This autumn Findhorn College will run a training inspired by the 8 shields Insitute called ‘Regenerating Community Culture‘, in this article Jon Young shares with readers the core features that underpin a supported connected culture.
The human body and nervous system naturally respond to being in a supportive and Connective culture.
Humans flourish when we feel safe and loved, seen and affirmed, when our individual gifts are recognized. An expansion occurs, as the nervous system literally grows. The physical senses develop more deeply, as does the capacity to Connect more completely and quickly.
Most people are usually not consciously aware of their culture, surrounded by it like a fish in water. Culture often remains invisible, yet is a factor that affects people. Cultural practices exist that foster disConnective relationships, as well as ones which facilitate Connective and supportive relationships. With awareness and understanding, anyone can begin to intentionally design and practice routines that lead to a more Connective culture.
Part of the mission of the 8 Shields Institute is to influence culture in a way that is positive, practical, and sensitive while discouraging the appropriation of specific practices from other cultures. By focusing on the universal aspects of the positive cultural elements that we’ve observed, we consider them in the broader context of what Connection is and how it can variously apply in any culture. Through this process, the 8 Shields Institute has generated a set of principles which allows anyone to create new cultural elements that improve how effectively a culture helps its members to Connect fully.
I like to say the purpose of culture is to Connect people: to each other, to ourselves, and to the natural world. A practice or activity which increases Connection, and which anyone can add to the time spent together with other people, could be called a cultural element. A greeting custom is just one example. Sharing gratitude regularly is another.
As my team and I continued our research over the years, we developed these elements into ‘design principles’ and ‘layered systems’ to help create more effective Connection modeling that can work wherever people are. This approach has been applied successfully in many different settings, from classrooms to boardrooms. It can work in villages and it can work with you and your own personal journey towards feeling more Connected and having a more meaningful life.
A closing note: If you are interested in jump-starting or ‘adopting’ new cultural elements, ones that may increase Connection, it’s important to recognize that many of us raised in modern times have not consistently experienced these sorts of Connective cultural elements. When you first start to introduce them, they may feel a little awkward or uncomfortable. With ongoing practice, however, they will come to feel quite natural!