Read these short blog posts to explore the Conventional and Natural Paradigms, and what it might mean to you to Re-Align with Nature.
Thinking Like Nature — Profound yet Practical
During our recent online workshop series, we talked about the many benefits of Thinking Like Nature. Part of it comes from recognizing, then letting go of, the damaging triggers and traps of the Conventional Paradigm. The other part comes from re-discovering the profound yet practical insights and behaviors that arise from your Natural Paradigm.
In the series, we discovered a range of strategies found in Nature for being less busy, being less stressed, and being happy with less. We explored pythons and hummingbirds, leaves and nutcrackers, lichen and aquaporins. I was amazed at the insights that emerged.
One of the participants later told me that she put what she learned in the workshop to practical use during a recent overseas trip.
She’s a self-proclaimed planner, and gets stressed when things don’t go to plan, so she had a lot of anxiety over the upcoming trip. With good reason, it turned out, as the first flight was delayed and delayed and then finally canceled, meaning they’d miss their international flight and all follow-up ground transport.
As she felt her stress levels rise, she recalled how camels store fat in their hump and have numerous strategies for conserving water that allow them to go for days without eating or drinking. With that in mind, she recognized that she had the resources needed to make backup plans, and could wait it out if need be. She also recognized that it was important to conserve her energy, not use it up panicking or getting angry at counter agents or her partner. This was just an inconvenience, not a catastrophe.
She also thought about how kelp keep themselves intact in rough waters by being tough and well-rooted, and also by going with the flow. She visualized and tapped into her own inner strength and external support systems, and then let things just flow.
In the end, by Thinking Like Nature she managed to get different flights, save her long-awaited vacation, and — more importantly — maintain her sanity, dignity, and kindness to others (others did not fare so well). Upon reflecting, she realized that she always has these strategies available to her. By tapping into her Natural Paradigm she can let go of some of her automatic anxiety and be a better and happier self.
How might you benefit by Thinking Like Nature?
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
I was walking in the woods a while back, pondering what it means to be happy. I was preparing for my last workshop, “How to be Happy with Less by Thinking Like Nature,” and realized that I unintentionally took on a huge topic — How to be Happy. People have been pondering and exploring what it means to be happy for centuries! But I had to be prepared, so I did a lot of reading, had some very interesting conversations, and took a few long walks. What emerged was amazing (at least to me).
During one of my walks, I decided it was important not to try to define what it means to be happy, but rather to describe the feeling of being happy. I was coming up with words like joyful, content, expansive, optimistic. I also considered the feelings you don’t have when you’re happy: worry, fear, loneliness, greed. Just then, as I was walking down the trail, I paused and thought, “I really love this place.” I had a sudden awareness of being aligned with Nature, with that place.
That got me thinking about love, and how to describe the feeling of love.
There are many types of love, yet they all have common feelings. When you are experiencing love, you have a sense of abundance, of possibilities. You feel part of something bigger than yourself while also feeling you are a better you. You have a sense of trust, in the other person and in the world. You feel you can do anything, get through anything. You are courageous, curious, optimistic.
It was then that it struck me: The feeling of being happy, the feeling of love, and the feeling of being aligned with Nature are all the same. Wow. Does this resonate with you?
I started my recent venture (Wild Hazel) to help leaders shift from the Conventional Paradigm to the Natural Paradigm so that they could do more meaningful and impactful sustainability work.
I’m now wondering if this is really about helping people re-align with Nature so that they — all of us, individually and together — can feel and share happiness and love, in and with and as part of Nature.
No small task; however, I know there are lots and lots of you that are working in this same space.
What’s love — and happiness — got to do with it? Everything!
Can You Trust a Tree?
That’s a bizarre question, right? What does it even mean to trust a tree, or distrust a tree for that matter? That question doesn’t make sense because trust is fundamental to the way Nature works and thinks — to Nature’s Paradigm.
In the “real world”, the world of the Conventional Paradigm, you really can’t trust anyone. That’s because, in the “real world”, resources are limited and there’s not enough to go around. You know that, ultimately, you have to look out for yourself because no one else will. In our dog-eat-dog world, you’ve got to play the game and play to win, whatever it takes. You’ve got to get a lot while you can, while it lasts. You’ve got to protect yourself and reject them and their ideas, especially their ideas for change. The “real world” isn’t very nice, so distrust is quite appropriate.
Is that how you feel? Is that what you believe to be true about the world? Probably, sometimes, as that is what our current dominant cultural paradigm drives us to feel and believe. It’s good for exploitative capitalism, political divisiveness, and mass manipulation — as well as climate change, biodiversity loss, and racism.
Is that how you want to feel? Is that what you want to believe to be true about the world? I hope not! Thankfully, you likely don’t feel that way all the time. Your feelings and beliefs are likely quite different when you’re walking in the woods, lost in music, or noticing the ephemeral beauty of a sunbeam passing through the steam rising from your morning cuppa. In those moments, you may feel expansive and appreciative of the wonders of our world. You may have a sense that things are good, that good things are possible. You have a relaxed innate sense of trust. In these moments you are experiencing Nature’s Paradigm, your natural paradigm..
A tree — as well as a mushroom, a robin, and a bacteria — live and grow and thrive because they value and believe in abundance, systems, synergies, resilience, curiosity, and trust. In Nature, trust is knowing what is true and real, and relying on that. It is taking only what you need, knowing that others will do the same.It is about fully participating in the systems that support you and knowing that others will also. Trust is knowing who and what you are and living in full alignment with your own priorities and truths.
That’s what a tree does, so the answer is yes, you can trust a tree. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all trust each other the same way?
You may not be able to change everyone else, but you can change yourself, how you think. You can easily learn to think like Nature, because you ARE Nature!