I have a dream that people are the solution.

I have to keep reminding myself, why am I doing this Masters?  Why am I stressing myself, expanding my brain, understanding, then not understanding, knowing and then not knowing, and then feeling overwhelmed?  Then I remember the drive that urged me to sign the application form.

I have a dream… that people are the solution.  

By create more opportunities for children to be active in the outdoors, they will then own the solution.

Because I too believe that “a child raised to believe that a mountain is the abode of a protective spirit will grow up to be a profoundly different human being than a youth raised to believe that a mountain is an inert mass of rock, ready to be mined” (Author: Wade Davis)

Yesterday I was in an interview for a new job to work with children ages 5-12. They asked me my long-term goal, and how taking this job would work toward that goal.  And after creating a one page essay explaining exactly what my thesis was, I found it very easy to tell them that long-term goal, it is my dream. Then when I heard I could take them outside, my heart sang… and I was hired!

In my current study of language and ‘structural coupling’ in the 5th week of my Systems course at Royal Roads University, in a midst the chaos of moving and re-decorating, I find myself hunched here in the poorly lit desk inspired by the words of Maturana, Capra, and Bunnell along with other educated authors.  I am impressed at how language and structural coupling is SO INCREDIBLY RELEVANT to my current life situation.

I choose to take what I am learning in this transition, and in my Masters, to reflect on how it impacts my own way of being, as well as how this experience can be somehow replicated to then reach my dream.  I just keep following the bread crumbs.  If you are intrigued by my dream, please keep reading.  It might be a bit wordy, but filled with my quirky inquiry that I hope will move you!

I woke up this morning asking myself, why am I studying language?  And what is structural coupling anyway?

If I get right down to what burns in my ‘sole,’ I believe that nature is sacred.  That human beings may be losing the awareness and connection to how magical nature is, and how important it is for us to treat it like our favorite left shoe.  Listen to this CBC Lecture to gain an even deeper understanding, that I recently gained:

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World – Part 4 Nov 4, 2009 | 1:18:09

Sacred Geography: “For several centuries the rational mind has been ascendant, even though science, its finest expression, can still in all its brilliance only answer the question how, but never come close to addressing theultimate question: why. The reduction of the world to a mechanism, with nature but an obstacle to overcome, a resource to be exploited, has in good measure determined the manner in which our cultural tradition has blindly interacted with the living planet.”

I believe that if we have an affinity for this thing we call “Nature” the way we appreciate our favorite left shoe, then we will take the time to take care of it, we won’t throw it away, we won’t step in places that could wreck it, and yet we will use our shoe as a protector of our sole to then accomplish our dreams.  Now replace shoe with “nature.”  For some reason, to some cultures, “Nature is but an obstacle to overcome, how our cultural tradition has been an interaction on the planet.”  (Davis, 2009)  I see nature as our protector for our sole adventure of life.

Hmmm I am sensing a sole analogy happening here.  I am going to walk with this… keep walking with me.

How do we get to where we want to go, other than by taking one step at a time, whether physically, mentally or emotionally?  And how do we know we aren’t going to step on something that will cut our soles, even the rustic amazon people will strap leather to their feet to travel further and faster.  How do we relate to this landscape, this place that we call home?  What are we seeking? Why are we here? What are we doing?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu

I guess it is okay not to know.  I could keep walking on this journey without being truly clear on this notion, but maybe by taking everything that comes to me as a clue, a meaning that will guide me closer to “a sense of belonging, a sense of connection” (Davis 2009).  I hope that by sharing these clues, resources and stories with you, we will both be inspired.

Maturana reminds me to “trust my own thinking” (p. 143).

It is in my own thinking that I conger up words that express my perception based on my observation.  Maturana says that “anything said is said by an observer” and “all observers are part of their observation” (p. 26).  So I ponder, if an observer sees something, do they then understand that which they see based on their own background, context and perception, then “affirm or deny it’s existence, and do whatever he/she does?”  (p. 28)

With this notion, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief, that the handful of mis-communications I experienced in the last few weeks weren’t all necessarily my fault.  Just in the past two weeks, I have felt like I have made some great mistakes in my communication with co-workers, employers, friends and families.  I have felt like I have withheld, or not provided enough information for these people to be happy, and therefore, their eyes are not shining (previous post.) I thought I had done something wrong.  I then spent 3 days dwelling on this feeling of failure in my heart that created unease for others.  Then, after reading these words, and hearing the positive feedback from loved ones, I came to realize or understand that…

“I cannot MAKE other people FEEL anything.” (author unknown)

This sigh of relief, then inspired me to dig deeper into this understanding of conversation.  Bunnell shares that to converse is to “turn together,” which is one of the simplest examples that I could find to explain “structural coupling.”  I want to understand this so that I can better understand where I could improve my actions to prevent mis-communications in the future.

Capra explains that there are two types of structural changes that occur in eco-systems.  One of these types is represented by changes of self-renewal.  “Every living organism continually renews itself, cells breaking down and building up structures.” Second, the “changes in which new structures are created – new connections in the autopoietic network” (p. 218, 219).

Pille Bunnell, my prof, states in her video that” the richness of emotional behavior influences conversations.  Neither of the people can determine how the other feels, yet either can effect the emotional vector of the conversation, because we are open to change.”  To turn together and have a conversation allows a reciprocal structural coupling, which explains why the emotional state that we are in matters to how we show up in a conversation with another. (Bunnell)

If I were to relate this to my dream, and my own “turning together” to converse with my friends, family, coworkers and supervisors, I have come to realize that I need to reflect on how I show up, and how I will show up as a researcher.  I need to consider  that when they interact with me, I need to “renew myself” in this context, and consider that I do not need to act and react the way I used to.  I need to keep an open mind, and start this conversation a new, with the highest, most positive win-win as an outcome, and not get defensive.

“I choose to understand, and then be understood.” (Author: Steven Covey)

I have decided to think before I speak, and be mindful of what I say.  Also becoming aware of these new connections, and how the new structure of communication and relation can work toward a common goal.  By focusing on this way of being, and yet not exhausting myself, I think I can relate even closer to how I might support…

middle school “indoor-oriented educators” to change their perception of higher-risk outdoor education activities as a barrier, and become champions of building bridges in the outdoor education field. (links to my proposed thesis on my blog)

In the days that I choose to be mindful of my words, and escape my thoughts and interactions with others by going for a walk in nature, I gain a new awareness and perspective, and receive lessons from nature.

Just the other day I found a raccoon that was dead, lying on it’s back, and so I decided to read from my Medicine Card book (click here to read about Raccoon).  By reflecting on how this external existence might influence my perception allowed me to have a greater understanding of how I could show up in the world.  I think there is a lot to learn from nature, much like what Wade Davis explains about how the native people believe in what nature teaches them.

“For the people of the mountains, what gives life purpose is not what is measured or seen, is what exists in the abstract dimension of meaning.  Reflections of divine creation and each informs another.  The mountains are a model of a cosmos…  The hairs on a person’s body echo the forest trees that cover the mountain flanks…  They do not speak in metaphor, they believe these statements to be true.”

I believe Nature is telling me things, and I need to try on the shoes of the Observer Owl for a while.  Spend more time listening and being aware of my surroundings, and less time spouting out ideas and dreams.  On that note, I leave you with a quote.

 (photo: …info coming soon)

“In the cosmic scheme people are vital.  People are not the problem, but the solution.” (Author: Wade Davis)


Bunnell, Pille (last edited: unknown) Emotioning and the flow of conversation. Retrieved from http://www.sympoetic.net/Conversations/emontioning.html

Capra, Fritjof (1996). The Web of Life ~ A new scientific understanding of living systems. Fritjof Capra

Davis, Wade (2009). The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World – Part 4. (taken from http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Ideas/Massey+Lectures/2000s/2009:+The+Wayfinders/ID/1474728244/)

Listen to the audio of this lecture at: CBC Ideas. (2009, November 4). The Wayfinders: why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world, part 4: Sacred geography. (Audio file runs 1:18:09 min.)

For Books that I recommend, follow this link.

Amazon.com Widgets

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nature is my meditation… my medicine.

Yesterday, my head was spinning from all the worry, the change, the anxiety, the uncertainty the embarrassment and the fear.  Something reminded me to go outside, into the unknown, the unimpeded beauty of nature.

So I went to James Bay in Victoria and walked this beach.

Ocean crashing…

                        … waves set me free

                                                                          … I breathe.

It was magic.  The magic that flickered, the leaves in the trees and the breeze called to me.

I could see past the words in my head, I could see magic all around me and when I would breathe, I felt my breath.  It lifted my gaze to the beauty of the sun, then I could feel it’s warmth on my skin. I could feel it cutting through the icy cold on my nose.  That tickle made me smile on the inside.  And it all changed my perception of things.

I realized that it is okay that I am not good with language, because I am amazing at sensing things.

Einstein said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” (Bunnell)

“Human sensing takes pace through observing, where language is not part of our awareness and presence.”  (Bunnell), and most of the “accidents” that I have I look back and my only explanation is that “I wasn’t thinking of it that way.”  It is not that I wasn’t thinking, but I did not perceive the incident from a linear perspective, I suppose.

Observing takes place as an operation in language that we can use to enchant our children with, to engage a love of learning. (Bunnell)

While walking by the sea, I was enchanted, as a child, and saw magic… nature unimpeded.  I became one with nature.  My steps matched the rhythm of the lapping of the waves on the shore.  When the breeze tickled my cheek I would inhale even deeper.  My thoughts drifted away with the pull of the tide, and my awareness extended across the horizon.

I came across a dead raccoon.

And right away I thought of the medicine of Raccoon.

Selflessness, Generous Protector

Raccoon… protector of the underdog,

Provider for those who have none.

Do you wear the bandit’s mask

To hide the good deeds that you’ve done

Teach me to turn away from

Rich rewards or worldly acclaim,

Knowing that my generosity allows

my warrior spirit to be reclaimed.  ~ Jamie Sams and David Carson

The medicine of the Raccoon teaches me SO much right now.  I am so lucky that I saw that poor little guy lying contrary on the beach, and yet I know it was a lesson that I am meant to glean something from.  Like the Chief, I need to learn to “Raccoon medicine people have the uncanny ability to assist others without allowing them to become victims or dependents.”

Unfortunately I feel that my language, my attempt to communicate blurted out what I didn’t want… which puts worries in other people’s mind, then they live by that awareness and react or respond in a way that Not toward what I want, but Away from what I want because of my mis-communication.

I love that a troupe of Raccoons will always feed the Guardian first… ” He is always fed first by the other raiders to honor his vigilance as the group’s protector.” (Sams, Carson)

Raccoon did show up for me yesterday, and is telling me “to look around and see who needs your strength at this time.” (Sams, Carson)

But how do I share my strengths in a way that leaves them empowered and not feeling like a charity case (exactly what I DON’T want!)

Boy do I need an attitude adjustment… instead of putting out there what I don’t want… what do I want??  I want a long-term committed loving relationship that I can love and be loved, paddle along side my partner and live happily ever after.  Is that too much to ask?

I am done with wallowing in self-pity.  Thank you to the dead Raccoon for waking me up and reminding me to do something nice for someone else… and in that, I am learning that I need to offer something that is what warms their heart… not what I think they need.

So in the festive realm of the holidays, How does one ask “what do you want for Christmas” without asking them “What do you want for Christmas?”  I don’t want to get anyone something that I want them to have, I want to get them what they truly want… HOW THE HECK DO YOU ASK??? WHAT IS THE ASK?

Thank you to the people who have helped me through this journey, who are interacting with my blog posts, inquiring how I am doing and holding space for me.  Thank you to those who listened on the phone, sat in the car with me and let me blurt my world out to them.  Thank you.  Thank you!

Posted in Animal Medicine, Blog Entry, MA in Enviro Ed & Comm, Nature Medicine, SoLe Adventure Journey, Uncategorized, Understanding Understanding | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raccoon Medicine by Jamie Sams and David Carson

This is a brief quotation from the book called “Medicine Cards”  written by Jamie Sams, and David Carson, illustrated by Angela Werneke.

Copywritten in 1999 by Angela Werneke.  New York, N.Y.

The reason for quoting these words is to support my Masters work, as these stories, teachings and medicine of the animals in this book are furthering my self awareness and other awareness throughout my journey while writing my Thesis.  My intention is to inspire people to purchase this book, to seek medicine in nature.

Raccoon carries the medicine of the protector of the underdog and provider for the young, infirm and elderly.  Often called “little bandit” by southern tribes, this Robin Hood of the animal kingdom teaches us about generosity and caring for others.  When Raccoon comes your way, you are being asked to contact your inner warrior to become a protector and generous provider for those in need.

Raccoon medicine people have the uncanny ability to assist others without allowing them to become victims or dependents.  Like the tribal chiefs of old, Raccoon tends to the needs of the tribe before taking anything for itself.

A troupe of Raccoons scouting for food is often a hilarious exercise in generosity. After rolling in the cornmeal or flour, they finally settle on their favorite morsels, giving the best tidbits to their lookout.  Raccoons leave a watcher behind when raiding a campsite or mountain cabin, usually the dominant male.  He is always fed first by the other raiders to honor his vigilance as the group’s protector.  This uncommon lack of greed is as rare in the world of humans as it is in the rest of the animal world.  While other creatures fight one another for the for the best of a kill, Raccoon teaches the universal law of giving back to the source of your strength, guidance and protection.   You are also reminded that benefolence and generosity comes around full circle to reward the giver.

If Raccoon wanders into your cards today, the little bandit may be telling you to look around and see who needs your strength at this tiime.  Speak up in defense of another instead of remaining silent when others are gossiping.  Maybe it is time to share the bounty of your time, energy, or possessions with the less fortunate.  But remember to help those in need develop their own protector and provider skills.  In all cases, Raccoon asks that you honor yourself and others equally.  Provide for your own needs, or your well will be dry when you choose to give generously.  Chiefs earn their Eagle feathers when they promote every human’s right to self-dignity; acting in this manner brings that same honor to yourself and to your family.

Raccoon was dead, and upside down, so I also take into account Raccoon in CONTRARY

If Raccoon has appeared in the reverse position, you may be robbing yourself of much needed strength at this time.  Do you need an attitude adjustment?  If you are wasting energy on self-pity, feeling like an underdog, do something nice for someone else.  The change of focus could create moer self-esteem.  Observing the authentic needs in another’s situation absolves self-pity.  Another contrary message is denying the need to be generous or compassionate with yourself.  In this case, you may not be provided enough workable options to solve your present challenges.

If you are feeling drained, it may be time to receive the gratitude of those you have helped in the past.  If you have been giving too much and have forgotten to honor your own needs, Raccoon could be telling you to stead some time to be alone.  The little bandit also reminds you to keep watch for “takers” who never give back.  Keep yourself from feeding others who are too needy, or too greedy.  Balanced Raccoon medicine does not waste its generosity on those who refuse to help themselves or are too lazy to contribute to learn self reliance.

Posted in Animal Medicine, Blog Entry, Guided Discovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protected: harmony?

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Posted in Uncategorized

I am Full-on… good luck with me… Universe!

Thank you for providing clues to this quest of life, and for giving me the ability to be aware, and receive these gifts of awareness.  Awareness of self and awareness of others.

Dear… Universe…?

I am sorry it has taken me so long to still my mind, and quiet my thoughts enough to be grateful for the gifts that have been given to me.  Thank you for your patience with me.  I believe I have something to learn right now, and I know that I don’t know something.

I need your help.

People keep suggesting to me that I should meditate.  That I need to quiet my mind, and that I should sit still.  That I be okay with being alone, and that the thoughts in my head are some of the most beautiful pieces of music of all, I just need to be okay with sitting in the silence.

You see the problem, Universe, is that once I have sat for 10 minutes, I forget that I’m “meditating” and I just get up and make myself tea, or I get distracted.  Then I feel embarrassed and get down on myself and don’t understand WHY I can’t do this…

A good friend just told me that she has the same problem, so she “meditates” while walking in the woods.  So then… without being frustrated with myself, why does it feel like I’m trying too hard?  Why can’t I sit still and just be okay with being?  Why do I think so much?

Pille Bunnell suggests that

““irrational” action is rational if I take into account the odd human niche of living in language.”

So does this give me permission to live irrationally?

Why am I so overwhelmed by language?  Why am I so worried about saying the wrong thing?  Why is it so much easier for me to express myself if I am physically there with someone, and why is it empowering to “influence others.”

AND, why are other people overwhelmed by my energy, my enthusiasm?

We modify what we say and what we do by what we “grasp” based on past experiences.

I fear that what I express, what I portray and how I show up to other people is overwhelming for them because of their own past, of which I cannot change, and have no influence over.  And truly the reason I show up the way I do is because I am so excited, and I live in possibility, and I see that possibility and opportunity in others… is this wrong?

Tell me Universe, what do I need to know, do, be?

It’s interesting how we express information, at first it is general, and people can accept this invitation, they are just as excited as me, and open.  Then once more information is provided, and it becomes more complex, that person gets overwhelmed, and backs off, or creates an opinion of that experience then chooses to or not to partake.

Maybe these people in my world are “Systemic Thinkers.”  Bunnell explains that “Systemic thinking is generative.” A level of coherency that exists among multiple dimensions.  Although it seems linear to me, it allows serendipitous moments to occur.  So if this is not irrational, then I think that maybe I think “irrationally.”

What worked a few weeks ago is when it was suggested that I Observe more, and say less.  Be like Owl.  “It is through our observing of such sequences that we can begin to say that some being “does this in order to achieve that.” (Bunnell)

I am not a linear thinker.  I think based on gut feelings… hmmm… so if I’m not a linear thinker, I think linear thinkers are overwhelmed by me!  When I take notes, I start in the centre of the page and I go out in a spiral… it is a line, and yet it is not straight!

“integrated in living

The poetic and the engineering look complement and support each other.  We value the doctor, the teacher, the CEO who is able to appropriately focus on the local when needed, and to do so in a “holistic” or “integral” fashion that takes the whole “context” into account. ” Bunnell

I think I know, but then when I think of the whole Context, I think I am REALLY missing something… what do you think?

I am full-on, good luck with… me, Universe!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who am I being that your eyes are not shining?

Who am I being that your eyes are not shining?

Just in the past couple of days I have watched the sparkle leave your face.  What have I done?  I do not want to live that way!

 Ben Zander’s TED TALK  has tickled my senses and I feel more aware:

helped this concept hit home for me, and I am truly, madly and deeply working on this notion.

I have received direct feedback from a few people that I look up to, who I  admire and who mean a lot to me… I am showing up in a way that is overwhelming to them, or thoughtless, careless.  I have too many ideas, I am inviting people to do too many things, I am making plans, dreaming, being a visionary and thinking further than what is important right in front of me, in this moment… in this flow… I am a human doing, and not a human… being.  I need to…

“Put myself in your shoes.”

“Now I’m head over heals in the lost and found…

If you could put yourself in my shoes you’d have some sympathy

And if I could put myself in your shoes I’d walk right back to me.”

Starting a new relationship is a sensitive thing.  Any relationship.  Co-workers, employer, employee, friend, lover, partner, mate.  And to know, to really know that person, maybe one doesn’t need to plan or suggest, to organize or structure… so then how do I just be… why is this so foreign?

Okay universe, I am open to what ever I am meant to know… what is to know here?

I want to know you.

“Beloved I do not know you, beloved I do not know you

But I know you are beautiful

I know I desire your company

Beloved I do not know you

But I trust your touch in my soul

As I keep company in your beauty trusting your touch

I know you in love

Beloved, I know you in love.”

(Paraphrased from Bunnell, P. website: http://www.sympoetic.net/Cognition/knowledge.html)

I can’t stop thinking about the magical moment when I just played with you.  There was no plan.  There were no rules, but we did have a WAY of interacting, a structure of play.  We had a piano, a pen and paper, and you took my words and you painted a song with your fingers on the keyboard, then with gentle invitation we both decided to record in the moment before we had even completed the song.  THAT was magic… we were unimpeded, and it made time stand still.  That is the shine in your eye that I want more of.

Then I think about how this all came to be… and I realize that this disconnect, this “dulling of the senses,” the thing that stole the shine from your eyes is, in part, the overwhelm of use of technology.  Texting, Google Hangouts, email, calling… I can’t see the light in your eyes… I don’t see you… I just think of you and send you WAY TOO MANY INVITES to things that are meaningless.  I need to slow down.  It is in the Slow Thinking of this very moment, that I inhale and smile thinking of you.

I am slowly learning that I need to slow my thinking.  Bunnell says “Slow thinking enables the molecular changes that go with learning…

and that new synapses, new configurations of connections.  In slow thinking we harmonize the intersections between many domains through multiple reverberations through the nervous system…

Thus dreaming and meditative, contemplative times are also a form of slow play, supporting slow thinking, and offering forth a quality and depth of “flavor.” Bunnell P.

Thank you for asking for space to… breathe.  Thank you for guiding me on this journey of self discovery!

Posted in Blog Entry, Guided Discovery, MA in Enviro Ed & Comm, Mastering Myself in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Compassion for Schizophrenia

Today I was reading my class readings in my Masters of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication, for EECO 504 Course, Systems with Pille Bunnell.

Her website is http://www.sympoetic.net/Cognition/coordination.html and this week the topic is

Cognition as Coordination 

Closed Nervous system 

Relational domains


Boy are these ever striking a painful cord in my heart.  Cognition.  Nervous Systems.  Relation/Relating.  Emotions.  And then when I read this section, I cried.  Then I wondered… “What is to know?”

Bunnell writes:

Though the various relational domains that we live are each lived as if separate (for example you don’t confuse your interactions with one person with those of another, and you don’t confuse what pertains to cooking dinner to the thoughts and actions that pertain to playing music) … we don’t live a schizophrenic existence.  Our experience feels continuous, and what we learn when doing one thing easily penetrates to how we act in some other domain.  Our nervous systems, or better, our cognitive systems are systemic unities.  I like to refer to some of the processes that enables integration between different domains of action as “structural intersection.”

When I read that “we don’t live a schizophrenic existence.”  Right away, I thought… but I know someone who does.  Then I felt sorry for that person, which lead me to passionately writing about what I don’t know… The nervous system, that person’s world, and why I feel so detached.

Here’s the thing… take a look at this video to see this structure that we are being asked to build upon in my class:

Well… I started making a connection between this structure and my dilemma of not knowing what to do and how to proceed with this person… then paid attention to the road block feeling I have with this person and proceeding in our relationship… how to relate to this person.  AND reflecting on the assignment I have right now from my Inside Passage course that I took last weekend with www.ExcellenceSeminars.com I came to realize:

1. I am so privileged to live in a cognitive and capable reality.

2. I don’t understand this person, and therefor find that I hold resentment against this person and don’t want to put energy into the relationship.

3. I didn’t want to put energy into doing things for this person, and showing up, which felt fake and superficial. Although I am excited about understanding how this person works, what makes this person tick… which I hope will result in me having more compassion and love for this person in all facets.

Maturana says that the nervous system is a detector of configurations within itself, it does not sense the outside world.  We sense ourselves to interpret the world.  Bunnell puts it like this

We do not see the world, we sense ourselves; but the self we sense is richly composed in a manner that is intricately and beautifully connected to our highly complex circumstances.

Things that make you say hmmm

“Everything is co-drifting as a whim through a world that is perceived by only you.”

I am excited about this journey, and look forward to sharing more soon!

Posted in Blog Entry, Daily Journal Log, MA in Enviro Ed & Comm, SoLe Adventure Journey, Uncategorized, Understanding Understanding | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Humanness in it’s messiness

I love that my prof Pille Bunnell has a website called “Ecology of Humanness as a Matrix of Ideas”

This to me implies that there are no right/wrong answers, and that it is a process of understanding that will never end, a matrix that is just created, developed morphed, changed and then interpreted in all sorts of different ways.

Just the notion of this thought is daunting to think that I am about to commit the next two years of my life coming to understand this, or better yet coming to understand that I don’t understand it at all!  But what a process of juicy messiness this fabulous journey will be.

This weekend I spent 3.5 days in a personal development course called Inside Passage.

I have been taking the Excellence Seminar Series for over the past two years, and every time I want to dig deeper into my own self discovery, I take these courses… then while in them, I don’t want to face what I thought I wanted to face, and find myself yet again in the process.  And it is just that… it is all about the process!

If I want to dig deeper in to this process of human messiness, I wonder what the Nervous System can teach me…

Dr. Pille Bunnel (my prof) suggests that in our past we make mistakes, or someone else does, and then it alters our life to then believe in something and live our lives by that reasoning.  Bunnel states on a more logical level that “mistakes occur after the happening.”  and that “We should congradulate someone who has just revealed that they made a mistake.” This is an expansion of their point of view and understanding and awareness that we are all humans and we will not die if we make a mistake.

From the Inside Passage’s perspective, if we have the ability to forgive and let go of that mistake, then create a new way of living, being, doing, then we choose that better path, and we can move on from these wrong doings.

I also appreciate what Bunnell suggests that “it is not appropriate to castigate them for not seeing what they do not see.”

We know not to blame a blind person for being blind, and this is only a more subtle case of the same.  “Don’t you see?  Are you blind?” is a comment made by an observer who has a different structure at that moment.  What you can say is “From what you say or do, I discern that you do not see what I see.”   Bunnell

An example of my understanding in this process of love, interaction and relating in the matrix of the “Beauty of Messiness” through a model that I am asked to use in my class… watch this:

After I recorded this video, Gary said “It should be called the Beauty of Messiness!”  And reflected on the moment that we both put the two blue sticks into the model.  He said that he was moved by the fact that we both accepted each other’s flaws, each-others painful relationships in each other’s lives and lovingly added them to this linked system of our new relationship.  Accepting it as part of us and that it isn’t perfect.

When I was in my Inside Passage program this weekend, I shared the same story, and someone said that I should brand this as a relationship development tool and facilitate the process of relating using sticks and knobs.  Haha.  Maybe I will.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why can’t we call it Magic?

Why can’t we call it Magic?  Why does it have to be scientifically proven, or based on a belief structure.  Why can’t the magic of nature be just that?

Why am I on this journey of a Masters to prove the magic of nature,

Jamie Black at Royal Roads University

and how it alters lives?  With over 13 years of experience in the field, I have developed a skill of storytelling that captivates people because of these stories… And yet, now I am challenging myself to research this, use a process that leads to an increase of understanding for me and you maybe?

I am working on a grant right now, and here is my story… do you think it is worth Mastering?

“Who wants to go Canoeing?”

This is my intro to my Grant Application due in a week… what do you think? If you had the money, would you fund this research?

The breeze off the water gives me a chill of excitement as I launch my canoe for another beginner, two hour lesson on the lake.  I have been running the same program off and on at Horne Lake Regional Park for over 4 years, and it is still my favorite program of all.  There are usually 14 children and 1 teacher.  I give them an introduction, and show them how to launch the boat off the shore without scratching on the bottom.  It always makes me smile when I say, “Turn around and sit down before you fall in,” because the usual response is a nervous laughter, which indicates the fear of tipping the boat over.

After a short introduction to the paddle strokes, and a talk with the teacher about leadership, I send the teacher in the lead following the shoreline, so that I can sweep, and teach the children at the back who are having a hard time steering. Once we arrive at the sweet spot, I say “Who wants to play a game?” And almost every time, they all yell “ME!” So I set up the goal, and pull out the soccer ball.  The interesting thing with this game is that the players do not need to know a word of English and I still end up with the same results.  The basic rules for the two team game are as follows: each person on the team must touch the ball before going for the goal; if a participant has the ball she cannot paddle; and the ball can only be in the boat for 5 seconds before it is passed, or else it’s the other team’s ball.  The most important rule of all is that participants can commit any act of canoe piracy, while keeping at least one limb in their boat at all times. This is  best demonstrated  by tossing the ball into the other team’s boat,  climbing into it while keeping one leg in your own boat, and rocking it, which creates that nervous laughter again.  Then I throw the ball and the game is on.

It is amazing to watch the children’s transform their perception from “fear of falling into the water” to playing and enjoying a competitive game.  They push their boundaries, do paddle strokes that they have never done before, and then, almost every time, someone capsizes their boat.  The best part is when the teacher capsizes their boat. Children look to their fearless leader for cues of how far to push their boundaries.  If the teacher is afraid of falling in, the children won’t truly play the game, and therefore that teacher may or may not provide a positive role model to the children.  If a  teacher capsizes the canoe and comes up smiling and he  realizes that he has faced his fear and merely got wet. This behaviour provides a  model for  children and demonstrates that they too can stretch their limits, overcome their fears and have a transformative learning experience.

When children participate in high-risk outdoor experiences they change their belief system about themselves.  A frightened child who participates in Epic Canoe Soccer for the first time must face her fears and play the game, get wet and push herself.  After the first, second and third capsize is either observed, or experienced, she gains a sense of self-control and autonomy.  This capacity allows the child to direct her life in new ways and she becomes open to further challenges, opportunities and experiences.

By using an auto-ethnographical approach as a mode of representation, this research will compare the author’s personal perspective as an experienced outdoor leader along with the perspectives of experienced outdoor educators (or teachers), and “non-outdoor” educators.  It will be expected this research will create a journey of group and self-discovery and provide a juicy wealth of material to qualify and support the cause of getting more educators to take children outdoors.

There has been research done in this field by various authors, and yet there is still more support required to influence the education system, and provide data to support current Canadian research could generate a greater understanding of this need for change.  This research is qualitative research that explains the  reasons why non-outdoor educators do not take children outdoors

The arts in inquiry allow us to access the crevices of our souls and bring the fullness of our humanity to the process of being, living, knowing and teaching… thinking on our feet.” (Carcienne, Bagley 2002)


Currently I am taking a course by Pille Bunnell at Royal Roads University.  504 EECO Systems class.  When I saw the outline of this course, I was intimidated that an artsy fartsy dramatic person like me could relate to systems… but I think this is my learning.  I really enjoy that she is teaching a heightened level of awareness, which sure is a topic that is leading to my own life path right now.

I choose to wander off the path of to explore what I don’t know about this education system before I make any claim as to how we need teachers to take children outdoors. Coming to understand something, I must follow a process of exploration.  My curiosity is, how did it come to be that teachers are not comfortable with taking children out into nature.

Bunnell brings up Generative Domains in her video, 

For me, I have not spent very much time focusing on the systems and processes of nature.  The eco-system, and the environment, but I have focused on people and their interaction with nature.  I am interested in human culture as it has evolved as a generative landscape of ideas.  Something that seems very intangible, and hard to produce qualitative data, and yet, I feel that there is a need to dig deeper to understand this culture.

I intend on coming to understand the position of non-outdoor educators by participating in the dynamic of manipulating ideas.  This on-going generative process, by letting go of what I already know in order to participate in this process that leads to a deeper understanding (Bunnell, P 2013)

I wonder if the education system is “Spontaneously Organized?” Like a whirl pool.  Where process and concepts form and disappear, and interacts with the structural coherence.  Bunnell’s website is such a great title “Ecology of Humanness as a Matrix of Ideas.”

The study of humanness intrigues me.  A matrix of ideas, I love it!  Nervous Systems, Living Systems, Formalism, Reality, Evolution,  Reality, Conversation, Learning, Distinction & Domains, Culture, Languaging, Emotioning, Intangible, Human Origins.

So many things to learn, so little time.

Things Spontaneously Organize themselves according to circumstances, and what is incorporated based on it’s environment, teachers, parents, weather, natural environment, building structures, budget, risk mitigation etc.  The system may provide it’s own whirl pool as a structure that works for that sort of people, but based on my experience, the simple politics of the players in the game, their opinions, and persuasive messaging have the power to persuade that whirl pool and either end it, move it or make it bigger.  This is why I am so intrigued by the power of the human whether it is “What you say, or how you say it, or whether or not you need say ‘it’ at all” will effect a whole culture of being. (Bunnell, P. 2013)

Bunnell, P. (website viewed Nov. 22, 2013) Ecology of Humanness as a Matrix of Ideas. http://www.sympoetic.net/Ecology_of_Humanness/Map.html

Posted in Blog Entry, Daily Journal Log, Guided Discovery, MA in Enviro Ed & Comm, SoLe Adventure Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The physics of the quest… Eat Pray Love

I have watched Eat Pray Love over and over and over and OVER again.  I am obviously trying to get something.  I am on a quest to find what I am looking for, and I don’t know what I am looking for.  It is funny… I feel pretty balanced in my world for me with me as me.

“The Physics of the Quest ~ A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity.  If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, and set out on a truth seeking journey (externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue.  Accept everyone that you meet on that journey as a teacher.  And if you are prepared most of all to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself then the truth will not be withheld from you.” ~ Eat Pray Love.

Given my experience in the past few months, I am deciding to face and forgive these difficult realities about myself.

1. I can be messy a lot of the time

2. I don’t always pay attention to the fine details

3. I loose things

4. I forget things

5. I don’t think about other people’s feelings

6. Sometimes I waste people’s time

7. Even if I listen, I may not really hear you

8. I can be manipulative

9. I use people for their energy

10. I am not very good at being alone

I forgive me.

Posted in Daily Journal Log, DO SOMETHING... Even if it's wrong, SoLe Adventure Journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment