Weekly Practice 35

Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk.  My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash


This week we are profiling Practice 167: An Exercise into Working with How Life Is (from page 252 of my book).

Practice 167 is one of the dance steps in The Denouement’s Working Wisely.

Working Wisely means making wise choices – and being held responsible and accountable for those choices – which are in service of you, your clients and your systems. Working Wisely means paying attention to the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of making change happen which requires you to hold the system in mind as you test your ideas and options. I have chosen this practice this week as I head north after Storm Denis to our house in the Lake District in Cumbria to re-balance and refresh myself through nature. This week’s practice is also in celebration of the release of Karyn Prentice’s book “Natures Way: Designing the Life You Want through the Lens of Nature and the Five Seasons”¹

‘Working from How Life Is’ means working with Nature. ‘Biomimicry’ is a term coined by Janine Benyus to describe an emerging discipline, which explores how nature works and how we can learn from nature to solve problems². In Greek, ‘Bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘mimesis’ means ‘imitation’. Biomimicry:

  1. Uses Nature as a Model: to inspire interventions which work in harmony with nature’s laws.
  2. Uses Nature as a Measure: learning from evolution to assess interventions which work, which are appropriate and which are sustainable.
  3. Uses Nature as Mentor: which can teach us how to live.

Janine has worked with ecologists to articulate a very powerful set of Nature’s Laws, which are:

  1. Nature runs on sunlight
  2. Nature only uses the energy it needs
  3. Nature fits form to function
  4. Nature recycles everything
  5. Nature rewards co-operation
  6. Natures relies on diversity and emergence
  7. Nature demands local expertise
  8. Nature curbs excesses from within
  9. Nature tests the power of limits and limitations

Nature’s organising principles are based on Partnerships, Networking, Seasonality, Resilience, Diversity and Dynamic Balance. As Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic wrote³:

We must draw our standards from the natural world. We must honour the humility of the wise boundaries of the natural world and the mystery, which lies beyond them, admitting that there is something in the order ,which exceeds our competence.

For this practice:

Consider your reaction to Biomimicry – and why you have it.

In your life and work, ask yourself if and how you could use:

  • Nature as Model
  • Nature as Measure
  • Nature as Mentor
  • Ask yourself if and how you could bring Nature’s Laws and Organising Principles alive in your life and work.
  • Journal your reflections.
  • Ask yourself ‘What is now needed from me?’

As Confucius reminds us*

‘He who is in harmony with Nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.’


Have a go! 

Start with small steps.

Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.

Join us on our “Reflect to Create!” Facebook group page.



¹ Prentice, K. (2020) Natures Way: Designing the Life You Want through the Lens of Nature and the Five Seasons. Cambridge, Prentice Fletcher Associates

² Benyus, J. (2002) Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. New York, Harper Perennial

³ Havel, V. (1984) Politics and Conscience. In an author’s note, Havel writes, ‘This speech was written for the University of Toulouse, where I would have delivered it on receiving an honorary doctorate, had I attended.’ Havel had no passport and could not travel abroad. At the ceremony at the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail on May 14, 1984, he was represented by the English playwright Tom Stoppard

* Downloaded 23rd January 2018 from http://www.azquotes.com/quote/796737


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