Hello and welcome to the virtual home of True Nature Center for Wellness! My name is Anna Wilson, and I thought it would be a great time to make my first blog post to update you on what Terry and I are up to in our community.
Two years ago, I began a relationship with Wild Folk Learning community, a nature-based (educational) enrichment program for children and adults. At the time, we were still forming our structural contours as an organization, but over these months we have cultivated a strong footing and clear vision for who we are and our intentions for our program specifically. We have also been deeply affirmed in the positive and transformative effects we have seen in the children and adults we work with.
As we see in our society and across the world now, it seems that no matter where you come from, there is some version of exclusion, unnecessary conflict and excessive violence, over-consumption of natural resources, and a strong undercurrent of continuous high-stress within the community.
Research and anecdotal experience (from teachers across the globe) support the reality that when each of us - no matter what "side" we're on - when each of us begins the difficult journey of knowing Thyself more intimately, big things start to happen.
When this self-inquiring is practiced within the context of who we are in the Ecosystem, in the wider web of Beings on our planet, even bigger insights begin to spring forth.
These insights include realizations about the effects of opinions, judgments, and reactions (especially rigid ones) that we hold have on the health of society. How does my perception of another person help me or hinder me from relating to them? (Or, for example, changing their mind?) How do my reactions and judgments help or hinder my work in the world? How do my opinions about myself help or hinder the world?
What does this have to do with Social Justice, you may ask?
Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams, renowned activist and Zen Buddhist leader, speaks to this gracefully and passionately in her interview with Krista Tippet in a recent podcast of On Being.
As we start to bring awareness to various aspects of our internal world, we start to figure out what helps and what hinders our work, and our personal health. As we cope with the dramatic realities that seem overwhelming, and often, so much bigger than us, having a toolbox of practices for personal nourishment, healing, and integration of experiences is crucial for continuing good work in the world, and for staying grounded in ourselves.
Furthermore, we notice how our judgments, opinions, and reactions construct thicker walls between ourselves and those people and circumstances we are trying to change. By knowing ourselves more intimately, we begin to know others with more clarity, empathy, and intimacy. From here we become aware of the myriad of alternative options we have for approaching difficult circumstances in the present moment, and in the wider societal context.
Through Wild Folk I have seen the practices deeply at work and working in our small community, and through True Nature Center for Wellness we are passionate about inviting others in the broader community into this journey of self-discover, self-healing, and greater harmonious relationship with the community and the ecosystem.
The more individuals who embark on this courageous journey, the more transformational force we will build as a group, feeding the powerful upheaval of the parts of our society that hold us underneath and oppressive economic, cultural, political, linguistic, emotional, psychological thumb, and creating an inclusive, cooperative wider community.