Sometimes I wonder why I do some things. This time I wondered why I initiated the organisation of an event for International Permaculture Day, knowing full well that I have a myriad other things to do, including work on the translation of Rosemary Morrow’s ‘earth user’s guide’ into Greek (the first complete permaculture guide in greek), which will be coming out before September (it has to be out before Rosemary comes to Greece in September for us to co-teach a PDC!!)
On Sunday morning, I let the stress take over me. I felt we hadn’t done enough to prepare for the day, that we weren’t as organised as I wanted to be and as I normally am, etc, etc. When I expressed this fear to my co-organiser Elena, she reminded me of the times that we over-organise events and it doesn’t turn out as we had imagined. So, I felt reassured, I trusted and I let go.
What followed was what I would call “perfect flow”. As soon as we arrived at the Urban Farm of Halandri, 2 people were already waiting, eager and ready to help us set up. By the time I realised what was happening, I saw things getting done before my eyes, without me having to get involved.
As people arrived, they were asking when the Laughter Yoga was going to start (it was international laughter day as well, so we thought we’d combine it!). I looked at the time. It was already 11am, Zoe (the laughter yoga instructor) was ready to start. Just seeing her with her huge smile and her colourful balloons, made me laugh. She started her session on time, as we slowly continued setting up the signs, the clothes giveaway stand…everyone who wanted to help, took on a job and completed it.
In a short while, the celebratory atmosphere was in full effect. Colourful ornaments, handmade signs out of cardboard, tables full of food, bags full of clothes for the bazaar, picnic blankets, hammocks, kids playing happily amongst the trees, new meetings, workshops, speeches. We talked about, and presented, serious issues whilst the general mood was relaxed and happy.
We learnt, we laughed, we connected, we got inspired, we sang. Tens of people came at different times, some stayed all day and as it appears, everyone enjoyed it.
During the day, which was dedicated to soil, I heard and remembered a very important piece of information: the kid’s instinct to eat soil is correct. Our ancestors knew that it’s the most natural vaccination that exists! Kids who put soil in their mouth, simply don’t get sick (at least not as much as the others who do all their vaccinations and whose things are all sterilised!)
For me, the success of this day was on many levels:
> the perfect collaborations that made this event possible. A big heart-felt thanks to Elena Gogou and Peter Antonyadis! Also to Nikoletta Sgouridi and everyone who contributed!
> everything flowed smoothly
> people participated, bringing food to share and clothes to donate (an unusual behaviour for greek people!!)
> a good foundation was set up for the next event
> we collected more pre-payments in order to make the self-publication of the permaculture book in greek possible, bringing the total up to over €3,000! Feel free to donate here to make it happen quicker:
> there was a lot of interested about setting up a greek permaculture association (whoever is interested, can contact me so I can inform you when we organise a meeting)
> and finally (and perhaps the most important) that at this “alternative” event, I saw so many new faces, who were hearing about permaculture, composting and all the rest, for the first time, their eyes full of enthusiasm and their souls full of inspiration!
At the end of the event, as I fell flat onto Elena’s couch, I knew exactly why I do some things: because these things can connect people, change perceptions and plant seeds for a more harmonious co-existence with our fellow-beings and our planet. And that, I think, is worth it.
Onto bigger and better things next year!!