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One of my favorite lessons from the permaculture design course I completed last year is to arrive at solutions rather than impose them.
Truth be told, most of us march around imposing ourselves onto others all the time. We prescribe our beliefs, opinions, values, assumptions and agendas onto the world–often in the name of saving it, of course.
But when we force a solution onto a problem it usually backfires.
The greatest teacher of this lesson is found in nature, where change happens slowly, evolving over a period of time to avoid upsetting the overall balance of the system. Humans aren’t that different. When change happens abruptly, we don’t adjust well.
Earlier this week, I shared my intention to “let go” of a project I’ve been working on in order to make space for something else. But my announcement of that decision didn’t go well.
Anyone who has ever attempted to let go of something can certainly relate to this. Those who were impacted by my decision didn’t agree with it. And that’s not surprising, considering that change is rarely well-received. Change always has consequences, and it usually forces other changes to occur as well.
Because no one else stepped up to assume the role that I had hoped to let go of, I was faced with another decision: Will I impose my solution onto the group, or will I arrive at a different solution over time?
Call it caving. Call it people-pleasing. Call it what you will.
The truth remains that sometimes our best intentions don’t go exactly as planned. We have to adjust, roll with, modify, and sometimes even concede. We have to find other ways of achieving our goals, looking for new solutions to the same end.
In this case, a slower approach to change made more sense. That’s what arriving is all about. It’s being calculated instead of abrupt, peaceful rather than hostile.
While I know that holding onto this responsibility will delay the advancement of my other projects and goals, I agreed to continue my involvement for three more months, when a replacement can be named.
Most of us experience this same conundrum, the delicate balance, or dance, between doing what needs to be done in the eyes of others and doing what needs to be done in eyes of our soul. Sometimes we make decisions that appear selfish to others, and sometimes we make decisions that appear selfish to our “self.”
But at the end of the day, we can choose to evolve slowly, like nature, eventually finding the right solution.
Arriving, not imposing. A true act of self-care.