Fast Wisdom™, Newsletter of Holden Healing Studio
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October 2018

By Lonner Holden

On the Origins of Governance: The Trophic Cascade Brings Harmony

The four San Bushmen men squatted in the Kalahari sand,  shoulder to shoulder in a shallow semi-circle, their eight hands reaching into the center. The outer two men held a short, flat stick to the ground; one man in the center turned a vertical, straight stick rapidly between the palms of his hands, spinning its tip into the flat stick while the man next to him watched and waited to see any fatigue in his hand drill partner. Then, like a violinist taking the next note in a duet, he reached over, wrapped his palms around the stick, taking the lead while continuing the spinning without missing a stroke. The four of them were making friction fire. They spoke not a word.

After the fire was hearty with good cooking coals, the Bushmen women brought over berries and nuts they had gathered from the landscape, choosing wisely and leaving enough for the plants to continue to regenerate new crops. They buried their harvest in the coals, removing them in a few minutes to rub the ash from the food, spill it into the bowl of an inverted tortoise shell and pass it around for a community mid-morning snack.

As with the men, the women were silent in their task, moving in unison, one sensitive to the other as one task was performed, then another. No boss, no subservient. Each skilled in the task and all the particulars of it; assertion and yielding in balance as the virtue of the greater good was served equally by all.

Each knew what their part was to make what was needed for the community as they supported each other being successful in their role. No elections were necessary, because there was no dominant hierarchy. And everyone was free.

Later, when I asked the Bushmen a question sent with me from home by an inquiring friend, “How do you find hope?” The Bushmen’s reply was, “We come together and talk until we can all believe in the same thing.” The balance of assertion and yielding in the spirit of what is best for all - unity above all else - while every voice is heard and each individual is valued; a form of governance that protects each person’s gift as necessary for the survival of all. True equality.

All of nature is related to every other part of nature. Move one thing in the web of life and everything moves. You could call nature the perfect form of governance. No hierarchies. Yes, we have imposed our concepts of domination onto nature - predator dominant, prey subservient. But in nature the greater truth is, no prey, no predator.

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, they balanced out the elk, whose populations in the absence of wolves - once hunted to excess - had become bloated. Unchecked, the elk ate the forests, the forests no longer stabilized the soil, the soils ran into the rivers, the insects, birds and trout vanished. It became an ecological wasteland. 

By re-introducing the essential peak predator, balance was restored. Yellowstone became glorious with the diversity of an ecological Shangrila. This is called a Trophic Cascade, where all the elements return to harmonious interrelatedness. Perfect governance for regenerative balance in the biggest community of all. 

Where in your life is there relating with others perhaps even without speaking, but sharing a task where you are creating something to share equally? Baking pies for a holiday dinner? Cleaning house? Caring for the children? Producing a professional project? Whatever it may be, take a moment to acknowledge this way of relating as being in alignment with the interrelatedness of nature. That this way of being is your most natural way of being, as it was your indigenous ancestors. 

Imagine your family, your community, your town, county, state, nation operating from this paradigm of governance. A world nurturing the emergence, celebration and contribution of every individual’s gift. Every gift offered on behalf of the greater good with equal value. Gratitude, happiness and generosity abounding. A world where this freedom is the norm.

Sound too Utopian for you? The truth is, this is how we used to be. Somewhere along the line we got side-tracked - we entered what I call “The Great Forgetting”. But this harmonious world is only dormant in all of us. We can awaken it. How? Go outside and notice the changing seasons, the movement of the clouds, the trees, the sounds of the birds, and the activity of the daytime and nighttime creatures. Listen a lot. Bring your senses and your curiosity together in a state of timeless exploration. Tell the story of your experience to someone who will listen and not judge or change it. And I bet you mustard to ketchup that you will begin to feel more equal to yourself, others and to even nature itself. You will likely even feel more physically healthy, be more resilient and know more peace.

I call this egalitarian belonging. You and I were made not only for it, but by it, because nature made you and I. Show a little interest in nature, and nature will show a lot of interest in you.

I know people who have experienced a Trophic Cascade within themselves from just slowing down and observing nature in a curious way, daily. Some call it transformation. It certainly transformed their lives, and all of their relationships, including the work they do, like creating social environments that encourage Trophic Cascades in others.

Maybe you’re next.

PICK OF THE MONTH: Mary Reynolds Thompson: Advice from the Earth
Lonner Holden:
Being a Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure practitioner for 27 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: November 10th

Marin Tracking Club:
Point Reyes: November 24th

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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