“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.” Ernest Becker
Return To Origin’s Youth Nature Connection Day, (theme: Ocean as Home) took us to our beautiful False Bay, neighborhood to many of the children we work with from the local Vryground community, which continues to experience, violence, abuse and drug abuse.
Some of the learners are already in an excellent surfing program with Shaun Solomons a local unsung hero who works tirelessy with these kids teaching them to surf and many other things. Others were new to the waters, and so our day was a gentle introduction to our magnificent place of Origin and all its gifts.
Excited and ready to go, despite the heat, wind and a high tide that was unforgiving, Return To Origin’s Trainee leaders in the Indigenous Knowledge Leadership Program began at our local natural source where we collected water for the day directly from the mountains, along with a brief introduction to how the water arrives in this holy way. Afterwards we dove down from the street to meet the breathtaking landscape, mountains and ocean that we are privelged to share here in Falsebay. The children took a short sensory awareness walk.
A welcome breakfast awaited them, on the grass, muffins, bananas and ice cold milk to fuel the first part of the day.
Angelique Michaels trainee leader seeded the opening of the first hour, with the children with a greeting and offering of milk to the waters, for peace and reconciliation, the waters came to meet us with great gusto and afterwards a song that lifted the kids from what ever they carried with them, in fact they couldnt get enough of the song and burst forth at every opportunity. The different bodies of water were explored inner and outer flow and movement and the children entered the water to feel its motion, still, moving ripples, waves and afterwards they demonstrated the flow, mirroring the rhythmic dance of the water, we finished the hour by building a home from sand.
A sustainable civilization can only exist if reciprocity remains a core value.-Theodore Richards.
Arnoldt Michaels followed with Ocean and Devotion. An important teaching around prayer, sacred reciprocity and how the ocean gives to us. The children seemed awed by this idea, and we discussed how we could give back with clean ups, and taking only what we need. Sometimes when we have very little as some of these children do, its hard to think of giving back, so they came up with their own suggestions for ‘Sharing is Caring. A sit spot on the rocks overlooking the immensity of our great mother and its gifts and mysteries, took them to a quiet space, a perfect introduction to their walk and an opportunity to collect a few shells for our next hour. Later they talked about how they could give back too. We ended with a toning for the ocean as a thank you for all that she gives.
What you Love you protect
After lunch Lindsay Burch took them on a moving meditation with affirmations. With each of their steps, I am joy, happy, love were some of the words that sailed to the ocean.
We repeated it in silence as we walked to St James tide pool where we promised them a dip in the now quite tumultous waters. Here we got to witness cold water and the ocean at its healing best. Primal joy! Children have it, it’s in us all and adults forget or have forgotten how to play. The children shrieked and yelled and whooped and laughed as the waters engulfed them and knocked them over, and for me I witnessed the healing power of the ocean and water again. If we are made up of 85% water and are not connected to the water then we are on fire, heated up, violent, we do not forgive or grieve and hold on to resentments and bitterness. It becomes more difficult to find peace and to reconcile. We are disconnected to the waters of our life. When children who are raised with violence and abuse, an often daily occurrence in these children’s lives then, we must connect them to the waters as much as possible.
Our finale to the day was to create a picture on a tile using the shells they collected, they loved them a memory of the day and time spent with others were the groups consensus. We finished with a beautiful game where we used a ball of string to throw to each other creating a web of life of which words were also interwoven , love, happy, forgive, cry and through the web, we showed them how we were all interconnected not only to each other but all of nature. And yes we sang again!
Kindly support Return To Origin in continuing their work in connecting underserved children to the notion that Nature is a place they can call home when ALL else has failed them. Lets get these chidren into the ocean and in nature as often as possible. THANK YOU. Please go to https://www.returntoorigin.org.za/campaigns/donations/