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Blog #16: Portraying a reflective practice in the ecological field

Hi all, it's February 2023 already. I don't know about you, but my January was tough - struck down by illness, and now the humidity-heat. Yet, February 2023 is also the time I have lived a commitment I made in February 2019. It was at this time that I arrived in my new home in Maleny, some 90km north of Brisbane (now shared with my wife Rachael), and feeling overwhelmed I made a 3-year commitment to myself; "I will stay here for 3-years no matter what, and I will listen and learn for that time. Then I'll see."

As I now arrive at that moment, I wanted to share a chapter of my most recent book on a reflective practice in the social and ecological fields. This chapter tells the story of my arriving in Maleny, living on a property and falling in love with the bio-region.

While visiting this place for 30+ years – to visit friends who live here, or for work in the area – I had only previously experienced it from the outside-in, as a visitor. Yet moving to an inside-out sense of the place required a shift to a type of inhabiting. This necessitates a different kind of dialogue. As such, dwelling in this home, has included three dialogues:

  1. Dialogue with a one-acre property in Maleny, about 100km north of Brisbane, Australia – named Camellia Cottage by previous owners and gradually transformed, by myself, into the Camellia Centre [for Soul Work & Reflective Practice]

  2. Dialogue with a forest that I walk in most days, a ten-minute stroll from the Camellia property

  3. Dialogue with the bioregion of Maleny, including the confluence of three valleys (feeding the Stanley River, Mooloolah River and Mary River), the edge of the Blackall Range, looking across to the Glass House Mountains, the ocean – and so much more.

If you have time, sit back, read the whole chapter and consider what it could mean for where you live and bringing a more reflective practice into your dwelling.

I'd love to hear your experiences of the difference between being in place from the inside-out or outside-in.

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