There is much now written about ‘regeneration’ – as though it were a stick to beat mere ‘sustainability’, to hold its failings to account.
In truth it’s an idea in evolution. And a new discipline that stretches our thinking to appreciate afresh how Nature organises itself, and invites us to surrender to what it teaches about how life thrives.
The lesson is at once simple and enormously challenging. Can we look beyond a single organisation, one building development, even one city and ask what are the wider systems it’s an integral part of, that it nourishes, and is in turn is nourished by. So that we can understand the deeper roots of thriving?
The answers are often not straightforward. A university is connected to its wider ‘field of endeavour’ – education, a business to its sector. Both have a clear idea of their beneficiaries (though not often of their lives, beyond what is transacted). But both are also located in physical places in local communities using local resources, including natural resources. How to understand these interdependencies creatively, and integrate them into a value stream that brings flourishing to all?
Case studies using regenerative frameworks teach us again and again that this is how vitality, health and prosperity can keep re-appearing again and again. The road is running out for merely extracting our wealth from the world around us.
What Nature does effortlessly, we must learn to do too.
As a practitioner of this approach my most profound insight has been not to promote this idea and its frameworks as the answer. It is to hold its potential in mind as a resource to a conversation about value, purpose, legacy – about what people are moved most to bring to the world through their work.
For this is the source from which their action, their flourishing and so the world’s flourishing will regenerate. Nature is us after all. Wholeness, health and a revitalised world are just a heartbeat away from manifesting if we can but pause to listen.
My coaching work over two decades has deeply ingrained in me a principle of ‘wholeness’. I see my clients as already whole, and unique. It’s a useful starting point for accepting ourselves, our patterns of thinking, being and doing. This acceptance is the ground from which to listen to what is our essence, our unique offer to the world. This is the foundation I bring to regeneration. If we can grow a thriving ‘ecosystem’ of relationships and service around ourselves, we can do the same for our projects, our communities and our organisations.