Looby Macnamara is a respected international teacher, practitioner and author. Her first book, People & Permaculture , launched the social permaculture movement globally. And her most recent book is Cultural Emergence: A toolkit for transforming ourselves and our world, which was published earlier this year in 2021. Looby lives in Herefordshire with her partner and two daughters.
Even though we are living through uncertain times, Looby talks about using the tools and practices in her healing toolbox to help her stay hopeful and positive. They keep her from slipping into the darkness and negativity. While there are certainly big problems in the world, she also sees a unique opportunity to engage our gifts and our vision for co-creating an even better world.
Looby references the work of Joanna Macy and how there are three stories all converging simultaneously at this moment in history. These are the three stories: the Business As Usual story; the Great Unravelling story; and the Great Turning story. This begs the questions: which story do we want to inhabit, and what story do we want to give our attention to, and which story best serves us?
The most optimistic and hopeful story is the story of the Great Turning. The great turning is a shift from an industrial growth society to a life sustaining civilization. For Looby, this shift can happen from small actions and small shifts of attention. If we make these small changes over time, they can produce huge results: “So, these small acts could actually move us into a radically different place, if we allow them to.”
Looby speaks about the power of intention for designing and manifesting the world that we want to live in. We tend to think of culture as this big immovable thing that is outside of us. However, Looby sees culture as “a complex web of seen and unseen patterns of behavior and thinking and interacting and feeling.”
Looby explains that we all have personal cultures that we can influence, just as we have patterns that we do have the ability to change. She encourages us to ask these powerful questions: what patterns do I want to change and disrupt, and what patterns are helpful? In this way, we can evolve our personal culture and patterns to allow something new to emerge.
Looby talks about some of her most important healing tools. It starts with making sure that she is bringing self-awareness into her daily life. At any moment of time, she will ask herself the question: is my energy flowing in the direction that I want it to flow in? She also mentions the importance of creative expression – whether it’s coloring, weaving, harvesting herbs or just working with her hands in some capacity.
Another powerful healing tool for Looby is pattern disruption. This helps her shake things up and makes sure she doesn’t get stuck in a rut.
Looby’s advice to her younger self: enjoy where you are and be present with it, instead of always thinking about the future.
You can find out about Looby, her courses and books here: https://cultural-emergence.com/
You can also find her books at Chelsea Green Publishing: https://www.chelseagreen.com/