If you want to support the emergence of a restorative and regenerative future, one of the best places to start is with a practice that enables you to embody a restorative and regenerative way of being in the present. The more you are able to be in the present in a restorative and regenerative way, the more these qualities will organically radiate out into the world, and your actions will be aligned with the movement that wants to heal and renew life.
At cohere, we are committed to developing a restorative and regenerative practice, and we support schools, organisations, and communities that would like to build this capacity.
What is restoration and regeneration?
The word “restoration” in English is based on the middle English word “restoracioun”, meaning “a means of healing or restoring health”. The word “regeneration” in English is based on the middle English word “regeneracioun”, meaning “an act of producing anew” and “being born again.”
In our work, we have come to understand there is an intimate relationship between restoration; life’s inherent capacity to heal harm or damage, restore health and wholeness, and integrate the past, and regeneration; life’s inherent capacity to recreate itself and pass life onto future generations. Just as we can observe the process of restoration and regeneration unfolding in the world around us, so too can we tune in and directly experience restoration and regeneration as it flows through the core of our being, moving us towards health and wholeness, and renewing our life around the things that are essential.
What is restorative and regenerative practice?
Restorative and regenerative practice is a way of living where you tune into your direct experience of restoration and regeneration as it flows throughout your life and the living world, and you consciously align your way of being and acting with the intelligence of this movement. In other words, restorative and regenerative practice is the moment to moment practice of connecting with and aligning your own restoration and regeneration with the restoration and regeneration of the people and world around you.
When you try to align with this restorative and regenerative movement, what you tend to find is that it’s not so easy because you have internalised many habits of non-rest and non-renewal that inhibit life’s capacity to heal and co-evolve. You also tend to find it is difficult to align because you have been conditioned by a range of social norms that are unjust and unsustainable and are working against this movement. So, a central aspect of restorative and regenerative practice is the ability to notice any habits or norms that are interfering with your ability to align in the present moment, so you can liberate yourself from repeating these patterns.
Nowadays, there is a rich ecology of practices that can awaken us to our direct experience of how restoration and regeneration is alive and pulsating throughout our lives and the living world, and help us notice and release any patterns that are working against this flow, so we can move towards greater alignment. This includes practices such as social presencing, deep listening, embodiment practice, restorative justice, regenerative leadership, nonviolent communication, the creative and healing arts, along with some traditions of yoga, mindfulness, and movement meditation.
What does restorative and regenerative practice look like?
Let’s say you want to practice some restorative and regenerative gardening. If you are tuned into your direct experience of how your life and each plant wants to restore and regenerate itself while you are gardening, and you also have enough space to notice the patterns you have internalised that are inhibiting or working against this flow, you can refine your alignment with the movement that wants to heal and renew life. The more you align, the more you will be able to restore your health and renew your life in the moment you are gardening, and you are also more able to support each plant with doing the same. Whereas, if you lose your sense of connection and alignment with yourself and the plants while you are gardening, and you also don’t have enough space to notice the habits and norms you are re-enacting, then that’s going to have an effect. As a result, it might be that your gardening experience isn’t as restful and renewing as it could have been, and you might also find that you end up unintentionally interfering with the life processes that are flowing throughout the garden.
It’s a similar story for any activity you might find yourself engaging in, such as preparing a meal, meeting with colleagues at work, designing a new economy, responding to social injustice, or working towards systems change. The more you are able to tune in and align yourself in the present moment, and the more you are able to notice and liberate yourself from any unaligned patterns, the more you create the conditions for restorative and regenerative possibilities to be actualised in your life and the world. Whereas, if you lose that sense of connection and alignment, your capacity to engage in restorative and regenerative work is reduced, and you may even create results opposite to what you intend.
In this light, it can be suggested that we have much to learn so that we can truly embody a restorative and regenerative way of being in the present. We need time and space to unlearn deeply engrained social norms that we have internalised as people and as a society, and have the opportunity to learn new life practices that connect and align us with the movement that wants to heal and renew life. We also need opportunities to develop our life practices in place-based community’s, so that the practices we develop are communal and are rooted in a co-evolutionary understanding of people and place.
Then, it is also the case that establishing place-based learning communities is not enough, because one of the powerful forces that locks disconnection in place and delays the development of new practices is trauma. So, in addition to forming learning communities, we also need to build trauma-integrating communities that facilitate healing journeys for people and place. The more people and place engage in healing work together, the more they create the conditions for restorative and regenerative ways of being and acting to emerge naturally.
This is what we offer through cohere. We support schools, organisations, and communities that want to build their capacity for restorative and regenerative practice through a combination of learning and healing modalities. We offer a range of ways of working together, including day long immersions in the foundations of restorative and regenerative practice and multiyear capacity building programs.
Let’s work together
Are you ready to build your capacity for restorative and regenerative practice? If so, we invite you to consider working with us. Book a call with Ash to explore how we might collaborate.