Resilient Relationships; The Way Forward
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Complex Modern Ailments; A Product of Disconnect
At no point in recorded human history have we ever experienced a world such as the one in
which we now live. Every aspect of life has been stretched to extreme polarities and we are all
made aware of it through the constant reminders brought to us by our technologies. Extreme
weather, extreme food, extreme entertainment, extreme work, and most of all, extreme
disconnect from the natural world. All this has brought about a massively complex array of
health conditions which the modern medical institution has no answers for other than drastic
measures consisting of unnecessary drugs and surgeries, which often make situations worse.
Chronic conditions are almost the norm these days. It seems as though most people have some ailment or other which is persistent and their doctors have them on a regular dose of medications to mask the signals their bodies are trying to tell them through symptoms. They start to feel as though it’s normal to feel this way. Everyone they know is taking regular medication, so it must be just the way it is. Once a depressed state of functionality of the body
and mind has been sustained over a long period of time, a person gets used to it and they can’t remember ever feeling any different. Many children now basically begin life in this depressed state, from the toxicity of their mother through pregnancy. From there it only gets worse with vaccines, baby formula, and toxic foods.
We are constantly pushed towards a life of disconnect. Disconnect from nature, from our communities, our food, our bodies,our minds and our spirits.
We are taught to fear the natural world, that it is a wild place where tame people like ourselves do not belong and we need to tame nature to make it a place where we can live. The natural world is constantly being plowed under, and paved over to make it more suitable for people,
whether it’s to grow tame human food or to build tame human community spaces. As we tame the outer world through force, we tame the inner world of our selves as well. Our worlds are not meant to be tamed in this extreme way. Diversity is being lost and as diversity is lost, resilience to stress factors is greatly reduced. As the outer diversity is lost, so the inner diversity is lost.
Our bodies are home to a great diversity of microorganisms which play a vital role in keeping us healthy, happy and in balance.
As we eat food that has been far removed from its natural expression and limit the variety of different foods we intake, the inner landscape becomes more and more monocultured. Foods grown in monoculture systems deplete the natural world of vital nutrients by having an open
ended system where there is no return to that system, just taking. As the soil in these systems becomes depleted of nutrients, the food grown in this soil becomes devoid of nutritional value.
Eating dead food brings only death. Our bodies need life giving sustenance to live.
As we depend on massively disconnected systems to supply us with our vital sustenance, which comes from a place with which we have no connection, we lose the connection to the people in our area. Food is a major source of community and when the food is removed from the community, the community begins to crumble. There is no longer the community building and
relationship forming act of getting to know the people near you who grow your food. Instead distrust and disconnect are the patterns of behaviour.
Eating the food which is totally disconnected from the natural world, we take in that expression of disconnection into our bodies. We digest and assimilate that pattern which imprints itself on us. We become unable to feel the connection with our bodies. Our bodies begin to cry out for attention, but we are unable to recognize the messages. Even when the signs are extremely obvious, we still do not wish to acknowledge them as it means we must do something about it, and change is a fearful thing. Our disconnected bodies fall into such a state of dis-ease that life becomes a constant struggle.
As our minds are intimately connected to our bodies, when our bodies suffer, so our minds also suffer. The mind also requires high quality nutrition to function, but as we continue to ingest low quality disconnected foods, our minds become weaker and weaker. With a weak mind life becomes very difficult. We are unable to make connections between factors in our lives that are
effecting us. As the mind deteriorates, all other aspects of life also begin to fall into disarray and it becomes much more difficult to bring about necessary changes to life which will move one towards health.The spirit suffers from disconnection just as the other aspects of a human do. The spirit is
intimately connected to the other aspects of the human. So as the body suffers, so the spirit suffers, as the mind suffers, so the spirit suffers. The spirit is constantly being suppressed and ignored as even being a part of human life. Living a life devoid of the natural world brings constant stress to the spirit.
With a body, mind, and spirit all under constant assault in our disconnected society, it is no wonder there are a myriad of chronic health conditions which continue to elude treatment from the system within which they are created. No amount of disconnected drug medicine will ever
be able to bring balance back to a person who continues to engage in patterns of disconnect, perpetuated by the societies in which they live.
Resilient Relationships in Nature
The natural world is teeming with more complex relationships than we can even imagine. We
are only beginning to understand some of the relationships between different aspect of the
natural world. From the soil microorganism, to the plants, to the insects, to the animals, to the
weather, to the seasons; from the micro to the macro, the number and complexity of
relationships might be infinite. All these different parts play their own roles in the complex
relationship between the elements of the local system they are a part of. These relationships
are beneficial for each element of the system in different ways and together they create a regenerative resilience which perpetuates the system to higher levels of expression. In any community found in nature the most essential relationship is that of the soil microorganisms and the plants growing in the soil. The less microorganism activity, the less soil fertility, the less plant growth and diversity. The other way holds true as well. The less plant cover, the less organic matter returned to the soil, the less microbe activity, the less soil fertility.
So an essential part of any healthy system is the perpetuation of soil microorganism growth. This is the foundation upon which we can further continue to diversify the elements in a system, as well as the connections between them.The relationships between plants grown in monocultures by modern industrial agriculture and the soil in which they are grown is extremely weak. The soil is exploited for maximum yield of a
single product, which depletes organic matter and inhibits soil microbe growth, thus reducing the relationships available.
Not only are the relationships between plants and soil microbes important to the health of a system, but the relationships between the different plants also have a major effect on the resilience of the system. By observing nature we can see that certain plants perform certain functions in the communities of which they are a part. As a natural system moves through
succession, certain functions are no longer needed and the plants which performed those functions are replaced by other plants which perform the functions which are currently required
for the system to continue evolving. If at any point in time a major event happens
to a given ecosystem which brings about some disturbance, like a forest fire, a certain set of plants which
take on specific roles in the community work together to move the system back down the road of succession.
The next level of relationship building in natural systems is that of the insects and how they
relate to the plants. Through evolving together over countless generations in specific regions, plants and insects have developed amazingly complex symbiotic relationships. Many plants produce flowers with delicious nectar to attract insects which then carry the plant’s pollen to another plant, thus helping the plant reproduce itself.
This relationship pattern continues on with beneficial connections between plants and animals. The bird eats the mulberry fruit as a source of sustenance and the mulberry tree benefits by having its seeds processed through the bird’s digestive system and carried far away to grow into another beautiful mulberry tree somewhere else.
Nature moves towards balance through establishing connections between different elements of the given ecosystems. Ignorant human intervention is constantly pushing the natural world out of balance, so nature responds with appropriate natural systems built on beneficial relationships
to rehabilitate the damage done. Increasingly these relationships are seen as harmful by humans who can’t understand the drastic measures nature must employ in order to mitigate the damage done.An example of this situation is the vehemence directed towards the phragmitis plant and its
ability to take control over certain wetland systems, displacing the community of plants growing there previously. Now from one point of view, it is a tragedy to see all these nice plants being smothered out by a single species of an “invasive” nature. But from another point of view, the
natural world, in this particular system, has been so degraded by constant pollution, that nature must step in and deal with this massive pollution problem. How better to deal with this situation than by setting up a system in which at least one relationship is developed between a particularly well suited plant (phragmitis) and the persistent pollution problem. It has been shown that the phragmitis plant actually removes toxic pollutants from the water; thus moving
the system where it is growing back to a state of health and wellbeing. When the time comes that the water has been sufficiently cleaned and the beneficial relationship between plant and toxins is no longer required, I suspect the natural system will move away from a dense planting of a single plant and back towards more resilient relationships between many diverse plants and
all the life that is intimately connected to them.
The natural world is constantly evolving through the beneficial relationships it creates with all the different aspects of itself. From communities of soil microorganisms to vast networks of mycelium, to the plants, the insects, the animals and the humans, all of which are a part of nature. Recently, we as humans seem to have forgotten that we are also of this world. Nature
is constantly seeking to build relationships with us, but ignorantly we turn the other way and wage war on the natural world with all the synthetic chemicals and machines we have concocted over the years. But nature knows better and is constantly giving us gentle reminders of the bountiful gifts right in front of us, with which we need only build relationships with for the
benefit of all.
Human Relationships With Nature
Humans have evolved over countless generations on this planet as part of the natural world. As
a part of this world, humans naturally formed relationships with nature. In any given system which humans were a part of over the millennia, there would have been countless beneficial relationships between humans and different aspects of the natural world. Relationships between humans and the animals of the system, which humans would have used as a source offat to survive is but one example. They also cultivated relationships with the local plants, which
were used as food, medicine and other ways we can only imagine. These are only two obvious major relationships formed between humans and the natural world as humans depended on nature to survive. There would have been countless other beneficial relationships utilized for human survival to continue for so long.
As humans began to better understand how to manipulate specific components found in nature to serve them better, they slowly lost touch with the relationships their ancestors had meticulously nurtured for so long. Now humans were of the mind that nature was separate from
them and they were here to do with nature as they saw fit. Exploiting the generous gifts provided for the purposes of immediate gratification and control over those who had less.
This mythology, under which we still currently live, that humans are separate from the world and the world is here only for our benefit has been prevalent for quite some time now, but we are at the tipping point in history where this worldview no longer serves us. The world is crying out for
us to re-engage with the natural systems which we are fundamentally a part of and not separate from. Our disconnect has moved to such an extreme, whereby both humans and the world upon which we live are suffering to a degree we have never seen in human history. The time for change is now and the natural world is here to help, all we have to do is form the relationships necessary that will propel us into a future of resilience.
Quality relationships with natural systems form the basis of quality life. As one begins to actively seek out and cultivate life enhancing relationships, those relationships begin to form
cycles of nourishment, feeding off each other to benefit life. The more quality relationships one can form and the deeper these relationships can be cultivated, the more resilient a person
becomes. This is the mission we must embark upon for the health and well being of not only ourselves, but also that of future generations.
Maybe the first place to look when seeking out a natural partner to form a beneficial relationship with is our own bodies. Despite what society tries to tell us, our bodies are of the natural world and thus we can form relationships with them that will greatly benefit our bodies, minds, and spirits, as well as the world around us. Our bodies communicate messages to us all the time,
but we are mostly unable to interpret the subtle signs with which we are being communicated with.
Another excellent place to start cultivating relationships with nature is by spending time in old forests with great trees. Being in the presence of large trees and sitting quietly with them has a
marked calming effect on the mind and the nervous system. There seems to be something about the trees that allows us an easier time feeling the subtle energies they give off that
doesn’t flow as freely with other, smaller plant species. Taking the time out of a busy schedule
to go out to a quiet forested area with no distractions and seeking out a majestic old tree under
which to spend some silent time alone will work wonders on the psyche. This is a first step down the path of building connections between yourself and nature. Returning regularly to a place in nature like this will help strengthen faculties for feeling subtle energies.
The natural world functions on a much subtler level of being than we are conditioned to be aware of in a world where our senses are constantly bombarded with intense stimuli. Taking in the overstimulation on a regular basis dulls our sense organs down. The more intense the stimuli and the longer the subjection to the stimuli, the duller the senses become. So it is vitally important to begin the shift from a lifestyle of overstimulation to one of a subtler nature. This is
where spending time in nature is most beneficial. The time spent there surrounded by subtle energies begins to repattern ones relationship with the sense organs and their ability to function.
Spending time with nature is a vital part in understanding the relationships in the natural world. Through that understanding comes the ability to take what has been learned and apply it to the re-patterning of our own lives to be more resilient through the cultivation of relationships. To further deepen connections with nature, it is extremely beneficial to eat living wild plants.
Living wild plants have a certain level of intrinsic wisdom patterned within their being. By consuming these plants in their live state, some of that wisdom patterning is imparted to us. By having that wild plant wisdom imparted to us on a very subtle level, there is a re-patterning that
begins to take place within our bodies, minds and spirits. The ingestion of dead, disconnected,
sensory-overload food has been imprinting a pattern of dis-ease and disconnect within ourselves for a long time. The pattern is deep, but by moving towards a diet consisting of an increasingly higher percentage of wild living food, the wild wisdom imparted by these plants begin to move the pattern to one of life enhancing connection. The faculties for feeling subtler energies is greatly increased as the sensory over stimulation is reduced and the subtle patterns of living wild wisdom are taken in.
Deepening Nature Connection
The deeper the connection one has with any particular plant, the more resilient that relationship becomes. By engaging all the sense organs when forming a relationship, the deeper that relationship becomes. It starts with an intellectual level of understanding about the plant; like what it looks like throughout its life cycle, where it grows, which parts are usable at different times of the year and how to use those parts. Simply by having an intellectual level relationship
with a particular plant makes for a greater degree of resilience to external stress factors with which this plant can help. Extending this intellectual understanding out to many different plants in a particular area increases that level of resilience with each plant that a relationship is formed with.
Once an intellectual level of connection has been established with any given plant, it is beneficial to strengthen that relationship by engaging the different sense organs in connecting with the plant. Maybe the next step then is to smell the plant. The action of smelling a plant brings about a more intimate understanding of its functions in both the natural world and within
ourselves. There is also some deeper, subtle wisdom which is imparted to us through the smelling of the plant, that could only be experienced by using our sense of smell. The same could be said for engaging the sense faculty of touch. There is a special sense of intimate understanding that comes by feeling the textures of a plant. Each plant is different and so every
sensory engagement with the different plants will bring unique insights, understandings and contemplation about that particular plant.
As we move through the different sense organs, gaining deeper insights and strengthening our relationship with this plant, we get to the sense of taste. Here we have a particularly insightful sense faculty. Much can be gained by developing a keen sense of taste and understanding the functions different tastes perform relative to our bodies, minds and spirits. Suffice it to say that
the sense of taste may be the most immediately beneficial faculty of understanding a plant’s medicinal and nutritional properties. Here the relationship between us and the plant really moves to a higher level of intimacy and by extension our resilience continues to increase.
After a deep re-patterning of our physical, mental and spiritual landscapes, there comes an opportunity to engage with plants on a level previously considered mythological. As mentioned earlier, plants communicate on a very subtle level of reality which eludes most people. But with
a strong determination to cultivate the faculties of awareness necessary to engage with reality on the super subtle level with which plants do, it becomes possible, to a certain degree, to directly communicate with the plants. Now the relationship moves into a space of connection far
beyond that of mere intellectual understandings, taste analysis, or any other means of understanding using the physical senses. Here lies a realm of possibility almost unimaginable
relationships so resilient that one could start to feel at home again in the natural world removed
from modern conveniences and distractions. A world we could imagine some of our distant
relatives were a part of. A world where nature provides everything humans could ever need.
As I have shown there is a great magic which happens when people begin to form relationships
with the natural world. The deep seeded disconnect which permeates our entire society begins
to fade and with it the plague of the myriad chronic conditions of dis-ease associated with that disconnect. Through coming to recognize that the plants we see all around us every day have evolved along side humanity for countless generations, we can begin to take it upon ourselves to begin forming the relationships necessary to continue that evolution. As we begin to shift
from a destructive view of humanity being separate from the natural world and bring the plants into our lives, we begin to affect a change in those around us, as they come to see how our relationship with nature is bringing about a resiliency previously absent in our lives. With a disconnected humanity crying out for help with a problem so pervasive they don’t know
where to turn, it falls to those of us who have begun to see the possibilities for the new world to create resilient relationships between people within communities. Just as plants growing together in communities each play different roles benefiting the system they are a part of, so to must we as humans create communities of people assuming different roles to benefit the community system as a whole. As more small communities come together forming resilient
relationships, a ripple effect will begin to spread outwards from each community, resulting in the formation of other resilient communities.
Beneficial community relationships are an integral part of human history. Since the beginning of humanity, people have worked together in small groups helping each other create shelter, produce food, raise children, care for the sick, and get together for good times. We are social by nature and we need each other to survive. This holds true now just as much, if not more so,
than the days of our ancestors. We have been lead to believe we don’t need each other, our neighbour is a stranger and those who live on the other side of town are to be feared. We rely on centralized systems of control to provide all the necessities of life and with that comes a drastic disconnect. No longer do we need that neighbour who knows the local medicine plants
to help heal our sick child, we simply drive to the hospital. No longer do we call on those around us to assist in constructing a new barn, we call a contractor. But this is changing and by looking
to nature for guidance we can bring about communities of resilience our ancestors could never have dreamed of.
Resilience by Design
Through the ages, humanity has consistently progressed its ability to conceptualize and design
intricate physical systems to bring about increased levels of comfort and security. Many great works of wonder have been created using the human faculties of imagination, planning and the
technologies which accompany them. These abilities are one of the main factors which separate humans from the rest of the natural world. The ability to come up with an idea, hold that idea in the mind, transfer it to drawn two dimensional plans, and then bring that conceptual
drawing into three dimensional reality using physical substances is absolutely amazing. With each successive generation, this faculty seems to increase. As it happens this steady progression is basically exponential; by the use of technologies already created to create new
technologies. Now here we stand, at the apex of human external, physical technology. We have sought to
use our amazing abilities of imagination, design and planning to bring about unnatural technologies to produce almost any desired effect and do almost any job. But with all this brilliance, there is something vital missing. Technologies have failed to solve all the problems
we had hoped they would be able to solve. In the process of designing and creating these amazing machines, buildings, and virtual networks of information, we have drastically degraded
the natural world in search for the physical substances required to manifest our dreams into reality.
With all this amazing technology at our hands, we could be in no better position than the one we are currently in to bring about massive rehabilitative change to the earth. Physical technologies
allowed us to degrade the world to such a point where people began to imagine systems of behaviour which would make the human presence on earth a benefit rather than a hindrance.
Using the uniquely human faculties of observation, discernment, and planning, a beautiful, ethical design science was developed which works with the natural world to create resilient systems of abundance, which care for both people and the earth. Of course I am describing permaculture. Thanks to the technologies at hand, permaculture education has spread quickly
around the world and anyone with access to the internet can now learn this amazing science.
Permaculture design is here to help us move out of the disconnected predicament we currently find ourselves in. Using the permaculture methods of design, coupled with the observation of natural systems and our brilliant imaginations we are able to create systems which massively outperform conventional systems on an energy audit. Working both with nature and modern machine technologies, we can orchestrate ridiculously resilient landscape designs which will regenerate themselves indefinitely for the benefit of all beings; especially humans. Not only can we use our excellent observation skills and design methodologies to bring abundance to degraded landscapes, but we can also apply them in creating new, and modifying existing human settlements. Design applies to social systems as well. With proper planning, we can easily set up local, small scale systems of governance which work to support the local
communities in every way necessary for maximum resilience. We have exhausted our time for segregated competition and it is time to look to nature as an example of integrated cooperation.
With nature as the example and the uniquely human ability to design, we have but only begun to scratch the surface of possibilities for the future; a future of resiliency through the creation of mutually beneficial relationships by design.The natural world system is constantly evolving and we as humans are the ultimate expression of this. We simply lost our way for a time as we discovered what it meant to have superior faculties with which to interact with the world we were a part of. We have evolved on this planet earth to use our uniquely human abilities to orchestrate designs with nature which will increase
the carrying capacity of the system far beyond that which would naturally arise from nature left to its own devices. As the carrying capacity of a system increases, so to does the opportunity for beneficial connections between elements in that system increase, leading to levels of resiliency which would not be possible if not for human design. Let’s work together with nature
and jump on the road of rapid evolution by orchestrating systems which maximize relationship possibilities and resilience for all.
The Way Forward
The way forward begins as a personal journey of re-patterning ones body, mind and spirit from a pattern of disharmonic disconnect from all things to a pattern of connection. After many years of influence from all factors in our lives, the patterns in our lives run deep, but with a concerted
effort and a little help from our friends in nature, the results of re-patterning will quickly become evident. Life becomes fuller, healthier, and downright more enjoyable. Not to mention that by
helping oneself progress down a path of connection, we are by extension helping all peoples of the world. The less dead food, grown with poisons, by slaves, in remote regions of the planet we buy because we now have a relationship with the food growing all around us, the less that system is perpetuated. As more people slowly remove their consent from the system the sooner the system comes to an end. Being an unnatural system, it is subject to entropy and the energy required to continue functioning is coming directly from the people who support it with
the choices we make everyday.
Let’s move back on an ascendant path of evolution with our most valuable partner, nature.
Nature has been evolving far longer than we have and will continue long after we are gone. It knows a thing or two and is really trying to help us along. We just need to turn our attention away from the over stimulation of the machine culture and focus on the slower rhythms of nature. Here our minds will quiet, our hearts will open, our bodies will heal, and our spirits will sing as we deepen our relationships with the natural world.As we currently cannot fully remove ourselves from the machine technologies so prevalent in our lives today, let us use them to our advantage while we still have them available. Using excellent design, coupled with the mighty power of the machine, let’s make magic happen on this degraded planet and turn deserts to jungles. We have the knowledge and technology required to turn any dead landscapes in to places of pure abundance. All we need to do now is learn by observing nature, connect with our too often ignored fabulous faculty of imagination and get out there and design something awesome. As without, so within. Using the same principles of design applied to outer landscapes, we can also apply them to our inner landscapes. As we rehabilitate one, so to does the other become more aligned with nature. We have a clear path forward in these times of tribulation. Let’s get out in nature, listen to what the
plants have to teach us and create resilient relationships in all aspects of our lives.
This is the way forward.
Written by Simon