This day couldn’t get any better

“This day couldn’t get any better could it?” asks 8 year old Paula, as we walked barefoot in the rain in the woods in October.  Then she says “or could it?” Just then I hiked up my skirt, and said “let’s run!”  She let out a gleeful squeal, igniting my inner child and we splashed through the puddles in our bare feet.  There was something about following her lead, and playing like a child that tickled my heart and soul.

continuing to explore what it means to be a child in the woods!

I am reminded, whenever I am in the woods with a child, how powerful my role is, and how influential I am, even to a a child I barely know.  This day could possibly change her life.  Just when she thought the day couldn’t get any better, we went upstairs to wash our feet off in the tub.  We both sat on the side, and she waited anxiously while I turned on the tap. The perfect thing happened. The over-head shower sprayed all over our heads, and we both squealed like little girls.  “This day totally just got better.” She said, and sat down with all her clothes on in the tub to get the last bits of dirt off the backs of her legs.

It was a real joy to connect with Paula, of whom I had only known for a day.  Children are a blessing.  Even when they are the children who can’t sit still, they are always getting in trouble from the teacher, and won’t pay attention. My heart goes out to those children because, I believe that the system of schooling needs to change.  Children like this are just nature creatures.  We shouldn’t condemn them for their energy, high level thinking, creativity and optimism.  What can we do in our schools to change this circumstance?

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Seeking Corporate Sponsorship

Seeking Corporate Sponsorship is necessary these days! And is a skill that takes practice.

This post will slowly grow based on experience and sharing.  For now, it’s just steps and following other people’s advice… soon it will be filled with all sorts of goodness 🙂

Step 1: Create the pitch. Know what we are selling and what the options are. & Create a solid follow up plan before you start.

Step 2: Do the research, as proposed here: http://powersponsorship.com/dont-send-a-sponsorship-proposal/

Step 3: Seek our warm market, then the corporations that relate to us most, then maybe stretch beyond those

Step 4: Approach with style, like these guys say:

Powers Sponsorship http://powersponsorship.com/the-first-sponsor-meeting/ 

Step 5: The Getaway, be graceful

Step 6: Follow up, acknowledge and report back

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. What a stylish way to share with the world that my writing has staying power.  It looks like blogging will be more of a focus for 2015! Enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 680 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Moved to tears by all of you

This weekend I was moved to tears by all of you.  You people who come together for a common good.  A common healing, with wholesome intentions and good connections.  And then just now, I watched this post

 

Jesse Tell them that I just don't know

 

I guess this guy who calls himself the “Goshfather” recognizes a moving experience too, and not only did he acknowledge it, he added to it.  I watched it over and over again and each time I cried at the end.  I can feel the love, the support and the connection that is happening, just because someone caught it on video.  I am totally moved by all of you.  The people who take the time to capture a moment.  This is what life is about.  This is why I am doing my Masters in Adventure.  This is why I am capturing the little moments by video because you never know where it will take you.  Maybe to a TV show with an entire band of phenomenal people who will join in for that début to recognize you.  So that you may truly be seen.

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A dear mentor of mine named Marion Prochnau used to say that intimacy was IN-TO-ME-SEE… this is a hard place for me to be, and boy did this ring true this weekend.  For some reason I have carried this internal fear of being seen.  It’s funny because I go around wearing rainbow sweaters and leg warmers that are made to stand out, and yet my biggest fear is to truly be seen as who I really am.  There are only a few chosen people in my life that I let my true colours show.  And with them, I feel like I spend more time making excuses than just being myself.

This weekend I had a clear intention of truly letting go of what I feared most… being seen for who I truly am.  I took a couple of items that resembled that fear, and I wanted to die and be re-born with this new sense of self.  What came to me was that I needed to be seen as I let go, I needed to feel the cold on my skin, then feel the burning hot of the fire against my skin to remind me that I am alive.

In some ways the “Goshfather” is a storyteller, someone who brings people together, and who allows people to be seen.  In my world there is a man who does this for me, who goes by the medicine name of Windwalker.  Wes Gietz has been a man who has moved me since I met him.  The sense of community, the way he brings people together for a common good, and in his humble way smiles and gives gratitude.  Although Windwalker’s approach is not the fame and glory of TV, I wanted to share my story about this weekend because in nature, in a wild place in Black Creek I got more warm and fuzzy feelings, goose bumps and resonance from a day in a sweat, than I did from the video of the man Jesse playing his guitar.  Yet the deep intimate connection that moved me in both cases are similar.

[Out of respect for the sacredness of this sweat ceremony, I did not take a video of any of our deep experiences that we had in the woods, but with permission, I captured but a glimpse of what moved me on Sunday.]

Here’s my story…

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A few weeks ago Windwalker sent out an email as a reminder for the monthly sweat, and with it he added a little note about bringing something as a symbol to let go of any pain or anguish in my life, and burn it in the fire. I have done this in many different ways as a spiritual release, to truly let something go.  For the past 3 days I was tossing and turning over what this feeling was inside me that I needed to let go, and yet didn’t have the words, or the symbol to prove it.  Then it dawned on me…

                            … I am afraid of being seen.

When I say that out loud, or scream it in my head, I cry.  Whoa do I ever cry.  Where is this coming from? I don’t understand…

… “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

This has been my motto since grade 11.  Why is it so scary to be seen?

9am on Sunday morning, I pulled my things together and made my way out to the sweat in Black Creek.  I knew we had a job to do.  The sweat had just collapsed due to the water and ice, and we had to splint the sweat, or else it would be closed for the winter, and that just wouldn’t do.  So I joined over 10 other people, some I knew and received warm smiley hugs, and others I met for the first time.  We splinted the sweat and put posts in the middle to hold it up.  I asked permission to take some photos, and was truly blessed that everyone said I could, even if it was being posted on Facebook.

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Windwalker’s humble and genuine intentions gave me goose bumps.  It was a pleasure to not only help re-build the sweat, but share in this moving experience with all of the people who came that day.  I was fully present in the experience, we sang, sweat, and I cried.  Windwalker’s message rings true “I am nobody special, I am not even special enough to be forgotten” (From his mentor).

This is experience on Sunday of coming together and building in community for healing is what I believe is so necessary in life.  And thank you to Helen, who was a strong shoulder for me to express my concerns, and share in deep conversation. Something that truly moved me was when she shared about coming together with intention to heal, to connect, share food, share song, and feel like a community is all we really crave in life.  Is there anything more than this?

another inspiration from this moved day…

“You can never make everyone happy unless you lie to yourself or others. ” Powerful message… Blessings to you Beth Root for your strong words today too!  This is just one more reminder to speak my truth.

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It’s time I slow down and be in gratitude.

It is time that I slow down, and be in gratitude.  

Gratitude for all that is, all that was, and all that will be.

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This past weekend, I had a very grounding journey in a friend’s VW Westfalia.  I just know that some day soon a Westfalia will be gifted to me, so that I may do my masters in style!20141010_143016

My adventure took me to Courtenay, British Columbia, where I found fields of pumpkins in celebration of the season, and trails that lead me to the sea, where I was inspired to record one of my songs.  A song that I wrote back in 2008.  It seemed fitting, being grateful for the sun, sitting on a log on the beach!   Scroll down for the video recording… tell me what you think 🙂

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Saturday night, I camped out at a friend’s property, where a whole group of young environmentally conscious people came together to have a sweat.  A sacred ceremony hosted by a wonderful elder who not only keeps the ancestors happy, but tickles our funny bones in the lodge while deepening our connection with nature.  This is one of those experiences that everyone in the world, in my opinion, needs to experience.  Especially with someone like Windwalker.  Blessings to all of us who walk this life, in this time.

This time that I decided was meant to be savoured, so I slowed down and truly admire the beauty in nature, worshipping the final rays of light before we transition into the dark, cold winter.

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The Essence of Exploration in Nature vs MineCraft

The essence of exploration lies in the unknown.

August 30th 2014, my sister, mom and I embarked parking at Jedadiah Islandon an adventure to Jedadiah Island, in this great archipelago near Nanoose Harbour off Vancouver Island.  Although it was a short three day, two night outing, the essence of exploration became apparent in regards to my research proposal.  I have decided to start blogging about my adventures because I think that some-how by sharing my experiences, the questions and answers will come for my thesis, which is due November, 2015.

What is it about exploration that gets humans so excited?  How can we compare the exciting feeling of exploring new territory in nature, with the feeling one gets while exploring new territory while playing a video game?

Mom says that exploration is about the thrill of the unknown, stretching your comfort zone, like driving a sail boat into a bay where the depth sounder is showing negative; -1.4 feet.-1.4 feet

Morgan says that it is the joy of fully being present in the moment, not knowing what will come next and having to succumb to that feeling.  I believe that exploration is something humans have sought since the beginning of our creation.  There is some kind of inner drive to go beyond the scope of what we know, to answer the question “Why.”

So why is it that children these days are excited about exploration new lands in MineCraft?  How will this relate to Environmental Education and Communication?  I think that the future generations are learning how to be in the world by the lessons they are learning in video games.  I don’t believe that this is wrong, but I do believe that there are things that one can only learn by exploring in real nature, and this is what I want to investigate.  Watch this MineCraft trailer, and tell me how you think a child might interact with the environment as an adult based on many hours of playing this game as a child?

I am currently looking into the hype of the video game MineCraft.  It happens to be the video game that children ages 8-12 are crazy about, and are playing at the Boys and Girls Club these days.   Don’t get me wrong, I do not have any hard feelings toward this game, but I do wonder why the children do not crave to go outside, and that our only motivation for the children is “time to play their game.”

When I ask the children “Why is it so exciting?” they respond with “Because I get to explore into new lands.”  This ignites my interest in discovering the essence of exploration comparing real-live nature to video game land exploration.

I have grown up in the real-live nature and intense exploration, with only about 6 months of my life exploring video games, that I can’t imagine doing anything other than exploring in nature, but it seems that children these days are glued to their ipad’s and cell phones.

On a regular basis, I love to explore nature.  Sailing, caving, climbing, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, anything into the unknown of this magnificent archipelago.  Here is a video of what I was doing last weekend, sailing from Jedadiah Island to Nanoose Bay after a two night camp out.  This is the kind of exploration I think ALL children need to be experiencing in order to truly value nature and want to be an environmental steward of the land.

Sailing through islands Sailing close to rock island mom on her boat Jedadiah islands Jamie skipper to Jedadiah Island entrance to Home bay doggy dinghy Debra and Morgan sail

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Seeing Mind Traps as Opportunities as a Director

Seeing Mind Traps as Opportunities as a Director is a skillful way to affect change.

In environments involving human directing-actors-616x314interaction, traps and miscommunications are inevitable.  We may go into an environment with the best of intention, and yet our own motives may skew our view of a common goal.

Meadows (2008) defines these traps and offers the way out that could be used in almost any situation.  Let’s paint a picture of a new Director hired to direct a play with children age 5 to 12.  The Common Goal of the play is to co-exist in a club setting day after day.  When the director arrives, she sees strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strategies to take this group of children to a whole new level of understanding and engagement, and jumps in right away with ideas and implementing change.  As you can imagine she hasn’t gained the trust of the parents yet, of whom deal with the repercussions of her changes in the evenings.

The group of children were modeling poor communication, disrespect, verbal and physical abuse between each other, so the new Director took it upon herself to facilitate a division among the ages.  Grades K-2 have their own safe zone, and Grades 3,4 have another.  Unfortunately, due to trying to provide to everyone’s needs, the divide that the group chose was right down the middle of the room leaving very little room for a Common area.  This lead to the great wall of China being built, with fortresses and warfare and verbal and physical abuse again, with melt downs and chaos.

If you gain their trust first and calm down,

“those pulling against you will calm down too.”

Meadows, 2008

Since the Director was open to feedback, watching reactions and receiving instant feedback from the parents, she decided to minimize the separate spaces and allow free play to occur.  In the common area, there were regulations set.

  1. When you play in the common area you must play activities that anyone can play, things must be fare.
  2. Since the older kids want their space, when they come to the Common area, if needed, they need to take on leadership roles
  3. The Directors role is to focus more attention on playing with the younger children to engage and distract, allowing more freedom and creativity for the older kids.

Once this regulation was set and bad behavior was banned, an incentive of imaginative play and creativity was introduced.  The children were engaged on an epic adventure to find the “Centre of the Universe.”   Once finding this centre, they will find balance and order, which will lead to a new order and fellowship among the actors.

Seek First to Understand and then be Understood ~ Steven Covey

 Throughout this experience, the director became aware of different archetypes emerging from those children.  It became apparent that “system structures that produced such common patterns of problematic behavior” (Meadows 2008) molded a repetitive behavior.  An archetype.  An instincts or “pattern of behavior” or “inborn modes of psychic behavior” (Lawson, 2008).   These archetypes then guide people to manage their own experience in a certain way.  Some have coping mechanisms that work well in a common area, some don’t.

The reality with a common area is that it is a rich space to develop life skills, and yet poses the most challenges.  If that system is not set up in a way that is condussive to those children thriving, then the system must change.

It is up to the director to understand the system, recognize the pitfalls, and figure a way out.  She can inforce policies such as banning certain behaviors, providing quotas, permits, taxes and incentives, and inforcing these policies and penaltyies.  Furthermore, monitoring and interpreting feedback, making corrections and deterring negative interaction providing a common area that is good for the whole community.  Similar to the effects of the traffic light on street intersections.  (Meadows, 2008 p. 119).

“The structure of the commons system makes a selfish behavior much more convenient than responsible behavior to the whole community and future.” (Meadows, 2008 p. 119)  If we do not want to face our flaws and become better people, this is not the place to convene. Yet as an after school facility to care for and engage children, the tragedy of the commons is the best place to place those children, the system of good feedback loops needs to be in place to encourage growth.

Notes for a new Director taken from Donella H. Meadows’ book “Thinking in Systems.”

P. 112  How to escape traps within a system

Option A: avoid the potential of the interaction

Option B: Alter the structure by reinforcing goals, strengthening or altering feedback loops and by adding new feedback loops

p. 119 How to avoid the tragedy of the commons

1. Educate the people.  Help to see the consequences of their actions.  Pursuade them to be pleasant. Relate their actions to social approval.  No Respect/Honor = No Go.

2. Privatize the Commons.  Divide the area and they will reap what they will sew.

3. Regulate.  With items that the group mutually agrees upon.  Such as banning certain behaviors, making quotas, permits, taxes and incentives. These are enforced by policies and can be penalized.

p. 123  How to keep good performance.

– Keep the standards absolute

– Let standards be enhanced by the best actual performances instead of being discouraged by the worst

– don’t allow standards to be influenced by past performance

p. 124  How to prevent Escalation

Refuse to compete OR Create a new system.

p. 135 Relieving the burden from the leader

– Focus on the long term gains rather than short term relief

– Beware of symptoms to the problem and acknowledge them right away.

p. 137 How to enforce rules in a proactive way

– “Design rules to release creativity not in the direction of beating the rules, but achieving the purpose of the rules.” (Meadows)

p. 140 How do we know it’s the right common goal?

– “Specify indicators and goals that reflect the real welfare of the whole group”

– Focus on the results rather than effort.

I have work to do to produce Wild Play!

 

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Simulation Models for a simple mind

What is situational modeling anyway? Synchronicity to Inspire

When I was reviewing the class notes and learning about situational modeling, I didn’t understand why anyone would want to graph what they were graphing.  I didn’t understand how you could turn something into data related to an X and Y axis that was worth looking at and deciphering.

Maybe this makes me simple minded, but in the bigger picture of life, why do we need to analyze and research things anyway? Who is really going to use that data, and what in the world would it improve?  Then I sighed, reminding myself that I am taking this Masters for a reason, and it is to expand my mind and introduce me to what I don’t know I don’t know.

So rather than fighting the system, I maintained a curious and questioning perspective, although blunt and possibly offensive, I was then turned around by Dr. David Tait.  When this man described the concept of a Simulation Model referring to the effects of the Flu, it all started coming together, especially when Dr. Tait stated that

a simulation model shows the potential problem in your hypothesis.  It is a good model to show indications and assumptions.  You need to create limitations, bound (space and time), specific geographic area that you are modeling, time range modeling over, and resolution in time that reporting on (from 1 year to the next), all depending on what you are modeling.  Ultimately, simulation models are a good tool to prove what you don’t know, and creates more reason to research.

“Sometimes we are asked to quantify. So why, why do we want to quantify?” Pille Bunnell shares her perspective in an educational video that allows us to check the credibility and validity of claims.

“Information is the difference that makes a difference,” Gregory Bateson

Why would we want to have a simulation model?

  1. Project the consequences of our hypothesis
  2. Determine material feasibility of something, project amounts required, how they will be used and where they will go
  3. Extend our thinking over space and time
  4. Practical way to explore the implications of our own understanding

Supposedly we do this naturally all the time, even in daily actions.  By using that model, we create a complex hypothesis, then see the implications of that hypothesis.

So what is a hy·poth·e·sis?

The way I see it is that I have an idea and based on little education or knowledge about that idea I state how I think things should be, then it defines an inquiry clear enough to then go and research.  Find tools, models, resources and books that will help me prove or disprove that theory.  What the simulation model does is further helps me graphically paint an image of the effects of that theory and tell me how wrong I was, and give me more to research.

We can develop policy, do experience, gather data and improve the model at the same time while getting closer to proving or disproving the hypothesis.

At first, I didn’t see why I would want to use this in my world as a nature based educator, but then I started realizing that I personally come up with hypothesis all the time, and I do not have any basis, data or written rational behind what I say, and yet I want people to believe me! Maybe this model will help me pull together the years of experience in a quantifiable method that will give weight and proof to my theory of getting more kids outside.

Katie Mooney (taken from the internet January 27, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ni5NgLnfL8

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Do what you need to do

If it was meant to be,Is someone just trying to tick me off

there would be no question, so do what you need to do, because that is what you will do anyway… I need to let go of control, and connect at your level, if I am going to connect at all.

Then I need to let go of hope and just be in the moment and own that I am lonely.  I need to let my fears of being abandoned go and only focus on gratitude.  Live with an attitude of plenitude and trust that the universe will bring me exactly what I need when I need it.

I am free, I deserve to be.  I am happy, I feel happy, really…  I was just blinded by this craving to love you, to please you.  Love you the way I thought you needed to be loved… But now I can see that I was trying too hard.  I was TRYING to help you and that is not what you needed me to do.

So…

do what you need to do.

You don’t need rescuing or fixing, healing or neediness.  You just wanted to be with me without pressure or expectation, without judgment or invitation.

I saw ways that I could give to you in order to be loved, and I get now, that I can and will be loved just for being me.  I don’t have to impress anyone, or try so hard.  Like you said, if it was meant to be… there will be no question.  The End.

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Wild Craft Circus Camp

Black and white eye burnt

Wild Craft Circus Camp

March 17-21 2014 11 AM- 4 PM

Walk into a world of imagination in this combination of Wild Craft Play and Circus Camp! Choose your own adventure and discover your inner super hero. Get outside. Craft your character. Navigate our magical world through circus skills. Join SoLe Adventure and Vesta Entertainment on this life altering adventure. Bring a lunch, dress for epic outdoor adventures, and Come Play With Us!

We’ll have snacks to share too!

Cost: Sliding scale/early bird registration. Maximum 15 kids, 8-12 years old.

Register HERE

Check out the video of the Vesta Summer Camp!

6 Sacred Sward and Circle of Runes at the Kulth  11 Children at Nature Based Summer Camp  Wild3 (1)  jenna face                                  jenna performance spin  Jenna Vesta Entertainment  stilting

Brought to you by                      vesta_clear_vertical2013 SoLe Adventure Logo2

We shall see you in the next adventure!

Register HERE

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