North Shield – Distillation and Integration

north shield

The days have shortened and darkness rules the land. With the cold north winds blowing winter is upon us. A time when living in the Northern Hemisphere calls on your skills as an empowered human, to survive. The winters could be so harsh age was determined by how many you’ve lived through. Characterized by the tall cedars, firs, and spruces, who have seen over 800 hundred. The North is about sharing the wisdom from all of your life experiences and stepping into the role of an elder in your community.

In the North Shield of our curriculum, we focus on survival and long term wilderness living skills. The most useful to make it through a challenging winter. We do things like fire making, shelter building, purifying water, and more long term wilderness living solutions. We also focus on trees in this curriculum. They are used to make fire and shelter. They are used to make our weapons and other many other tools. They provide water and medicine. It also, just so happens they are one of the only plants alive during the winter. Look around your house and count how many things are made out of wood. Though is it great to be self-sufficient and able to survive by yourself, we find that thriving in community fulfills a great human need. Being able to communicate effectively in a stressful situation is a valuable survival tool.

This Shield is about true integration and distillation. The ability to see an overview of one’s process and what one has learned. You have the ability to creatively and adaptively respond with whatever resources are available. Your skills are deeply engrained in your muscle memory. Being able to calmly respond in a situation by stepping back to take in the big picture. Through experience, you become self-sufficient and highly capable with your skills. You also develop empowered interdependence and become stronger when part of a team.

On a facilitation team, the North is the team lead. Helping to develop and coordinate the big picture. They help to support all other team members in their tasks to make sure they are getting done. They keep a pulse on the vision and mission of the program to make sure it is running smoothly. They manage any challenges that may arise on the team, within the students, or greater community.

You have been through a lot on this journey. In the plant cycle, the North is represented by the seed. When the fruit has rotted away, what genetics will be carried forward for future generations. In our life cycle, we enter into Elderhood. What lessons are most important to teach the up and coming generations? As we enter into the winter, what skills and tools are most important to ensure our survival? Many people may not make it this far in there learning or life journey so it is important to recognize and learn from those who have. We are nearing the end of our journey, and at the end starts a new beginning in the North East.