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Look at these plucky youthmen & women trying to stem the tide. Like hooded Hans Brinkers, bravely sticking their fingers in the way of progress.

Welcome to the complex ecology of abuse we call the mainstream.

Don’t go back to sleep.

“In a way, the long impact of modernization, westernization, the spread of oppression, essentially, colonialism, whatever you want to call it, is that we have all become complicit in a form of an ecological field of Stockholm Syndrome, where everybody is now content to stay right where they are and not risk or try to make a change or a difference.”

[Jon Young, From Ancient Longings to New Beginnings of Hope]

This statement holds true from my experience. Why else is there NOT profound reactions to the litany of profound atrocity we endure in our daily lives or witness through the portal of our screens?  Have you heard what’s going on above Bacup? Why so much fracking apathy everywhere?

As an outdoor practitioner, i have occasion to feel grounded in a wild place; witnessing clients genuine responses to the beauty of the natural world & the humourous, immanent, intimate, empathic nature of human beings. As small group facilitators, we can also witness the acknowledgement of grief, the falling away of masks, a softening of the face and a return to the sensation of an alive & agile body.

Clients can leave with strong intention, commitments; certainties even. Yet, these same people sooner or later- usually sooner; are driven them back into the same habitual patterns through the sheer ergonomic pressure of the mainstream.

What is it that perpetuates this cycle? There’s something blocking the infectious, meme- reinforcing purpose of connective human culture. Unconsciously, something’s continually knocking the stuffing out of us.

Historical trauma is something that is real in Western society. Western society was born out of a historical trauma moment, often incredibly tragic, incredibly destructive, incredibly oppressive, manipulative, psychologically damaging, fear inducing, and dis-empowering. That is the legacy of disconnection that we’re trying to overcome.

The reason we can’t get those attributes back on mass, and the reason children don’t have genius is because of the proliferation of amnesia, generation to generation.

[Jon Young, From Ancient Longings to New Beginnings of Hope]

Is it that this amnesia is supported by our education system? Check this lecture out by Sir Ken Robinson on his TED Talk, How Schools Kill Creativity. if your pushed for time; listen to the final moments from 17.54.

As we Fire we Wire…

That’s the enormity of the task and the good news is, the solution is embedded in us, the blueprint is inside us. It’s epigenetic- the combination of conducive natural environment and conducive cultural environment that will help it unfold in our future generations.
If your reading Ken; you’ll appreciate this next bit mate.

Activate the 8 Attributes of Connection!

There’s a clear, time tested formula for activating/unlocking creativity. When this creative force is awakened in a community; the conditions for genius emerges. There are two mutually reinforcing paths akin to two wings of the same bird, namely deep nature connective experience & cultural mentoring; as expressed in the regenerative design model.

Here are the eight indicators of awareness followed by the attributes of connection that arise when deep nature connection is met by deep active listening for sufficient periods of time:

 Indicator of AwarenessAttribute of Deep Nature Connection


Common Sense

Having good judgment about how to respond to situations.



Inner Happiness

The Happiness of a child, unreserved, bubbling up




Aliveness & Agility  

Glint of mischief, a spark of daring, a flare of excitement, a flame of fascination—seizing opportunities with boundless enthusiasm.





Feeling of vitality and ‘an abundance of electricity’ in the body often described by Gilbert Walking Bull as the “quickness of the coyote”.




Inquisitive Focus

Brightening of curiosity and the natural drive to follow mysteries and search for answers with hunger and determination.






A Commitment to Mentoring & “Paying it Forward”

A desire to mentor and help others on their own journey begins to form as a person recognizes those who have mentored and helped them.






Caring & Tending

Acting on the instinct to wisely care for ourselves, others and the natural world – taking time for rest and relaxation, tending and integrating from hard work and focus.  “Lay low & tend your fire”




Empathy & Respect for Nature

Through connecting with nature, a sensitivity and respect of life emerges that creates a strong sense of empathy.





Service to the Community

When we experience ecology, we quickly realize that our ecosystem is a functioning community.  People of all ages always feel eager to figure out where they fit in and how their gifts can contribute.







Being Truly Helpful, Gifts & Vision Activated. 

Awareness of connectivity and interdependence naturally lead to a desire to help others.  The art of being truly helpful includes a logistical ability to see and act on tasks that need to be done, and also a deeper level of expressing one’s gifts in the world with vision and joy.





Awe & Reverence

An experience of being ‘awestruck’ translates into being humbled by something bigger than yourself, or stunned into silence, or quieted down.    An emergent sense that we are part of something much bigger.





Fully Alive 

Living fully in the moment.  Put everything you have into what you are doing without “pulling any punches.”  Gilbert said often, “If you’re going to sing, then REALLY sing.  If you are dancing, then REALLY dance!”






Self Sufficiency

This is about calm, flexible wisdom that adapts to the flow of life, instead of futilely struggling against it.  The more you experience, the more trials you endure, the less things seem scary, “I’ve been there, done that.  I know I can take care of myself.”




Love & Forgiveness 

The ability to forgive and love others and oneself in a real and meaningful way.





Quiet Mind

An intensely alert ability to be still, peaceful, and present in the moment, and listen.   An active, unobtrusive receptivity to what is happening everywhere at all times. 



Quiet Mind, Presence which deepens access to one’s inner Creativity


[Ref: Vermont Wilderness School:  ‘The 8 Indicators of Awareness and the 8 Attributes of Deep Nature Connection’ – DRAFT V.2.20.2012]

Thanks for reading.

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