Output Packet Process Reflection

The purpose of this output was to aid me in gaining clarity around my learning intentions for my capstone year. It was a task that was in my conscious and subconscious for many months. I wrestled with questions such as:

- Do I really have capacity to finish this MSc? Shall I just wrap it up as a diploma and focus on my projects?
- Do I really want to spend another two years producing outputs and having this overarching accountability on my mind?
- Is it not an impossible task to give this the attention it deserves while fully engaged with my worker’s cooperative, caring for four acres of land and an ageing grandmother, supporting friends in prison and organising campaigns and community projects? Especially when other MSc students in conventional universities give it ‘full time’ attention?

I moved through these spirals of doubt, fear and self-sabotage. I came out the other end of the labyrinth, and the main reason for this was by utilising a design process.

Design is such a powerful tool. By working through a framework I allowed my self to expand to possibilities, to explore goals and visions and survey all my existing interests, systems and commitments. Slowly but surely through analysing these in my Output 5 Learning Review process and now in my LIPD creation process, I feel I have finally created a container that can hold them all.

The most useful output of this LIPD was my learning support system design. By paying attention to how I intend to track my learning and observations while I’m at even my peak of busy-ness, I feel comforted that I can do it. I can complete this MSc and use it as a tool to achieve all the ecological and social goals that keep my heart beating.

Gratitudes

A massive thank you to all my family, friends and professional supporters that share this journey with me. A big thank you as always to Jennifer English, my Main Advisor, for all her feedback that is still stretching my edges and pushing me to become who I am.

Thank you to the Elder tree and all the Elder's in my life that have passed away during this Output Packet. You are always in my heart.

Digiphon

Mahara, GEL site, Gimp, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Word, Text Edit, Pages, Numbers, Mail, Thunderbird, iCal, iPhoto, iTunes, Digital camera, Firefox, Wordpress, CiviCRM, Scrivener, Adobe, Calibre, XMind, iReminisce, Stickies, Fontbook, Google drive, Excel, Crabgrass, Open Office, Skype, Doodle, Spotify, GPG, Photobooth, Backblaze, iPhone notes, WhatsApp, Surespot. Clearbooks. My notebook & post it notes. Zotero. Cite this for me.com.

Gaia U Participation

Please note I am in the processing of developing a pattern of interaction with two new guild buddies.

Managing Time & Promises

During this output packet creation period, the main gains in managing my time and promises have come from:

  • Familiarizing myself with my iPhone and accessing different applications that are aiding my self and my projects. The most noticeable are iThoughts (mind mapping software), Flipboard (customised news feeds) and simply saving pdfs in Ibooks that I can record my observations of in my Notes application.
  • Developing the Week Design and Month Design forms that are in my supporting evidence. These allow me to create a dynamic document that I can refer back to when planning my days in more detail. See these in my supporting evidence.

Time Investment

  • 20 hours Output creation/mahara work
  • 40 hours thinking/researching/processing ideas

Learning Journal Entries

Thursday 5th February

Feel a bit overwhelmed emotionally. Huge sense of loss. Deep sadness within me. Article idea - Designing for Distress: cultivating emotional resilience

Friday 6th February

Feel burnt out and depressed. Saw Claire, read things about stomach cancer. Felt pretty depressed that she won't survive. Harder to motivate myself right now. Feel like things aren't effective or worthwhile. What really will change? The debilitating effects of repression, starting to feel like everything is pointless/unwinnable.

Friday 8th February

Worked on CV, felt really empowering. Have actually achieved so much since leaving prison. What are my goals for the next five years? All about increasing the impact of my work. How to do that?

Friday 13th February

Went to Gilly's grave today. Sad but therapeutic. Spoke to her a lot. Cried a lot. Saw a worm. Made me think of life and death. Asked for her to give me a sign. Saw most magnificent buzzard. Gilly is free now. Free as a bird. 

Monday 2nd March 2015

Am I just a massive liberal? With Feed Avalon? Should I be fighting the sate and not paying tax?! Am I a total sell out?!

Saturday 6th March

Seed Swap today. Reading social entrepreneurship for dummies book at the moment. This work has to be local so its not top down/oppressive. I struggle feeling like Feed Avalon isn't strategic enough but actually its the only way (grassroots, bottom up). It feels empowering to think like that and release this tension. 

Monday 9th March

Feel pretty shit today. Could be having a drink last night. Could be patrick’s funeral bringing back all my grief for loosing Gilly. Sometimes I feel so alone. There are so few I feel real affinity with. I miss my old crew, people to work with that I love and trust dearly. Am I just a liberal sell out? Do I do community organising work because I’m scared of going back to prison? Or have I seen the limitations of direct action and the power of organising in my own life and just trying to do what is effective? Is permaculture etc just all ridiculously liberal?! Have I just got into the realm of selling services? Just what capital wants? Do I want to spend my days designing gardens for rich people (not that I am really)? Am I ‘gardening in a battlefield’? Am I maintaining the social peace through my projects?

Tuesday 10th March

This is my life. Travelling between cities. Listening and talking and listening. People that have been harmed by the prison system, encaged, their minds dissected by psychiatrists, migrants held in detention centres, rebranded prisons, with no date of release. I get to bed late, tired after conversations and dialogue, scheming and plotting into the night. I awake early, navigating the city streets, catching glimpses of wildlife, squirrels, foxes, pigeons, the urban outlaws, the forgotten wild heart beat that you hear only if you listen. My shoulders ache from the weight.

Of my heavy bag, filled with literature, scribblings and foods I can appropriate in this corporate wasteland. I watch over my shoulder, fearing my own return to prison. Hold my tongue in rooms full of strangers but accept the risk as to motivate, anger and inspire others to act against our captivity. I find stillness in the sorrow of prison waiting rooms to see friends and soul mates that I left behind. I am one of thousands in this life trying to keep their friends alive, before the system steals their body and soul. Tired of fighting they slit their wrists, mix meds and fill their lungs with smoke. The poisons help them to breathe in and out, the irony of intoxication. I resist the urge to block, the occasional drink but nothing more. I try to sustain a fitness, a vitality, that strengthens me as the world tries to weaken me mentally and physically through ongoing attack.
Herbal allies nourish my cells, restore my sleep, repair my tissues and feed my soul. The bark rests on trees that are poisoning themselves for our civilisation. These city giants creating leafy suburbs to save the rich from their own insanity that their culture is creating.

This is my life. A tension to rewild while still navigating the death culture that encroaches. A desire for dialogue, for building relationships with other atomised individuals lost at sea. A desire to plant, grow and feed my community. To resist industrial agriculture with all I have. To fight fracking. To destroy prisons. We are stronger. We have the land on our side. We not only have the land, we are the land. We are rewilding, resisting, rebuilding. This is my life. And I am not alone.

Tuesday 10th March

Wrote something on the train RE civ/rewiliding. Was down on myself but actually not felt fuck I am resisting the state (fracking, RTF, prisons). I am trying to rewild/restore my landbase (and myself). I am meeting my economic needs in the most liberatory ways that I can. I am supporting prisoners inside, trying to have authentic relationships. Learning through praxis.

Wednesday 1st April

There can be no one size fits all solution for social change. It's messy complexity is a strength, not a weakness. Think of the unifying complexity that makes ecosystems the world over rich and diverse. Agroecology is a set of principles that can be applied anywhere, adapted to local cultures, ecological contexts and climates. Anarchism likewise is no prescribed identity, it is a dynamic solar system of ideas orbiting around the premise that true freedom lies beyond the state, beyond coercive economic systems like capitalism and the ways we oppress each other are related and must be confronted in totality.

Resource Review

Images used

Resources

  • Altieri, M. and Nicholls, C. (2015). Agroecology: Food for the Future.

This course really influenced the strategic direction of my masters and committed me further to becoming an agroecologist. See my review of the course here.

An article that I used to help me design my own curriculum for my MSc.

The European Permaculture Teachers Partnership's handbook has inspired me to develop my educational work in my output three design.

  • Boles, B. (2012). Better than college. Loon Lake, CA: Tells Peak Press.

I really like Blake Bole’s work. His newsletter always has at least one really interesting article about self/alternative education and action learning. His book ‘Better than College’ is available for free via his website and shares with you the stories and experiences of his own self-education adventures: http://www.blakeboles.com

Blog about writing a non-fiction book. I found all of these book writing related articles invaluable.

  • Brazier, B. (2009). Thrive fitness. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong.

Book by a vegan athelete that I have used to do my fitness design.

  • Covey, S. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Classic that I have skimmed through but haven't had a chance to read fully yet.

  • Dreyer, D. and Dreyer, K. (2004). ChiRunning. New York: Simon & Schuster.

A close friend warned me if I wanted to learn how to run to stay off the internet and read this book instead. I will integrate the learning from it in my fitness design.

  • Forsyth, P. (2003). Marketing & selling professional services. London: Kogan Page.

Useful book that aided me in my dissemination strategy. Slightly out of date and very mainstream but still contained some useful tools.

  • Fritz, M. (2008). The truth about getting things done. Harlow, England: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

A book critiquing and exploring further David Allen's book 'Getting things done'. My biggest take-away from this book was that its not about time management, its about focus management.

Useful articles on book writing for my output four design.

  • Koch, R. (2004). Living the 80/20 way. London: Nicholas Brealey.

Not as impressed with this book or the 80/20 strategy in general but I can see how the key points are that we need to minimise/simplify and focus on what gives us the highest yields.

  • Lewis, B. (n.d.). Fluent in 3 months.

Super inspiring book about learning a language in an accelerated way. Packed with resources & top tips. I'd recommend the website too. It helped me to bust some myths about language learning and commit to learning Spanish more.

  • Macnamara, L. (n.d.). 7 ways to think differently.

Great little book about changing how we think to produce different results. It came into my life at an important time, when I was in quite a negative, grief-like spiral following three bereavements during the winter. The book really does illustrate how when you change how you think, you change everything else (within reason).

  • Mckeown, M. (2012). The strategy book. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Corporate strategy books are a guilty pleasure for me. This book has got loads of useful tools in it that I look forward to applying to different campaigns and projects.

Really useful article about book writing.

  • Stone, K. (2010). Living write. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media.

A book about integrating writing in your life. Super useful with lots of exercises.

A pdf illustrating what master degree characteristics are. This really helped inform my MSc design and see that I am working at this level.