Integrate Rather Than Segregate

May 9, 2021 | Blog

 “By putting the right  things in the right place, relationships develop  between those things, and they  work  together to support each other.” 

One  of my favorite ways  to apply  this principle is in “stacking functions.”

Stacking functions is an effort to make sure that each of the elements in a design performs multiple functions, and that more than one element support each vital function.

It’s the efficiency builder. When we’re about to make any effort or learn a new skill, it is good to ask,

  • How many different benefits will this provide?
  • How many systems will this support?
  • If I did it differently or elsewhere, would it save time or effort later?

Thinking this way opens the door to a multitude of creative options that might be overlooked by using a default or out-of-context solution.

Integration allows complementary qualities to support each other.


Why Do People Segregate?

why do people segregate

So, if the integration of ideas and elements is such a great idea,  why do we tend to segregate so much?

Holmgren suggested that “we tend to opt for segregation of elements as a default design strategy for reducing relationship complexity”.

Before diving deeper into how the principle of integration can empower our efforts with harmony and success, I want to share a thought about relationship complexity and forgiveness.

No approach to personal growth can be more valuable than learning how-to and getting good at forgiving.

When we have differences of opinion with other people or groups, we may develop a tendency to want to push them away or withdraw.

Unfortunately, it is often our greatest potential allies that we segregate ourselves from for the sake of holding grudges and imbalanced opinions.

Practical methods exist for healing these wounds. Forgiveness is a skill that can be practiced, and the rewards of progress are opportunity-opening for more than just the one or two people involved.

The more skillfully we can heal those things that keep us apart, the sooner we can embrace the power that comes with in- integration.

We are all fallible – me, you, everyone. Isolating emotions like hate, intolerance, and held grudges affect the person holding them, far greater than the person or people that they think they’re projecting them to.

Most often, these patterns are sub-conscious and seem difficult (or impossible) to change. Nonetheless, they are toxic emotions that do more harm than good.

We hold onto them with a false hope that they will keep us safe from the interaction that we’re imagining. Instead, they keep us isolated, weak,  prideful, shameful, and embarrassingly ignorant.

Even that doesn’t address the physical, mental, and emotional health problems that you can develop when your mind keeps repeating a painful story over and over.

If you find yourself in this state, consider if it’s worth it to you. If not, maybe it’s time to pick up a book or schedule an appointment with someone to explore the joys, revelations, and treasures of practicing forgiveness.

The idea of mastering such skills may be daunting, but the value is found throughout the journey. Success in any aspect of life relies on maximizing beneficial relationships.

The next seven generations are counting on you!


The Benefits of Integrating


Let’s look at some of the wonderfully empowering things that can come from integrating instead of segregating.


  • Support and collaborate with local businesses. The importance of a resilient local economy cannot be overstated.
  • Join, or start, a local co-work space, tool bank,  or resource library.
  • Participate in community events as a volunteer or presenter.
  • Volunteer to teach about your skills or offerings at a local school or to a homeschooling group. Children benefit from having as many alternative life options presented to them, as possible, to build their dreams from.   This is also a great idea if you’re losing inspiration for what you do.  The excitement and wonder that come from the faces of inspiring young minds might be just the catalyst you need to take your mission to the next level.
  • Join a local coop or buyers club.
  • Harness the power of diverse opinions and insights to expand opportunities for innovation in your life and in business.
  • When engaging in polarizing topics on social media or in person, use it to understand why someone else has the opinion that they do.  I’d dare to guess that a very small percentage of people ever get convinced to change their viewpoint when being confronted on a public post where they’ve decided to announce it.  Instead of shaming them, or yourself, for having the opinion or preference, consider asking yourself how a combination of both viewpoints might be the key to a lasting solution.
  • Whenever disagreements are found to be keeping us apart from others and rolling around in our heads, keeping us ill in some way or another, it is an excellent time to call on the wisdom of forgiveness practices.  Some popular ones to look into are  Ho’oponopono, Radical  Forgiveness, Tapping, The Work  (by Byron Katie), and  The Completion Process.  Living with the traumas left from difficult encounters is neither healthy, helpful, nor necessary. The work isn’t always easy,  but the results are most often life-changing.
  • Next time you go to a party or business meeting, find someone in the room that you are least likely to interact with.   Go up and say hi.  Magic is waiting for you. I promise!


This is Part 10 of a 15 part series, pulled from the Permaculture Lifestyles Explained eBook, which contains over 100 tips for how someone might apply the permaculture principles to their life for greater efficiency, impact, and happiness. 

If you’d like to get the whole book to download and read offline, drop your email below and I’ll be happy to send you a link.

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