From Organic Gardening to Permaculture

Spring: being outside, digging in the earth, weekend-gardening and actually learning a lot about how to change our already organic way of living into a real harmonious and reciprocal co-existence with nature and animals, way beyond sustainability.
We’re deep into permaculture, at home and in the school, with family, professionals from around the world and with the community: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/category/permaculture-vivante/

Happy spring to you and yours!

The three ethical principles of Permaculture are as follows:

  • Care of the earth
  • Care of people
  • Return of surplus to earth, animals and people

The Permaculture ethics compel us to take personal responsibility for our actions. We can either “choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution”, the choice is ours!

Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:[17] 

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

Literature: Sepp Holzer, Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison

Information online:

http://permaculturenews.org/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

http://www.docspicepermaculture.com/

http://www.geofflawtononline.com/

and more detailed articles on change from organic gardening to Permaculture:  

http://www.permaculturevisions.com/difference-between-organic-gardening-and-permaculture/

and on Islam and Permaculture:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-agriculture/are-islam-and-permaculture-match-made-heaven.html

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/humans-are-trustees-of-allahs-creation-islam-the-environment.html

https://www.greenprophet.com/2012/01/interview-nadia-lawton-talks-about-permaculture-in-the-middle-east/

https://aworldofgreenmuslims.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/green-farming-and-islam-permaculture-in-jordan/

http://www.greenmuslims.org/a-brief-introduction-to-permaculture-sustaining-our-future-and-why-it-matters-to-muslims/

https://www.greenprophet.com/2013/05/ask-geoff-how-to-grow-a-forest-garden-free-permaculture-videos/

http://www.theecomuslim.com/2014/01/salah-hammad-urban-gardener.html

 

 

February – simple beauty at home and around

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Ask yourself every day, “what is no longer serving me?”
Identify the thoughts, habits, routines, actions and people in your life that no longer encourage you to grow. Disengage from empty distractions and remove negativity from your life wherever possible in order to create space to move in the direction that you truly desire. …
You can change at any point in your life. You do not have to explain anything to anyone. If you know there’s areas that need improvement make it happen. Don’t allow anyone to hold you back from change. 

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entitled to be creative

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We have winter vacation. It is time to be home, time to read, to range and rearrange, to realize a few renovation-projects, and time to relax and to retreat.
For me, the holidays we spend home are always an invitation to make things which I cannot do during schooldays.
For me, vacation in general is not about long sleeps and lying around, it is much more a time to be active, to listen to inspiration, to do something around home, in the garden or for myself.

Time spent creatively always fulfills me.
I totally blossom when I can do and make things in my own rhythm and at my “gusto”.
I then feel just as pure life is running through my veins; I feel lively and full of joy and gratitude, alhamdulillah.
After a day spent with at least one creative endeavor, I feel blessed and satisfied.
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Being creative and making things does not necessarily mean to make “arts”. For me, the making of something and being creative can also be the cleaning of a long forgotten corner, redesigning an outworn skirt, capturing photos of everyday beauty, baking a fancy cake with a self-invented frosting out of fridge-leftovers, giving myself a new haircut, painting meaningful quotes in beautiful letters on old cardboard, restoring an old chair, planting flowers, …, and following  the flow of ideas by improving and beautyfying life in every possible way.

Being creative is like pouring out the beauty of our soul. It can be totally an act of worship and is often guided by divine inspiration. Maybe that’s why, beside the fact of having made something out of our time, it is so deeply enriching.

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Along with the vast inspiration that can be found online, but also in our own soul (through the listening to our inner voice and intuition), there are many books that inspire and evoke creativity.
I’ve recently read and liked those:

  • Elisabeth Gilbert “Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear”
  • Sark “Succulent wild Women”
  • Jane Alexander “Spirit of the Home”
  • Amanda Blake Soule, all books
  • Elaine St.James “Living the simple life”
  • Martina Goernemann “Zuhause ist ein Gefühl”
  • John Seymour „The self sufficient life“

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”  asks one of them –
Yes I do, inchaallah.
What about you?

Wishing you a creative and fulfilled February! Peace and light, xoxo

 

Sources of energy – the Home

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My home is my castle, it is my source of power and a haven for me and my family, subhanallah.
Home plays one of the most essential roles in my living; in offering me room to simply be, to gather with the people dearest to me and to centre myself to be ready for life.

I am an interior designer and architect. That’s what I studied, that’s what I professionally learned, that’s where I own a master degree. But in fact, after my studies I never really worked in that field.  With a growing family and the developing school project, life led me elsewhere, alhamdulillah, towards education, social development and entrepreneurship.

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But still and ever, deep in my heart, I am and I remain an interior creator.
I love creating and setting up rooms, I love to make people feel comfortable and at home in the world, in their body, in life. And even now, on a broader scale, I still create and design spaces where people can feel comfortable, in our school and at our campus.
Over the years, in creating spaces for the community, I learned more and more to protect and to consciously create a private space of ours. The busier and the more public our work-life gets, the more I feel the importance of privacy.
In a culture where doors often are wide open and the living is much outside and in community, this sometimes needs some courage to say “no” to the social “shoulds” and also some extra intentional adjustments to create room that is protected from exterior influences.
But after we have lived for more than four years in the middle of a busy school, we as a family felt the strong need to have a private and safe family’s sanctuary. We felt that, in order to live in peace together, to have the energy to work for and to serve society through our social business, we sometimes have to set priorities, to step back and close the world out. We felt that we have to ensure that each one of us is allowed and finds the possibility to unwind and to rest from the pressure and demands of the outside world.

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So we put a lot of time and effort in creating this haven of ours. I read books, I learned about Feng Shui and electromagnetic fields, about de-cluttering, aromatherapy and the use of healthy materials. We got inspired by magazines and traditional craftwork and we collected and repurposed beautiful, sometimes very old and used things.

I’ve already written about it  several years ago. Our home is a place we cherish and we learned to improve on a regular basis. It is a place we develop together, we change, we adjust and we re-arrange according to our feelings and needs.
That doesn’t need expensive investments.
Sometimes it just needs a cleaning or a clearing of space.
Sometimes a little repurposing project can lift up the whole scene.
Or flowers from outside in an old tin can – yes, flowers, they are my favourite, they immediately bring life and beauty.
Also a candle can change a whole room for the better.
Or a positive affirmation written with chalk on the wall.
The ideas are endless and often really do not need more than some thinking and doing…

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When I come home now, I really feel protected and nourished, subhanallah.
Every glance I make, in whatever direction or corner I look, provides me with something beautiful, comforting and healing: a beautiful picture, a handmade teacup, lovely sunlight or a soft pillow.
I learned to make sure to be every day welcomed by nice colours, fresh little flowers, a good scent and a soothing atmosphere. I make sure that eating, cooking and the chores are a pleasing thing to do, because everything around, the houseware, every material, work stuff and furniture is pleasing. I make sure that the rooms are always kind of tidy and providing place for a smooth living.

Home means to me tranquillity and feeling at peace. It’s the place where I can switch off from spotlights and the bustle of work, to gain new energy, in every corner and every room, alhamdulillah- I am very thankful for that, and I wish you peace, love and happiness in your homes!

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And Allah has made for you from your homes a place of rest and made for you from the hides of the animals tents which you find light on your day of travel and your day of encampment; and from their wool, fur and hair is furnishing and enjoyment for a time. (Qur’an 16:80)

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In setting up our house, we opt having a home that reflects and encourages our values and faith. Our main choices are made in accordance with Islam, hoping that our home invites angels and radiates with a sacred spirit.
Entertaining a peaceful home is essential for the functioning of a healthy family and thus for a healthy society. Guarding home privacy is vital in Islam to promote a tranquil and functional family structure. It is one of the significant Islamic values to have a positive vibe and atmosphere at home. The house should be a place of remembrance of Allah, a place of worship, a place that nourishes the soul on different levels. It should offer spaces for religious rituals and activities, further defined by humility through economical, earth- and human-friendly and sustainable designs. There should be no pictures on the walls that contain animate beings; no statues or anything that resembles statues; no dogs and no smoking. The Qur’an should be read out loud often and the everyday should be guided by values and manners that reflect Islam in the most beautiful way.

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Interesting further readings and articles:
Jane Alexander “The spirit of home”
Martina Goernemann – books
Article: http://www.islam21c.com/islamic-thought/propagation/is-your-home-an-islamic-home/
Article Outman, Aird, Buys : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095263514000740

 

Dreaming and Planning Summer and Life

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7 weeks summer vacation, 7 weeks off-school, 7 weeks of opportunities and the chance of making the most of this precious time that comes only once a year, subhanallah.

And now, as so many times before, when put into such a situation of “break”, I ask myself many questions about how to spend the time wisely. I wish to make the best out of it, to benefit as much as possible of this pause.

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I would like to relax; I would like to work on personal projects, stuff and things around the house; I wish to spend time with the children, my husband, family and good friends; maybe travelling a bit, but not too much;  and I’d love to be alone to refill and to refresh my personal batteries and to gain distance, quiet of mind and new inspiration.

And as many times before, also now, it helps me a lot to follow some simple rules on dreaming and planning the near future. This process gives me new energy and fills me with joy and hope. This creative act can even be done with children. It is perfect start into a new phase.

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I thought I’ll share the list of “how to become the designer of your own life” here, I thought it could be inspiring for others. It can be used for all and works in every area of life, bismillah:

1. Know and decide what you want.
2. Dream big.
And allow nobody to steal or to destroy your dreams. Follow your heart. You cannot lose, you can only win.
3. Believe!
Believe in God, in yourself and your capacity, in the good and the possible of everything, even of the “impossible”, with positivity and conviction. Get rid of all your fears.
4. Share the dreams and goals with those you trust and like. Build a dream-team.
5. Visualize your goals and dreams as real as possible (for example with a treasure map of pictures) and encourage yourself with positive affirmations and optimistic thinking.
6. Act and get active, behave as if your dreams did already come true.
Concentrate on doing what you like to do and what you know well. Don’t rest. Declutter your life and work towards your dreams. Don’t see yourself as a victim. Be the change.
7. Hold on, no matter what. Never give up.
Stay courageous. See problems and defeat only as temporary challenges and chances to succeed. Take feedback as a guide to reorientate your plans, never losing sight of your main goals.
8. Be thankful and celebrate.
Pay thankfulness and appreciation to God, the others around and towards yourself.
9. Give back.
All that you give does not make you poorer, in fact it makes you richer manifold.

plaene planen    plaene leben