Childlike happiness, vitality, deep listening and being truly heard, empathy, unconditional helpfulness, gratitude for life, compassion and forgiveness, inner peace and tranquility — we feel and embody these attributes when we are at our best. We strive to experience these qualities in our own lives and we want them for the people we love.”
~ Jon Young
Some of the remarks I heard repeatedly from people present at Standing Rock included the amazing sense of community; of greeting and being greeted by everyone you encountered; of feeling welcomed and held; feeling useful; loved; connected to something larger; and of experiencing greater reverence for and connection to our Mother Earth. This environment brought out the best in people.
These are qualities that are generally lacking in western society.
In my experiences as a Spiritual Ecologist, I explore the close ties between the different parts of the Natural world and how they map to parts of ourselves. I sense how the myriad invisible forces at work – whether under the soil, within the plants and animals themselves, or in the winds and waters – are inextricably connected with our own well-being.
As a Spiritual Entomologist, I receive ever more information validating the need for a deeper understanding of, connection with, and respect for, the insect world around us.
Quantum physics has proven what Indigenous people have known for millennia; everything in the web of life is connected, and we are an integral part of that web.
This connection has been largely discarded in modern society, to the detriment of ourselves and our planet.
What I have experienced makes me realize that what I know barely scratches the surface of the miracles occurring every day all around us in Nature; and the greater our connection to Nature, the more childlike and free we become as we come to realize the miracles that we ourselves are as well.
Our society suffers from a condition that has been termed separation sickness and nature deficit disorder, among other things. It describes our deep disconnect from the natural world.
But that disconnect also causes a disconnection from a part of ourselves, which ends up causing a disconnect between people as well, resulting in a society severely lacking in connection on multiple levels.
How do we repair that? How can we know what is missing when we have been born, raised and shaped by a disassociated society? How do we re-learn what true community means when we have never experienced it ourselves? How do I teach my child something I do not know myself?
How do we create a new world of beauty and balance if we don’t know where to start?
This is where Jon Young comes into the picture.
Jon Young has devoted his life to researching the following question: Why are some societies deeply connected to nature and others not?
Blessed with grandmothers from rural areas of Europe who still held pieces of the old wisdom, he was mentored from childhood in many aspects of nature, and this mentoring continued and deepened under the guidance of renowned tracker Tom Brown Jr., who was versed in the Old Ways and passed them on to Jon. He has since been gifted with ancient wisdom from many Native elders all over the world.
With well over 30 years of research and decades of mentoring in deep nature connection under his belt, he is a gifted story-teller who is now working to create a video/audio library of ways in which these Indigenous societies facilitate and practice Connective Modeling; something vital to our connection to self and others but completely absent in Western society.
He describes an overview of his journey very eloquently in this video:
So how can we create an interconnected community that provides support across all generations?
In 20 years of research, and after having his knowledge applied in communities across the globe, Jon has produced a map of 64 simple but effective practices that create this space, and is creating a series of videos to outline each practice.
One he has already recorded that resonated very strongly with me centered around our concept of time.
How many of you remember the endless days of summer when, as children, we had nothing to do but run around outside all day, catching bugs or frogs; playing games with other neighborhood kids; wading in creeks or wandering through vacant fields with nary an adult anywhere in sight?
Nothing was planned, every day was a new adventure. The only sense of time we had was when we were called home for dinner; other than that, our time was our own. No watches, no schedules, nothing but freedom.
How many of us have been able to allow our kids that same gift?
My son was born into timelessness.
For the first few years of his life, we lived with family in a home with a large fenced in back yard. Vegetables, fruit trees and plenty of dirt and wonderful adventures were to be had while still remaining in a safe environment.
Then I went back to work, and time was introduced; having to get up early in the morning go to daycare. Being picked up in the evening when he was not ready to leave.
His life became further constrained when we moved across the country to a home with a much smaller yard. The exploring was minimal. The neighbors became immediately concerned if he was outdoors unaccompanied.
Then came school, with a focus on time that was light years beyond his understanding. Relating the day’s events sequentially was not possible for him throughout most of grammar school, making long term projects almost impossible.
But I will never forget the summer after second grade when he complained that summer went by too fast.
I was stunned and saddened.
Summer should last forever at his age. There is no time – there should be no time – for someone that young. And I realized then that he had lost something that he should have been able to maintain for so much longer.
Linear time, as we understand it, is an illusion. Anyone who has been in a car crash or other intense situation knows how long a few seconds can last. Anyone who loses themselves in a book or an artistic endeavor of any kind knows how time can shrink or expand.
How do we return to timelessness in a society that has diminished the value of ‘free time’?
Jon Young’s story entitled Timeless Wandering explains the history that led to our constricted view and what we can do to reclaim timelessness for ourselves.
This is just one of many videos that Jon has created as part of a project whose goal is to preserve his amazing knowledge about all the many facets of a fully connected society, and make that information available to all of us. He admits that this will not be easily implemented and adapted across society, but each one of us who listens, watches and learns, can begin to practice these skills in our own life, and slowly share them with others as well. This way we can gradually reshape the fabric of our society into the beautiful, fully connected community and world that will allow us and our planet to thrive.
I have been so inspired and positively influenced by this man’s work over the last several years that I wanted to introduce him to you in the hopes that you will be equally inspired and help to carry his message forward in whatever way fits into your life.