Nature points the way to powerful learning

In early January most of the natural world – in the northern hemisphere – is relatively dormant. In response to a lack of sunlight and colder temperatures, living organisms conserve energy in order to survive through winter.

But not so long from now, as the days lengthen and temperatures rise, we will see a change in the living world reflecting time-worn impulses and cycles. More sunlight and heat will lead to more available energy that will be channeled into renewal and growth.

Our human behaviour seems strangely at odds with such natural cycling, especially around the time of the winter solstice, when we have created a ‘holiday season’ that is usually anything but tranquil and serene!

But if we were to align our own cycling with nature – and some people and cultures do this – then our own learning might be much more intentionally powerful.


Winter would be a time of deep introspection and imagining

Imagine if we consciously adapted our own sensibilities to a period of time when we were tranquil and dormant – in socio-psychological terms we would be deeply introspective and reflectively thoughtful, considerate and mindful of the intersecting aspects of our lives. The learning associated with such introspection would, of course, reflect these processes, and it would be profound.  And following this period would be spring! a bustling time of dramatic acting, imagining and creating. And this would lead to a period of tending to our creating, revising, and trying again – the summer of our learning. And after summer we would ‘harvest’ the fruits of our activities, for better or worse, and not so different than how any enthusiastic gardener recognizes that some garden beds yield richer harvests than others.


Spring and summer would be a time our learning would burst out and flourish.

The fruits of our learning would be harvested in autumn


And then the activities of learning would again slow down and yield to the waning light and diminishing energy of another oncoming winter.

The modern schooling system is near-totally shut off from nature’s rhythms, physically and procedurally, which is deeply unfortunate. Nature is showing us the way to learn, powerfully, and synched to deep rhythms that have brought forth and sustain the abundance of life on earth.  Are we wise enough to recognize this and follow it? Our very survival may depend on it.

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