A Journey From Outer to Inner Regeneration

February 27, 2024

My introduction and journey to agriculture began in 2014 after I discovered Permaculture and then did my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC). For those unfamiliar with what permaculture is, read more HERE.

The aspect of permaculture that resonated and enlivened me most was food and agriculture. This was the result of a natural affinity and love for the land, nature and growing food as well as its relevance to particularly the South African context: chronic and systemic hunger, unemployment, industrial and chemical agriculture domination and of course natural resource depletion and pollution, biodiversity loss and increasing climate calamities.

Following my PDC, having had a taste and glimpse of sustainable systems and pathways, of growing food and the interconnected web of life, I was both excited and eager to learn and get involved more.

I then embarked on a journey of research and discovery that led me to Biodynamic Agriculture. Biodynamic Agriculture (BD) is an ecological, holistic and more conscious way of farming, and to me is well encapsulated by the following quote by founder Rudolf Steiner “So long as one feeds on food from unhealthy soil, the spirit will lack the stamina to free itself from the prison of the body”.

Soon after, I left my corporate career and enrolled in a two-year biodynamic agricultural diploma and farming apprenticeship through the Biodynamic Agricultural Association of Southern Africa (BDAASA), where I would spend the following two years studying and working on various biodynamic farms and enterprises in South Africa.

This journey of earth stewardship with nature deepened my spiritual and consciousness practice and awareness. It is through working with nature, tending and cultivating the land, plants and animals, that brought the oneness of life alive for me; that we are all interconnected, interdependent and interrelated. That what we do to one part of life ripples out and affects all of it. It also became clear to me that the primary operating system within nature is not that of competition and survival of the fittest but instead various and intricate layers of cooperation and collaboration. Another realisation was that nature and all its elements are not inert or random as we have been taught, but embody various levels of consciousness, self-ware and self-organising, in a perpetual state of becoming, geared toward harmony and ever higher states of expression. Much like us humans.

After completing my diploma and two-year farming apprenticeship, I was confronted with the reality and difficulty of accessing agriculture, land and farming, particularly as a young person of colour. And organic and regenerative agriculture added a further level of complexity and barrier to entry. I found most of our social structures, systems and institutions to be pretty content with the (downward spiralling) status quo. All of which left me feeling pretty hopeless and frustrated. I then got involved with various community and social food-growing projects and initiatives and spent some months on a biodynamic farm in a small town in Colorado USA, which deeply touched and inspired me, and re-ignited my hope and confidence in both agriculture and community.

Soon after my return to South Africa I became aware of and joined an inspiring and impactful agricultural social enterprise, Grounded, as company manager for Zambia, responsible for setting up and operationalising a greenfield diversified regenerative farm and company in southern Zambia. Read more about the project HERE. After two and a half years of establishment and having successfully completed our first growing season, it was time for me to pursue another longtime and growing passion of mine.

Through my journey and the sharply contrasting experience and transition from the corporate world into regenerative agriculture, it became apparent to me that we’re not facing an agricultural or ecological problem but rather a consciousness problem. The challenges we’re confronted with within agriculture and indeed in any other of our systems; be it education, economic, political, medical, etc. are merely symptoms, all having their root in consciousness, specifically separation consciousness, the belief and story that we are separate from one another and all life.

I realised that the outer and surface level signs of degeneration becoming more and more evident all around us is a projection of an inner degeneration. What’s out there, our systems, institutions and circumstances, is merely reflecting back to us what’s within, our consciousness. Consciousness is the base and substance of all form, and within this context, I define consciousness as the sum of our feelings, beliefs, thoughts, words and actions, (in that order of importance and impact). At any given moment our life and experiences (as individuals and as a collective) will reflect back to us the sum total of our consciousness. An outer regeneration, be it in agriculture or any other of our systems, is therefore not possible without first an inner regeneration.

We simply cannot bring forth a new and regenerative outer world without first regenerating ourselves, i.e. our inner worlds. Harmony with nature and life is simply not possible without harmony within, and then harmony with others.

Perhaps in the short, even medium term, with constant effort and resources, we can slightly move the needle, but those outer expressions of harmony, (i.e. regeneration) will always be limited to and in turn, revert back to the level of harmony and regeneration we’ve cultivated within.

I’ve seen this dynamic play out, with great sadness, in many regenerative initiatives, projects, businesses and intentional communities, resulting in either its collapse or being trapped in painful and harmful dynamics that prevent it from realising its full potential and intended objectives. Another worrying and growing manifestation of this is the number of regenerative projects, initiatives, solutions and businesses being exposed for anything from green-washing to outright fraud and deception.

It is this observation together with my own experience of relationships, which rarely provided me with the level of connection, fulfilment and ease I had hoped for, yet knew was possible, that led me to deep-dive into the realm of relationship; something that we’re hardwired for and need in order to thrive yet is one of our greatest obstacles and sources of pain as well as to undercover what’s needed for us to create thriving, fulfilling and collaborative relationships.

Helping others create thriving relationships with themselves and others and transform in the direction of the person they choose to be.

I took multiple courses on relationships, communications skills and personal development, hired a coach, turned inward to tend to my relationship with myself and went to coaching school. Upon certifying as a coach, I chose Self-Mastery and Relationship Coaching as my next expression of service and contribution to the world. Helping others create thriving relationships with themselves and others and transform in the direction of the person they choose to be.

I believe that once we have cultivated and nurtured harmony within ourselves, mastered relationships and the way we relate to ourselves and one another, only then does harmony with nature become possible, together with our collective mutual thriving.

In oneness.


If you are ready to learn and cultivate the relational competencies, communication skills and emotional capacity needed to create compassionate, skilful and thriving relationships with yourself and others, have a look at our next Mindful Compassionate Dialogue course. Click HERE.

 You are also invited to join our free biweekly Empathy Circle, where you can learn and discover what empathy is, and more importantly, practice giving and receiving empathy, allowing you to be deeply seen and heard in whatever challenge or celebration you’re navigating. Click HERE.

Book a complimentary 1:1 Coaching Call with me, if you’d like to experience a powerful coaching conversation. Click HERE.

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  • I really enjoyed reading about your journey from permaculture training to conscious relationship mastery today. Looking forward to learning more about the language we can use to explore more mindful and compassionate approaches to dialogue xx

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      Ceferino Cenizo

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Marimba and happy to have you here and on this journey of exploration, learning and discovery!

  • Dear Ceferino
    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful life story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Beautifully written, truthful and deeply felt and expressed.
    You are describing the need for a deeper and more relational connection between humans with one another and with the living and non-living entities around us. So lovely to hear the voice of a young person on his journey to building wholeness. Your piece reminds me of Zach Bush. There also a piece I want to share with you but am afraid I might lose what I’ve s as l ready written above so I’ll post it in the next email. Warm wishes to you.

    • A
      Ceferino Cenizo

      Dear Saskia, I appreciate and am touched by your warm words, thank you. Happy to hear you enjoyed it.
      Lovely article, thank you for sharing. The same is true for us humans – we need new language to describe and speak to one another. Our current language is static and disconnected from life and what is alive within us/others and instead we are caught in painful and harmful cycles of constant evaluation and judgement, which we cannot break free from as it’s baked into the language we’ve been taught. And this is precisely why I’m so excited to introduce and offer Mindful Compassionate Dialogue.

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