Resilience as Revolution

Resilience– a term becoming more prominent in discussions of well-being and health – is the ability to adapt to and accommodate stressors and challenging situations. Also called the “bounce back factor”, resilience can be examined across different scales, such as the individual, community, and the environment.

The term resilience subverts typical ways of thinking about tragedy and stress as negative and destructive by flipping the language – instead of asking what went wrong, resilience asks what went right? How did the individual, community, or ecosystem adapt to, reintegrate, and grow? How can we utilize personal and community resilience for bigger social change, such as environmental activisim? Indeed, resiliency and its corollaries and synonyms of abundance, regeneration, replenishment, adaptation, relationship, collaboration, and community are the intent of permaculture*, the model on which The Resiliency Institute is based.

“Resilience is perhaps our most beautiful, miraculous trait” (AM Brown, Emergent Strategy)

What makes us, individuals and communities, resilient? Research has identified individual indicators of resilience, such as genetics and other biological markers that are, one their own, weak. However, one key concept when considering resiliency is relationship or community support, and not just breadth of relationships, but depth. Close, supportive, loving relationships allow for security and adaptive capacity. “When we are engaged in acts of love, we humans are at our best and most resilient” (AM Brown, Emergent Strategy) Resilient individuals make resilient communities and vice versa – bidirectionality and mirroring of parts to the whole, individuals to community.

To create resilience, we need self-care, earth-care, and community-care (see permaculture* definition). At The Resiliency Institute, we engage individuals and communities in these care concepts – resilient self-care and community care through our women’s circles and yoga classes, nature connection and earth-tending care through herbalism, edible wild plants, permaculture, and forest-bathing classes (people remembering their connection to nature and desiring to care for the earth is, itself, revolutionary), and collaborative efforts with similar organizations to bolster and support and nourish community abundance, such as Sustain Dupage, and the Theosophical Society.

We are approaching our 7 year anniversary at The Resiliency Institute. Anniversaries demarcate effort and encourage self-reflection. What has our organization done in 7 years? How have we changed and adapted? How can we regenerate and progress our vision, mission, and community offerings? How have we contributed to individual and collective resilience? – All self-reflection and organizational care at the workplace level to allow for resilience. And we are proud of our record. Classes, nature connection, community collaboration and abundance. Tiny revolutions** with a big reach. Thank you to those that have supported us – together, we can craft the resilient individuals and communities that will sustain us in the future.

*Permaculture is beyond the frequently used pseudonym of “permanent agriculture”. It is a holistic design approach for creating resilient systems for daily living practices (people care), land care, and community care. Permaculture involves working with nature rather than against, with the goal of creating abundance so that individuals and communities become producers rather than consumers. Permaculture has been described as “revolution disguised as gardening”

**‘Tiny revolutions’ was the theme of our Wild Woman Project Circles for 2019 . The idea was to create and foster tiny, individual acts of self-care, sustaining, whole ways of living that ripple out from individual to greater community. Harnessing our individual and collective resilience for well-being, health, and holistic ways of being is an abundant mode of existence that contrasts strikingly with the typical fixation on illness, dysfunction, and scarcity. In this way, resiliency is revolution – a circumventing of negative framing of disturbance, stress, and even tragedy into empowerment and the positive identification of flexibility and growth. Tiny acts that are actually big.

Recommended Resources:
Brown, AM. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds. AK Press, 2017.

Southwick SM et al. Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: interdisciplinary perspectives. European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2014, 5: 25338 – http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v5.25338

The Hive Podcast: Permaculture, Sustainability, and the Art of Frugal Hedonism with David Holmgren https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nathalie-nahai-2/the-hive-podcast

Find more information about our classes and registration HERE.

Photo by Jana Blue Photography

Capture and Store Energy

This month we encourage you to focus your attention and efforts to collecting energy.  During the Naperville Earth Fair we helped people make feeders for our nature friends as a place for them to capture some energy.  We constructed five different types of feeders and want to share the simple instructions with everyone so that we can support our birds, butterflies, and nature friends everywhere.  ENJOY!

Fun for the whole family!
HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER: 

1)      Use hammer and nail on wood block to puncture 4-6 holes in lid of container; trim sharp edges of holes off with trimmers

2)      Trace Washer in center of lid; Puncture center by hammering a hole with nail

3)      Cut out center circle with trimmers so that bottle neck fits through (tightly)

4)      On wood block, use nail to hammer 3 holes in bottle cap. (Put top of cap face down flat on wood block to hammer)

5)      Use screw to puncture two holes on opposite sides of bottom (which will be the top when finished) of bottle for hanger ends.

6)      Bend ends of one hanger to make a hook.

7)      Decorate bottle & container lid

8)      Insert bottle neck through hole in container lid, screw on bottle top, attach container, insert hanger hooks on each side & VOILA!

9)      Filling:  Only make 1-2 cups of food at a time because it goes bad fairly quickly.  Pour about ½-1 cup in bottle then attach container and invert to hang.

FOOD:

·          Mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water (for example, 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 cups of water), and bring to a boil to dissolve.

·         Cool and fill feeder.

·         Extra sugar water may be stored in a refrigerator.

·         Red dye should not be added.

http://www.howtoenjoyhummingbirds.com/blog/hummingbird-feeders/diy-hummingbird-feeder-2

Teamwork with fantastic North Central College Students helping out!
SEED FEEDER:

1)      Using screw, puncture two holes on opposite sides near bottom of bottle.

2)      Using screw, puncture opposite sides of the bottle about 1/3 of the way down from the neck of the bottle.

3)      Use trimmers to cut out larger feeding holes on each side of the bottle.

4)      Using screw, puncture two holes on opposite sides near neck, but still on main body of bottle.

5)      Enlarge slightly with trimmers, just enough to insert chopstick

6)      Insert chopstick through lower holes.

7)      Attach cap

8)      Invert & Insert hanger ends through holes at top

9)      Fill with seed through feeder opening.

10)   VOILA!

http://www.bird-feeder-plans.org/category/wild-bird-feeders/bird-seed-feeders/soda-bottle-bird-feeders/

DuPage Forest Preserve President, Daniel Hebreard and family joining in the fun!
 BUTTERFLY FEEDER:

1)      Insert screws through three evenly spaced holes in rim of container.

2)      Attach nuts.

3)      Tie string around screws

4)      Connect strings at top and knot

5)      VOILA!

6)      FEED:  Hang feeder in a sunny spot and place sliced fruit into dish.

http://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/butterfly-feeder/; http://www.readingconfetti.com/2013/07/easy-butterfly-feeder.html

Building is always better with a friend!
 BUTTERFLY SALT LICK:

1)       Use screw to puncture four holes on top edge of container

2)      Attach pipe cleaner by inserting through holes and twisting

3)      Add additional pipe cleaner for hanging between two that are attached to container.

4)      VOILA!

5)      USING:  Fill with sand and a couple of rocks, partially fill with water to moisten.   Hang in sunny spot.

https://threepsandq.com/2012/07/08/peculiarities-butterfly-salt-lick/

Peanut butter for the birds AND our four-legged friends
 PEANUT BUTTER PINECONE

1)      Bend wire around pine cone for hanging

2)      Fill cone with peanut butter

3)      Coat with bird seed

4)      VOILA!

Hang in tree and watch the feast

What to Start Growing When You Can’t Wait for Spring

Gardeners often have a hard time waiting through the last stretch at the end of winter for spring to arrive so they can get their hands in the soil and start planting. Did you know you can scatter seeds for your favorite native plants already, right now, in February? In nature, the seeds would not be stored inside for winter and then planted when the ground warms up in the spring. The seeds would fall from the plants or be scattered on the breeze or

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Living Seasonally, Observing, and Interacting With Our Yards and Gardens in Winter

January this year seemed to be having a bit of an identity crisis. We had the usual cold, snowy January days, then some extremely cold days, and then, bam! Spring! I was SO excited for spring to be here so soon! I’ve never been a big fan of winter and I usually view it as something I just need to get through. I hunker down and wait it out. I go into my own version of hibernation that involves a lot of hot tea, homemade soup, hoodies or sweaters, fires in the fireplace, and leaving the house as little as possible. I was overjoyed that my winter wait was over! The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and temperatures were in the fifties! I was ready to go hiking or go outside to work in my garden! I was all jump-up-and-down excited inside when I first thought of my garden, but then mild anxiety struck. My garden! I was so behind!

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Build Resilience through Nature Connection

Observe and Interact

The primary intention of The Resiliency Institute is building resilience at the individual and community level through nature connection.  Permaculture design is based on the functions of natural systems and by developing a deep understanding of these functions one can create resilient systems.  Resilience is your “bounce back factor” (Brene Brown) – it is your ability to cope with and recover from stress and adversity.  One well-researched way to build resilience at the individual level is through mindfulness. 

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