Finding Beauty in the World 150 150 MAKE IT BETTER TABLE

Finding Beauty in the World

And isn’t that the meaning of life? To find beauty in ourselves, in the world, and in others? 

(Risa Mickenberg, Screenwriter)  

Here we are. The financial year is about to end…but for many of us, time has become relative. As we look out from our home offices, we see the dark arriving earlier. That can become our focus. Yet there is also the crispness in the air, the leaves turning their flame colours, and the misty mornings.  

There is, in short, beauty – even in these times.  

It was wonderful to experience the beauty of a face-to-face Make it Better Table (MiBT) when eight of us gathered in the new MiBT space at donkey wheel House on June 10. With appropriate social distancing, sanitisers and pre-packaged individual servings of food from our friends at Kinfolk, we addressed Paul Steele’s key question: What are the beautiful and good things that we have experienced over this time that we want to keep, and how will we keep them?  

Given that we are still not through this COVID-19 season, we offered the June MiBT on Zoom, and 16 of us took that opportunity to wrestle with the same question – with goodies hand-delivered by Ashlee Steele. 

The conversations at both MiBT gatherings were refreshing. We took a posture of optimism and reflected on the beautiful and the good that has emerged, while reflecting that as Australians we have been privileged to avoid the worst of the pandemic. Here’s a snapshot from our conversations that might encourage your own reflections on this strange time.  

  • The realisation that change can occur – sometimes more dramatically and easier than we imagined.  
  • Doing less, more often.  
  • Increased time with family, and deeper neighbourhood connections.  
  • The de-professionalisation of professionalism – life bursts through the Zoom screen! 
  • Opportunities to develop and strengthen rituals.  
  • There is a freedom to explore major changes to how we work.  
  • Our workdays have become more flexible – we have more control and can use that to be creative. 
  • There is time to explore beauty.  

Without taking an exclusive view from rose-coloured glasses, it’s important to sift through and find the specks of gold we can fashion into permanent practices.  

There’s more information coming, but we also wanted to briefly touch on two new initiatives.  

The first is the new MiBT space here at donkey wheel House. We’ve fitted it out for our MiBT gatherings (where we hosted our June face-to-face gathering) and to be a functional shared office space that our MiBT community can use upon request.   

Second, the Better Normal Labs have kicked off – with Jobs and Food Recovery, in partnership with Kerry Farrance and Bill Mithen (Give Where You Live Foundation) in Geelong. We’re also in the early discussions about an Aged Care Lab with Chris Gray. There are more Labs in the pipeline, and we are open to ideas for other ways of making the world a better place. The aim of these Labs is to be a PLACE for PEOPLE to engage in  a  PROCESS  for making intentional choices and  designing  ways to live post this crisis, and  into the next.  These are not merely design labs. The Better Normal Labs aim to resist ‘snapping back’ to the normality of the pre-COVID world. These labs will seek to create solutions to the systemic injustices that maintain social and economic inequities. We will focus on projects  that cultivate  improved equality.   

If you also want to keep touching base with the MiBT community in between events, then jump on to our Make it Better Community on LinkedIn. We encourage you to post your thoughts, articles or even half-formed musings for feedback.  

Get in touch with us for more information if you are keen to participate in any of the above initiatives.  

Look after yourselves, and we hope by the next time we meet it will be a Zoom-free zone.  

Go well 

Craig (on behalf of the MiBT Team).