Fast Wisdom™, Newsletter of Holden Healing Studio
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June 2018

By Lonner Holden


“Dad, be the bigger person.” I was getting elder advice from my 16 year old daughter in response to my overreaction to my take-out lunch coming out of the bag other than what I had ordered. An unskillful consequence of low blood sugar desperation.

In this interaction of over ten years ago, Olivia had skillfully, and in the moment, reflected back to me how I had allowed myself to devolve to the perspective of a “gimme, mine” two year-old, but with embarrassingly many more years. She brought me back into connection with the river of wisdom that washes through all of us.

A few years ago, when I hit my ’60’s, something mysterious rose up inside of me. Time began slowing down. My perspective was broadening. I had arrived at a different place in the life of the river of wisdom. I was becoming and elder.

In these recent years, the sense of urgency is more acute. The questions of, “am I leaving more behind than I have taken?; how do I mentor younger people?; what can I leave as my legacy?; what does the world need most from me now?; have I loved well?”  have all spent good time bumping up against each other.

I look around through the eyes of these pressing questions. When with the San Bushmen in Botswana a few months ago, I observed how, when the larger group of men, women, youth and children broke into smaller sub-groups, they still stayed generationally diverse. Elders, adults, youth and children of both sexes maintained coherence. Their multi-generational mentoring culture had an invisible glue that kept them adhered to the ancestral river of wisdom all the time. No wonder their hunter-gatherer culture has been able to regenerate from generation to generation with survival constancy for thousands of generations.

I see something very different in our degenerating society, which sufferers from depression, anxiety, prejudice, addiction and violence. We are socially segregated. People of the same age spend much more time with each other than with people of other ages. Grandparents with parents, with youth, with children, with babies as a sustained group mostly occur on holidays, birthdays, family reunions, weddings, graduations, and funerals. The modern version of multi-generational gatherings is largely event-based, not culturally sustained daily.

I see in this a tremendous loss of connection, communication, cooperation, collaboration and respect for consequence in how we have restructured ourselves. Chaos too, as where is the continuity of vision, mission and purpose in this stratified society? How is the wisdom of the elder, of accumulated life experience, and the wisdom of the river of life to transmit through these layers if we have become a humanity of lakes, ponds, and puddles that somehow refresh themselves, but fail to renew each other?

Something ancestral used to move through all of us, keeping alive a basic respect for the wisdom of the ancestral. The greatest ancestor being nature itself. Living in collective reciprocity with nature kept us attuned to the wisdom of nature. Move out of the boundaries of nature’s way and poof, that was the end of you! Ancestral wisdom wandered upstream through us as a community from the delta of the oldest elder to the rivulet of the newborn.

At any age, ancestral wisdom enters human life through the attentive soul, moves both up and downstream too, infusing humanity with the remembrance of who we are individually, and to, and for, each other.

The youth and elder in symbiotic, mutually mentoring relationship reminding each other of what sustains and regenerates us when ancestral wisdom flows downstream as inspirational insight into the here and now, and upstream as a guiding comment or question. Youth presence, and elder essence drawing from the same source from different perspectives. The child and youth with sudden insights into new relationships; the birth of creativity - a new “how” to do something. The elder with understanding of long range patterns; communion with creation - the “way” and “why” to do it (or not).

Yet, as the river’s nutrients ultimately accumulate there, the delta is a unique repository for a lifetime of experience. Elderhood is still a privileged position occupying the threshold where the limited meets the limitless, seeing into both realms simultaneously. Awake with hard earned questions of consequnce, the elder looks with the eyes of the unseen future, facing upstream in response to new insights and innovation, offering the resulting story about consequences.

Too much unchecked or undeliberated innovation brings chaos; too much imposing of limits brings oppression. The balance between the wisdoms of innovation, and counseling of consequences brings regenerative culture.

Multi-generational gathering is essential for the river of wisdom to flow. The child the guardian of what is new and emergent. The elder the guardian of all that is consequential, while the snows fall fresh in high, rarified air, and the tide washes in at the dissolving limits of knowledge, releasing a lifetime of experience out to join the deep sea, to become the clouds of tomorrow once again.

PICK OF THE MONTH: Michael Meade Workshop:  Against the Stream: Ancient Paths, Timeless Songs; a Multicultural Mentoring Retreat for Younger and Older Men; Mendocino, CA August 14 - 19, 2018
Lonner Holden:
Being a Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure practitioner for 24 years has helped me understand the healing potential of the body and the whole person.  A published poet and backcountry guide educated from early life by the natural elements and animals of the Alaskan wilderness, and with Animal Track & Sign certification, my knowledge of dance, trail running, yoga, meditation, body awareness disciplines and indigenous nature connection practices, I bring poetry, nature mentoring and a lifetime of nature awareness to Vive!  Nature Wander™ urban and wilderness treks to enhance awareness, creativity, vitality, health and well-being.


VIVE!  Nature Wander™
Marin County: July 21st

Marin Tracking Club:
Point Reyes: July 29th

Sun Valley Tracking Circle:
San Rafael: Next Meeting TBD

Into the Wild Journeys:
Grand Canyon 2018


See events on calendar »




Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.  Each issue explores a theme of living  in the context of healing so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.

© 2018 Lonner Holden
Fast Wisdom™
Copyright © 2018 Holden Healing Studio, All rights reserved.

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