Episode #51 – Nisha Mary Poulose 

 February 15, 2024

In this episode of the Regenerative Rising Podcast, Elevating Stories Activating Change, host Seleyn DeYarus, Executive Director and Founder of Regenerative Rising speaks with Nisha Mary Poulose, former Executive Director of Regenerative Rising and a host of the Regenerative Rising Podcast. Nisha is the Founder and Technical Lead of Woven Design Collaborative, and she is based out of Goa, India.

Nisha grew up in Kerala, India, and has always been guided by her love of nature. She has her degree in Architecture from the University of Shehnai. She has two Masters in International Cooperation and Urban Development from the Technical University of Darmstadt and an Urban Habitat and Planning Masters from the University of Pierre Mendes in Grenoble, France.

In this engaging conversation, Seleyn and Nisha delve into the depths of Nisha’s transformative journey and her current focal point of passion in her vibrant and biodiverse home state of Goa. Nisha’s excitement centers around addressing opportunities for fostering local regeneration, as well as emphasizing how the true transformative essence of regeneration begins as a personal developmental journey.

The dialogue between Nisha and Seleyn highlights the profound interconnectedness between our personal growth and commitment to change our own lives in a way that is more life-giving, and its subsequent impact on the broader global environment. They emphasize the challenge of instigating change both individually and as a global community, underscoring the pivotal roles of compassion, cultivating an abundance mindset, re-indigenization, and the empowering force of sisterhood and feminine leadership in fostering both an individual and collective will to evolve. Join Seleyn and Nisha as they discuss a profound vision to co-create a new and more beautiful story of what’s possible.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to Regenerative Risings, Elevating Stories, Activating Change. I'm your host, Seleyn DeYarus, Executive Director and Founder of Regenerative Rising. With me today is a very special guest, Nisha Mary Poulose, who formerly served as our Executive Director and host of this podcast. She is the founder and technical lead of Woven Design Collaborative, based in Goa, India. She grew up in Kerala, India, and has always been guided by her love of nature. She has her degree in architecture from Chennai University in Chennai, India. She has two masters: a Master's in International Cooperation and Urban Development from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and a Master's in Urban Habitat and Planning from the University of Pierre Mendes in Grenoble, France. Nisha, thank you for joining me today in what I hope will be an interesting conversation between us. We have had many interesting conversations over the years and have sort of giggled along the way. Wow, if we just recorded that, how interesting would that have been. Thank you so much for having me. It's interesting to be a guest. It's also because it's been a very powerful journey. It's nice; it's the first month of the new year, and I'm excited to see where both our paths are leading to and how this conversation reflects that. Thank you. Well, I appreciate the willingness. I have listened to many of your podcasts now, and they are beautiful. You do a wonderful job as a host, so I hope I will do justice to the seat I am sitting in today in our conversation. So, I think what I'm wanting, I think what folks might find interesting, is the evolution of where things are at this moment and your journey. I also want us to touch on some of the context of how you and I came to know each other and the unfolding of your relationship to Regenerative Rising. But I think of more importance in the here and now is to speak about the here and now and to have an understanding of what is attracting your genius at this moment. Thank you for that. It sounds so profound when you phrase it like that. Well, actually, I'm focusing a lot more on the place that I am currently at and focusing my attention on the aspects that are affecting this place both positively and negatively. Before I joined Regenerative Rising, I was working as a strategic planner with a whole systems perspective to solve these issues that we're faced with as a modern society, which really is, honestly, the way the kind of development that we're seeing is very harmful to nature in most ways. So as a planner, I've always been working towards how we can find a more balanced, harmonious pathway. How can we work with nature to create a better quality of life for ourselves? And that today really means restoring our natural habitat because we can no more rely on nature to just heal itself because we've caused so much harm. So right now, focusing on developing processes and programs that would really create a culture of stewardship in the place. How can people really work in different ways with their individual genius towards whichever aspect of the system, not just the natural system but also the human system? Because we're also living in a time when there's an active breakdown of humanity and community. So we need to heal our human community itself. So that's sort of what I'm really focusing my attention on. And then, of course, I'm really deeply drawn by the idea of bioregionalism because it really deals with how human beings see territory and how human beings naturally form territories and how that can come to our, in a very positive way, affect the way we live. I want to touch on two terms you used and first acknowledge that what you're speaking to is so fundamentally regenerative because regenerative is a place-sourced perspective. So you pay attention to literally where you are and what are the needs of that ecosystem in order to really heal and then thrive. So I know we've spoken about some of the things happening in Goa. Can you share a little bit about, sort of where the stress points are and then how you are seeing opportunities to evolve a new story around what's possible in place? Oh well, the simple answer for that is how to the first question of like, what are the stress points? I think what is fundamentally changed is how we perceive what is developed, what is rich, how is wealth perceived and also displayed, and it really just means controlling nature today. When we look at infrastructure or a city which is developed or a city which is rich, it really just translates in the mainstream imagination as to something that is literally covered in concrete, where there are gardens and controlled landscapes but there's no wilderness. So here in Goa, Goa, it's a small state in the southwestern coast of India, well, western coast of India, and it's really, it has a, it's a place of international repute because it was part of the hippie trail back in the 70s, which meant it attracted a lot of people who were actually seeking peace more than anything else. And that's what brought people here and a lot of those people who came in the 70s as, you know, in early 20s are now much older and they still live here. But what has changed post COVID especially is that it's become a place for second homes and for people from other parts of the country to come and resettle here because other parts of the country have become so unlivable. Our cities have become so unlivable that people are escaping and coming here. Delhi, for example, has such terrible air quality that people can't breathe anymore and they come here for respite. And it has both positives and negatives because it brings, it suddenly become a very multicultural place from an Indian perspective as well. But it also came with these urban aspirations and we, it's from day to day we're seeing forests disappear, like bulldozers rolling in and just leveling out the land and building homes for people. And while homes are a necessity, yes, and people move in, they do need homes and there's so much abundance here so it can support more people. But the problem is that we're not being regenerative in how the design or the strategy of how the place is developed. And that is the, is actually a mental shift that we need and that's the biggest problem that people can't tolerate nature. And at the end of the day, they don't want a snake to be able to come anywhere near there. And then you realize that not every snake is out to like kill you. They're also so important because they control rats and they can, and they control, you know, other pests. So this has now created this ripple effect of disappearing biodiversity. So that's the biggest stress point. And the biggest solution, of course, is to create a mindset shift because, yes, any place that has so much biodiversity has the capacity to host many human beings. But how can each and every person, each and every human being living or interacting with that land actively steward it and regenerate it with every passing day? And the other interesting thing which I observe is this, which is, I would almost call it like an epidemic of searching for meaning that today we see in the world. Like as people make a lot of money, they are letting go of their corporate jobs and they come or to places like Goa and many places in the world like this searching for meaning, searching for healing. And nothing like stewardship and working with nature to create that healing. So at this point, I'm really in a very research and observation phase where I'm trying to see, can we use all, people want to come and live here, nature requires stewarding, and intentional interactions with nature are very healing and very powerful. So can this all become a very positive nexus? And when in such an international place because people come from here and go to all other parts of the country and all other parts of the world, and then it's a great hub to seed something because it then goes to the whole world as a mindset, as an attitude. Powerful, thank you for that response. That was really thorough and helpful because as I'm listening to you, you know, I can't help but a part of me always imagines the true potentiality of humanity to awake to this shift of perspective. It's literally just sitting right next to the door to the way we've been entrained to think and behave. Yet right next to that is this opening to a way of perceiving that is more life air, more friendly, more encompassing of the well-being of more than just oneself, but the well-being of where you find yourself. And I think, you know, I always have hope and faith actually in humanity to be able to make this step into a new perspective of witnessing the world around them as sacred, as precious, as something that we should be stewarding, something that we should be in relationship to as we are to a beloved, to a very dear friend because it is so inherently necessary for our well-being for us to thrive. The world around us must thrive. And we tend to get so encapsulated in our little boxes of reality in the safety of our own experience and the control that we want to exercise over the, you know, the containers we occupy, the circumstances that we have. I mean, we have a real need. It's false because it's sort of playing against the reality of a perpetually evolving, changing living world. But yet we have become almost addicted to control. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and you know, I think this is a topic we've spoken about many times in different from different perspectives as part of Regen of Rising's processes and goals and mission as well, that it's really in the mind. The fact that there is this illusion that has been created that says that we just need to, we don't

Regenerative Rising Podcast
Regenerative Rising Podcast
Episode #51 - Nisha Mary Poulose
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