My entire life has been a quest to see and hear the earth from her voice, to be dreamed by her, by the other species of this planet besides humans. I have been incredibly blessed for the life experiences and the teachers I’ve had. I was born in northern Alberta Canada on a family farm in a thriving rural community. At a young age my family moved from our farm and settled in the far remote regions of northwestern Alberta in a village unbroken by modernity. We lived with the Dineh Tah people of the Hay Lakes region of Alberta. My family was uniquely able to experience first-hand how the Dineh Tah lived their traditional ways.
As an adult, I have taught outdoor survival skills, tracking, bushcraft and nature connection. I have worked in many different countries and as I continued to find elders to work with, my perspectives began to change.
I used to think that if only we could connect everyone to nature, we could change the way we live on the earth. I now know that isn’t nearly enough. Nature connection is a paramount piece of the puzzle, but there are others issues that also need to be addressed in order for us to come into right relationship with ourselves, family, communities and earth.
This is where I might start a list of things that need to be worked on at the same time but I won’t because it won’t make any sense to most people. Why? Because before we can start to tackle problems, we need to learn how to ask better questions and become better thinkers. Our paradigms that we look at the world through are outdated and frankly, downright dangerous. So, what do we need to do? Well, instead of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, we need to build a whole new ship.
What is it that I do?
We need a better theory. Most of us grow up with a very limited understanding of what it takes to make real change in the world. We are given only a few options. Be the hero, and if we can’t do that, then we should find a charismatic leader and follow them, or the third option is to be as good as we can be: recycle, compost, vote etc. and things will work out in the end. All three of these roles require us to do good. On the surface this seems like a good idea. Why wouldn’t we try and do good? Well, what is your definition of “good” based on? Most of the time it is based on some kind of cultural norming that rarely gets examined for its truth or efficacy. It makes these ideas of goodness really generic which robs us of our responsibility to discover and choose ways of thinking and acting that might truly transform the specific situations we encounter in life.
There is another way to live upon this earth. One that encourages and rewards balance. One that nurtures and feeds the ecosystem that we live in. One that will have us speaking a different language. The words may be English or some other modern language, but the meaning will be different.
We fight against our own elemental consciousness, our own essence. We try and bend it and twist it to fit inside of modernity, but do you understand what modernity really is? Modernity is built on violence, hierarchy, dogma, elitism, race, class and domination. When we really start to see this, another way can show up. It doesn’t mean we have to go live in the woods and throw rocks at each other, but that other way is one that is relational. It’s regenerative. Do you feel it? The uncomfortable feeling that comes with how we live our lives, or has it been buried down so deep that it never comes out, except in those surprise moments where our guard is down and we find ourselves smashing things against the wall, crying… Initially our work will not be about purpose, vision, aims and outcomes. There will be time for that later. First thing we need to do is work on discovering how you see the world. What is your predominant paradigm?
We are asking questions as if there were answers to everything, and we are somehow entitled to know these answers. Earth does not lie and only speaks the truth with conscious respect for all Beings. It is up to us to learn how to listen as the Earth who listens to us has taught the Indigenous peoples.