Dreaming in the dark… of a doughnut

December 16, 2021
Published by Lorna Prescott

The Earth is resting now and if we can, we must slow down and rest too. It is a good time to settle back into our local environment and appreciate the land and the friends and the neighbours we have around us. Winter brings shortness of daylight and above ground there is very little growth, but below the surface roots are growing, bringing stability and strength to to the plants and trees that will support their future growth.

The dark of winter gives us the opportunity to connect to what lies within us, so that we too grow strong roots, which will strengthen us on the inside and bring greater stability. Use this time to rest, reflect and dream in the dark.

Glennie Kindred, in Letting in the Wild Edges

Reflections and hopes

This is a time when many of us reflect on the past year. We may consider what brought us joy and what was difficult. These reflections come in many forms, and rituals can evolve over time. One of my favourite rituals which I’ve developed with my husband which we plan time for around the New Year was inspired by the hosts of the Slow Home Podcast. We put some music on and share with each other our Top Ten Best Things List for the year. We remember the year by talking about our favourite:

💭 TV show
💭 small detail
💭 movie
💭 new destination (gets interesting in pandemic times!)
💭 book
💭 discovery
💭 album
💭 new podcast
💭 meal
💭 experience

A photo based image with holly and berries, spruce sprigs, orange slices and a fir cone, with writing in the centre saying: " CoLab Dudley team Winter Solstice Ritual. A team ritual we are cultivating which is rooted in nature's rhythms and invites playfulness, reflection, gratitude and time simply making together."

🌲 Last year two members of the CoLab Dudley team that I’m part of created a beautiful winter solstice celebration ritual that took place over Zoom from our homes during lockdown. We’re gathering as a team again today for this ritual, which involves being at one with nature (in advance of the session we collect greenery to have with us), creating a story together, gratitude, hands on making (of a wreath or other winter decoration) and time for reflection on our hopes for the year ahead.

🤞🏻One of my hopes for the year ahead is that I might find and connect up to 12 people who are curious, excited, intrigued or inspired by questions likes these:

A mustard yellow card with a spiral pattern and the words "What does it mean for our neighbourhood to thrive? What matters here?" in white handwriting A moss green card with a spiral pattern and the words "How do we rebuild our relationship with our neighbourhood's natural habitats and resources?" in white handwriting

A soft brown card with a spiral pattern and the words "How do we thrive in our neighbourhood(s) whilst respecting the plant + people across the world?" in white handwriting A red-brown card with a spiral pattern and the words "Is GDP the right goal? How did we get here? What are we working towards?" in white handwriting

A claret coloured card with a spiral pattern and the words "What kind of place, planet and neighbourhood(s) do you want to leave to future generations?" in white handwriting A yew tree coloured card with a spiral pattern and the words "What impacts have colonialism, racial injustice and over-extraction from nature had on the modern economy?" in white handwriting

A yew tree coloured card with a spiral pattern and the words "What does nurturing regenerative, biodiverse, connected neighbourhoods look like in practice?" in white handwriting A red-brown card with a spiral pattern and the words "What might happen if we don't act? What are the risks of climate breakdown to our lives, the lives of people all around the world + future generations?" in white handwriting

These questions are from some amazing new work underway across the UK and beyond, inspired by a doughnut!

🍩 People can get scared of economics, but nobody is scared of a doughnut! 

–  says Kate Raworth. The doughnut she is talking about “offers a vision of what it means for humanity to thrive in the 21st century – and Doughnut Economics explores the mindset and ways of thinking needed to get us there.”

“First published in 2012 in an Oxfam report by Kate Raworth the concept rapidly gained traction internationally, from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement. Kate’s 2017 book, Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist, further explored the economic thinking needed to bring humanity into the Doughnut, drawing together insights from diverse economic perspectives in a way that everyone can understand.”(Source: Doughnut Economics Action Lab)

You could also think of this doughnut as “a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.”

The doughnut offers us a playful, practical platform and compass for how we thrive in the 21st century. This involves finding the safe and just space between the social foundations for us to flourish and the planetary boundaries that protect Earth’s life supporting systems, ensuring we don’t continue to exceed our ecological ceiling. It offers us ways to think and design together at a range of scales, with everyday, creative, practical action that is grounded in deep, rigorous, scientific evidence about the scale of the challenges ahead. (Source: Civic Square )

The doughnut has been warmly embraced by entire countries and major cities. Now it’s time to bring economics back to the scale of streets and neighbourhoods, the places we call home. (The word ‘economics‘ comes from the Greek words, ‘eco’ meaning home and ‘nomos’ meaning management. Put simply, economics means the art of household management.) Dudley has been given an opportunity to be one of the first places in the world to come together at this local scale and downscale the doughnut.

An invitation to join a Learning Journey

If the questions above sparked something for you, if they speak to your work or voluntary activity, I invite you to reflect on this through the darker days of winter. And as the days begin to get longer and we emerge into a new year, if you’d like to find out more about being part of a Learning Journey in Dudley in 2022 below are some links to a bit more information, some Zoom chats you can sign up to join, or please feel free to contact me directly.

The Learning Journey has been described by another Learning Journey host, Mona, as an advanced book club (+++). This is because we will be reading Doughnut Economics and discussing it, and also discovering what it means for people to take the ideas off the page and into transformative action at the scale of the household, street and neighbourhood.

If you live, work or play anywhere in Dudley borough you are most welcome to apply for a place on this learning journey. All of the places are fully funded. The Learning Journey is designed to integrate your learning into whatever kind of work or doing you already do, so it really shouldn’t feel like a huge commitment or pull on your time. In fact I hope the time with peer learners will be something that each of us involved feel super-excited about, so much so that it might make it on to 2022’s Top Ten Best Things List in a year’s time as a favourite experience for some of us!

But for now take rest, and see if you, like me, begin dreaming in the dark of doughnuts 🙂

Find out more about the learning journey in Dudley

🙋‍♀️ I am the host for Dudley’s Doughnut Economics Learning Journey. This is something I am doing in an unpaid capacity, as a Time Rebel in Dudley. I am grateful for resources and support which are making this possible, provided by CoLab Dudley, Civic Square and Enrol Yourself, plus 11 hosts in other places who I am learning with throughout this journey and the other 45 Time Rebels in Dudley who are inspiring and encouraging me.

💻 If you’d like to chat to me about what’s involved, you can register for an online session on Wednesday 5 January 2022. I’ve set up sessions for two time slots; 3pm-4pm and 6pm-7pm

Register to find out more on Zoom on Wed 5 January, 3pm-4pm

Register to find out more on Zoom on Wed 5 January, 6pm-7pm

Or feel free to email me: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk or call/message/WhatsApp me: 07501 722 255

🗓 Key dates in the learning journey

The journey will start with a kick off weekend on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th February in person in Birmingham. The rest of the journey will take place over 6 months in Dudley, online and in Birmingham. Activities to support your reading and action around Doughnut Economics which you will need to commit to are:

  • Kick off Weekend – Sat 12 & Sun 13 February 2022 | Birmingham
  • Weekly Peer-to-Peer sessions* – Wednesday 6pm-8pm | @ CoLab Dudley, High St, Dudley / online
  • Deep Work Studio Day – Sun 22 May 2022 | 10am-6pm | Birmingham
  • Deep Work Studio Day – Sat 4 June 2022 | 10am-6pm | Birmingham
  • Deep Work Studio Day – Sun 19 June | 10am-6pm | Birmingham
  • Deep Work Studio Day – Sat 2 July | 10am-6pm | Birmingham
  • Mini showcase – Fri 13 May 2022 | 18pm-21:00pm
  • Final Showcase – Sat 23 and 24 July 2022 | location tbc

*In ideal conditions we will hold peer-to-peer sessions twice a month in person on Dudley High Street and in weeks between online or as you decide with your peers. If home working is still being advised in February due to COVID, we will initiate the weekly sessions online.

📝 Apply to join the Learning Journey in Dudley

You don’t have to attend a session to find out more, nor do you need to wait for one of these sessions to apply to join our Learning Journey in Dudley. You can go straight to this form to apply now.

🔗 Further links and a video


📷 Top image credit: Mary Sill, Unsplash

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