Falling in Love and Moving in Power

My work with Gypsy, one of the horses, is getting deeper and more nuanced quickly, even though we’ve only worked together a few times and we’re still doing very basic types of interactions and trainings.  Here is some of the journal I’m keeping about it.

6/5/14

My main practice today with Gypsy was mimicking her stepping motions very closely, mirroring her two front legs with my legs, no matter what she did.   I love subtle work like that, getting into the flow of communication and perception and dropping deeper and deeper into subtle sensitivity and movement. It’s one of my favorite feelings. It was a bit dangerous though; I fell in love with Gypsy. I had to stop at the end because it was becoming too intense. It’s helpful to see those dynamics happening so quickly in a way that sheds some light onto how and why they arise.

Day 4, 6/6/14

Since yesterday it seems that Gypsy and I have a much deeper and easier bond. I’m less afraid of her, less needy, and our connection seems much more natural. Our work today involved horse meditation again, learning to drop into a feeling of simplicity and connection he while standing beside her and then in front of her. Then we learned new skills, “getting” the horse stop and move backwards with one foot, and then turning in a circle. Each of these required stepping into a playful seriousness, an energetic firmness that said coming out from the body without equivocation saying: “here’s what we’re going to do.” I’ve become a little unpracticed in that powerful, directed energy. Oh it feels good.

Horsework

The past two days at Alderlore we’ve spent our mornings working with the horses in the barn in a way I’ve never imagined possible. We begin each day with horse meditation, staying completely still and grounded next to our horse (mine is named Mara), finding a sweet spot of energetic anchoring. I’ve noticed that when I find this sweet spot the Mara is spontaneously still, alert, attuned to me, and as soon as I begin to lose this anchoring or get caught up in thinking, she begins to move or get distracted. This attunement to my energy is so precise it’s really been shocking. Once we are mutually attuned and the horse comes to trust us, we begin some more engaged and communicative practice, a sort of game of dancing with the horses in which our energy and intention guides a mutual flow of movement. 

I’m learning that while horses do not participate in many of the cultural and linguistic spheres we value so much, they are light  years ahead of us in terms of energetic attunement and non-linguistic communication, and they are really becoming my teachers in this dimension. It’s also clear that the impact of this sort of exploration is not just subjective and contemplative, but will profoundly impact all of my relationships (particularly intimate ones) over time, as this dimension is active and functioning whether we are aware of it or not. And just like human relationship, this dance is revealing to me places in which I am stuck, energies with which I am uncomfortable, allowing me to work with this edge, become unstuck, and grow into new possibilities in the world. 

First week of the SOLE

The SOLE has begun!

Energy work with the Alderlore horses, early morning meditation, hours of dedicated research and writing time, and surrounded by a lush, vital natural environment – it’s so much fun here.

We’ve set our schedule and jumped right in.  I’m very much enjoying the simplicity and dedication that’s coming with being at Alderlore.  It’s easy to focus and enjoy the subtle and difficult philosophical work I’m beginning.  And the sense of contributing to something emergent is palpable.  As we go further I and the other students and mentors will post updates about our experience and work.  I can tell you that my research agenda revolves around a shift from viewing the world through a structural, static, noun-ish approach to viewing the world through a moving, process, verb-ish approach.  I’ll be expanding on the ethical implications and general design principles that follow from this.

And here’s a somewhat related poem-in-progress that I wrote a few days ago:

The Cosmic Banana

What is that cosmic thing out there? That cosmic once-and-for-allness. That all encompassing, perfectly whole, I’m gonna have it nailed now, and did I mention all encompassing, way, object, method, identity, name, principle…. IT!!!?? What is it? I can feel it, what is it??!!!

First I’ll figure it out, then I’ll do it.   Or, maybe I’ll write about it and other people will do it. Or maybe I’ll teach people how to do it. But first I have to find it…

….shit.

Keep looking straight ahead my friends, that’s the only way to ride the frothy waves.

 

A new study published in the  American Psychological Association’s Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin documents work done at Washington State University showing positive developmental effects horses have on children

We found that children who had participated in the 12-week program had significantly lower stress hormone levels throughout the day and in the afternoon, compared to children in the waitlisted group,” she said. “We get excited about that because we know that higher base levels of cortisol – particularly in the afternoon – are considered a potential risk factor for the development of psychopathology.

Read more at

http://equusmagazine.com/blog/horsing-childhood-wsu-evidence-cortisol-stress-hormone-16393?utm_source=EQUUSFB&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=Facebook

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

What does mentoring mean in the context of Alderlore’s educational philosophy? What are we trying to cultivate as a group? At root, conventional education does not adequately prepare us to interface with the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the world that is emerging—a world of climatic shifts, dramatic life extension, overpopulation, 3D printing, nano- and bio-technologies, cryptocurrencies, vertical farming, decentered and restructuring global economic networks, species extinction, and increasing global access to virtually all  human knowledge including all wisdom traditions. What we are offering is essentially a parallel, complementary curriculuum for young adults — a templating and collective cultivation of the core capacities we need  to skillfully meet such an unknown future, such as:

– radical mental and emotional stability, yielding enormous capacity to adapt to shifting conditions with ease, cultivated by contemplative practice

– a profound connection to, exploration of, and growing expertise in our singular passions and contribution: a shift from engagement that depletes to    engagement that regenerates

– sophisticated individual and collective inquiry methods that permit creative insight far beyond what is otherwise possible; when the existing avenues of inquiry   and research have been exhausted, we need to be able to release prior understandings and to “listen” to the natural intelligence in which we inhere for a novel   way forward, and this listening is trainable

– a healing of our acculturated sense of alienation from the nature of which we are an integral part; realizing a profound at-homeness in the universe

– mature relational and emotional fluency yielding ongoing personal evolution and capacity for next-level teamwork

– a cultivation and refinement of the creative process involved in all fields of work or research; when we train up how to “give birth” to the new, we can   contribute in our field, profoundly and repeatedly

These are not capacities we wish to impart; they are already latent within all of us, but are generally left very much unengaged by conventional education. These are the skills that will distinguish our work and empower our capacity to enact it, while living lives of robust joy and fulfillment way beyond what we have imagined was possible.

For a more in-depth view of our educational philosophy, please see Bonnitta’s videos below.

LYNDA

lynda

 

lynda.com is a fantastic resource for finding high quality video tutorials on learning and improving skills that we use everyday in the digital world. Just visit for a few minutes and it will blow you away.

eLearn: Discover Your Value

Course01

Discover Your Value : Turning Experience into College Credit
Full course description

This self-paced course provides participants with the opportunity to explore, assess, and document learning mastered through a variety of life experiences. You will be challenged to think holistically and critically about your skills, knowledge, and performance capabilities as they relate to college-level and professional-based learning. Participants will use social media to build personal learning networks that support collaborative learning and cooperative engagement. The focus is on identifying college-level content and preparing an experiential learning portfolio. Allow seven weeks to complete the coursework and portfolio.

Staying true …

One of the greatest challenges young adults face today is staying true to their feelings about what is most important in their own life. Although they are facing complex and multivariate problems, young adults in college still want to make the world a better place, and believe they can make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Students leaving college are eager to join the world that awaits them. For this generation of young adults, the world that awaits them is the world they want to change.

Young adults have a stronger moral focus than most of their immediate elders who they see as having had to compromise their values and silence their inner voices to fit into the conventional norms of an institutionalized education system, a centrally monetized economy, and corporatized business sector.

Too often their eagerness to contribute is seen as naive, as one by one their beliefs are defeated by the limiting assumptions of those who are responsible for “preparing them” for society. Perhaps we as educators should ask the opposite question. How can we prepare society, first in the form of the educational opportunities, for the moral focus and enthusiasm of the next generations? What if we as a society understood the restorative gift of young people — their outlook, energy and creativity — not as a challenge to the existing system that is convenient to us, but as a “wake-up” call to continual evolution toward greater possibilities and higher goods. In the process, I believe, we will find we have regained our own deeper truth.

4 C able Futures

4Cablefutures

 

We live in an age where the future is less and less predictable. We have more choices than ever, but we no longer have a foreseeable future to help us make those choices. We must instead be able to quickly adapt to circumstances, to be flexible and intuitive, creative and continuously learning and evolving.

Insight Training

teepee

 

Our approach to education is through insight training. Students and mentors participate in collective insight practice to help each other discover what is possible that had not been seen as possible before.