The following is an excerpt from Bill Pfeiffer’s book about transformational leadership experiences in nature. He interviewed me for one of his chapters in: Wild Earth Wild Soul.

We ended up talking about the role of extended family in bringing culture back into a regenerative state again.


Mark: If we take the long view of human beings as animals on the planet, we know— even with our limited anthropological lenses—that the culture our ancestors created was an imitation of the natural world they inhabited. The amount of nature-based arts that Native cultures have is outstanding—music, storytelling, dance, regalia, crafts; it goes on and on. And you know what? There’s no school in sight. The school I grew up with was designed to feed a machine, and I think it kills children’s creativity. Sir Ken Robinson and John Taylor Gatto have spent their lives explaining how this happens. Instead, I’m championing a life of intergenerational community mentoring designed around nature’s instructions. Nature becomes the school, and that’s been very successful and resilient over the long haul.

I think facilitating regenerative culture is like a holistic Chinese Five Element acupuncture treatment. Mentors who have spent a lot of time connecting with nature and applying that to people are like a combination of the acupuncture practitioner and the needles. They stimulate the meridians and multiple places throughout the entire body called culture, through core routines of nature connection and cultural mentoring.

Bill: Where do we start this cultural change?

Mark: One place to start is with the extended family.  It wasn’t that long ago that extended family was far more vital, so it’s not too hard to actually bring it back. The questions I ask to get people to think along these lines are: How long ago was it that the grandparents still lived with their families? What was life like before the nursing home? And what are the cultures around the world that are still that way? How many of you long to be in a village? How many of you wish to be seen by someone who can see your gift? How many people have adopted you as part of their extended family?

The answers to these questions are richer and more meaningful when the extended family becomes familiar with transition ceremonies around death, rites of passage, rites of competence, festivals, and other things like that. This is the beginning of intergenerational healing.

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7 replies
  1. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    Looks like a fantastic book. I am always grounded and feel whole when I am surrounded by my community like the one you described. Definitely a sense of belonging.

  2. Nat
    Nat says:

    Thanks for sharing these good thoughts, Mark! Wonderful knowing you are still out there leading the way. Sending much love, Nat

    • Mark Morey
      Mark Morey says:

      Thanks Nat ! From lighting friction fires in the deep cave of Tatanka to illuminating a vision for the world…

  3. tany
    tany says:

    Wow, good choice of excerpt, I wanna read the whole book now. The family, where we fit into nature, what it would be like to be valued and seen at the age of seven…all these things are what I feel like I am crying out for, and I know I’m not the only one…

    • Mark Morey
      Mark Morey says:

      Thanks Tanya ! People in Toronto have been asking me for a Group Mentoring Course in “Depth Mentoring” which will take into account the four levels
      of mentoring: personal, family, community and cultural. I’m thinking about opening that up in the fall.

  4. Tricia
    Tricia says:

    I love the idea of returning to a more supportive, connected community. Three cheers for the energy you are putting into spreading your ideas, Mark!

  5. jenny st. germain
    jenny st. germain says:

    hi mark! greetings from toronto! i attended your talk & workshop here on “conscious parenting” in april, which was a game-changer for me (thank you!). what a great interview excerpt – thanks for sharing! the community you describe is the home my soul has been yearning for my whole life! thanks to trail blazers like you, p.i.n.e. project, and my homeschooling community, i feel like “the way” is clear and open. yahoo!! looking forward to seeing you at the art of mentoring next month. wishing you joy!


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