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Experiments with enough – Day 96

Experiments with enough – Day 96

I could seriously get used to this. Another Bahrija day at a relaxed but steady pace. Morning walk, some sweeping, meditation. Breakfast, some more cleaning and settling down to my computer mid morning to write some documentation with Peppi. We eventually stopped for lunch, then did some more work till 4pm when we started to make dinner, showered and eventually went for a walk up on the cliff and admired the para glider overhead.

This is how life can be for all of us if we decided to work together rather than segregate our resources and and worry about how we will all be jobless and moneyless very soon. We can all make our lives simpler and more in tune with the things that will support human beings in the long term. We can have the time and the possibility to enjoy the things that are already around us. To enjoy each other. To really live.

Why do we so often choose the hamster wheel instead?

Experiments with enough – Day 95

Experiments with enough – Day 95

Permaculture Malta day. To facilitate my work I’ve moved to Bahrija for just over two days. It feels easier to dedicate myself to something when I’m in it. Distractions seem to have less effect. I managed a site update on Permaculturemalta.com, there’s still much to be updated there but it’s definitely progress. Tomorrow it’s documentation and writing up new projects with Peppi.   

Photo: The sunset I missed because I was absorbed in my computer. Oh well! Taken by Johannes Buch who did not miss sunset.

Experiments with enough – Day 94

Experiments with enough – Day 94

I’m writing this diary the next day, which I guess is a little against the rules. Or is it? It’s helpful to see what I can remember of the day, what stuck. The evening bus to Rabat and dinner in Mdina is definitely a lot more vibrant in my memory than the morning working from home, calmly and without any rush responding to requests, planning for jobs that are coming up soon and doing some social media work I had pending. There’s something about this slower period that screams ‘in between’ as my mind is used to things being a lot more hectic or to panicking so much when things are quieter that I end up being more stressed that when things are busy. Not this time though. I am now taking my time and getting through things at a nice, calm, dare-I-say reasonable pace. And I like it.

Experiments with enough – Day 93

Experiments with enough – Day 93

Bahrija day. Early wake up, breakfast and a drive to Bahrija to welcome a group of students from Kingston University in London who visited Bahrija during a fieldwork trip to Malta. It was fun to see them explore the wonders of a compost toilet for the first time and their surprise at how ‘normal’ it all was. Favourite question, “where is the closest glass of wine to here”?

A mean curry later courtesy of Johannes and some afternoon laze in the shade time we spent some blissful hour or so shelling beans that will be used for seed. I had not shelled beans since I was probably six or so in my grandfather’s room-on-the-roof in Mellieha. It was definitely a nostalgia-filled moment.

The day ended with sunset surf (well Jo’s did, mine involved proud cheering on from the sidelines since the waves were a bit too enthusiastic for my beginner status), a parental visit and some cat loving before finally heading home. The more time I spend at Bahrija, the more energy I want to dedicate to getting the NGO to a financially sustainable status where it can really support more work to be done there. Question is, how do I create the right set of circumstances to facilitate me doing that?

Experiments with enough – Day 92

Experiments with enough – Day 92

Flurry of activity day. A late start, cat feeding and plant watering at Arch B, some city errands, a trip to Xrobb L-Ghagin close to Marsaxlokk (which was wonderful but also upsetting to see fish farms so close to the shore). Home for some food and then to Spazju Kreattiv for Victor Agius’s exhibition Consume and his curator’s talk about it. It’s always a pleasure to see Victor’s work and the process behind it but I would also have loved to see more of the backstory of the artworks, the fire, the work that got taken down after two days etc etc. I’m always intrigued by the story behind things and which ways can present that in the most accessible and communicative way. The day ended with a highly random festa experience in Valletta. Three band clubs playing, fireworks, a group of youngsters carrying a statue in the most casual of fashions, a soft-toy lion sitting happily in front of the statue of St Augustine, street decorations. Practically no spectators. The whole thing was surreal but also strangely intriguing.

Photo: From Consume by Victor Agius.

Experiments with enough – Day 91

Experiments with enough – Day 91

In frustration and indecision mode. I’m looking at my own website and being unhappy with the way it presents my work and how laborious it is to update it properly. I’m updating it anyway and working on finding a better system in the long run. One that is easier to manage on the go.

Tonight I’ve given myself a 15 min window to write this in and will now give myself the luxury of reading. I realised I rarely make time to do that and I sorely miss it.

Experiments with enough – Day 90.5

Experiments with enough – Day 90.5

It’s almost the middle of the day and today I am really confronted with some big questions. This week and the next are dedicated to documentation and catching up with things and as everything is slower and quieter, as I have options over what to do with my time, questions about what I actually want to do with it crop up.

Here are some of the themes dancing around my head this morning:

Planning for how long?

I have in front of me the possibility of working on a year-long project that would take at least half my working time to start with, with more hours during the last few months. I have no idea as yet how much it pays and my head is full of questions about whether I want to commit myself to something for that long, whether this fits with what I find necessary, important. Whether it leaves me enough time for the other things which I know I need to be doing. On the other hand, a year long project brings a basic income I can plan things around and which would mean I will know that I can do things a few months down the line albeit not knowing whether I will actually have the time to do them.

How do I document my work better?

I’m a writer who is obsessed with getting the essence across effectively and meaningfully. How do I do that for myself? How do I document my projects better? How do I showcase what I do in a way that represents me well and attracts more of the type of things I am interested and intrigued by? I’m frustrated with my current portfolio and would love to find ways of speaking about what I do in better ways and really getting who I am across to readers who happen to land there.

And the big one:

What is my next step in really intertwining who I am and what I do?

Freelancing is for me a way of being flexible enough to follow my own curiosity, rhythm, gut instinct. Within that I still regularly get lost in my own mind’s cries to go for what I know will pay me well now, to make each hour of work pay, to stick within what I know is relatively straightforward to monetise. Yet I’m clearly both a generalist and a person who is intrigued with the intersections of things. I live between many bubbles, I love spending time with a wide variety of people doing very diverse things and lights fire up in me when I can make links between them, ways of borrowing something from one to use in another, ways of translating the languages of each to show that what might appear as chalk and cheese actually shares a similar milky colour, a crumbly texture and significant amounts of Calcium. As I allow myself more freedom to explore my own possibilities (going to Brazil for 6 months and taking myself out of my self-inflicted boundaries had wonderful effects), I’m becoming better at finding opportunities at these intersections. Yet it’s the quiet work of days when I manage to silence my brain chatter long enough to get pulled into things by my own curiosity. Days when I need to sit in the middle of uncertainty and find the peace that exists in not knowing. Days when I can give myself the time and space to search for the words inside myself and allow my own truth to surface. Days when I manage my own inputs and outputs so that they support rather than squash this truth-finding process. Days exactly like today.

Inputs I’m exploring today:

foam I had the pleasure of working with Maja and Nik on Tasting Tomorrow and I am very impressed by their amazing documentation (among many other things).

This great Creative Mornings talk by Rob Alderson about the magic that comes about when blurring the lines.

Photo credit: Nik Gaffney / foam during Tasting Tomorrow

Experiments with enough – Day 89

Experiments with enough – Day 89

A day working on my own terms. I woke up at around 8:20 (I slept late and needed the beauty sleep), did some yoga, made a rather elaborate breakfast of French toast, muesli and fruit smoothie. My brain was chattering about starting work right away instead of doing yoga etc but I stuck with the programme and it felt good to.

I did some work, went to the post office, dis some more work, cooked, ate, discussed a job we’re working together on with Johannes. At around 5pm, a friend said he was going for a walk to the bridge and I made it a communal walk, stopping work for the day.

This week my brain is creating long to do lists of things that I put to the side over the last few months. Site update, writing about things I’ve been involved with, slower and volunteer work that I’ve not had time to do. For some reason it feels like I should be finishing it all this week while things really quiet but I’m also very much aware that I need the slower pace for my own sanity.

In the evening we had Portuguese João over for dinner. We cooked together, made a million bad jokes and generally enjoyed each other’ a company before João jets back to Lisbon tomorrow. It was absolutely wonderful to remember that life is about more than just crossing out my to do list. My brain still (often) chatters about all that’s left to do and worries about what’s next but it seems that I’m finally learning to make the most of the slow days to enjoy that which I’m too busy to do in the hectic periods.

Experiments with enough – Day 87

A slow day after many fast ones. I woke up at around 8, eventually got myself onto the yoga mat and did half an hour of moving with Adriene. Breakfast and chats with my new friend João and eventually abut an hour of work on a document for the Permaculture Foundation. My mind is queueing up paid jobs I should be doing but I know the key is in finding a balance to be also able to fit in things that are more longterm projects.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning, packing, de-cluttering as I prepare to move house tonight to house-sit my lovely friend Josephine’s house for the next two months. Now that I’ve toned down my possessions to something manageable, I really enjoy the process of packing to go to somewhere new. It’s always a great occasion for charity-shopping things I’ve not been wearing and generally minimising what I want to own.

All that’s left to do for the day is to drag some of the bags three floors down and go get the missed German who will be flying in later tonight after a few days away. I’ve done much less than I planned to but I’m happy with what I’ve done nonetheless.