Journal

Rewilding Childhood

A few months ago, I sat down with my nature-connection colleague Sean Guinan of the Environmental Pediatrics Institute to chat about “rewilding childhood.”  It’s a concept that we could all do well to embrace as our use of technology expands and our children are born into a world that is vastly different from the one that greeted us.  I’m in that weird “fringe” or “micro” generation, the one that  includes anybody born from about 1977 through 1983.  When I was in high school, my friend Jena helped me come up with my first email address. There was a class called “keyboarding,” and the computers were huge machines that took up entire desks.  We did research using encyclopedias, and there were limits to how many “web” resources you could use when writing a paper.  I had a cell phone in college but almost never used it since it was so expensive, and I turned in my senior paper …. on paper, and it got returned marked up in red ink. Social media was not a thing until I was well out of college, though Instant messaging had started to permeate the campus the last few years of my undergraduate days.  In short, I remember what it was like to live in the analog world, and digital technology took on a ‘life of its own’ at about the same time I did.  Those who share my generation, or those who were born in generations prior might resonate with the following:

 If you grew up in the 1980s or before, it’s likely you spent much of your free time during childhood running around outside, making forts, chasing butterflies, or just kicking around with the neighborhood kids. You didn’t have a cell phone and the video game options were limited. Going outside was the best option. ~Wild Child: Rewilding Childhood

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Hiking Naked

Originally posted on Heidi Barr:
Knocked off her feet after twenty years in public health nursing, Iris Graville quit her job and convinced her husband and their thirteen-year-old twins to move to Stehekin, a remote mountain village in Washington State’s North Cascades. They sought adventure; she yearned for the solitude of this community of eighty-five… Continue reading Hiking Naked

Between Beauty and Destruction

I’m sitting outside on the back deck, surrounded by towering basswood trees that have just fully come into their summer leafy glory.  Birds are chirping, and I can hear frogs croaking down in the shallows of the lake, and squirrels chattering at each other as they race from tree to tree.  Filtered sunlight is streaming down, there’s a gentle breeze keeping any bugs away, the purple flowers of the hillside Sweet William are in full bloom, and all of this combined creates a little oasis of beauty and tranquility.  I can also hear the growl of heavy machinery as crews prepare to pave another section of the road and every so often there’s a loud crash as a tree comes down, followed by the buzzing of a chainsaw and the beeping of a large loader backing up.  I hear a diesel truck roar by and the dust from the road rises like a massive cloud as it races by the house.  There is beauty and there is destruction.  This contrast exists everywhere.   Continue reading “Between Beauty and Destruction”

A Window’s View

  Muted reflections staring at the sky making sounds to draw down angels that sing in tune with mystery and ride on the white bird’s call. Thirsty soil covered by freshly fallen leaves holding out hope for refreshment and clinging to a beauty that refuses to fade. A gray expanse of possibility whispering into the … Continue reading A Window’s View

The Birthday of the World

I first heard this story on the public radio show “Speaking of Faith” that is now called “On Being,” hosted by Krista Tippett.  On the show, she interviews all sorts of interesting people, all of them deep thinkers and mystics and wonderers in their own ways.  A few days ago, I read it again in Tippett’s most recent book, Becoming Wise.  It’s an important story, I think.  I’m glad I was reminded of it these years later.  It’s the story of the Birthday of the World.

This version below is as told by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a medical doctor who has a unique and much needed perspective on spirituality, healing, and living (and dying) well.  Her grandfather gave the story to her for her 4th birthday.  It makes me wonder how the world would be different if every child were given this story, or one like it, (and reminded of it often) on their fourth birthdays.

 In the beginning there was only the Holy Darkness, the Ein  Sof, the source of life.  Then in the course of history at a moment in time this world, the world of 1000 thousand things,  emerged from the heart of the Holy Darkness as a great ray of light.

And then (perhaps because this is a Jewish story) there was an accident.  The vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness of the world, the light of the world was scattered into 1000 thousand fragments of light.  And they fell into all events and all people,  where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.

According to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident.  We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, and to lift it up and make it visible once again, and thereby to restore the  innate wholeness of the world.

This is a very important story for the world today.  This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew, which means the restoration of the whole world.  This is a collective task.   It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive and all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world.

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The Magic of Real Communication

Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels us to hold these possibilities in both hands and go on surrendering to the beauty and terror of conversation, that ancient and abiding human gift. And the most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening.  ~ Maria Popova

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