in the middle of the page, I read the open questions linked to each anchor out loud, and wrote down anything and everything that came to mind. I attached no judgement to the words, and used symbols, pictures, underlining, bold, capitals…however it appeared was simply how it happened naturally.

I took my time but did not dwell on each anchor, it was okay whatever came on that day, at that time.  I guess in total I spent about 30 minutes brain dumping my thoughts.  IT FELT SO GOOD!!

When do we ever do that? When do we ever take that 30 minutes to get rid of all that stuff that we are carrying around and put it down onto paper?  The freshness it gave me, the insights it generated, triggered more thoughts.  That one simple exercise gave me the space to begin thinking creatively.  It gave me momentum to continue, it gave me energy, drive and focus to move forward with the process.  It’s not to say that my way was wrong or right, I don’t enjoy language like good / bad – it doesn’t add value to the conversation.  If you want to, and it’s your style, then you could spend hours delving deeper into each anchor point.

You could do this up front and then again and again throughout the process.  The point is to do what fits you, what helps you, what allows you to grow in confidence in your thinking and your expression of action.

Often when designing we are not starting from scratch, often there are systems in place already or relationships that need to be incorporated into a new design.  This can be distracting and possibly even hinder creativity.  It is good practice to leave all assumptions, habits and processes aside, and design from the ground up.  See this as your white canvas, your empty flower bed, your new website, new team, new house.  However, you like to process ‘new’ then gift yourself a few moments and work systematically through the design web anchors and see what happens.  When we allow our thoughts to flow in a non-judgemental and compassionate way using a systematic thinking process, ideas simply float to the surface like water lilies smiling on a pond.

The beauty of the Design Web is that each anchor point is a whole system of thinking and creativity on its own, which reach out and connect with others.  This allows us to visualise clearly the connections.  Some may be previously known, too obvious not to, but others may be new, showing the subtlety of the design and connectivity of the whole.  This is where I often think of those circles of mushrooms that pop up in the damp months of late September/ October.  They appear over-night, all connections made underground, unseen by the eye yet so apparent in the creation of perfect fairy communities.

What is key in this design model is increasing the opportunity for self-awareness and self-observation.  Noticing your thoughts, your habits, the areas you find trickier than others to complete as these provide us with an insight into what is holding us back.  We can use these clues in de-layering a number of the 12 anchors but first we need to notice them.

Reflection and pause became a key component of my design from very early on.  Gifting myself the opportunity to pause, notice, reflect and adapt.  These pause moments came at my ‘sit-spots’ (future blog on its way).  Key areas for me around my house, garden and local walks where I feel most connected with nature and therefore most open hearted to experience.  I will examine this in more detail in a future blog but for now they are simply places for reflection.

Taking the next step – Vision

The next steps are to add textures and colours to the bare bones of the design.  In my brain dump exercise I noticed that the vision anchor point came very easily to me, it was the page with the most writing on.  It therefore, made sense and felt right for me to begin in more detail there. BUT REMEMBER, this is a web of connections, you can begin anywhere, and flow anywhere you like after that.

 ‘A time for unboundaried dreaming, to express what abundances we want to create and our ideals; our ideal self, livelihood, family, group and community’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

I could visualise my ideal scene; how I want to feel; what success would look like; the conversations I would be having; the joy expressed in the hearts and minds of my children. HOWEVER, often it is very difficult to visualise your ideal scene and the open questions alone may not be enough. Here is it often helpful to partner up with a professional who can help with visualisation techniques, or get creative with a vision/mood board, or tell a story, or get painting. Once you begin to vocalise it, the connections begin to appear. You will begin to see what skills and resources you have internally and externally, and what you currently need. This then steps you gently into the next phase of the Design Web, your Helps and Limits anchor points.

Helps and Limits

‘We can overcome our modesty and value what we have’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

To systematically push this forward it can be useful to conduct a skill audit (an internal resource audit) as well as identify and document the external resources to hand.

For this exercise, I began to think about my passions, my natural instinctive skill set, my current knowledge, abilities, strengths, joy, humour. I then repeated this for my direct family. In addition, I focussed on the external helps. I thought about our support networks, the community, friendship circles, professional bodies, both for myself and my family.  Before long I had an extensive and comprehensive list of Helps, where before I began I could have easily been of the assumption this was limited.

This is such a huge area to explore and one I personally find fascinating, I have already written a blog on this called ‘Self-Awareness and Limits are your answer’.  The limits we impose on ourselves are numerous, some we are conscious of but others not so.  The patterns we reinforce routinely, which may have been of benefit in the past, are so ingrained in our behaviours now that we don’t see how they are no longer relevant or helpful, particularly to the focused task in hand.

To take some time identifying these and building a bigger appreciation of their hold over us, can be the golden nugget of information needed to really make a huge positive shift. Building on limits or limiting patterns can help in providing nutrients to feed the integration anchor point.

Ideas and Principles

At this stage I could feel the ex-project manager in me biting to build a table and get started on exactly how and who and when and what. But before all that I took another breath, another pause and reflected on what I had learnt so far.  Another reason for the integration of the sit-spot practice or core routine, to create a naturally engaging habit which spores creative energy.  Here in this anchor point you can really play. Play with anything that comes to mind. You may want to use random objects to represent key areas of your design, you may be inspired by your natural environment and it may trigger an idea.  Any wild wacky crazy thought is valid.  Every time you are working on other anchor points and something clicks or triggers an idea, just jot it down here.  You may not have an idea how it connects together yet, but that’s okay, the key is not to lose it.  Don’t lose those inspirational nuggets of intuition, they are priceless.

Using the permaculture principles here does not need to be onerous. I simply chose one which best fitted the purpose, the overarching focus of my design and I used this sometimes on walks or at the sit-spot for inspiration. Sometimes just as a sort of grounding mantra…to create some space from the last attention focus to the now. I also attempted to use them in the integration anchor to enhance the efficiency and productivity of the design.  If I ever felt like I was wavering off point I would use them as a first stop to create momentum.  I also used other inspirational cards that a colleague had made, what ever is best fit to keep the momentum in the design flowing.

Integration and Action

‘Finding ways of how to reach our vision and designing the pathway there’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macmanara

Now we are talking to an ex-project manager! However, I felt the most blocked at this particular stage!  It took me much longer than I anticipated to put all the thoughts and learnings into a useful format to process.  I had to personally work through the egocentric ‘overwhelmed’ moments.  It is a big anchor point this one, it’s where we really start making the shit real!

Metaphorically I took a frying pan of limits and flipped them on their heads like a pancake. For example, transparency in communication is key to the success of our Danish Delivery.  This can be broken down into quite a few functions of communication and stemmed from identifying communication breakdowns as a possible visible, and in some cases invisible, limit.  From this we created a function ‘create a functioning positive, transparent communication flow’ then from this you can begin to add the filling to the pancake –  for example, create a zoom/skype family account, share dates, events proactively, agree a communication plan, avoid assumptions, set up routines for communicating including appreciation and gratitude etc. etc. The next step is to decide how often you want to eat pancakes and do you want them as savoury and sweet; bi-weekly, mini family chats, 1:1 etc.

Whilst this took a long time, it created the most useful information which is the bedrock for this design.

It was however in the form of a table and by now I was in desparate need of more colour and playing with pens, before creating another table of actions.  So here I made some mandalas [nowadays a more generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe] I took a blank page and started drawing patterns, grouping topics from all the raw data I had. Getting creative helped me identify 6 key functions to our design and 12 key systems.  With this I was able to create an action table of deliverables based around this concept.

Please remember no way is the wrong way, or the right way, it’s just your way.  A plan can be as simple or as complicate as you need. It can flex up and down as you flow through your design. The simple facts are to keep it achievable, realistic, fun, motivational, easy to use and positively double jointed, allowing it to move where it needs to go.

Momentum and Appreciation

‘Trees do not grow overnight, nor does our fitness or healthy relationships.  Being patient with the natural processes make the most of our efforts’ from People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.

Procrastination… it’s a killer of all great ideas, avoidance, lack of patience, not seeing or appreciating the positive steps forward no matter how small.  At this anchor it could be an idea to reflect back on limits and patterns and see if you can identify any behaviours, thoughts, blocks that may get in your way here.  Is there anything, anyone you can identify to be your sounding board? To help you through the cloudy days? Are there any agreements you can proactively agree with yourself and document up front that will help you identify and celebrate progress made?

In fitness, this is where you may fall off the wagon with a diet schedule or fitness regime because an illness or event kicked you off your path.  What can you do to plan for this and re-engage?

The key is diligence, keep going, with that focus.  If you need a break take a break with that key focus in mind.

Momentum in the Danish delivery is primarily focussed on trying out new communication methods and practising them with more regularity so they become more or less innate.  Commitment to self to not over assume, I am practising becoming more conscious when I begin to hear negative voices and sharing that vulnerability.  I believe actions will always speak louder than any words so the intention is to daily keep my garden watered, nurtured and productive both literally and metaphorically.

Appreciate the process, the journey, the steps you make, the dance you weave, those who helped, that which inspired.  Give love inwardly to ourselves, it is very much part of the journey and not to be missed as an anchor.  Taking the time here will further embed those new positive pathways, the new connections made in thinking and are highly likely to generate even more perhaps even bigger picture connection.

Nothing is lost by giving thanks, only more to gain.

In summary

  • Thank you for being part of this journey and design.
  • If you would like more in-depth information on the design web check out People and Permaculture, Looby Macnamara.
  • If you have any questions please get in touch.
  • I will be keeping you updated on our journey using videos on my YouTube channel, feel free to browse.

With love

Sam

A brief Introduction to Permaculture and the Design Web; Danish Delivery

In my previous Danish Delivery blogs, I have touched on the Design Web framework, created by permaculture expert, Looby Macnamara, which has been invaluable in helping to guide us through our own transition as a family. Here, I’d like to explore the principles of Permaculture and the Design Web, so you get a feel for how it can be used in many different scenarios.

The word Permaculture was originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1970s in Australia, to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.”[1] The word ‘permaculture’ comes from ‘permanent agriculture‘ and ‘permanent culture‘ – it is about living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature. https://www.permaculture.org.uk/knowledge-base/basics

Nowadays, there are a number of definitions but in general it is also understood to mean a design system based on ecological principles – a sustainable way of living, but not just in terms of plant and food but in all aspects of life.

Permaculture to me in essence is witnessing and appreciating the intelligence, grace and compassion of our natural environment. Using nature’s knowledge and examples to assist us in creating resilient, harmonious and sustainable ways of living working at ground level and within society.  Pretty profound hey!

To learn more about permaculture you can visit https://www.permaculture.org.uk

As with many topics which interest you, the more you dig the more you find experts on the subject, and experts of experts!  However, like anything in life, you take what makes sense to you and leave the rest.

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha

The key points are well described by Looby Macnamara in her book People & Permaculture.

Permaculture:

  • Uses nature as our guide
  • Thinks holistically
  • Is solutions based
  • Is a design system
  • Is based on co-operation and connections
  • Creates abundance and harmony

There are three ethics at the core of permaculture, earth care, people care and fair shares.  Along with this there are 12 basic overarching principles, which are tools or aids that help us to creatively re-design our environment and our behaviour.

permacultureprinciples.com – Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 AU

Much of the work in permaculture is focused around land-based systems.  Permaculture designs have been implemented in lives, homes, gardens, businesses and importantly in peace initiatives in Palestine and earthquake relief in Haiti, to name a few.

While I have a personal interest in applying the permaculture principles and design knowledge I have learnt in my garden, my focus here is on applying the main principles to people, in relation to transition and coaching.

The design models applied in land-based systems are linear in their approach.  When Looby Macnamara began designing her people-based model, she realised that a linear based system would not work as effectively when applied to people. As humans’ we are simply not linear in our approach, or thinking.  Hence the Design Web was born.

Image with permission from Looby Macnamara and taken from People and Permaculture.

This model provides a framework which helps enable our ideas from conception to reality.  It can be used in a huge variety of ways, for example designs around our own wellbeing, family life, community groups, schools or international projects.  I am currently using this model to help my family plan and map out our ideal scene for an ongoing life transition. This model helps us take a holistic view and feels more relevant than a linear plan. My current design is titled, Danish Delivery, and I’ll be sharing some highlights, insights and experiential learnings on my own personal design in my next blog.

As you can see from the design web model diagram above, there are 12 anchor points.  Each of these anchors focus on a different area of a design topic.  They can subtly overlap at times, but that is where the unseen/previously unknown connections often appear.  Using these 12 anchor points you can build up a 3D holistic picture, it feels more than a 2D 360 view.

You get to see where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.  MAGIC!

What is great is the flexibility of the model, you can begin where you want, there is no right or wrong way.  It can adapt to meet your or the team’s current needs.  Each anchor has a series of open ended questions which are a guide, a trigger for thought.  You don’t have to go around the model in a fixed sequence, you can jump or dance forward or backward, depending on what is manifesting at each anchor.  You may not have all the answers, or information at that moment, so this allows you to move on.   At no time do you need to feel stuck, you can revisit the anchor when the time is right.

The Design Web model has all of the permaculture principles embedded within it and it encourages co-operation and connections to be made amongst anchor points.  The symbols used to further explain and describe the stages of the model are important to acknowledge, as they in themselves aid the thought process.  It is through witnessing and appreciating the intelligence, grace and compassion that our natural systems teach us. Allowing time for pause, reflection and appreciation.

There are 4 phases of life and they are used in the model [adapted from People and Permaculture]

Growth phase – Vision, Limits, Helps. The child phase of the design, the seed showing its potential and what is going to help or limit its growth.

Exploratory phase – Patterns, Ideas, Principles. The apprentice, young adult. The seed is growing roots and shoots, reaching out and exploring.

Productive phase – Integration, Action, Momentum. The adult now doing and producing a yield. The fruit of the tree.

Reflective phase – Appreciation, Reflection, Pause. The elder, introspective and insightful. Represented by the mature oak tree.

Alongside the Design Web are tools or techniques which you can use to add details to your anchors. I will provide some more information on the tools I used for my own transition design; Danish Delivery, in my next blog.

This overview is to give you a brief insight into Permaculture and the Design Web.  It is just one of many methods you can use to assist in manifesting your visions into reality.  Some of us find it easy to visualise our ideal scene, but some of us don’t.  What is important to remember is that with any great vision there needs to be an action plan that is fit for purpose.  With a structure, some tools and good old-fashioned grafting you can manifest your dreams.  Using this model, you can trust that what you are creating is for the greater good.

Next time I will share some personal highlights and insights on how I am currently using the Design Web model.  If you are in a transition yourself and would benefit from a safe non-judgemental space to create the best outcome, then please reach out.  I am also documenting our ongoing transition in a series of vlogs, feel free to take a look at my YouTube Channel.

With love and gratitude

Sam xo

[1] Mollison, B. and Holmgren, D. Permaculture One published by Corgi 1978

 

Holistic Approach to Transition; Danish Delivery

 

There are many ways you can ‘deal’ with transition or change.  You can simply let it happen by letting it happen to you.  Or you can be your change by stepping up, increasing self-awareness and by being brave.

In our latest transition as a family, we are stepping up to find our way to positively navigate another company relocation, something which we have experienced before on a number of occasions.  Relocating with a company supporting you, offers many opportunities and potential benefits.  However, there are also some obvious compromises you must make.  This time we are approaching the situation in a slightly different way, by taking a very considered and holistic approach to the ongoing transition.

We are doing this using a number of tools to help ensure we create the most abundant environment possible as an output of this transition.  Abundance that continues to support our family’s positive growth at this current time. We have invested a great deal of energy mapping out the transition journey that we feel best meets our current needs.

We have done this using a number of tools. Central to this is the creation of a ‘Design Web’ project, a framework developed by permaculture expert, Looby Macnamara.  This includes investing in core routines such as sit-spots for pause, appreciation, mind mapping, success logging, reflection, ideal scene setting, delayering limits, action and momentum planning –  all of which I will explain in more detail in further blogs.

Our overall intention for this next chapter of our lives is to let it lead us into further growth as a family and connect us deeper than ever before.  The golden thread that holds this all together is strong communication with each other.  The practical and logistical bits are obvious but we are trying a different approach to relocation which takes into account the not-so-obvious factors.  If we need to change our path we will, but for now we are trying on a new model by being brave.

By sharing our journey we hope to empower others to be brave too.  By having a voice and really communicating your individual needs and those of your family, you do not need to simply deal with transition, instead you can take ownership and ensure you remain positive and energised, so you all get the best possible outcomes.

Next time I will introduce Permaculture and the main principals of the Design Web.

You can also watch an ongoing series of short vlogs on our live transition on my YouTube channel.

If you are looking for a safe non-judgemental space to create the best outcome from your next transition then please reach out and make contact.

With love

Sam

 

Introduction to Danish Delivery – a real time life transition.

@jonwarrenart

As a transition life coach, I partner people through positive change by creating a safe environment where they can increase their own personal awareness, explore, create and plan out their ideal scene.  I work with clients to help remove blocks and un-serving patterns of behaviour and look to equip my clients with a positive tool belt for life.

When faced with our next, very real and significant life transition of our own, I wanted to embrace the opportunity to explore and share experientially, in as real time as possible, how we are positively navigating our way through as a family.  It is an opportunity to explore a holistic approach, new tools and a love of permaculture and apply its philosophy to a personal setting.  Using real time experiences and gaining ongoing insights I want to share this journey, the highs and lows. Enabling anyone who is facing a transition to pull on the learnings, tools and ideas, or just feel motivated to try something new, or reassured to know that they are not alone.

This next life transition stems from a company relocation opportunity.  As a family, we have relocated internationally several times already and so this does not come as a huge surprise to us.  However, this time we are approaching the situation slightly differently.  The relocation is happening now, summer 2017, and my husband is moving to Denmark to begin a new position.  We are still very much working through its infancy and we are trying out a new model of working as a family unit.

Having the opportunity to relocate with a company supporting you, comes with many benefits and we have used every opportunity that has come our way in the past to its fullest.  However, there are obviously also some compromises you must make.  This time we are taking a very considered and holistic approach to our family situation. By taking the time to think through everyone’s needs and importantly everyone’s perceived limits. This will afford us the opportunity to be more aware of our own beliefs and those around us, providing us with an opportunity to create abundance and positive growth from this next chapter in our lives.

Using a framework called the Design Web, created by Looby Macnamara as detailed in her book People and Permaculture, I have written up a project on this transition. Through this process we have identified our ideal scene, our limits, and created an action plan to help guide us effectively through this next period of change.

Through a series of short blogs and some videos I will look to share some helpful tips and ideas which can be applied to assist with any transition.  Be that a new project, a change of job, change of life status, change of garden design, it really doesn’t matter what the topic is.  You can watch an ongoing series of short vlogs on my YouTube Channel.

I am excited to have you join us on this journey, I will be learning and sharing as much as I can.  I hope you find the information useful and feel free to reach out if you need a partner in change or want to learn more.

With love

Sam

Image with permission from: http://www.jonwarrenart.com