I Hear The Voices Of My Ancestors Calling Me....What Calls Me Forth as a Nature Connection Mentor - Marc Barker
Step into the forest, sit at the edge of the sea, lie in a meadow, breath deeply for five to ten breaths, close your eyes - what do you feel? A shift in your awareness? The pulse of life all around you? A stillness in time?
It was like waking in a dream the first time I consciously recognized I was having a deep nature connection experience. Both spiritual and sensual this timelessness was. I was 18 and working as an assistant field technician to an ecology masters student in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Within an endless sea of lodgepole pine, the snow-capped mountains filled the horizon, the light shone through the dappled canopy, illuminating the spores of a puff-ball fungus I’d just released moments earlier. I don’t know how long this experience lasted, it didn’t matter. My awareness shifted, my brain waves slowed into that of a state of deep meditation, and it was just me - alone and free in the universe - alive in the dream of life, alive in the dream of the earth, and awake. From that moment on I’ve been tracking what this experience was and in the years to come I would discover that not only was this an innate part of my being - a deep, felt connection to life - there were ways and methods of achieving this state to be part of my baseline awareness just as there are methods in all the advanced spiritual practices - yoga, meditation, martial-arts; all of them stem from the same source, and I found the root of it all - Nature herself.
I’ve been dedicating the last decade of my life to re-integrating this ancient, timeless way of being back into both myself and those I come in contact with. I do this for a living now as a Nature Mentor - a calling many now follow all over the world, and growing this community as much as I can, for no one exists as an island. Nature is who we are - earth’s rhythms and cycles, her patterns and webs of relationship - we are a part of this biosphere, this universe, this mystery called life. But have we lost sight of this in the static of the “modern” world? In this time of beta brain states, where meditation is considered separate from the world of “getting things done”, have we forgotten what it means to FEEL fully alive? Have we lost our vitality? Our sense of wonder for this existence? Our sense of dreaming in this life? Where has our sense of adventure gone - the one we had as children playing in the mud, or engaging in woodland games, or just watching a ladybird crawl upon a blade of grass?
Not all who wander are lost, and there is a map in our very DNA we can follow back to the source of things. Timelessness is a key to all of this, stepping out of what we think the “world” is and stepping into what the world truly IS. Full sensory experience tunes us into everything around and within us, brings us back in sync to the rhythm of the earth, the music of the spheres, the dance that is this life. Continued practice makes this a reality rather than a flash in the pan. This is natural, it is part of our neurobiology, we evolved and were dreamed through this planet into who we are today by the countless millennia we’ve existed on this planet, and even before then. This is the old ways coming back to us. The song of our ancestors returning, though we’ve never really forgotten it. Even in the world of the present, we cannot escape the forces of nature, from how we design our megacities to run like and ant colony, to how we are humbled and tremble when they fall to a hurricane or tornado or fire or flood or earthquake. This is the flash of lighting that awakens us in the split second before clap of thunder causes us to shudder before the sheer awesome power of the planet. This is Gaia inviting us back into reality, and she is always beckoning.
The voices of my ancestors are still alive and well. I can feel them every time I kindle fire and find the north star amidst the rising sparks, mixing with the endless lights in the night sky. I can see the chain of knowledge still unbroken when I learn from others the medicinal uses for plants or where the deer sleep from reading their tracks in the mud. I feel at home in nature, and realize that connection to nature means connecting to myself, the earth, and my community. We are social animals and are not designed to do this alone. Culture is in place to help mold people into their true potential on this earth, and culture today is in deep need of repair. Re-integrating the patterns and processes of life that shaped that of our ancestors can only serve us for the better as we move towards unsure times ahead. We need to remember how to dance in the dream again, to recognize that we are not only a part of the process, we drive the process. We are dreamers too, if only we could remember that, and this is where culture comes in. Through stories and skills, craft and ceremony, ritual and resilience - culture shapes our consciousness.
As a mentor, I work to shift individual consciousness back into tune with life, back into connection with nature. This creates a ripple-effect as those individuals go back to their lives, changed, and resonate this state of being - deep nature connection - back into their communities. One at a time I see things shifting, and now these communities are starting to coalesce and CULTURE - regenerative, connected CULTURE - is coming alive again. Life is an adventure, life is a dream, and through the work I am doing I am realizing this more and more with every sunrise I witness and sunset I give gratitude to.
I am grateful to be a part of this movement. We are the change we want to see, and it is so natural because it is who we truly are. These ripples have become a wave, in time and space. The old ways are returning to meld with the next cycle up the ever-turning spiral and I can see a future for my grandchildren and theirs far beyond them, and that future is ALIVE.
I know now that the experience I had in the Rockies was primed to happen by the subtle mentoring and excitement for life Monique, the masters student, was role-modeling to me throughout our forays in the Colorado wilderness. How she would stop to point out the stomatal blooms on the underside of fir needles, or navigate the mountain slopes using only her memory and a keen awareness of where the sun was. How she somehow knew to leave me alone for hours on end in the wilderness to find my own way between her field sites. She may not have consciously known she was laying the foundation for a life-changing experience for me, but she didn’t have to. It was natural for her to do so, she was living and resonating her own love for life, and I tuned in. On that afternoon when I spotted puffballs growing on a mossy log, I was ready for the experience out of time, and back into nature. And it was miraculous.
Now imagine what we can do if we consciously create these experiences for people. Imagine what effect this would have on their lives and the lives of everyone around them. Imagine that there is a map to instill deep nature connection consistently and effectively. Now open your eyes and see that it’s already happening (and has always been happening). And that is why I’m a Nature Mentor. Welcome to the adventure, it’s always been there waiting for you.