Gifting Games Round II: Nature 🌾

Late Winter at Mossbrae Falls, Dunsmuir, CA

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy.

I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service was joy.”

Rabindranath Tagore

Best. Spring. Equinox. Ever.

Last September I spontaneously decided to try something I had never done before: dedicate an entire day to creating the most love and joy for other people in the world. I tried it two days later in New York City and it was one of the the best days of my life. I immediately wrote about The Gifting Game, and wondered when I might do something like that again. Could it become a seasonal or annual ritual? How might it be different next time?

Why not play The Gifting Game.. with nature?!

And so it was. I brainstormed some quick ideas: pick up trash, sing songs, hug trees, make prayers and offerings. Packed a bag and began the adventure.

Mt. Shasta

Would we solve climate change if enough people cuddled the Earth at the same time?

They say you need to first love yourself before you can love another. What if you really need to love Earth?

I laughed harder upon realizing that the first Gifting Game took place on or around the Fall Equinox.

This winter I’m really getting that it’s one thing to get it or talk about it. It’s another to live and embody it. That takes slowing down. Listening. Paying attention. Humility. Love.

A bird call beckoned me back in the direction of home. Along the way I received clarity on some questions I had been sitting with. I marveled at mounds of Sap, sprawling Moss, my first Worm of the season, the Mountain which often has a message for me in its distant snow covered tree canopies, but today it didn’t, and that was okay. I appreciated how nature is a beautiful mirror for how I’m showing up in the world, reflecting when I’m out of presence or body, integrity or alignment. I chirped with the Stellar Jays (shouts to Cornell’s Merlin Bird ID app, and while we’re here PictureThis plant identifier). I smiled and waved to all the trees that look like they have faces on them if you soften your gaze enough, wondering if everybody saw trees as funny looking aliens that happen to move really slow, maybe we would be nicer to them. I sat down with some Stones, wondering the last time they had moved, and recalling the idea “To the mountains, the trees are simply passing through.”

Putting Things In Context

The initial journey to balance my relationship with technology has brought awareness to all sorts of relationships that require tending: with body, money, food, family, social life, speech, sexuality and gender, anxiety and judgement, and so on. And more recently, with ancestors, religion, whiteness and racism, nature and women, Spirit, dreams, the elements, time.

We literally have the whole world in our hands, but are not capable of the job, treating her like a stress ball instead of a gentle creature ,that gives us everything we could ever possibly imagine.

New sciences of systems thinking call for an updated and integrated worldview to meet the complex challenges of our time. One that centers relationships, patterns, and contexts in order to understand the interconnectedness of all life, so that we do not interfere with nature’s inherent ability to sustain life (see: The Systems View of Life — A Unifying Vision).

Gus Speth: Environmental lawyer and advocate who has served multiple presidential administrations.

How can we support the next generations of leaders to create in a more life-honoring way?

Technologists, social media influencers, business leaders. We have so much unlearning and relearning to do. My little Saturday adventure may sound kind of silly, childish, wacky. But I learned a lot about myself and the world, and am lucky to be in a context that enables integration, so that this experience doesn’t become a distant memory, but something that changes my habits moving forward.

“We ought to move towards a view in which educators are understood as environmental stewards tasked with nourishing the complex and evolving ecosystem that is the human mind.”

We’re all stewards of life, including each other. To that end, this winter my world has been shaken upside down by my friend and teacher Sara Jolena Wolcott’s ReMembering For Life course (she also runs Sequoia Samanvaya with a broader arrange of offerings), that retells history through a more holistic and intersectional lens, “a healing process that can re-join our relationship to place, other people, and the Divine Beloved.” I’m going to close this piece with little plug for the course, because the next class starts in April and it has been profound learning and growth for me. The course covers the ways all of the following are deeply connected to each other:

…climate change — race — wilderness — class — historical trauma — art — grief — islamaphobia — religion — legacies of slavery — intellectual property — corporations — colonization — inheritance — fear — gender — theology — nature — spirituality — witch/hunts- music — drowning islands — healing bodies — storytelling — re/centering — meditation — indigenous knowledge — ritual — violence — somatic beings — despair — doctrine of discovery — raising a family — belonging — hope — past — present — future — space — time — love …

It’s a lot to traverse these thorny and unsettling topics, moving from having a “vague” feeling of “everything is connected” to a concrete and visceral understanding of that connection both historically and today. I fully agree with Sara that “it is particularly critical that those of us who identify as white
be able to speak from personal experience about the damage that colonization and whiteness has done to ourselves; the amazing possibility of wholeness that derives from fully acknowledging our historical role in the creation of white supremacy.”

The times are urgent.
We must slow down.
-Bayo Akomolafe

Edited photo of Weed, CA

Additional Resources

Beyond links referenced in this post, here is some of what I’ve read / listened / participated in that feels relevant, + others on the radar / coming up.



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Andrew Murray Dunn

Andrew Murray Dunn

Regenerative Tech | Business | Culture | Life. Co-founder @getsiempo, Digital Wellness Collective, @Wharton Wisdom.