First see them, then be them, then let them see me.
For their benefit,
for our benefit,
for the benefit of the whole,
find my own leadership in Nature's Mirror.
Here are a few examples that have been useful for leaders leaning into their learning edges. Surprising insights have been carried back into
the Board Room from the Windhorse forests and wetland gardens.
For more detail, see Conversations with Beavers and
Learning Leadership from a tree.
Mindful Beaver Skillful generosity
is the skillful problem solver,
creative homebuilder, and tireless worker.
Devoted to family, playful with trusted friends,
Beaver gathers the wealth by slowing the water,
holding it for the benefit of countless other species who live in wetlands.
Take the posture of Beaver.
Be the Beaver,
gathering and holding wealth for the benefit of others.
Stand like a tree. Dignity and Integrity
Take that dignified posture,
stable and flexible, joining sky and earth.
Roots deep in the ground,
crown swaying in the breeze,
the whole bole flexing continuously.
Unmoving --- and always moving.
Reliably steady, resilient like breath, never devious,
fully integrated into the web of forest life.
Tree is the teacher of dignity and integrity.
Letting go of wealth is Being available
the ultimate in generosity.
Never uptight, the Rotting Log embodies relaxation.
Beyond the virtuous activity of offering to others,
it is completely available –
open treasure to whomever happens by,
food and housing for limitless hungry and homeless beings.
Its identity as a generous one slowly decomposes –
dissolving back into the earth.
Way beyond praise, credit or recognition.
Who cares who you were.
Now merely sharing wealth beyond volition.
Sit like a frog, Wakefulness
still and ready,
patience perfectly joined with urgency.
A lifestyle of paradox:
must eat or die;
must remain perfectly still
waiting for a meal to arrive on its own schedule.
Awake, patiently awaiting the moment,
instantly decisive when the moment arrives.
Wait in stillness.
Frog is the teacher of wakefulness.
Raven, flying and sensing, Caution
calls caution, warning of possible danger.
Sometimes it’s a false alarm, or only a prank,
but risk heightens for one who ignores the raven.
When the glistening bird focuses down,
pay heed to what may be in the weeds.
Be the raven.
Look for the warning signs.
See what is best for the others.
Warn them skillfully with alarm calls they can understand.
Beehive Team Building
is the teacher of community.
Each bee knows its role and performs it perfectly
with no jealousy or resentment,
no internal competition.
Thus the colony thrives,
knowing what to do in each season.
making honey, propolis and royal jelly,
feeding the young,
replacing the queen.
Always on time,
the ultimate in creative collaboration.
Beyond mutual respect,
a genuine sense of community
is built-in for survival.
Eagle, Vision and Humbleness
circling high, sees far and deep.
Both vast and profound,
how today’s actions affect tomorrow’s results.
In addition to being a visionary,
Eagle is an active participant in collecting garbage –
ingesting and digesting all manner of rotting corpses,
not too proud to "clean the toilet",
Eagle exemplifies vision with humbleness.
Deep diving loon Loyalty
goes beneath the surface to find the riches
hidden from the casual eye.
Willing to lay only one egg,
it shows singularity of intention.
Willing to take but one mate,
it signals its lifetime loyalty.
Singing its lonely song,
it proclaims the inseparability of sadness and joy.
Unlike other animals, Legacy
Snapping Turtle has been here,
in this form, for more than 250 million years,
since 50 million years before the first dinosaurs.
Snapping Turtle is the ultimate teacher of legacy.
What worked well then still works well now.
Find the lake,
swim in the water,
lie in the mud,
clean up carrion,
climb onto the land,
dig a hole to lay eggs in,
cover it up,
scramble back to the lake.
Keep doing it.
Pass it on.
As an ecologist, I am learning ‘about nature’ from stories, books, films, direct observation and experimentation. However, I have come to see that the more profound learning is ‘from nature’ about myself as a thoroughly ordinary, brilliant dot within a universally sacred world. Nature is a mirror of my own mind, which turns out not to be my own at all. My failures and successes are not a big deal to this naturally sacred ecosystem. Although I often am caught by my preference for success over failure, I am learning from nature that individual failures only enrich the whole system, which is worthy of my trust. Trust opens the gates to the perception of beauty and everyday magic. I could wake up into relaxation with who I am and things as they are. Thank goodness.