Integrative Ecosocial Design
Highlights from my Orientation 2013
I am Simha Bode 33 yo, happily married, hailing from the Green Mountain State of
Vermont in the Northeastern USA. . I spend my time building soils, cultivating organic
foods, wildcrafting, building earth ovens and baking sourdough bread.
I grew up in Idaho and Vermont, spending my junior year of high school as an exchange
student in Bilbao, Spain. After high school I worked for the Coast Guard in Sitka, Alaska
for three years driving small boats. In 2002 I moved back to Vermont working as a
landscaper. The following two winters I traveled to Mexico, where I met my wife Janaki.
We lived in an international community in Palenque, Mexico, where we studied yoga,
meditation and holistic living. Janaki and I live in VT in the warmer season where I teach
building earthen ovens at Yestermorrow design/build school. In the colder seasons we
travel to either Mexico, Africa or India helping friends develop their projects as well as
our skills. We visit Janaki's family in Switzerland several times a year, where we are
involved with the local Permaculture guild.
I took my ﬁrst PDC in 2010 with Keith Morris and Mark Krawczyk in Vermont and in
2012 I Assisted Bernard Alonso with a 3 week residential PDC in Auroville, South India.
I have lived in several communities around the globe and I try to apply my knowledge to
improve where ever I am, building composting toilet, solar dehydrators, cob ovens,
rocket stoves, planting gardens and trees.
Pathway patterns module!
15 February 2013
I dropped out of institutions and academia, because of the lack of holistic processes,
this left me with my own form of active-learning which led to Permaculture. I anticipate a
deeper more profound learning from these methodologies. This feels like a smooth
transition for me, as I have been "actively learning and unlearning" for many years.
I ﬁnd the three legged stool to be most comfortable when I am surrendered to the
moment. I believe we are all sitting on the crossroads of life and have the opportunity at
any moment to take a new direction. The change of direction can simply be adopting a
new perspective. emergence can be very subtle, yet over along period of time we can
look back and see how we were headed in one direction and something happened or
we met someone, and our priorities changed. I see this emergence as the act of Spirit
that is the weaver behind Lifeʼs loom.
The pattern of “Mistakes” is clearly one that is being redeﬁned in this time. Having been
around many 2-3 year olds lately, I see how they protest that which is “wrong” or
considered a mistake by repeating it. Contingency, like everything is about perspective
and response: when we act out of love things ﬂow and resolution comes, when we act
from fear the process becomes more difﬁcult.
A pattern I would add would be a return or back-step pattern. I suppose this could also
be represented as a spiral pattern, as you will never be in exactly the same spot you
were before. It is the convergence of meridians that can seem as a step backwards.
Module 1 - Active Learner
My orientation map of Active Learning is below, I like Liamʼs mindmap found here http://www.xmind.net/m/TUfg/. He is inspiring me to go deeper so, I will be creating a
new Mindmap exploring my new vision of Active Learning as I see it now with the
experience of this year.
Module 2 - Time and Promise management
What went well? - I see the real work concerning
this element is just beginning and its fruits will
follow. I plan on a good yield.
What was challenging? - One thing I noticed, I
get ahead of myself. I tend to do the deconstructreconstruct process without documenting.
What did you enjoy? - Getting a clearer view of
Gaia U, learning about the Liberation Structure
and its multitude of tools.
What did you ﬁnd difﬁcult? - Part of my learning
curve was navigating the GEL site. I get a
little disoriented jumping around.
What I will do differently next time - Slow
Down and organize prior to starting in on
notes. In general be more methodical so I
donʼt do things twice.
I see myself in “pushing through beginners
crunch” as I have had a very free and ﬂexible
relationship with time the last 12 years. I feel
supported and this puts me at ease.
Past - I have never managed my time /
promises with a daily planners, mind-maps,
or such tools. The extent of my management
has been writing notes, to do lists and
tracking events on a calendar (very minimal). I
typically am early for appointments and have a reputation of keeping my promises
Present - I have been in India for three months. I have not done the best job of
managing my time, though I think I have improved. Considering the vast variety of
realities and deep experiences I have been having, I feel pretty positive with my focus
Future - I envision myself adapting some of these T&P management techniques into my
daily life. Why? I know I need to be successful and I believe good T&P management is a
requisite ﬁeld of thought /action to be successful.
Reﬂections Mod. 1 Elem. 2 - T&P Management - 11 March 2013
I have lived a rather unstructured life the last ten years, basically living day to day. The
entire element went well for me, providing me with more tools for my toolbox. I feel the
mapping of patterns, both looking foreword and backward, is an important tool for
maintaining the teachings of circular time. I feel the “invention” of linear time was a
beginning in patriarchal rule. This time period did provided us with great advances in
technology but it removed our natural connectivity with nature.
TALC 1 - Un/Learning - Tools for Transformation
Deﬁnition - Action learning involves people from different ﬁelds of engagement coming
together to talk through the issues they are experiencing with a view to supporting each
other to think well and more widely about their own situations.
I lack the most in AC - making sense of research and ﬁnd metaphors to make abstract
ideas concrete enough to be useful.
*Yellow Dots - My learning-constitution as of now
*Purple Dots - My ideal learning-constitution by the end of the year.
I decided on an even 20% input in all ﬁelds. I decided on an even growth because I see
this pattern in nature, like a trees growth rings. I also realized 20+20+20+20 = 80 and it
reminded me of the 20/80 pattern in nature which is recognized as the Pareto Principlehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle . This means with a 20% input I will be
getting an 80% increase!
What are your longterm goals? In regards to this topic: To have a deep understanding of
learning models so I may pick and choose what suits my needs for teaching-learning
and making a positive change.
TALC 2 Design as a Transformative Process
This element stretched me in different ways, pushing me to get out-of-the-box. When
Andrew asked us on the call, what our strengths and weaknesses were in design, I
realized I had not really thought about it.
The SWOT analysis was a good tool to explore this unarticulated terrain. Instead of
using threats, I used challenges, as I feel “threats” is a loaded word. The other aspect of
this element that pushed me to grow, was to consider my own principles
See my mindmap about Design and my own design principles I identiﬁed below.
TALC 3 - Thinking about Worldviews
I am not surprised with this outcome. I do feel that we run into a problem in
interpretation of worldviews. Words are subjective and each of our worldviews will
modify each of our own interpretations. It is an imperfect tool, I speculate that when we
recognize this, it makes it a more affective one.
MINDMAP from TALC 1
Write a Patrix revealing blurb for your next book jacket!I am a 34 year old whitish male, born in Washington State in the Northwest USA in
1979. My parents divorced before I can remember. I lived with my mother and half-sister
in family student housing until I was 5. After my mother graduated we moved to Vermont
to live near my motherʼs parents, who were dairy farmers. I spent the school-year with
my mother and stepfather in Vermont and the summers with my father and stepmother
in Idaho. Both of my families fell in the middle-class range, though my father and stepmother were more upper-middle class and my mother and stepfather were lower.
When I was 2 years old pop-culture and politics began their deep intermingling when
Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan was made president of the USA. In 1990 The gulf war
started, I watched Peter Jennings and General Schwartscoff from my living room tv set
explaining that we are the good guys. My maternal grandmotherʼs family were Swiss
immigrants and Christian Science practitioners. I grew up under the religious view that;
God is All, God is Love, We are all the children of God, there is no hell or devil, and sin,
sickness, and death are illusions that we create through our ignorance of God.
I was pushed through the public school system in Vermont, all of the regimented activity
and structure pushed me to rebel. I became the outcast class-clown. I spent my junior
year of high school as an AFS exchange student in Bilbao, Spain, attempting to escape
the horrors of high school cliques. My Spanish host brothers were into the Basque
separatist movement. During this year I became fairly ﬂuent in Spanish.
I joined the Coast Guard after graduating high school, excelling in rank and skill as a
boatswains-mate. I got disillusioned by the power structure and the “Old-Guard”
mentality of the juvenile-adult men that had never known life outside the Guard. I got
myself kicked out.I sought after art as my new career and enrolled in Concordia
University in 2002. I had a deep change in my worldview, I had become a vegetarian, I
was meditating regularly and reading spiritual texts. I no longer had the desire “to
create” and dropped school to become a global traveler.
I met my Swiss wife in Chiapas, Mexico in 2003, where she was living at the time. We
were both searching for a deeper meaning to life. My wife is 8 years and three days my
elder. We have since been living in Vermont during the warm season and travel during
the winter. We traveled back to Mexico many times, India, where we have come to feel
at home and West Africa where a good friend has an NPO school. We also visit my
wifeʼs family in Switzerland annually. I have achieved a good French comprehension yet
am still struggling to speak.
I have done various jobs such as wood-ﬁred pizza production, bread baking, oven
building workshops, landscaping and house painting. We are frugal, always ﬁnding a
way to live with minimal to no rent, one car, no life or health insurance, we grow food
and make and mend our clothes. I am now a full time student at Gaia University
pursuing the profession of my passion, Holistic Ecological and Social Design.
believe these are among the top memes that deﬁne the patrix.
• I know whats best for you - Also known as the "nanny state" on a meta level
(wikipedia) - The term "nanny state" likens government to the role that a nanny has in
child rearing. This carries on down to personal level which perpetuates and "validates"
the nanny state.
• Bitterness and Vengeance - I would say this is a meme that the patrix idolizes in popculture (movie, tv, games, etc) and which governments justify as being righteous and
necessary in foreign relations
• Elitism - Centralized power of a tiny minority is the socio-economic pyramid structure
of the patrix. This carries down through all levels of society
• Cynicism - I see cynicism as the perpetuating factor of the matrix. Its negative outlook
on humanities capabilities and potentials creates a vicious cycle.
This is a very interesting element in design. I never approached it as a written tool/
process, that was a highlight for me. I see the worldview of worldview (meta-worldview)
like a splinter you pick-up and use to remove another splinter that is embedded in you.
In the ideal end, you would through both of them away, meaning its a means and not an
TALC 4 Growing Leaderful Communities
* Leaderful is the post-leaderless model Gaia U is using which includes active support
for leader. Being led is not a passive role, it is active, intelligent attention to the task at
hand and how you are functioning in the team and how the group is functioning as a
Who gets the power? Holocracy and sociocracy are good examples that deal with this
holistically. 1 person is recognized by management team 1 person selected by the
active-followers,these two people lead for an agreed-on amount of time. We need to be
careful to not use the authoritarian or negative meme in leadership and as followers we
need to be aware of being overly reactive if authoritarian memes arise. having the
leadership support allows for smooth facilitation between leaders and led. if someone
attacks leader it is the support persons role to handle the attack and be a mediator.
What went well? - Most of my experiences of being a leader have been positive. I feel
my ability to put myself in others shoes has helped. My ability to see when someone is
ready to try a next-step (new skillﬂex) and to support them in pushing that edge has
been a positive.
What was challenging? - I have seen that stress has crippled my ability to lead in some
circumstances. Typically this has happened in community, when people are not pulling
their weight or are being negligent of responsibilities.
What I would do differently? - Recognizing the stress is the ﬁrst step, then before
bringing it to the person or a community meeting, I would ask for a think-and-listen with
someone I respect (that is neutral).
Layout some long-term goals and visions around the development of your
leadership capacities including training-up more support people.
To be able to standup to a microphone and present my ideas (or a project) to a
group of people I donʼt know, while feeling at ease and comfortable. I do get
stage fright and am pushing this edge.
Getting comfortable with organizing and setting up events, material preparation
Holistic time and schedule management - creating the ﬂow and presentation of
Making group/individual experiences interactive and transformative.
Developing my support-skills to maintain/train, guide and develop the leading
abilities of new and experienced leaders. (Spiral Dynamics/worldview literacy)
I see that the role and acceptance of (the concept of) “the commons” is something that
united peoples in the past to have these dynamic eco-social systems. The Commons
has morphed into a very blurry, vague and obscured idea in present-time. I see this
“new” emergence of eco-social systems as a reclaiming the commons, with knowledge
and relations being the “new” common ground to work with. I Love it!
Reﬂections of Leaderful Communities
I am excited to have all these models and dynamic-understandings of Leadership. I see
that I will become more and more ﬂuent in Spiral Dynamics, 6 Thinking hats and others.
It is nice to have these qualities & challenges of leadership/support articulated in an
objective way. This for me is the New Paradigm - seeing the value, challenges and
dynamics of things instead of just being pro-con. It is a long process of deprograming
(unlearning) and these are great tools.
OP creation is the next module, yet I feel for those who are working on it (with the goal
of boarding the Aug 1 bus), it would be beneﬁcial to have access to the content. I
understand this might overwhelm some who are not at that stage. It would be nice if
there was a way to meet individual needs. Rescheduling OP2 for September means
changes in the rest of my schedule. I discussed this both in an OP support-call with
Jennifer and with my advisor, Saskia.
TALC 5 - Creating fabulous OPs
Word count includes everything in core report
Supporting evidence - is your documentation of your process and projects
Commentary - is like the directors cut of a ﬁlm
Resource review - include an introductory paragraph for your resource review. it can be
old resources if applicable you can work on several OPs at once but you must pass
them in one at a time.
2 projects in one - 1 the project you are working on - 2 the OP illustrates design process
and methodology - Competence and attention
Look at PoDAPO regularly to make sure you have all the elements the review will cover.
Commentary tangents was brought up as a question - Andrew answered - think of “6
thinking hats” which hat are you wearing? notice moving between modes. go through
design process like an action plan. use it - collect data - write report - content conclusion - last thing write commentary about your design process. use rapid
prototyping - get it down then get it good. cover how your project changes - ʻpathway
reﬂectionʼ how has it affected your life? why did the change happen? document the
process and renegotiation and what tools you used. give a value
metric “here is where you thought you would beʼ - ʻhere is where you areʼ.