We are all part of a cycle, life is not a straight line from beginning to end, it is a loop which encompasses both what we see as positive experiences and those we find more difficult. Birth, growth, maturity, death, reintegration, possibility like the seasons come and go, play their part in our stories. These are some of the thoughts behind Left Bank’s ecocycle, which offered visitors and opportunity to immerse themselves in an art installation using video, sound and words to explore the ‘panarchy loop’.
‘Panarchy’, literally meaning ‘encompassing all nature, is a model for seeing the world through the lens of cycles, and rather than resisting those difficult areas mentioned earlier; embracing death, sorrow, endings, times of fallowness, times of unravelling and other difficult experiences as part of the pattern -and more, as important parts of our pattern. The natural world offers a clear example of this: seeds grow, come to maturity, flourish, die and compost down to make the next generation of growth. In the same way, the Easter story reminds us of the cycle of death and then new life – the Christian narrative honestly tells us of sorrow, the personal struggles that Christ faces as he accepts the path of the cross, and the isolation he experiences as most of his followers desert him. But it also tells us of the joy of resurrection, the circle turning again through tragedy to hope.
At the retreat, we all found different words meaningful for ourselves, some found themselves in a time of fallowness, some were composting, some felt possibilities on the horizon, some were at a time of unravelling; a loss of complexity leading to simplicity: It was helpful to be able to name our moments, to recognise where we are and to acknowledge it as a vital stage in our journeys.