New Frontiers 2015


New Frontiers 2015
By: Michelle Grambeau

Taking a few weeks off from practicing and teaching at Pleasure Point Yoga, I went on assignment to New Zealand.  I was there attending a multidisciplinary event called ‘New Frontiers’.  This gathering was held to explore our collective well being and the realities of our changing global environment.  I did not know what to expect from this island and this experience, what was unearthed was a deep awareness of the connectedness between personal and global health.


“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
-The Lorax


I slowly stepped foot into the wild of the native forest. Here at the edge of Middle Earth, the land itself seemed to sigh in limerick and in song.


Every cell in my body was on high alert as if at any moment a golden secret were to be whispered to my soul.  As I walked deeper down this steep valley, pathless and thick with vines, each step brought me closer to the wildness from whence I came.


My time here in Aotearoa (the Māori name for the islands of New Zealand) was spent diving deep.  This deep dive did not take me from one beautifully protected park to the next but rather into the depths of the ecological situation we are facing as a planet.


Over the course of 6-days a selected group of specialists and system thinkers from around the world came together to explore the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ frontiers of our collective wellbeing.  Through the various avenues of Digital Media, AgTech, Entrepreneurship, Education, Culture and Investment we got down to the nitty gritty science of our current systems—From top-down and bottom-up we explored solutions to channel intellectual, educational, financial and technical capital toward creating regenerative economies.


On the softer side, the container of the New Frontiers event, made ample space for embodied awareness and ritualized self-care.  Based upon the understanding that collective change comes from first stepping within. There was a great emphasis placed upon the transformative power of art, music, yoga, sustainable food and the healing arts.


Imagine a room full of leaders who hold the keys to creating equitable change and policy to heal our planet.  These individuals must be properly rested, fed, hydrated and in a state to make grounded, clear headed and integrated decisions.  Throughout our time here it became increasingly evident that our individual wellbeing plays a role in the greater story.   As Ken Ausubel Founder of Bioneers so graciously reminded me:


“It’s all alive. It’s all connected. It’s all intelligent. It’s all relative[s]”


When we choose stand in the face of unprecedented global environmental degradation it is easy to disconnect, to run from the alarming truths of our current reality.  My hope for our future comes from a place that embraces technology’s role in reconnecting us to ourselves, to one another and (in the next stage) to the natural world.  It is easy to see that what we need on an individual level is “same-same” as what the earth is calling for—clean water, clean air and fertile soil.


In this moment, start small, use your food as an access point to understand our interconnection to the natural world. With each bite remember our connection to the “earthly elements” that make us whole.  Give yourself the spaciousness to assimilate new ways of being, new ways of seeing and new ways of eating.  The very fabrics of our neural pathways have an ancient need for the space, quietude and time to grow. Use your presence and your breath to calm inflammation in your system. Fill your soul.


Start small.  Start by looking in.


When the fire of inequality pours toxins into my waterways and blazes through the forest lungs of our home it strikes me at my core.  In these moments of forgetting I am tempted to numb-out and shutdown.  Tears, strength and hope swirl together as I remember how connected we truly are.  Moving further into the depth of our ecological story I travel back down the valley and into the heart of the forest—whispering gently she says to me:


“Listen closely, it is from silence that all solutions are born.”