We focus this first newsletter of the year on our students
who are constantly delighting us with their exciting evolutionary steps & with their beautiful artistic creations.
Here are 5 articles written by some new sailors that have joined our Butterfly Ship* recently – & you can see more Testimonials here.

*(we used this metaphor in the presentation we did a few years ago
in the video with which we launched the PDC+++)
The first steps for the crew when they’re starting on the courses, include practicing editing their online design portfolios by discussing the free conferences we offer under 0. Free Self-Study Courses, so in this newsletter you can also navigate with them through some of the big self-learning resources we offer to everyone.

    by Victor M. in Córdoba

My new “integral” adventure

Article by Juan F, in Granada

I’ve thought a lot about doing this course. Lots of doubts about internet, distance education… especially as I’m very much an earth person.
But I found such a beautiful community of perma-thinkers, such lovely contributions of energy, enthusiasm & cooperation.
It’s action learning without hurries or schedules, I can do everything at my own pace & within my limits – I couldn’t do it any other way.
I feel this course is going to give me a lot and complement my experience and relationship with the earth, that I will certainly integrate into my life and into my beloved organization ¨La Semilla Viva¨ (‘Living Seed’), thank you family.

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Mind map by Victor M. in Córdoba

Chrysalis in the Butterfly Ship

Article by Eva P, in Alicante
After a few moons of thinking when would be the best moment to start this course, on St Valentine’s day I joined the ship.  With each class, each Think & Listen with the other members of this crew, each piece of information I’m integrating bit by bit, and the feeling of community I found here, I can say with conviction that taking this online course was one of the best decisions of my life.  The following text is an extract from my blog about my first steps:

“The video for IPC10 was very interesting… the truth is, since I started this course, with the few steps I’ve taken so far, changes are happening inside of me.

To be honest, I was focusing more in the Earth Care part, and what I wanted to design was a farm that would maintain itself.    But I hadn’t thought about the inconsistencies that some of my other wishes created, like traveling to other parts of the world instead of holding a vision that’s really oriented to  responsibility and the creation of sustainable systems.  It’s been a surprise (that at some points has made me feel really bad, and I’ve even felt like just sending all of this to hell and forget about it, hehe) to see how, without realizing it, the design of the capitalist program was working inside of my psyche in disguise… It’s such a liberation to see that, and it stings to let go.  I’m really thankful for the mirror and support that’s been provided for me here.

Then the CDP+++ conference cheered me up, especially with the observation that Noah’s Ark was built by beginners, & the Titanic by professionals … because I feel still very wet behind the ears with all this.  Also, here’s a comment from Stella (about the ship for butterflies):  “it has nothing to do with the chosen ones, it’s about those who choose themselves, who want to come to this ship and take this course… there’s unfortunately not many people who really want, or think, or feel they have some responsibility, or desire, to work on designing the new society“.

I love the part about self-responsibility, and I think that there’s always more people now who want to choose themselves … and for that, as the videos says, asking “the right questions” is essential in this redesign process.   The thing is that sometimes we feel so small and like a failure or lonely, that we don’t think we’re capable of creating the lives we really want, and even less re-design a new system!  But we’re totally capable, and we’re not alone!  🙂

I’ve loved the conference of A World in Transition, all of it, completely.  Starting from the patterns for evolution, especially the one on the development of worldviews, has helped me a lot with seeing myself, and the model is great to use whenever I need to know if I’m on the right path, and that, actually, I’m in a process of transition towards a new way of being and doing (by the way, I’ve loved finding that Stella uses the simile of the chrysalis… because I feel like I’m completely in that state).

About the comfort zone, I want to make a comment … in my case, my comfort zone hasn’t been so much the usual things but traveling, changing, looking for new things, going to live somewhere else.  I think I am [was] terrified of getting rooted… and, gosh, I feel really happy, thankful and optimistic, because this process (of getting out of my comfort zone) is being made much easier for me, and it looks like bit by bit the fear, after it’s been felt and shown, loses its strength.   And also the “maps” that I’m receiving as myths, encouraging words and empathy (in the little time I’ve been here & outside) are helping me to see more of this process as what it is: an opportunity for growing, transcending and evolving, not just as an individual, but as a little cell of the

And, well, to finish with, I leave here an image I found in Joanna Macy‘s page‎ ♥ which represents the stages of the Work that Reconnects as a spiral-shaped cycle, which starts with Gratitude, so Thank you, thank you so much!”

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Mind map by Victor M. in Córdoba

First Impressions

Article by Asier M, in Castelló

What I had read before enrolling in the Design Certificate course with the Integral Permaculture Academy had really attracted my attention and I’d liked it a lot, but today, a month afterwards, when I’m really understanding the ‘surname’ of Integral, I’ve felt that this was the “place” where I had to be.    I think it’s very important to give space to the more internal realms that many of us talk about, but few know how to design with: the interpersonal relationships, the community… and not just the relationships with our physical environment, and that’s why I love having got onto this ship…

Of the presentation of the PDC+++ I’ve loved, for example, hearing about self-regulation.

I’m father of 2 children, 3 & 1 years old, and this is one of the pillars that the raising of our children is based on, one of the key words in this path that we’re building together with them, and I love that it’s used in the academy too.   I think that without self-regulation there’s no meaningful learning, or it’s much less likely to happen, and I love that it’s given due importance here too..   It’s what’s noted in another part of the video, on “learning permaculture in a permacultural way”.

Another thing that I liked was being supported by myths, or creating them (I think that’s commented in the other video too, the one for the presentation for the IPC in Jordan in 2010);
I also think that in this society where so many people are really lost, it’s very important that we create myths that help us to co-create new meanings for our existence, but not as something that’s given top-down and that we have to abide by, but as something that is created horizontally, between all of us who are convinced that we can live in a different way that’s much more respectful towards the ship we’re all sailing in, and with the rest of the crew.

I simply love the image of the Ticanic and the little sailing boats that appear around it as new ways of being that are much more in harmony, just & respectful…

About the presentation for IPC I especially liked a comment from Stella, who said that they really like to be able to have students that have small children, precisely because that’s my situation and because I share 100% that thought about how important it is that children live a paradigm change without delay… At least for us that’s really basic, it’s something we want to offer our children and that we’re engaged in.   We’re also sure that this paradigm change has to reach them not from discourse (or at least not just from there), but also from practice; it’s not enough to explain to them that we need to live in a different way  – we have to live in a different way so they can grow already inside of that other paradigm we’re advocating.

I’ve also found interesting the thought about the lack of collectivee intelligence and also about the failure of transformative movements…  It’s true that we’re in a society where independent & critical thinking usually shines for its absence, and in this context reaching people is more difficult because they’re comfortably positioned within their slavery and think that deep down things aren’t that bad (the beginning of the movie “La Haine” reflects this in a brilliant way).

This is the story of a society that’s sinking,

and as it f

                       we say: up till now, everything’s allright,
up till now,
          everything’s allright,
                    up till now,
                              everything’s allright,
                                       but the important thing
                                           is not the f


but the landing afterwards…). 

That’s why I think it’s so important to keep pushing forward, and especially, as I said before, not to try to engage people just from discourse, but above all to put into practice that which we believe, on the one hand to live in a more coherent and consistent way, and on the other hand so that people can see by themselves that it can indeed be done, that there are other ways…

In conclusion, I love being part of the crew of this ship, and thank you so much for your generosity in making all of this available to us…

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Mind map by Victor M. in Córdoba

A Vital Commitment

Article by Yolanda G, in La Palma

“I realize that starting with the change towards a more balanced way of living requires a big commitment, a deep analysis and making decisions firmly and truthfully, because it’s not that easy, it requires breaking mental routines, comfortability and fears that have been instilled into us since we were small. 

I’d compare it to a new awakening, being reborn to reach that which you’ve dreamed of and known intuitively for a long time.
All the information I’ve received moves inside of me my feelings, ideals, experiences, my past.  It’s been an intense week of reflections, memories and thoughts that took me to the first conclusion: it’s not just knowing what’s happening and will happen if we don’t change, it’s about making a Vital Commitment with that change.”

That’s what I was thinking at the end of the classes of the first module of the Introduction to Permaculture Course that I had enrolled in.    In this starting period my mind was bubbling like a  cauldron, I was questioning myself: my ideals, my confidence, assertions, goals and dreams.
From then on, I’ve incorporated into my life concepts like Leavers, Design, Holistic, Everything affects everything, Respect, Regeneration; I’ve got to know great thinkers and pioneers; I’ve learned how to use tools for thinking, to make myself freer; I’ve got to know the usefulness of discharge, of not repressing feelings; I’ve learned to think about loving and caring for myself, to see food as a source of health and healing, to grasp the reins of my life.

Right now, I’m still in transition, in this path of commitment with my transition and with the Earth, and I’ve taken big steps,   because in a few months this course has enabled me to find a forming EcoVillage that resonates with my values and where, right now, I’m creating my own EcoBusiness, designing and re-designing all the time.    But there’s still many steps to take if I want to give back to this world all that it’s been giving me since I was conceived and born.

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Mind map by Victor M. in Córdoba

Building Bridges

Article by David C, in Girona

With a Permaculture design course of two months and a half under my belt, and an additional three months as a volunteer in the Montsant Permaculture institute, when I came back home I just wanted to keep learning Permaculture, especially when I realized that I still didn’t know where to start.
I considered the possibility of doing a permaculture action learning course on the Internet, but my first feeling was of backing out, because I didn’t think that learning Permaculture on the internet could be at the same level as an in-person course.
But I was partially wrong, because when I started the course with the Integral Permaculture Academy and saw its functioning and the community that’s behind it, I’ve realized that the learning and personal growth that I can undergo are similar, if not better, than with an in-person one. 
Why is that?  Well, it’s very easy.  Anyone that’s taken any permaculture course knows that such a connection with the place and the people is generated there, and also a paradigm change so big that when you finish the course you just find you’re suddenly dealing with the same society that hasn’t changed at all during those days where you were doing the course, and you don’t know how to face it.    And although your mind is more open and your vision more systemic, it’s very difficult not to get lost in the immensity of it all, and to get into actually redesign your life in a more permacultural way.  

That’s why, having the constant backing in the online course allows me to go on establishing little changes in my environment, to actually develop a transition process towards a different way of living.  Here’s where the advantage lies.

My Biointensive garden

This is really what you’d call a course of active application of your learning.  And the few weeks that I’ve been here have managed to un-block me already, so I’ve started designing a food forest that will be a reality very soon.

I feel as if a river lies between me & my goal, and day by day rocks are coming from the quarry so I can go building the bridge that will allow me to cross the river and reach my goal.