Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Red is Green

Like many people, I try to be environmentally conscious. Minimize my impact on the environment by following the principle of reduce, reuse, recycle, etc. I drive a hybrid car. If I don't plant a at least a few vegetables in my vegetable garden every year, I feel useless.

About two years ago I discovered vermiculture. Yes, composting with red worms. I had always had a pile of shredded leaves etc in my back yard that I dabbled with composing. But with vermiculture, I could have some new and strange pets and be more involved in composting my kitchen vegetable waste all indoors! Yes, indoors! I have a year round sun room off the kitchen where I can keep my worm bins making it easy to deliver the kitchen scraps right from the kitchen. Some people do keep bins in other places in their houses, including the kitchen.

I started two years ago with a couple of standard (cheap) storage bins with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage and around the top for air. You can see dozens of these setups in amateur instructional videos on YouTube. These do work, but I was not happy with mine. They tended to stay too wet which can cause problems. I even had a die off right before a party and almost threw everything out. These cheap bins can get heavy and awkward to work with. So around Thanksgiving I invested in a Worm Farm.

The Worm Farm has multiples stacking trays of a reasonable size to handle, much better drainage and liquid collection system. The liquid that collects in the bottom is called worm tea and when diluted, makes a great natural liquid fertilizer for your plants (indoors or out.) The final product, worm casting, is a very rich fertilizer as well. With the improved drainage and ventilation of the Worm Farm, the moisture level is more easily maintained at the proper level, no more die offs or offensive odors, the worms are happy and thriving and I am very happy with it.

I would highly recommend that any one with a little space and the inclination, to try vermiculture. You do not need to have a garden (vegetable or flower.) With a little asking around, I am sure you would find someone who would make great use of the worm casting as they are rather expensive in a garden store.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When Did I Really Start?

I was participating in a Holacracy community of practice Forum thread about implementing Holacracy and I realized that many contributors were dancing around the question of what really constitutes practicing Holacracy. They were saying things like "We do this and that, what do we need to add to really be practicing?" I believe that asking that question misses the point. Just like the ancient Zen riddle about the finger pointing at the moon, when you ask that question, you are focused on the finger not the moon.

Holacracy is practice and as all there is a common framework progression exhibited by most of the practices I have followed that we can put into context for Holacracy.

When starting a practice, there are a number of techniques or actions that you must learn to follow. You won't really understand them, but they seem to have some positive effects so you trust that and continue to practice the techniques by rote. At this point the techniques seem like a simple cookbook that if you can just do them enough, you will perfect them and reach some high but not well understood goal. In Holacracy, the basic techniques have been described in a 9 page introduction document. With the guidance of someone experienced with Holacracy, most circles can do the work of rote practicing these techniques fairly well. Some start with one or a few of the techniques and slowly add more as they become too comfortable, others jump in with both feet. Either way it is hard work to process a few tensions at a time, but as the effect become apparent, most are encouraged to keep moving forward.

After a while, with each success processing a tension, faith increases, capacity to sense and process increases, you begin to trust the process in your gut. The tendency is to stop falling back to old way and more naturally express the new way. As your capacity to process tensions increases, so does the capacity to sense tensions. At some point it will seem like you are fighting the Hydra, with every head (tension) you cut off 2 more take its place. The practice will seem to be getting harder not easier as you expected. You struggle taking great effort to chop of the heads. The tensions take effort as they are still seen as mostly problems to be solved and put to bed. But have faith.

Eventually, tension process starts to seem like a natural rhythm, not taking much effort to process each one. It actually starts to seem a bit easier. It is as though you are smoothly skiing through the process.

Some where along the way, you start to notice a change in your perception of the tensions, they stop being problems you need to get out of the way to get real work done to being opportunities for real work to be done. You switch from the sense of tensions having negative drag on you to being a forward force drawing forward to more and better work. Here is where deep internal understanding has developed. Here is where the process is no longer a rote step by step process, but more of an energy flow.

Is this last stage where you can say that you are starting to really practice Holacracy? In my opinion, this may be the point where you can look back to where you first made the commitment and stuck with the practice and say that in retrospect that the point of commitment was when you really started to practice.

Keep practicing and everything will develop!