Zone 00: From Patterns to Details

It was clear at the end of 2012 there were very real areas of my life that I had to re-design to remain focused and fulfilled. A new job brought up challenges relating to  wealth & made me scrutinise my relationship with money, a new intimate relationship brewed up nervous feelings from previous relationship patterns and my relationship to permaculture was becoming pushed and pulled by my radical edges surfacing. I therefore had to dedicate time & energy to go from patterns to details so that I could intervene to prevent more spirals of erosion.

This section describes my design work around key areas of my life as well as design decisions drawn from the multilayered learning I had encountered. The designing pentagram below also illustrates how these areas are extremely interconnected & one cannot obtain balance without all being fulfilled.

Health & Wellbeing

Diet & nutrition, Exercise & Movement, Body image, Emotional & Mental health, Sober Positive Living, Rest & Rejuvenation

Main spirals of erosion: Not getting maximum nourishment, loosing fitness in terms of muscle tone & strength, coming close to burn out through overwork & lack of balance, feeling compartmentalised in my interests, still insecure around attractiveness/body image, patterns of PMT, some emotions still repressed, feeling divorced from land, erosion in terms of family contact & quality time with loved ones

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis, design questionnaire, diet diary, created collage of women I find attractive & would like to emulate, researched models of health e.g. paleo diets, did exercises from John Stowe's & Looby's books & made notes from others, collated observations from 2011, created web of support so I know where I can embrace helps.

Decisions drawn:

  • To invest time & energy to improve knowledge of wild foods & raw foods.
  • To anchor new nourishing habits & fitness programme
  • Not to feel guilty about self investment e.g. tattooing, buying new merch, going to hardcore shows as they nourish me
  • Allow myself at least one lie-in a week & one evening computer-free.
  • Have embraced 'feral edge' mindset
  • Design for more balance & ruthlessly prioritise
  • Honouring self care as a major element of maintaining focus & efficiency


Main spirals of erosion: Time dedicated to spiritual development overtaken by project & organising work, feelings of repressed spirituality, upset at lack of expression

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis - really looking at inner, deep patterns which led to the understanding of the below, design questionnaire, tarot & card readings, book reading & internet research

Decisions drawn:

  • That spiritual strength should be honoured as an important way of maintaining focus & increasing the effectiveness of manifestation (rather than a distraction or time drainer)
  • Therefore I need to design for spiritual development e.g. anchoring new habits & ways to retain awareness, investing in new learning opportunities
  • That my main disconnect with the pagan community has been the lack of explicit politics/links to social change which led me to find the Reclaiming tradition & will encourage me to make more links locally
  • Have made a decision to 'come out' as a pagan (no more self repression)
  • That I can design my year around the pagan wheel of the year & connect my projects to nature's cycles e.g. moon gardening

Learning Pathway

Main spirals of erosion: Lots of interest areas pulling me in different directions & so feeling unsatisfied, craving the need to be more focused and let go or defer some activities

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis, design questionnaire, 2011 review, action learning guild, active reflection from experiences, reading about accelerated learning, personality & learning style tests  

Decisions drawn:

  • Enhance my own learning through awareness of my learning styles e.g. kinaesthetic, spatial-visual, logical
  • Re-design my learning pathway to explore the role of permaculture & community organising e.g. liberation permaculture, develop my teaching pathway, fully develop practical skills & focus on design implementation at Brook End
  • Most important to me is learning skills that will strengthen & support my planned  Msc in plant based permaculture/animal free agriculture
  • Aim to stack more functions with design work e.g. designing projects & events at paid work

Personal Finances

Main spirals of erosion: Only one year contract at work, anxiety around money (scarcity), abundance being lost through non-regenerative expenditure

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis, design questionnaire, used ethics as filters, used David Holmgren's design principles, researched permaculture approaches to financial management, including holistic management, gain economics, Ethan Roland's 8 forms of capital. Did personal finances audit which involved keeping my receipts for 2 months & analysing my patterns to draw a more specific re-design, reviewed 2011 broad finance patterns.

Decisions drawn:

As much as I’d love to live in a post-capitalist economy, I still need to function within this system and therefore I need to become and remain:

Financially resilient – which means to me:

  • I have more than one income stream to depend on
  • I have enough savings ‘if the shit hits the fan’
  • I have enough coming in to be at peace, living in comfort without fear of scarcity & with an attitude of abundance
  • I have enough to be able to do the things I desire & support those I love too e.g. tattooing, shows, courses, traveling & learning
  •  I have the ability to earn more if needed but can choose to earn less as an empowering decision

I have also drawn:

  • That a re-design of my finances requires a longer period of self auditing and observation then one month
  • A minimum £500 resilience savings in credit union accountis desirable
  • I've learnt I need to develop some holistic financial goals for the long term & create a resilient financial plan
  • I will embrace gain simplicity & maintain low costs of living through an earth-based life
  • I will aim to practice skilful permaculture financial management: any surplus invest in regenerative community projects, invest in the land & renewable resources, ensure I obtain a yield in multiple ways, practice solidarity shopping (v ethical consumerism), design in feedbacks for financial review
  • I will no longer feel guilty about spending money when it can be used to invest in myself & projects I belief in to increase effectiveness
  • I will now value diverse forms of capital v. economic
  • I have recognised the biggest influencers of my financial situation is my emotional & historical relationship with money



Main spirals of erosion: General questioning & doubt in original livelihood ideas, questioning effectiveness & purpose, employment only lasts one year, nervousness of self employment arising

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis, design questionnaire, applied holmgren's principles, compared permaculture & traditional business planning, site analysis via observations e.g. exploring working patterns, market research, resource analysis, polyincome exploration

Decisions drawn:

  • Anything not radical enough where payment for work would be highly unlikely I will do for free, everything else I charge for & honour (embedded limiting beliefs)

My livelihood model needs to:

  • Need least input (time & energy), while obtaining most productive outputs that benefit the entire systems
  • Have these patterns: flexible, suspendable, not employing others,allow for my criminal record, no hierarchies, limited responsibilities for others, low or no start up costs, no stock or large investments, remain debt free, be able to be done from anywhere
  • Be congruent with permaculture ethics & rewarding & be effective for social change - see Venn Diagram
  • Build business slowly & keep at a manageable scale
  • Ensure my livelihood is polycultural

The biggest & deepest priority in my life however is working for human, animal & earth liberation. Time, money and energy available for organising for social change is maximized therefore I need a low energy input, high yielding livelihood system!

My Radical Edge

Main spirals of erosion: Overwork & lack of focus through spreading energy across projects. feelings of discomfort  & doubt at effectiveness of work, loosing radical edge

Design processes: PNI pattern analysis, design questionnaire, collation of learning journal reflections, re-visited previous outputs related to strategy, lots of reading & self reflection

Decisions drawn:

  • My working patterns relating to permaculture, land use, food sovereignty and so forth need to be strengthening of & supportive of my radical beliefs.
  • I cannot tolerate any work that sacrifices something to support something else - I need my livelihood, organising & life style to be holistically integrated to be happy
  • Above all other interest areas, my commitment to social change & resistance is the biggest influence on my time, energy & life direction
  • My integration table exercise has supported me to see how I can work with my radical edges & create beneficial relationships between my interests e.g. liberation permaculture work