“Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.”  Benjamin Franklin

Fire seeds weave the wisdom of generations into their genetic codes, and then lay in wait. Waiting, to release themselves as a consequence of intense fire and smoke. Fire seeds require intense heat and smoke to crack hard seed coats and release the potential beauty within.  As we aim our sights on fixing the well intentioned, yet unconsciously ineffective institutions that delivered our country to this moment, the moment when a white supremacist man, has been (sort of) elected, and shouts words that divide and disconnect our country, we must not forget about the fire seeds already shed, about to bloom.  What grows back after a fire, depends on what grew there before. The original inhabitants of this land, seeded it with connective and regenerative practices. This moment we are in has penetrated the hard shell of consumer driven, developmentally deprived, and complacent, illusory comfort. 

Regardless of what side you identify with, it is clear, things are not alright. 

The current election is a visible representation of the combustable inferno that has fueled itself since the industrial, or perhaps agricultural, revolution began some 12,000 or so years ago.  The seeds of our indisputable, nature connected beginnings, are buried in the neurological underpinnings of our physical expression of humanity.  This current embodiment of Americanism, is finally cracking the very seed coats of a connective past that previously allowed us to be a respectful thread of all life.  The 2016 election can be viewed as a spiritual and evolutionary alarm clock, jolting the soul awake from a winter of complacency, as our dreams inform a new future. Let the fire release us into this moment with beauty and resilience from the strength of generations before!  

In the book titled: America II- The book that captures Americans in the act of creating the future, author Richard Louv asserts that …there is the feeling this time that this new revolution is different, more powerful, more difficult to grasp than any before.”  The author outlines some very tangible representations, (which are every bit as relevant today as when he first wrote this) about the conditions that have facilitated a desire for an America II.  I attest that the result of the conditions of unrest have coaxed forth a pervasive underlying condition of chronic stress, for both adults and children, which translate into perceived and imagined threat for the body and mind.  Human neurology defers to its survival bias, which meets immediate basic needs but divorces us from an expansive view of the future.  We are witnessing an unprecedented number of people with outward symptoms of an underlying core disease of disconnection.  (70% of all Americans take at least 1 prescription drug).  

Disconnection creates a vicious cycle of… disconnection; and we are wired to be connected - wired to be social.  Social scientist, Mathew Lieberman contends that “Whenever it has a free moment, the human brain has an automatic reflex to go social.” (Smith, 2013.  Social Connection Makes a Better Brain.  The Atlantic.  Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/social-connection-makes-a-better-brain/280934/)

Too many young people have a difficult time imagining a future at all, never mind a beautiful future.  Unrest and chronic stress from lack of meaning and connection create an environment where people only see a this or that solution.  Imagination is the mother of ideas and ideas are the beginning of change.  Change thinking, through connective practices, allows people to see a yes…and…world, a third door so to speak.  The next generation can open the third door and become the bridge generation, if, we invest heavily in reconnecting them with what is meaningful and contextual in life.  One can only know connection through feeling connected.  

Nature built our neurology.  Nature engineered and fine tuned our present day operating systems - the brains and bodies we house today.  At some point in the very recent past, humans left nature - she did not leave us. 

Nature still holds the original map, the instructions for deep connection, and she waits patiently for us to return.  Nature, like technology, are here to stay. - Kathleen Lockyer

We must help young people experience meaningful, contextual, multi-sensory experiences with the patterns, forms, rythms and nuances of the natural world.  This is the only way that the next round of technology can be designed for regeneration of earth and human.  Direct connective experience in nature is necessary so that young people will grow up with a touchstone of beauty and deep reverence with which to draw from as they are called upon to be the change makers. 

As this change emerges, we must reach deep into the well of true beauty - how else can one create beauty if they cannot imagine it?  Beauty is not the face of a cosmetic commercial or a fashion magazine, beauty is what happens in a heart when the smell of a spring rain drenches the earth for a nose to inhale.  Beauty is the way a heart fills when a stranger offers an unexpected smile to lonely eyes.  Beauty is the way eyes open at the unfolding of a morning glory blossom in the sunrise.  Beauty is connection.  Beauty is found in connection with all things.  Connection is the change we are all unconsciously longing for.  Connection, like human development, is an active process; no longer can we just be, we must now do…  Let’s reimagine the world as a more beautiful, more connected place than ever before.  Let’s do the change…

Here are 3 simple yet profound things you can do every day to engage your connection system:

  1. Step outside and just listen - listen to the farthest bird sound, then listen to the closest.  Close your eyes and try to imagine what the bird is feeling.  Connect with the essence of the sound.  
  2. In your travels today, consciously look at the eyes of child, and smile.  Just smile and imagine your heart filling up and then overflowing.  Allow your eyes to be soft and kind for even one child and one moment.  
  3. While lying in bed, before going to sleep, picture the bird you listened to (its not important to know what it actually looked like, just whatever image comes to mind), and imagine a thin “rope” of light between you and that bird.  Next, picture your overflowing heart to the child you witnessed.  

Talk about how these things changed you, even briefly, with at least one person the following day, or post a reflection here.  Gratitude in advance for doing the change.  

Kathleen is an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Foundations INature, Co-founder of the Central Coast Village Center: Outside Now! local non-profit organization.  She has worked with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Institute for the last 12 years, studied with Rosemary Gladstar (World renowned herbalist) and raised two beautiful young women.  Kathleen has spent the last 25 years collecting the best and most valid scientific evidence to support the development of a meaningful, functional model of practice: Nature Sense ©. This model supports people across the lifespan using ancient techniques for health and well being, because:  Nature, it's what's inside!