Nature Deprivation & Holistic Education
Salutations Medicine Mamas, Kids, Yogis & Friends!
Several years ago a wise and wonderful doctor by the name of David Cumes shared a dinner with my husband Alvin and I in our Las Vegas home. David was passing through for a urology conference as he is a reputable and professional urologist and has long studied allopathic medicine. What is most unique about this doctor is that he also is a devoted sangoma (zulu for shaman), African medicinal healer. Fortunately, I learned about David in the bush lands of Zambia back in 2012 and have read his books and experienced a traditional bones reading or divination reading that David offers as a means of channeling wisdom via our ancestors. I have much regard and reverence for David as he really inspired my path to explore plant medicine and supported this calling within me to go deeper in my indigenous studies.
The evening we shared dinner, David brought up the topic of Nature Deprivation. It was the first time I had heard of this term and the topic arose as we were deciphering dreams, one in which I had recently had about children being emotionally plugged into technology. That’s when I learned through David that Nature Deprivation is a serious diagnosis that some health professionals have coined over the recent years to address the root cause of a plethora of ailments and diseases in both children and adults today.
Exploring Peru For Medicinal Healing
What I learned about Nature Deprivation inspired me to go deeper with my own relationship with Earth Mother. Approximately one year later my family and I retreated to Peru with our yoga students of Barefoot Sanctuary to learn more about the Andean Spirituality and culture of the sacred valley. There we were introduced to the divine energy of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and a most endearing community of people. We stayed at the magnificent Willka Tika, a purely sacred Peruvian retreat center that Carol Cumes divinely created with bountiful and healing chakra gardens, hand crafted like the flowers of life.
After another shamanic reading from their treasured local healer Benito, my message was again, to go deeper with Pachamama. ‘Work closely with her’ the reading shared. There is nothing more to do or create but to work lovingly and in accordance with the earth element and devote more time to cultivate a deeper connection. Our time spent in the sacred valley brought clarity to me that the most regal way of life in the ancient territories of Peru is to worship Pachamama with all heart, respect Mother Earth and all of her gifts. Companionship, partnership and learning to understand the soil, homestead and live sustainably fueled me with curiosity and intrigue.
The Forest Is My Teacher
Shortly after our Peruvian travels, my husband, son and I set off again on a curious adventure with hearts open to find the sacred land that most called to us. Where on the planet could it be? We took a journey north and found the lush forests and wilderness of British Columbia. Something lured me closer into a remote yet special area within the magic land of the Okanagan, flourishing with lakes, sleepy towns, organic farmland, vineyards and a slower, softer pace of life. I had an auspicious feeling that there was something out in the forest I needed to see and feel. Our meandering trails brought us to a Waldorf inspired school nestled between the farm and the forest. How could it be I thought? Deer running free in the yard, a cedar wood built structure to harness the holistic development of the young mind and a community of Earthlings, families and children who support living and learning harmoniously in nature. Was it a dream?
Opening the doors of the Cedar Bridge school captivated me all all levels. The coziness and warmth, the vibrant rosy cheeks of the children thriving in nature, young people drawing and moving eurythmically in their rainbow colored socks, faces beaming with fullness of life. The chalk board displayed a beautiful pastel work of art that served as a three day history lesson taught through story. Outside the children were engaged in knitting in the grass with natural fibers from the local farm, along side a fire pit, used to naturally dye wool with the pigments from roasted onion skins. Did I open a fairytale book and melt inside the chapter on the gnome in the crystal dome? Wow.
The puzzle pieces started to form as I discovered a tea plantation and plant medicine school up the road and acres upon acres of supple, radiant land. My first instinct was to run wild like a horse and breathe deeply in this vast wilderness. Simply enveloped in the magic of it all, we decided to take a nature sabbatical and let the forest be our next teacher.
We returned to the area a few months later to learn more about the forest and the education offered through Cedar Bridge school. If I am to continue raising a Medicine Kid and seek to pave the way with this awareness, I thought it be best to find the environment to harness and foster such a path. Learn what Earth Mother has in store and pass that wisdom on. Just like the circle of life. I lovingly observed a morning in the life of a preschool child as our son, Satori played rhythmically throughout the landscape. I was amazed though not surprised to find that not a child in the school had a runny nose. There was no such thing as an allergy list. Could it be the direct connection to nature, farm friends and soil that is in fact stimulating and supporting a natural immune response to the body?
Healing With Nature
The theories I’ve read about coupled with my own intuitive feeling in regard to living interwoven with nature were proving to be true. Before my own eyes I could see the marvelous link between human and soil, the trees; the wisest elders of them all. The majesty of the forest protecting and cleansing the air as the children frolicked about, engaged in the deepest level of play I never imagined possible.
That’s when I realized that we are becoming much like technology, with a beating heart. We can only perform and function our best when we are fully connected. Just the way a cell phone will not work when it goes out of range, so does our immunity. When we are so disconnected to nature and live a completely industrialized and processed lifestyle, our immune system is what we sacrifice. When we return to nature and shed the materialistic facets of existence a new prana or life force begins to thrive. We are no longer roaming yet integrated, engaged and one. This is the kind of connection I crave for my child and my inner child. I think if I run away and get lost in the wild, I may truly be found.
I long for you Earth Mother. May our children always remember to play in the dirt. I believe we go deep into the Earth and are cleansed and healed. The medicine of the forest, the medicine of the Earth will surely bring us back to the sacred connection we have parted with. Ingest the wisdom, love her herbs and vital essence and we too are stronger. This is the partnership we all need. This is the missing link. Deprive not our soul of our greatest gift yet fulfill the senses with the truth and beauty of nature.
Here’s an interesting piece of information I learned on this journey that may inspire you to learn more is the holistic education model of Waldorf/ Steiner education. AWSNA, the fastest growing educational system in the world with a significant waiting list at the Manhattan Waldorf school in New York City is beginning to express a deeper need for emotional development and whole body learning. Why such a long waiting list? The executives of the area are finding that their children are so connected to their devices and technologies that the ability to communicate, hold conversation and socialize is waning thin. These are behavioral tools that are sacred and valuable. What are we doing and where are we going?
Lets unplug and give this some thought. All life’s a Circle.
Visit: Waldorf Education – waldorfeducation.org
Special Thanks and Gratitude to:
David Cumes ~ www.davidcumes.com
Carol Cumes ~ www.willkatika.com
Gratitude and Passion,