Nature Connection & Regenerative Culture: Researching the Intersection Through Art Practice

Documentation from a 9-day deep dive in artistic residence

“Thread Walk”. Nature connection experiment 001

Context

This is some documentation from my exploration of nature connection and regeneration in Portugal. Post re:build gathering (100 people converged in Alentejo, Portugal to design and implement ways of regenerative co-living).

  • activist groups creating “regenerative culture” tool kits to care for their emotional selves,
  • farmers transitioning from industrial to ‘regenerative agriculture’ and mimicking nature’s cycles for carbon sequestration,
  • economists creating regenerative economy models that use gifting and sharing, instead of growth and extraction
  • entrepreneurs creating co-living villages with food forests on nearly arid land to nourish the soil.

Nature Connection

I was offered a cabin but chose to sleep in a tent instead.

So my approach is this:

Start by cultivating a real bodily feeling of connection with the natural world. Once felt, that’s a signal that we are aligning with the language of life — call it wisdom or animate intelligence. When we can tap that animate intelligence that runs through all living things, then I trust we will really regenerate from a place of wise action, as opposed to frantic reaction.

Nature connection => Wise action => Regeneration
  • Sit Spot daily (rain or shine)
  • 2 days of observation before action
  • Widening field of vision (Owl Eyes)
  • Mindful fire building

Connect — Invitations

Contemplations

  • Horizon contemplationin sitting position in a forested area, scan your eyes vertically down your body, across the earth, up a tree or vertical structure and back. Contemplate the boundaries of you.
  • Sitting inside of yourself sitting/standing in the forest Imagine: You’re sitting inside of yourself. Feel around. Take in the landscape of your internal world; the behind-the-scenes workings of you. Reach out and touch. Breathe deeply and notice the smells. Look close and far away. Be curious.

Thread Walk

  1. Pair yourself with anyone. Decide who will go first. You’ll start at the center and, when I ring this bell, begin walking along the thread.
  2. As you walk, you have 2 aims: 1st, always keep 1 point of contact with either the thread or something touching the thread. 2nd, whoever is not going first asks the other, “Please (NAME), would you tell me a story about the relationship of nature and you?” After asking, the listener should remain absolutely silent until the bell rings again, especially when it feels awkward
  3. After 10 minutes, the bell will ring. When you hear the bell, turn and face the direction of the center (here). The storyteller asks the listener, “Please (NAME), would you tell me a story about the relationship of nature and you?” Now, it’s the listener’s time to tell their story as the two of you begin traveling slowly back to the center. The new listener should be totally silent until the bell rings again.
  4. Notes: Walk slowly // If you get to the end before the bell rings, sit down or stand there and continue telling your story // Remember always to keep one point of contact with the thread or something touching it.

Telling Stories:

We tell stories to make sense of things. I’m telling you a story right now. I’ll invite us all now to express and hear some of the stories that are guiding us in life today.

A couple in conversation guided by threads.

Collect

Thread Walk Sharing: Which moments or thoughts felt significant?

Poem: A story of ‘I’

I’m a person.
I walk the land and eat the fruits.
I take what I can so I can thrive.
I play with my surroundings.
I jump in puddles, swim in rivers and oceans.
I feed water-weeds to ducks.
I spread mulch of leaves and water trees.
I walk and ski in mountains. I wear a ski suit. Or a birthday suit.
Or a suit-jacket when I have to perform my story.
Nature is my home. Earth is my home. Air is my home. What surrounds me is my home. My body
is my home. My heart is my home. My thoughts are not my home. My mind is my home.
My home is my place of play, leisure, comfort; pain, illness, death; belonging and living.

Complex and Complicated (with help from words of Jeremy Lent’s Web of Meaning)

Most of the time, the story I tell people when they ask me who I am and where I come from is complicated, similar to a jumbo jet: each of its components and the way they relate to each other have been analyzed and crafted to be accurately predictable. If that weren’t the case, you’d be unlikely to trust boarding that jet. You’d be unlikely to trust your prediction of how Joshua will behave.

Closing question:

Related 🔗

Additional documentation in my artistic process log.

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Joshua Glass

Nature connection. Participatory design. Creative process development. Meditation. joshuaglass.net