"This is the sound of all of us.
Singing with love and the will to trust.
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust.
This is the sound of all of us."*
The relationship between the inner landscape, and Alan Savory's principles of Holistic Resource Management, have fascinated...and inspired...me for over two decades.
My first introduction was through, then, Adventure Unlimited Ranches Director, Byron Shelton, whose enthusiasm for, and devotion, to HRM were contagious.
I remember one sunny June afternoon asking Byron to walk me through the fundamentals of HRM. He explained (or at least this is what I took from it) that the native grasslands did not need protection from the large herding animal, but thrived in symbiosis with it.
That the practice of fencing off our agri-delineated land, so that it would not be trampled on by cattle, leaving it undisturbed and fallow, was actually depriving the land of its most vital relationship. A relationship that could transform our global landscape, and reverse the desertification of grasslands, pastures and prairies worldwide.
He went on to point out a beautiful, fenced off, high country pasture. Upon first examination it was lovely. Filled with small clusters of flowering plants. He explained that those arrestingly lovely flowering clusters were called forbes. And that each forbe...although beautiful...represented a self-seeding cluster that was surrounded by arid, dry, cracked, earth devoid of organic plantlife. And that, in fact, each cluster...however beautiful...would continue to grow smaller and smaller as it self-seeded. Until all that was left was a pasture of dry, arid, useless soil.
He showed me how removing the fences, and allowing the large herding animals...cattle, elk, bison, etc...to trample on, and break up the hard, dry soil, would allow rain water, and snowmelt that washed through the pasture, to collect, penetrate, and rebuild the natural water table below the topsoil.
He also explained that when the large herding animals ate the nourishing grasses, their digestive system (including natural, efficient waste management) would spread the seed throughout the pasture in their dung, thus providing a warm germinating medium, and preventing the seed from blowing away in the wind.
I was fascinated.
This all made so much sense to me then...and it still does today.
And its implications for other landscapes...community, church, family, and inner pastures...is truly transformative.
How often do we think that the best way to protect our principles, values, traditions, or dogmas, is to fence ourselves off from anything that would trample on our precious, beautiful, well-patted-down ideals? We self-seed, and are thrilled with the beautiful flowering plants that begin to spring up. But on closer examination, those flowering clusters are growing smaller and smaller, as their population within the pasture becomes less and less frequent.
How do we "save" those ideals we love so dearly, and care for with such fervor? I believe it is through rigorous spiritual biodiversity.
Mary Baker Eddy, advises, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that:
"All nature teaches God's love to man."
If we look at nature, and what the Savory Institute has tested...and proven...in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in agri-communities throughout the world, we begin to learn that we must begin to take down our self-preservationist fencing...our boundaries between us and them. The pastures lives in symbiosis with the cattle, each providing an important counterpoint to the other's survival.
We must allow our much-loved, well-protected, and self-certain belief-based landscapes, to be trampled on...questioned, reasoned through, tested...so that the soil will be aerated, and ready to receive the healing, nourishing, refreshing waters of inspiration, and application.
And, we must share the seed with those same large herding "animals," without restraint. We must allow those precious flowers to be eaten -- taken in, masticated, digested...and yes, spread both on the wind, and through the process of elimination.
Our beliefs may get stirred up, but so will the self-certainty and cultural mis-interpretations that come with decades of self-preservation.
Over the last two decades...or more...I have used the principles of Alan Savory's Holistic Resource Management to govern the care of my inner landscape, and my sense of community. I have learned to welcome "others" who challenge my self-certainty, I am not afraid to have my beliefs trampled upon, stirred up, and turned over so that I can receive fresh new inspiration and rebuild my inner water table. I love it when the flowers of my pretty forbe-like communities of fellowship are devoured by those who are interested, not just in hearing about the beliefs that I cherish, but are willing to share their own in spiritual symbiosis.
And sometimes, that leads to my beliefs being rejected...eliminated from their system of thinking...but through that process, the essence of those same ideas, if vital, will be shared more broadly, and foster new growth.
These are just some thoughts that have been absolutely critical to the vitality and sustainability of my own inner ecosystem. And I may have taken what Byron shared that day, and trampled all over it...but it has made such a difference in the way I see the world, and my place in it.
Today, The Savory Institute was honored at the esteemed TED conference as one of the "TED Ads Worth Spreading".
I am not surprised. Their "ad" produced by Foresight Media, under the direction of Laurie Benson, promises to introduce a larger audience to principles that not only have the potential of reversing devastating environmental problems, but giving thought leaders and spiritual pioneers around the globe a model for sustainable inner health and viability.
Thank you Alan Savory, The Savory Institute, Joel and Laurie Benson, John and Alison Abdelnaur at Foresight Mediaand to Byron Shelton...
Kate Robertson, CS
*Please enjoy the Wailin' Jennys "One Voice"...it speaks to me tonight..