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

 

 

ISLAM AND WORK _ when faith meets productivity

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early morning-me-time in front of the fireplace – reading and preparing for the day 

On our school’s blog I’ve recently posted some thoughts about the relation of faith and work, which I would like to partly share here with you: 

“In all our work, in our daily life with the pupils at the campus vivant’e , we are deeply guided by the teachings and rules of our religion, which is the religion of Morocco, Islam.
We try to practice our faith as a whole way of life, imbedded in all our doing, in the deepest sense of its meaning:

”Islam = Peace”.

If I want to put together our values, our mission and our goals, to describe the culture and philosophy of the campus vivant’e, the description would be:  “we are here to serve”.
We see our mission very much in serving – serving the pupils, serving others, serving humanity, serving a bigger purpose:

  • encouraging a meaningful development of each and every one here
  • motivating students (and teachers as well) to show, to develop and to blossom towards the most positive version of their self
  • support students to learn the skills needed for a fulfilled and meaningful life – for their own good and for that of society in whole
  • striving to always give our best and allowing others to give their best
  • building bridges between people and being a committed example of peaceful dialogue, nonviolent communication and respect towards all
  • inviting people (students, parents, teachers, volunteers and visitors alike) to be the positive change we wanna see in the world
  • assuring that everybody feels welcomed and accepted here, no matter who they are or what they believe “

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The following manifesto summarizes very well how we understand our work and action in relation to our religion. I totally speaks to me from the heart and I am very thankful for the work that the people from productivemuslim.com have put in it – Jazak Allahu khairan!
I would like to share with you the essence of their manifesto and of how I and my Moroccan team understand productivity in an Islamic way:

  • Pursue everything in life with an active intention
  • Seek spiritual connectivity & barakah (God’s blessings) in every moment
  • Fill your heart with abundant positivity
  • Plan your day, week, month, life in detail!
  • Rise early and seize the barakah (God’s blessings)
  • Aim for physical vitality
  • Pursue holistic learning for a holistic life
  • Take time to have fun!
  • Always be of service
  • Have commitment and discipline

The detailed manifesto is to be found here on this source : http://cdn.productivemuslim.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ProductiveMuslim-Manifesto.pdf

In French 

In Arabic 

I wish you all a lovely beginning of winter. I wish you warmth, inside and out.
Salam aleikoum and peace, love and light to you!

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The horizons of the Infinite

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« …the desert, more than anything else, opens the human mind to observation, mediation and initiation into meaning.
…The relationship with nature was so present in the Prophet’s (sas) life from his earliest childhood that one can easily come to the conclusion that living close to nature, observing, understanding, and respecting it, is an imperative of deep faith.
Nature is the primary guide and the intimate companion of faith.”

Tariq Ramadan “In the footsteps of the Prophet”

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“Oh, my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And, ease my task for me and make loose the knot from my tongue (remove the defect of my speech) that they understand my speech. And, appoint for me a helper from my family, Aaron, my brother. Increase my strength through him, and let him share my task that we may glorify You much, and remember You much. Indeed, You are of us Ever a Well-Seer.”

[Dua’ from prophet Moses, Qur’an 20 : 25-35]

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wei wu wei – incha’Allah

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“wei wu wei” according to Lao-tzu is learning to do “not-doing”
–  being in the present moment –  letting things flow – trusting in our higher source, believing in the harmony of the Tao.

I want to learn this “not-doing”.
I want to learn to let go, to go with the flow, to let things happen, to trust in our eternal real origin and in the order of a higher plan.
I call this highest source God, “Allah”. It is the Unnameable. The yin and the yang. The origin of the good and the bad –  in fact, it is the neutral, the balance, the just middle, darkness and light, hidden but always present, the opposite without taking sides It is the center, the nothing yet everything. Everything is positive and meaningful, just as it is.

When we Muslims say in-sha-Allah, we are essentially connecting ourselves to that source, asking permission to make things happen as we have planned, because we deeply believe without the help of that Source  we can’t get much done. This form of supplication embedded within in-sha-Allah connects our plans to our spirituality and the Divine, to the Tao. And thus, without falling into the trap of fatalism, we practice, in the end, “not-doing”.
Thats’ how I understand “incha’Allah” and that’s waht I want to learn.

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Practice not-doing, and everything with fall into place.

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

freedom

And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,” Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.” [Qur’an: Chapter 18, Verses 23-24]

Inspiration here , here and here.

Autumn Moments

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It’s getting chilly outside, and home provides now comfort and warmth, especially in the morning, alhamdulillah.
The sky is crispy clear and the sun rises much later than before.
These weeks I spend my daily morning reading time with the following books:

Mohammed Faris “The productive Muslim”
Anthony Robbins “Unlimited Power”
Napoleon Hill “Think and grow rich”
Byron Katie “Loving what is”
Jesper Juul ” Aggression”

Happy October and happy new muslim year 1438!

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