Monday, February 13, 2012

Stepping into nature with Syndallas Baughman and Rowena Conahan

I have written about the complexities of fear a few times. Fear is something we have become culturally accustomed to. We are fearful that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon and nuke our allies in the Middle East, and so, the timing of the "end" of the Iraq invasion couldn't be more perfect. We are fearful that we will be called "anti-American" if we say things we aren't "supposed" to, and we bite our tongues. We are fearful of what a changed humanscape would look like if ecologically degrading capitalism were to end, and so, we build a bigger and bigger house of cards. There is probably also the fear of retribution on the part of those that have committed ecological and social atrocities, making it impossible for those people to come forward in catharsis.

The primal and paralysing nature of fear makes it the perfect human emotion to cater to to maintain the status quo. How might we overcome fear? Is there a way that we can, by ourselves, liberate ourselves from it? Reconnecting with the outdoors, with nature, seems like a powerful way towards this liberation. The opposite of fear is a melange of positivity, hope, courage, and engagement. These are things we need to make meaningful strides towards treading more lightly on this Earth, and moving towards a more cherishing relationships with those we do not agree with.

Syndallas Baughman and Rowena Conahan, founders of the Ann Arbor Nature School, are two of the calmest people I have ever met (listen to their voices below), and they make very compelling cases of how a reconnection with the outdoors and an understanding of ourselves as children of the Earth can lead to more peaceful, healing, and empowering lives. I shared a few words with them at the Ann Arbor Reskilling Festival a few days ago.

A few words with Syndallas

A few words with Rowena

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