Thinking outloud 2021-09-23

A wide collection of notes written during a weeklong residency at Moinhos do Dão in Portugal on the topic of the intersection. of Nature Connection and Regeneration.

One of the most frequently used words for mind in Japanese is kokoro. But it means more than mind...

Conceptually, kokoro unites the notions of heart, mind, and spirit: It sees these three elements as being indivisible from one other. “For example if we say, ‘She has a good kokoro,’ it means heart and spirit and soul and mind all together.” (Yoshikawa Sakiko, director of Kyoto University’s Kokoro Research Center. Article.)

System 1 & 2 thinking

You're sitting inside of yourself. Feel around, Take in the landscape of your internal world; your behind-the-scenes workings.

Tell the story of the relationship between nature and you.

Hug a tree and mean it. Nature connection is a feeling in you. It's something to draw up and to let trickle out through your muscles, skin and nervous system. It will not likely be omnipresent, but the sense of relationship will grow as it does with a human acquaintance upon seeing them recurrently.

Thread as a physical tool of connection to beings of the land. Thread leads the human heart through the land. Thread can weave. We are aiming to weave the human heart-mind with the land. To provide and develop tools for getting close to nature. To make it effortless to be oneself and connect vulnerably with the other selves and environment/nature herself.

Tools for feeling the boundary of self. Tools for noticing and realizing the illusory construction of 'I'.

A story of I:

I'm a person. I walk the land and eat the fruits. I take what I can so I can thrive. I play with my surroundings. I jump in puddles, swim in rivers and oceans. I feed water-weeds to ducks. I spread mulch of leaves and water trees. I walk and ski in mountains. I wear a ski suit. Or a birthday suit. Or a suit-jacket when I have to perform my story. Nature is my home. Earth is my home. Air is my home. What surrounds me is my home. My body is my home. My heart is my home. My thoughts are not my home. My mind is my home. My home is my place of play, leisure, comfort; pain, illness, death; belonging and living.

What story do you have about the relationship between nature and you?

To decolonize thinking is to realize non-anthropocentrism (ecocentrism); reciprocity; the matrix in and around us is not ego food! Systems thinking is embracing complexity to enter the dynamic flow of life; the flux-balance of tensions pulling to the membranes of their parameters.

The land-specific knowledge of this place is shared in layers. Shedding, like sheathes of snake skin, to the next set of ears. 9 years of cultivating such a relationship to place – unattainable to a temporary passerby.

Success is taking genuine care of the place you live. The place beyond and including the four lightly-colored walls of my climate-controlled dwelling. It doesn't need to be anything more. Success does not mean profit or popularity. Success is abundance and creativity.

Looking at the thread through the woods, there's a playfulness in the color, softness in the material, a metaphor in the angled pivots connecting trees and other beings together. The thread brings out the forest family systems. It associates to my internal family systems. The many characters of Joshua are strung together and similarly influence each other just as the ash, alder and acacia simultaneously exchange water and nutrients while claiming their individual patches to root and stand on the land.

The human mind conceptualized the illusion of an 'I' that is contained and sterile from 'other' or 'not I'. This story applies to the environment made of a collection of interdependent living beings, and 'I'. The link we often miss to realize and embody is "I am an interdependent piece in the interdependent weave of the synonymous ecosystem, environment, life."

When I realize fully that I am, to myself, the story that I tell myself and I am, to others, the story I tell to them, then that story can shift to include concepts that are more porous and connected to objects outside of me. The interaction of life displayed by a sapling reaching for light is complex. The story I tell people when they ask me who I am and where I come from is complicated. As complicated as the story I'm told when I ask what kind of tree is that? how tall will it grow? what can I use it for? Conceptual intelligence and animate intelligence dance beautifully to apply structure to unbounded phenomena.

Belonging is a core theme. When feel connected, when I feel happy, when I'm healthy, I belong. And when I belong I feel all of those things.

Aim to experience belonging with-in the environment, with in the self, and within the other. Aim to belong in exactly the way you are now and here. Now. Right here. In your embodied experience now. Aim to develop a tool box of belonging in self and environment. Aim to make nature connection tools effortlessly accessible to the thought colony of the modern mind. Aim to experiment with artistic tools for nature connection Aim to process, synthesize and share insights of nature connection and regeneration. Why do they require each other? Aim to tell the story of nature connection and regeneration through a series of invitations to practice.

"When we don't connect with nature, we can't love it. When we don't love it, we won't conserve it" (Paraphrased from Jon Young).

  1. connect with nature

  2. act from a connected place to regenerate

  3. regenerate to live in abundance & creativity

  4. create to serve life itself

Nature Connection => Wise Action => regeneration

Regeneration and Meaning

Definition of regenerate originally theological meaning to 'bring from natural to spiritual state'. Contemporary: to be restored to a better or more worthy state. Contemporary cognitive science researchers and clinical psychologists like John Vervaeke and Jordan Peterson are pointing out a crisis of meaning. For Vervaeke, the essence of the modern sense that there’s no meaning in life is the feeling of disconnectedness. I was told by my boss at a nature education organization in Amsterdam that the word "sustainability" is no longer meaningful or accurate in describing our ecological goal. The word of 2020-21 is regenerative.

Daniel Christian Wahl, a leading contemporary author on regenerative culture writes,

"Regenerative leadership is a process of personal development that aligns one’s own way of being and actions with the wider pattern of life’s evolutionary journey within the communities, ecosystems, biosphere and Universe we participate in. As Janine Benyus has said so succinctly: “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” Regenerative Cultures aim to emulate this insight in how we relate to the human family and all life."

Sounds very meaningful to me...

This is modern earth-practice in the making. We don't need to 'go back', we need to integrate and weave our modern minds with indigenous ways.

This is a regenerative presentation – we should be leaving having created and shared more than we consumed.

The system of Earth itself and all that exists on it is a flux-balance system. There are certain parameters like sunlight, water, carbon that the system of Earth can fluctuate between. Once the parameters change or disappear, the system of Earth will go through a phase transition and become something known as something other than Earth.

Nothing is normal. Chaos is the baseline of our natural world. Chaos, by definition, can not be controlled or predicted.

Rational, predictable action is powerful and useful and it's not the full spectrum of sensemaking, decision making, or acting.

The strange attractor that the system of earth calls for an adaptable and gentle approach to action. To communicate with emergence and complexity I must move like water more than metal to open a pathway for relationship and palpable communication with life itself.

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