7. Personal Development

Its aim is to look into human beings inner dimensions – we don’t know more about you than yourself, so do contribute!

  • Plant the seed of meditation and reap the fruit of peace of mind

    Are you prone to stress and anxiety? Do you suffer from one or several addictions (coffee, wine, chocolate, sex, legal or illegal drugs, or even your iPod, a football team, a famous star, etc – you pick!). Does your mind wander constantly and jumps seemingly without control from one thought to another? Do you tend to judge yourself and the world negatively rather than positively? Do you have trouble focusing your attention on a given task or feel agitated? Do you sometimes feel like you have a ‘fog in your brain’ whereby you lack clarity about what you want/should do? Do you suffer from conditions such as psoriasis, chronic fatigue,…

  • Week 9 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Hosting a project and community living

    Over the 5 weeks spent with Pierre I observed how he managed us helpers, his projects, his family life and himself.  I imagine the whole process could be quite physically and emotionally rewarding but also draining – dealing with various people from all walks of life, interrupting your routine, sharing your space, managing the build, training, supervising, etc.   As mentioned in a previous post, community living often seems harder than the project or building itself. So, this week’s post is from Pierre’s perspective. We’ve asked him some questions which he has kindly answered for us.   How many helpers have you had? So far, to the present day, which is…

  • Week 7 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Inspiration in the Mountains

    During week 7 of my eco-building adventure, we spent a few days visiting Pierre’s mountain house to get some fresh air, a break from work and see some of the design elements he implemented there. It was inspiring to see his designs and thoughts about space actually implemented (see the week 6 post for more about designing space). This week I will simply share with you some images from the mountains and Pierre’s house and garden. He purchased an old house a decade ago and improved it substantially – essentially all by himself. As you look through the pictures, think about his use of space, the colours, the types of…

  • Week 6 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Natural Painting, Plastering and Designing

    This week saw us continuing the ceiling insulation, sanding and painting the timber ceiling and flooring with  linseed oil, painting window frames with natural paint and applying cow dung plaster. Linseed Oiling The linseed oil is actually a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine mixed 2L:330ml. It is used to protect the timber from the elements andincrease its durability. It also increases its resistance from being destroyed by insects or fungus. From what I’ve read, the function of linseed oil as a preservative is believed to be related to its action as a water repellent and drying agent rather than a direct biocidal activity.   Natural Painting  The natural paint is a mixture of pigment,…

  • Week 5 – Cob camp hits the road to learn eco-building in the Pyrenees

    Cobbing The beginning of week 5 was all about mixing and building cob since the roof was up and stable. There is so much to learn about cob that you can only truly understand through tactile experience.  You need to feel the critical proportion of clay to sand to ensure a plastic, cohesive, workable mix that won’t shrink and crack too much.  Depending on the coarseness of the sand and quality of the clay (and other components in the soil) the final mix should be between 5% and 25% clay.  By observing the soil composition from a soil test (seeing it settle in a jar with water) you can estimate proportions. But,…

  • Week 4 at Cob Camp – Hard work and fun

    This week started with Marco and Linda departing camp and Anita and Martin making a real effort to progress the project positively and constructively. A real highlight of the week was when Laurence came to camp to give us an edible weeds tour of our area. She taught us how to identify what we could eat that was naturally growing around us and how we could eat it.  She pointed out blackberries, wild sage, Jerusalem artichoke, daisies, yarrow, hog weed and more… here are some pictures… Fitting in with this theme, Wayne decided to teach us all (in a humorous TV cooking show style!) how to make delicious elderflower cordial…

  • Week 3 at Cob Camp – Community Matters

    Most people want deeper links to a community as modern society is individualistic, insecure and fractured. Many don’t know where to start to lead different lives and those of us who do, seem to grapple with making ‘community’ work. How do we live co-operatively, thoughtfully and simply with each other whilst conserving natural resources, sharing responsibility for work and providing meaningful, dignified and safe work – including successful projects? All of us on this course are from Western societies where we’ve been encouraged to be highly individualistic. Given we need to learn new skills for living together with others (especially giving up personal space) this group has done remarkably well…

  • Week 2 at Cob Camp – Planting, rescuing, cooking and eating food. And making stuff out of leather…

    Week 2 of the cob building course was (nearly) all about FOOD!! Planting food, skip diving for food, cooking creatively, making a stove and oven, eating, discussing… it really seemed to be our focus all week! After our first skip dive at the local supermarket bin, we organised the camp kitchen and enthusiastically embraced communal cooking with our rescued food. We made scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon and goats cheese, frittata, salad nicoise, salsa, potato salad, creamy pesto pasta, coleslaw, ratatouille, couscous, nettle and goats cheese quiche, garlic pizza bread, chocolate brownies, spaghetti and more… but the best creation all week was Sunset Bin Crumble with Sam’s Special Sauce. This cob-camp…

  • Week 1 at Cob Camp – Eco Building and Community Living

    I just arrived at La Creuse, a region in the middle of France, in order to participate to the building of a cob house organised by AM Rustic with other volunteers. Jean on his side, went to Central America for few weeks, in order to do a consultancy with a British humanitarian organisation. I understood from the first day on the cob building course that this wasn’t really a structured course but a gathering of people with a shared interest in natural building coming together to live, work, learn and share their diverse experiences and skills.  Anita and Martin had ditched the ‘Day 1 – Designing your Cob House’ for…

  • Worldwide Permaculture Network

    Back in September 2010 I (CJG) did a Permaculture Aid course with Geoff Lawton (founder of the Permaculture Research Institute) at his Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales.  During that course he told us he was developing a kind of ‘Permaculture Facebook’ – a place for people and projects who have completed a Permaculture Design Certificate to share their exciting, solutions-based work being implemented worldwide. And now… it’s HERE… well, the beta version anyway. 🙂 It looks pretty impressive so far.  There are already hundreds of profiles created and over 30 projects entered.  We are sure it will grow quickly with lots of inspiring people connecting and sharing their holistic,…

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