Some of my thoughts on doing the Diploma

Notes taken from my contributions to the diploma facebook page

My thoughts are that we just have to start exactly where we are and work from there. And when we feel ready to present our stuff (designs), that will be the point when we know we are satisfied with what we have done. Given that we all start from different points, some with lots of hands on experience, some who have actually been practising permaculture for years, some who are completely new to it all (like myself in terms of land based stuff) and others who are just so enthusiastic and full of energy that they just go ahead and get on with it – it would be difficult to set the bar.

How high a ‘level’ we achieve and how in-depth we go will depend on individuals and what they are actually doing with/in their lives and however deep they go will be enough…We do need to be gentle on ourselves, no-one is putting the pressure on us apart from ourselves. We will know when; we have learned enough, taken it to our right level, achieved what we set out to do, taken ourselves where we wanted to go, feel satisfied, AND even after we have the diploma we will continue learning…. The diploma appeals to me because it doesn’t adhere to any strict guidelines within the academic world, it calls for creativity, individuality, uniqueness, courage, inspiration, experimentation and best of all sees that we can learn from our ‘errors’.

I was terrified at the beginning especially when reading all the stuff here (on the Diploma facebook page, contributions from other students), thinking I had to learn as much and feeling like I never would.

Now I just think, this is my journey and I have the freedom to travel in a way that suits me; at my leisure, sometimes accompanied, around in circles, off the map and planet at times, outside of the box, with some simple and wonderful ethics as my constant travel companion whilst I take as long as I want to get to my ‘destination’…. AND if I were someone who liked to go in a straight line, have the whole road mapped out, read every travel guide available, talk to every tour guide and mingle with all my fellow travellers then I’d also have it made on this diploma. Even the word Diploma can be a hindrance for some if they are not accustomed to formal education (like myself) but if we can see that it is just a word.. then we can even have fun with that ;-)) and then hopefully we can celebrate all the wild, varied, creative, wonderful, intelligent and some wacky layers of the word!!

May 1st 2012

I was wary for a while about doing the Diploma before I signed up, mostly due to the things mentioned above, I didn’t want to enter into something academic or make what I already had learned more formal. In fact many times I have asked myself why I am doing the Diploma, I don’t want to be a designer, I can’t imagine making it my living to teach permaculture and I really don’t want to get caught up in a academic mindset or even start using language which is exclusive (like acronyms) but in the end I decided to give it a go as I wanted to learn more in depth about permaculture, to put it into action, to feel it, to walk the talk, and as I find it hard to motivate myself or even organize myself then I thought having the framework of the diploma would help me, which is why I chose the supported route (someone to guide me). However, initially I was totally paralyzed by the ‘constraints’ and expectations of producing 10 designs, leading to a total block of ideas, energy, creativity and self-permission to just try something….. then I decided that I would just do…. and sometimes record… or not… as the mood takes me…. And I also decided that if at the end of the day I did not present my ‘designs’ to be accredited then so be it, if they can even help in keeping me focused then they will serve their purpose… and I will learn… and because I am not that interested in academic acknowledgement of my work, nor even having a certificate then I am just using the ‘format’ as a road map, helping me get to my destination. Now, if at the end of the day my designs do manage to clearly show what I have learned and applied then I shall present them. If not they are just for me…;-)) but nothing lost, and hopefully much gained. I suppose it depends WHY you are doing the Diploma, and what you want to use it for, or what significance or bearing it has on your life and work? That was a really good question for me to ask myself. And my answer was I didn’t NEED it, so that freed me up immediately. Not being dependent on the outcome of the studies helped me to get through my blockages. This helped me anyway…

The posts above are taken from my comments in the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design  facebook page

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