Transformative Leadership for a Regenerative Future

In Bin by Göran Gennvi

I see wilderness as our primary teacher.

-Steven Harper

Nature as the classroom

Nature is our classroom where the skies are high, offering grand views as well as deep insights. Nature has all the time in the world. When you are out there, you automatically relax. Weather and wind, light and darkness, hunger, and thirst are factors that divide our time organically in total accord with Nature’s rhythm.

When we experience the regenerative dynamics of life in Nature, we get the opportunity to embody, re-learn and meet ourselves through a renewed contact with our slumbering senses, our atavistic instincts, and our natural intuition. The ability to cultivate ourselves depends on our inner state of mind. When we begin to regard ourselves as a part of the wholeness, things around us start to happen when we dare to let go. There is a flow of meaning around us as if we were part of a greater conversation.  

When you rest your back against a tree, neither moving nor speaking, you will soon hear the animals you scared off when you arrived, slowly returning to reclaim their territory. Maybe memories and thoughts from your childhood also return, and that special feeling will emerge, the insight that everything hangs together and that you must make full use of your time on earth.

You just sit there, the miracle takes place before your eyes, and you will tune in to the best possible state of mind to meet others in open conversations about complex issues and a wanted future in a way that you may never have experienced before.

All change starts with the individual, and self-knowledge is a fundamental prerequisite for change. Under a star-strewn sky, to the soothing crackle of a fading fire, after hours of silence, there, far from the ticking time traps of everyday life – you stand a fair chance of meeting yourself and your true desire and deepest longing. Out there in Nature, the tiring internal struggle between what you want to do and what you think you must do becomes visible.

You will take a better calibrated inner compass with you that allows you to summon up the balance and focus in your everyday working life. When you are a complete person, you will feel, and be seen to be, more on the ball and focused on the places where decisions are made.

Nature Academy supplies the place, the tools, and the knowledge for body, senses, intellect, feelings, and spirit as support and provides leaders and executives with transformative learning, methods, and processes towards a regenerative development.

The fundamental idea of the initiative Nature Academy is that Nature is our best teacher in a regenerative world in constant change. Even change changes. Life makes use of chaos to create functional solutions. Life itself is formed in relationships. Every living creature acts to preserve itself and develop relations. New information, new relations, changing environments – everything is interpreted through the regenerative process. Every organism creates new rules and exceptions and interprets the rules anew. When living organisms get together, systems are designed that give the individual more possibilities and greater freedom. That is why life organizes itself, why it seeks out strategies so that everything can flourish. Constant and fast change for broader diversity is the only constant thing.

Wisdom Pathfinders

Regenerative understanding is an ever-living knowledge and wisdom among the indigenous peoples of the world. Now modern science with the latest findings in pedagogy, perception, and brain research are trying to catch up. The latest findings and research about transformative learning have proved to be the old, used, and tested knowledge of many of the older cultures that existed in harmony with nature. They possess that deeper and wider knowledge that is passed on from generation to generation; it seems to have deep codes and the visionary power to see right through our own culture. We like to call it wisdom. The knowledge that deals with the art of living in the ever-changing present with balance and enjoyment are what we call ”Get WiLD Inside”.

Our devoted pathfinders and storytellers come from all over the world and are all inspired by a profound desire to share, guide and move. They can be Sami, Firstnation Chiefs, management researchers, or locals, active on the location where we are running a program. Persons with a story to tell around the fire, a philosophy or wisdom that they will gladly share with anyone who will take the time to listen. These are men and women who have walked their own ways and whom it is a gift to get a chance to meet.

Dialogue – beyond the roles

To converse and to conduct a dialog in a group, to make decisions in a council, to find one’s own vision, and to overcome inner barriers that are a hindrance to the desired development have been practiced by mankind for thousands of years, ancient knowledge and wisdom that stood the test of times.

We help teams and leaders, be it a business organization, or a society actor — work together to unlock the potential of their system. With our support, these teams create three types of outcomes:

Collaborative alliances: a shift from being unwilling or unable to work together, to building capacity to work together across differences.

Systemic insights: a shift from seeing and understanding only part of what is going on, to broadening and deepening the understanding of what is happening and could happen.

Transformative learning and actions: a shift from acting in a way that keeps things the way they are, to acting—separately and together—to change what is happening.

Learning and consciously adapting and creating as a group is a great challenge we face if we survive as organizations and in society. We need practical methods to break our ingrained cognitive- and behavioral patterns. Pathfinders and wisdom keepers have concluded over the years that Nature is the best setting in which to practice learning based on experience.

Sharing a sublime, immersive experience of Nature has a deeply releasing and strongly forging effect on all participants. It provides a relaxing platform for fresh thinking and learning when people meet in a setting where they feel at ease and comfortable. In Nature, we shed many of the ingrained roles and thoughts that cling to the very walls of our conference rooms and the very fabric of our clothes.

The aim is to use “learning and thinking together” to establish a new effective creative behavior, which we will take back to the place where we work. The ability to innovate, flexibility, and the joy of life give us the strength to live in a society in constant change and the strength to play a creative role in changing the organization.

Nature as a Safe Container

Naturally learning involves the risk of making mistakes when we try to do something we haven’t done before. Anyone who wants to learn juggling must reckon on dropping the first few balls. That is why you need to create a secure and comfortable learning space where people will feel free to try out that new way of doing something. The scene, the laboratory, or the workshop must be designed so as to create these conditions and Nature provide us with that Safe Learning Container.

To optimize the learning situation, the setting should be free of all attributes that will sustain the participant’s subconscious mental frames and models. This means, if possible, removing cellular phones as well as suits and ties. Medical research shows that psychophysical rehabilitation is considerably shortened and that the ability to concentrate is increased wherever Nature is a part of the total setting. The well-known American scientists Rachel and Stephen Kaplan and the Swede Patrik Grahn have, after many years of research, described the extraordinarily positive psychological effects of close interaction with natural elements.

Sense-based learning

In purposeful behavior in the wilderness, like mountaineering or sea-kayaking, the left cerebral hemisphere is the most exercised in these activities, which will fortify our self-esteem, ambition, and willpower – qualities called for during most of our daily activities at work as well as privately. But the balance between the two cerebral hemispheres is necessary to stimulate learning, creativity, and innovation. The right hemisphere is creative, intuitive, emotional, and perceives entirety – basically what is considered social competence and emotional intelligence (EQ).

Many people have experienced the great rapture and gratitude that a sublimely beautiful natural scene combined with sound and smell induces. These experiences can also appear in physical or artistic activities like skiing, sailing, or music-making. They can also occur spontaneously in very good teamwork. To reach these ecstatic spheres, both cerebral hemispheres have to be included. Many indigenous peoples still master the technique of consciously jumping back and forth between these two polarities. We provide methods and tools to practice this particular technique to acquire increased creativity, presence, and intensity of life.

In their research, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan have identified two forms of attention: guided and non-guided. Guided (beta-frequency) is put into use in everyday life and is very demanding because competing stimuli must be eliminated. This frequency appears mainly in the left hemisphere; over-using it creates mental stress, dysfunctions, and reduced tolerance for disappointments and misfortunes.

Non-guided attention (alpha and theta frequency) generates creativity, curiosity, and rapture. It comes spontaneously with pleasing sights, sounds, and smells. Non-guided attention seems to be a distinctive feature of the right hemisphere.

Consciously entering into these cerebral frequencies is one of the central skills that Nature Academy trains its participants in. Our aim is that all our participants will be more efficient and creative, but also more balanced after having rediscovered and exercised their senses, thus enabling them to enter into the different domains and facets of their consciousness, all according to the demands of the situation.

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