Resilient people can seem frustratingly contradictory They are really friendly and like people, but look forward to being alone now and then. They are very innovative, creative and playful, but respect traditions and are conservative in many ways. Not conservative in the Republican sense, but conservative in the ecological sense. They conserve what works from the past while innovating to meet the challenges of the future. They are very open to new ideas but very focused on achieving the task at hand.
Most people aren’t resilient. To them, the dualities of resilient people and systems seem contradictory. Actually they are complementary. In different situations different qualities are needed. The resilient system has a diversity of responses.
One quality of resilience is severely lacking in modern America. We call it being networked but independent. Ecologists call it modular connectivity.
This coming Columbus Day weekend, October 8-11, Meadowcreek will host a workshop focusing on increasing this quality through a team-building course. We will be experiencing a low ropes course and designing both high and low ropes courses.
All in the Meadowcreek community, and maybe you, will learn team-building from experiential learning facilitators who have more than twenty years experience developing Scattering Fork Outdoor Center in Missouri.
Scattering Fork’s mission is to “use nature as a platform for self-discovery, teambuilding, and reconnection to what is essential in our busy world.” Right up Meadowcreek’s alley.
We see a huge need in the world for productive connections between people and between people and nature. Humans like to be around and interact with other people. Our ability to connect to one another and our surroundings enabled us to build tribes, villages and communities all the way up to our truly remarkable world networks and enterprises. As we bond together combining our collective knowledge and strengths we can effect larger, better and more efficient changes in our surroundings.
But our connections with other people and with nature are largely destructive in our world today. Many strive for authentic connection, but fail and end up wandering aimlessly searching for productive bonds, but creating only destructive ones.
Through our connections we have created remarkably destructive patterns which are increasing exponentially. War, tyranny, and exploitation of resources and people are all examples of tasks that require the support of a community. How then can we leverage connectivity in a way that is less destructive to our natural environment, supports our ability to work effectively and responds to the needs of our communities and our world?
It’s a monumental task to be sure, but one each of us can accomplish it on a local, regional scale. Each of us lives in a unique microcosm of people, abilities and resources: our household or family. We all have neighbors which provide us with opportunities to reach out for help while also offering something in return.
It is this reciprocity that can develop into strong, dependable networks that are resilient, lasting through challenges on both ends.
This will be a topic of our Columbus Weekend workshop: creating authentic community wherever you may live. But it won’t end there.
When challenges arise we must consider our ability to be modular and independent; retracting our connection to a system that is diseased or failing. Some relationships will fail. Some people will turn out not to deserve our trust. Some are just selfish.
Every farm enterprise will have markets that suddenly fail to give a good price for a sufficient volume; every supply chain will break now and then. It is our ability develop a matrix of alternative relationships that creates resilience at the individual, family, farm or independent business scale.
Maintaining long-range connections (bridging and linking social capital) help us bring in alternate markets and opportunities that may become more relevant as time passes and your business necessarily changes. It is this recognition that things will change that permeates and guides resilient systems to new life and greater capacity. Recognize that markets will ebb and flow, customer demands will shift, torrential rainfall or drought can wipe out your signature crop. All these things provide you with an opportunity to change, shift and reorganize your resources into a new strategy.
To make these changes serenely, we must be fluid and well connected. Trusting and trustworthy. Then we can do our part to absorb the inevitable shocks so inherent to all living systems.
We strengthen and embrace both parts of the seeming contradiction. We become increasingly connected, yet increasingly independent. Increasingly innovative, yet increasingly conservative. The dualities of resilience.
To learn more about or sign up for our workshop, email us at email@example.com
To learn more about being networked but independent, read the first chapter of our free book at this link.