As I was growing up, especially through my adolescent years, I became aware of my need to be in situations that were constantly evolving. I liked reading and enjoyed learning languages, but I wanted to learn about everything; I couldn’t focus exclusively on any particular subject.
At the beginning of adulthood, I became involved with the theater, I fell in love with it and at one point I was sure I would do that for the rest of my life…
I got involved with different projects (television, short films, independent projects), and I was putting in a lot of hours and a lot of mental energy in my “career”. Yet something was always missing from the practice of theater, and of my life in general.
One day, I got my break, and quite soon I had the “attention” I wanted. Yet everything that went with it, the perceived social status, the notoriety… but I still lacked vision. I was missing direction.
I moved to France to continue my studies in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies. I received my Masters’s degree but decided to take the route of small projects, putting on small plays in a popular neighbourhood, teaching theater, and running improvisation workshops. I felt my “art” was involving all social classes, so I invested my time and all available resources in doing self-directed research in education and alternative pedagogies from different cultures.
Discovering the work of Augusto Boal and Paulo Freire, I realised what the true purpose of theater is to belong to everyone. I became amazed at how powerful of a message it can carry. By what we show on stage, we shape the psychology and the imagination of the public.
I was also reading A.S. Neill’s work at that time, and learned about the commitment it takes to create the conditions for true education to take place. The knowledge and the power to apply it to one’s life, this is what I always wanted.
And the Free School of Summerhill appeared to have put together some of the ingredients for a meaningful and dignified life: communal living, sharing of resources, sets of rules that are understood by all, the power to vote and to take responsibility as an individual, growing gardens, making long-term commitments, etc.
But myself, I was quite far from that type of situation. My social relationships were deteriorating, and I was depressed. A few years later, after two very different jobs, I decided to enrol in an online PDC with Geoff Lawton. I was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together…
I still aimed to facilitate popular education, to play, to engage in worthwhile activities, and found that Permaculture provided a very wide base of knowledge, on which to build a true Permanent Culture, one that includes everyone.
With the mainframe that Permaculture brings, and with hindsight, I find meaning for everything that I’ve tried during my life. Bill Mollison likened Permaculture to a wardrobe in which we can hang all human knowledge, and I believe that to be true.
In the spring of 2020, I went all-in in Permaculture, in a very practical sense.
Currently, I don’t own land, so I directed my attention to developing a 1.5-acre property where a family of eight lives; through this experience of incremental Design, I learned how to find resources, how to manage them, and how to make the least possible change for the biggest possible outcome.
I’m always challenging myself to learn something new, and Permaculture affords everyone a lot of lessons; as life goes, the two years that have passed have been the wettest and coolest spring and summer in recent history, followed by the hottest (and driest) spring and summer in recorded history (in my current bioregion).
Speaking of community impact, you can discover the work of Brad Lancaster, a story by Verge Permaculture: https://youtu.be/P8HR2EZPiLk.
These periods of hardship have taught me valuable lessons, and have pushed me to become a better designer. In parallel to my work on the land, I’ve had the chance to become a member of a cooperative designers project and I’ve completed designs for clients in 7 different countries; I am looking forward to building on that.
Currently, I am also involved in Permaculture education programs, and I’m refining my computer rendering skills, in the quest of bringing incremental change to my life and to the lives of others.