My Personal Ecology

Flourish – Word of the Day

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Moon’s Crossing, Pemberton, a place where nature flourishes. Here the winter creek flows and sings over the rocks. I flourish here too, the smells, sounds, sights, sensations and feelings that arise here are all part of my living.

One of the earliest thoughts about flourishing came from the great philosopher Aristotle, he thought that flourishing was the highest good of human endeavours, and that flourishing was the aim of all our actions. Somewhere that got derailed. Just as the Greek culture showed potential to pursue its own thinking, the Romans happened with their civic culture focussed on empire. And, as they do, empires come and go, not unlike plagues.

Happiness became the human endeavour, a purely hedonic pursuit according to Martin Seligman. Seligman prefers to talk about Authentic Happiness and he has pinned his career on Positive Psychology, and its ideal of human flourishing. Seligman based flourishing on “Perma” which is:- positive emotion (happiness, pleasure, gratitude, joy), engagement (a state of flow), relationships (feelings of support, familiarity and security), meaning (belonging to and serving something other than self) and accomplishment (having goals no matter the size).

In the mid 70s David Holmgren and Bill Mollinson developed permaculture, a relations or ecology system of farming and gardening. Permaculture’s three main principles are:- care for the earth, care for the people, setting limits to populations and consumption. Permaculture is more wholisitc whereas Aristotle was focussed on the benefit to the community, and Seligman’s Perma is focussed on psychology, but the three work together, they are not mutually exclusive.

For me flourishing is having a personal ecology that consists of  mutually suportive relationships, a positive relationship with nature, a spirituality, creative expression, learning, and reflection. These are the things that sustain me, give me pleasure and enable me to flourish and be creative. This is my manifesto, my mantra if you like, it has taken some time to learn the health of it, but it is a gift of life for me now.







Filed under community, farming, food, Gardening, history, life, mindfulness, nature, permaculture

17 responses to “My Personal Ecology

  1. Beautiful picture !! I feel like sitting midst of the nature, on the bank of that creek and to listen to its sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wise and profound words beautifully illustrated 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting posting, Paul! 🙂
    Permaculture seems like what a lot of us were doing before the mid-’70s in our rural intentional communities (where we grew much of our own food, lived very simply, and shared things). We, as humans, sure need to limit our excessive population expansion. Hedonic pursuit (as pleasure), i feel, has its (small) place but there is often pain at the other end of that coin. I feel that a life of deep awareness involves a holistic flowering beyond what is written in stone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fully agree with your thoughts here Tom, yes Holmgren was a grad student and Mollison was his professor, they built on existing theories and indigenous practices, so not new, but presented as a unified system. Yes, the population issue, the new god is family legacy. Yes, no stone for me, not really. Thanks for these thoughts Tom.


  4. I like your mantra.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Paul, for the gift of another great insight into wonderful nature. Have a good week ahead. Michael 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lync56

    Yes this is always my prayer for those i love that they might flourish – it is a great word that to me expresses a wholistic sense of brimming with life and potential mentally physically spirituality and emotionally

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lync56

    Great article – I love the idea of personal ecology

    Liked by 1 person

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