by Christina Zahn
I recently re-integrated back into “normal” society after attending two intensive 5 day classes, the Advanced Permaculture Design Course followed by Permaculture Teacher Training held at Joyful Journeys Hot Springs. The courses were masterfully held by Peter Bane, Becky Elder and Sandy Cruz.
Upon registering we were told to get ready to stretch and leave our other responsibilities behind. After checking in, setting up my tent and meeting my fellow classmates we hit the ground running, delving deeply into pattern language and fundamentals of design. Peter encouraged us to observe with a beginner’s mind, to tune our instrument (body-mind) and rise above the ordinary. Becky taught us about working with clients and how her first client is the planet. Sandy explained the importance of positive visioning using the highest ideals and ethics.
We formed ourselves into five design teams and immediately began to work on our projects. It was amazing how quickly five days passed. The presentations were thoughtful and brilliant. The students were of varying ages and different paths but we were united in a love of the earth and hope for humanity and together we made a beautiful whole that was truly greater than the sum of our parts.
After a two day break I went back for the Teacher Training Course. This class was more intimate and diverse with people traveling from New Hampshire, Florida, Arkansas and even Italy to attend. Peter lectured about vocation and self development, describing a teachers disposition as sensitive, passionate, patient and inspiring. Sandy taught us about the Huaca or sacred site as being the teacher creating the “container” or sacred space for learning and that teaching can be caught rather than just taught. She stated that a good teacher can teach any subject with the right research and resources. Becky described the dance of co-teaching as a stacking of functions creating a diverse voice and providing mutual support. They all noted the importance of humor and shared it often with us.
We were assigned to do a twenty minute presentation on an area that we wanted to learn more about. I found myself doing my homework in my tent with a head lamp in a thunderstorm. What a stretch! What a blast! Our presentations were recorded and we were able to watch ourselves which I found hilarious (umm…umm..) but afterward I realized that I could refine my speech and actually teach that subject.
These classes were incredible and life changing. The co-teachers made a powerful team. I learned more than I thought was possible and I made connections with wonderful people that I am honored to call my friends.