#177 Vision Quests and Nature – Claire Vanderplank

This week I had a fascinating conversation about all that we can learn from being in nature with Claire Vanderplank.

Claire, through her company, Weapons of Mass Creation provides a vision quest service here in Western Australia.

During this conversation, we really dived into what exactly is a vision quest and in particular the role of nature and all that we can learn from nature in relation to transition within our own systems and community.

This is a super conversation with a lady who has spent a lot of time solo by herself out in nature; and you can really tell that there’s a lot of depth of character that she’s drawing on throughout the podcast.

Read Full Transcript

Bryn Edwards 

This week had a fascinating conversation about all that we could learn and harness from nature with Claire Vanderplank. Now Claire, through her company, weapons of mass creation provides their vision quest service. And so through this conversation, we really dived into what is a vision quest, but most importantly, the role of nature and within that, and from that, we opened out the conversation to all that we can learn from the systems and systems within nature is really is a super conversation with a lady who has spent a lot of time going solo by yourself out into nature. And you can really tell that there’s a lot of depth of character that she’s drawing on here. So enjoy Clare.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Hello, and welcome back to WA Real. I’m your host, Bryn Edwards. Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming Claire Vanderplank

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Thank you for having me

 

Bryn Edwards 

You’re very, very welcome. So those who don’t know you, and you are very big in wilderness, coaching, shamanic work, body work, vision, questing. And you’ve even created weapons of mass creation recently. Yeah. And tell me a bit more about weapons of mass creation?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Well, that’s my business name, basically. Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

there’s, there’s the umbrella for all the things. Yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

for all the things which is actually quite. I mean, there’s quite a lot in just explaining the evolution of that name, because it actually started back when I did have a full time job. And I wasn’t really thinking about having my own business, but I wanted to, like do. Like, I’ve always sort of like looking at the bigger picture and seeing how like society is functioning. And I just got really into like, like this sort of back in the air when flash mobs were really big. And I just kind of really liked that little like putting in a little disruption thing. So I had organised a couple of community things, not flash mobs yet, but varying from like, making a funny video or to help get a certain senator reelected to doing like a community world cafe dialogic world cafe to help create the community response to this long term energy plan. Yep. And so I just needed like, because I wasn’t doing it for work. I was doing it like for me, yes, I will for the community. So I needed a name. So that name came about through a, you know, faceless, like, old school, like, a underground. Right? Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

very much. So. Yes. So they see them live several times.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, they have a song about weapons of mass destruction. Yes. But they, you in that song, the lyrics kind of play on the what is a weapon of mass destruction? Yes, I added that. I kind of thought, well, what’s a weapon of mass creation? Yeah. And so I picked that name, like, even before I got into the spiritual stuff. And then now it’s taken on this whole other, meaning for me, even though, you know, lots of people were like, well, you should just be using a name because it’s just you. And yeah, branding was you should just use unite with simpler, but I like can’t let go that nine weapons of mass creation, because it’s pretty cool. Yeah. And I realised that’s really what I am about is like, you know, even through work with, whether it’s individuals or group of people, it is about how do we get more in touch with just, you know, creation itself, and the patterns of creation and express those harmonious patterns of creation in an intentional way, such that we can, you know, restore harmony, whatever else, all those lovely things, but the nine weapons of mass creation, to me, like captures the energy of it, because there is like a fierceness and a warrior like Tunis, but it’s also about, you know, there’s the, you know, there’s a play on words with creation versus destruction. So that, you know, it’s about love and unity and all the rest of it. But then actually, how do we work together in a way that not just together as humans, but actually together as all of creation? Yes. Yeah. So,

 

Bryn Edwards 

and that’s, yeah. And that’s interesting, because one of the things that shines through with you is, you know, you’re sort of fierce passion around integrating with nature. And where does that come from in the cloud journey?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Um, I mean, I think to a certain extent, you know, I couldn’t really ever have separated it from from who I am not just in a general way, you know, like mineral nature, but, like, it’s always been something that’s been a part of me like, even when I was a kid, I think I was in year three, and I had, I’d watched documentary on dolphins the night before, and then in Show and Tell in class the next day I stood up and told the class that dolphins were more intelligent than humans because they didn’t destroy their environment. And I’m think I was doing a pretty good job. Yeah. Because then the teacher got me to go and sit down. Right? So, it’s always been a part of me, but then, you know, I’d sort of gone on a journey of kind of always knew that I needed to work with people. So I’d gotten into the health profession, originally, but didn’t feel like I wasn’t being able to link that to, you know, sustainability issues patiently. And eventually come around to work, you know, as a, like, a sort of caught in corporate kind of sustainability. And, but during that time, I had gone through the big sort of phase shift in my life after getting hit by a truck.

 

 

New Zealand.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, so it was, you know, literal getting hit by a truck, not a metaphorical. Although, you know, the effects were probably both literal and metaphorical in that way. And because I ended up having to do something different, like, it had hurt me just enough that I was, you know, left, a little bit damaged, gave me a

 

Bryn Edwards 

lot of slop as long as

 

Claire Vanderplank 

I don’t totally. And, yeah, I mean, I certainly tried to ignore it for as long as I could. But because it was a physical, or

 

 

you’re ignoring,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

and the pain or pain, but then also, you know, like, I was thinking, if I told someone what I was feeling, they would say I was depressed, except that I don’t get depressed. So I don’t understand what this is. But everything, all the hard things, you know, like everybody used to ups and downs, but I was always I will just go, Oh, well, I’ll just wait for it to pass and we’ll pass. But this one wasn’t passing.

 

 

Yeah. But demanded your attention.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. But I certainly, you know, push the edge of that. Like, no, just take those like, ah, all right, I can’t, I can’t actually work this one out for myself, which was probably the first time in my life I’ve ever had that. I can’t actually just do this by myself, right. And there’s more of a story, you know, and how things kind of lined up for me to get to this point. But I ended up going on what we call a, like a way because now I’m part of this lineage way of NYCHA. I certainly didn’t think that was going to be the case, like early on, I just knew I needed to feel connected again. I saw an invite for something that was spend a week alone with guaranteed no one’s gonna talk to you. in the wilderness of Flinders Island, Tasmania, wow. I was like, Fuck, yeah. Like, no one’s gonna talk to me for a week. Like, take me. Yeah, and so I signed up. Yeah, just basically going, Okay. You know, I sense that this was going to be a deep rest that I really needed at that point in time. But, you know, what I got from it was so much more and then did go on and, you know, dramatically changed the course of my life. But, you know, back to that question about how nature, you know, became a real strong part of my journey, like it was, during that first sacred passage that I send us. Yeah, on Flinders, where I had that first real taste of just what a magic enchanted dynamic process of, you know, being in constant dialogue, that is possible when you’re in deep connection, like,

 

 

I had nature

 

Claire Vanderplank 

with nature, yes, slash spirit, but there’s no, you know, experiences like that show you that there isn’t, there’s no difference, you know, nature is spirit made manifest. And, you know, you can see how spirit operates through looking at nature. And, but that’s when I kind of, you know, got things in this, like, it completely changed my whole worldview. And so, from then being a, you know, very intellectually based sustainability person, right, my approach to what I was trying to do, then, you know, even though the intention, in a way was the same, but the approach to it was, you know, one ad wrote that so I’ve ended up you know, slowly then getting back to doing healing work, you know, worked in health before but not sure how much healing Yeah. And plus, then, of course, you know, doing the nature quests and vision quests. Yeah. And, yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

building, building, building and building from that place. Yep. And tell me about vision quests. Because there I myself have not done one. There’s something very attractive about the idea. For those who don’t know, what they are, and what role they play?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Well, traditional vision quest for a start, the terminology comes from Native American culture. Even though you say around the world, you know, there’s always practices of mending solo time in nature in some form. But visionquest, the term comes from ritual practice where an individual would feel, you know, sometimes it was you do it as a rite of passage, you know, moving into adulthood. In some cultures, it was used in a way that, you know, just whenever you felt that it was time he did it. So there’s always some variation, but

 

Bryn Edwards 

the good of a call from within,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

yeah, because you have to be ready for it. Because the level of surrender that’s required is so great that if you’re not actually 100%, yes, I really want to do this, even though you can feel very nervous about it. Because to go back to what it is, it involves spending a period of time, four days is a is a common timeframe for it. Sometimes it would vary, you, you leave when you’ve received your vision, so it could be however long it takes. And but yeah, you go out to a place in nature. Which of course, back then, like walls everywhere, steel is everywhere, but meaning like quite wild places, you’re gonna be in guaranteed solitude. Yeah, you have to stay in one small circle. And you’re not allowed to leave for any reason. You can’t bring anything with you. So that could mean like, traditionally, it could be really a situation where if a modern human was placed in it, that would be likely to die, meaning like, no food, no water, no clothing, no shelter. And often, like, you know, on a mountaintop or something, so you’re really exposed to the elements. In some cases, no sleep. So that the, the line between the waking and the dreaming state was blurred, blurry, yeah. As well as just putting you through, you know, more of an ordeal. But with the purpose of receiving a vision

 

 

role,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

what your true purpose is, in this lifetime,

 

Bryn Edwards 

sounds like Jesus 40 days and 49

 

 

Exactly.

 

 

Why locusts and honey.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Exactly. You know, there’s no, it’s no coincidence that, you know, Jesus Buddha, you know, they had these, yeah, profound transformations and realisations while in nature. Yeah. On the right. on their own solitude, so important, because so many of those, the blocks to being in a constant state of connection, come because of a through human relationship. So even though we can feel relatively, you know, relaxed, and we don’t think of ourselves as having, you know, social anxiety or attachment issues, or, you know, whatever it is, we actually still a, to a certain degree holding a lot of, you know, Marine, gym, and Pilates just actually, you know, it’s healthy to, you’re functioning that way, because

 

Bryn Edwards 

in the current Yeah, day in and thing that we’re playing.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, I mean, even, even just, in general, like just to be, you know, doing things throughout the day, you know, like, there’s a certain level of a particular kind of functioning that you need to, you know, serve your role in your tribe or community or society. But in order to, you know, have those kind of breakthrough realisations, it sort of does take you to be in a different state. So yeah, solitudes, one of the 16 power moments that we kind of talked about. But yeah, so traditional vision quest was very much around you receiving a vision, guidance on your purpose. And then in, in so much as it is a rite of passage. Then when you go back to your community, and it’s all held in ceremony, like it, yes, individual, but actually, you know, it’s supported by a set within the context of the tribe. Exactly.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And the culture there, yeah, how they do,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

yeah. And you’ll, you’ll have some, you know, people know that you’re out there and they’re energetically holding you and they help prepare you and, and then when you come back, they receive you back, and then you’re recognised as changed. And so, in a traditional context of vision quest would be used, okay. All right. So, you’ve received this vision and now we recognise that that’s something that you have to fulfil and, you know, then relates to How do I fit within there?

 

Bryn Edwards 

So imagine in that time, you would be able to speak freely and share your vision. And you know, and dissect it integrate. Yeah. And then it become part of you and what you do. Yeah. And be respected and held in that place. Yeah.

 

 

Yeah. And look, I

 

Bryn Edwards 

mean, I don’t want to delineate that, because we’ll come to that in a minute. Yeah.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I don’t I don’t want to, you know, claim that I’m an expert on traditional vision quest, because, you know, I’m not Native American. And, and also, the quest that I run, we try to base it on intercultural principles. So we use the format of vision quest, because it’s so effective, and still hold one of the core intents is to help people uncover their true purpose in this lifetime. But it’s also very much about how do we deepen into connection? Because for modern people, like in a traditional context, you don’t really need to be taught like the culture does the job of holding people in connection? Yes, that you don’t necessarily need certain practices. Yeah, that you do. Exactly. Because the culture already does that. You’re born into it, and there’s never any need to go, Okay, well, I’m over here and all disconnected. And so I need to do these things to, you know, whereas these days, we’re all, you know, almost all of us are born into a really deep worldview that promotes separation. Yes. And so we very much use, you know, in all intercultural principles, so, the founder of why of nature, my teacher looked at, you know, what wisdom traditions around the world do in order to cultivate deeper connection, and a sort of distilled out the core set of those principles. Yeah. And we use that as the framework way of nature. Right. And then we go and apply it in nature. Yeah. honouring you know, nature is the greatest church or temple or teaching that we’ll ever need. And the format of the vision quest is just so effective.

 

 

So what is a modern day? format? That you Yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

way. We let people take what up? So that’s good. So there’s quite yet close, I can take. I mean, everyone ends up naked at some point in time, like, because you’re on your solo, the sun’s out. And even people who wouldn’t even like, have thought that that’s the thing, but everyone you know, like, without fail gets the urge to go. Oh, yeah, like

 

Bryn Edwards 

  1. So I lived in the Alps for nearly a year. And one summer, I was there over the summer in a ski resort. And I walked up to the top of this mountain, and, you know, I’ve got the camera sandwiches out, and I just think, yeah, right. That Trumps all the kettle off? Yes. That they’re in just, you know, drank water and sandwiches locked out across the valley for half an hour, pop togs back on. Yeah, but anyway, fast forward Three weeks later, and another guy was in a bar. And there wasn’t many people in this in this ski resort. And he said, I’ve been to the top of Bergen Slayer. I was like, I went there three weeks ago, we’re chatting. He said to him to get you kicked off at the top.

 

 

And not only did he say yes, but to other guys who were listening when? Oh, yeah, we did that. We were talking about and so yeah, yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

I get that. Totally. So sorry.

 

 

Yeah, characters.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

I mean, I think it’s not only a point of like, not that I’m not out promoting loser or whatever, like, nothing against it. But it’s not, it’s just not my task in life. But it shows us the fact that everyone’s so like, it feels like such a relief just to be able to just be in, you know, the skin that you were born in. Yes. And I think it’s, it’s partly because, you know, clothing is a sign of, you know, social expectations. Yes. But then I also think that, you know, at a deeper level, we get that it’s also part of our domestication as humans, the fact that we actually need these fabricated clothes. And so, you know, part of that deep connection actually, is that, you know, us feeling that we belong out there. Yeah. And that we don’t need all these tools and gadgets and like, even if you go on a self sufficient, you know, hike for a week where you’ve got all your food and you know, how you’re going to, you know, purify your water and you’ve got your tent, you still got all these things that are actually keeping you from

 

 

you know, the you have to wear as you travel.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And you You still have a using technology to keep you alive, which is a natural part of being human as we do use tools and technology. But at some point, it’s also it keeps continually then removes us steps away from actually just being in one continuous flow with the landscape. And so that feeling of getting back to being part of an arising from the landscape, like, you know, yeah, deza just the little, all the little ways that we’ve managed to put in layers of separation, it’s like, sorry, to digress.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I lead you off there, mainly, to close water.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Oh, what we do? That’s right. That’s what we’re talking about. Yeah. And so yeah, we have preparation training, before people go out on this all the time. So the format would be, you know, everyone gathers. And then we have at least two full days to prepare people, which is getting them familiar with the land that we’re on, of course, helping them ground and, you know, start to shed the layers of the city or wherever they come from. And yeah, introducing them to the principles of wild nature, and then also giving him practices and some tools to use through the process. Yeah, out there. And, of course, you know, building the group field, because as much as it is an individual process, the group becomes a big part of it, you know, like, it’s amazing how much like the beautiful stories that come out in the sharing afterwards, like how much people were thinking of each other, and how much privacy there was through everyone’s

 

 

experience.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Which is nice. It’s really important, because because we don’t have it, you know, integrated as part of what we do, culturally. Doing it as a group, then can, in a way start to make up for the fact that we’re not being held by our community. Yeah. Which is good. And so yeah, so then people go out for usually I have a four day solo. Yeah, um, or, or one time, my teacher would always tell us off if we use the word solo, because you’re not solo.

 

 

Yes. That’s four days, four nights.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yep. And so people have to stay in Yeah, one circle, were a bit more generous in terms of like, people can define the space for themselves. Likewise, we don’t provide food for people. But if people feel like they’re not gonna be able to get through the fasting, they can bring some things with them. But that’s all up to them. We let people take a tent, but they’re also invited, if you just want to sleep, you know, bring a tarp in case it rains. Like all that’s up to you, because people have got different comfort levels. And to a certain extent, it’s important that you know, your comfort zone is being pushed. Because if you are comfortable, you wouldn’t get that, Oh, I’m here to do something special. Yeah. You need to feel like you can’t do it just like you need to be in that state where you just want spirit nature to come and be part of it with you. Yes, you know, yeah. And yeah, and four days is good, because usually it takes about three days for all the crap to kind of just quieten down enough. And because it takes definitely in the first couple of days, your senses are just learning to open again.

 

 

Yeah. And so

 

Claire Vanderplank 

in order to pick up on the more subtle level of being, we need our senses to open, and, you know, we start taking things that we didn’t know, we could just observe without any enhancement. Because our senses are so closed off and restricted just from modern life being so stimulating. Yeah. And that’s like, you know, one of those inputs

 

Bryn Edwards 

nervous system that the Go button switched on so often, and that is very, you know, acutely focused, right from your vision field, through to, you know, listening and scanning the environment for threads

 

 

totally,

 

Bryn Edwards 

to drop into your parasympathetic where then suddenly becomes much broader. Yeah. Witnessing,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

yeah, there. That’s a big part of it, but also just our sensory system itself. It’s like a we have different, like thresholds of tolerance. And what when we, even though we might think we’re not being overstimulated because we’ve learned to habituate to it. It still is too much for our sensory system. So we’re operating with the floodgates Pretty well closed. But so when we can go, Okay, we’re in this gentle, you know, sensory environment we can then really open. And I use the analogy of like, trying to feel things with a glove on. I mean, maybe you have a similar experience you had is like we think with, with with touching everything. But if you take the glove off, you’re touching the same things, but with this whole different dimensionality. And like, yeah, a fun grind to

 

Bryn Edwards 

delay the delay the guys and girls on their own, or do you drop in on them during the four days?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

And I definitely don’t go into anywhere near them physically. They do. We do have a check in system. So they buddy up with someone, but they don’t see each other. They pick a spot sort of between their two sites, and they have to leave a sign for each other one goes in the morning. One goes in the afternoon, right? Personally, I don’t I don’t go out. I mean, energetically. Oh, you’re checking with them? Sit?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. On the person. See if you fail.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. You know, sure. manically there’s other techniques as well. But I don’t I try not to spy on people. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Remote you

 

Claire Vanderplank 

either remotely or non remotely. Yeah, locally? And? Yes, yeah. So there’s, there are, you know, safety protocols, but in general, I mean, in general, like it is safe. Like it’s safer than bushwalking. Like, you’re not even going anywhere, like, there’s very little that could happen to you to pay

 

Bryn Edwards 

with a notepad and pen or

 

Claire Vanderplank 

I let them I let them again, it’s suggested that they do not take anything, right. leave it up to them to decide if they want to have a notepad and pen just to capture something that seems very, you know, significant that they really don’t want to forget in its accuracy. With the warning that it can very easily slip into starting to analyse and try to make meaning of something before it’s really time to do so. So yes, you don’t want to get into even though journaling is a wonderful thing. During the quest is not the time for it, do that later, that makes no RNA because it’s taking you out of the direct experience during those four days. But also because usually what we think has happened is actually not even scratching the surface of what has happened. And as soon as you start to try to make meaning of something, then you’re in a way really preventing that sort of deeper unfolding to happen, because you’ve sort of locked it into that slot. That is okay. Next year.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So give me an idea of without the specifics of people’s visions. What is the sort of experience? What are the commonalities of the experience? Yeah. When the vision starts to turn up? Yeah. The hands out the glove? Yes. You are more sensitised in a more. Yeah, you’re grounded manner. And for want of a better phrase when it starts switching on?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Yeah. And there’s a lot of healing that goes on. catharsis. catharsis. Yeah, just like I think of it. I really think of things as blocks. Like if I, if you picture someone’s whole being is just energy, there’s these little places where it catches or is really frozen, and the energy can’t flow freely, being out in relatively untouched nature,

 

 

which we have an abundance of here in Western Australia.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

We have, yeah, it’s, you know, I always hesitate to call things wild or untouched, because there’s nowhere that no, not, but

 

Bryn Edwards 

I guess my reference, you know, moving here from England 10 years ago. Yeah, we do.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, I mean, it’s, yeah, comparison. Yeah, apparently. And, you know, you do just enough to work with what you’ve got, like, it’s still miles better than being in the city in terms of, like, I think of things now a lot more just in terms of patents. And you know, the type of state that the system is in. And, you know, the more you can be in places where there is really refined, dynamic, harmonious energy, which is always in this state of like moving towards more and more ordered complexity. That’s really what I mean. It doesn’t doesn’t necessarily matter. Exactly. You know, what it is what it looks like. But that’s like the feeling of the energy that you’re kind of looking for. Yeah. Anyway, so when we’re immersed in that energy, whatever’s within us, because that becomes this merging with the field that’s around you, if you’re holding patterns of energy in you, that isn’t in this dynamic, refined flow, it starts to kind of, just like, if you’re sifting something like the bigger bits, like come to the surface, it’s sort of sift out the chunk. Yeah. And then they come up to be healed. And so and after that is released, then you can actually enjoy sinking into a, some level of deeper refinement. And often that can be, you know, that can be the realisation, in itself is, in the process of letting go of something, you can come to a whole bunch of realisations and new awarenesses, about you or about your role and your purpose. But the visions, you know, visions themselves, it’s not actually all that often that it’s a, you know, like someone’s just press play on a movie for you. Sometimes it is, I mean, I know, you know, one of the visions that I hold that has been most meaningful for me, in terms of guiding me, is something that I received on a sacred passage, I think, find it’s usually happens when I’m sort of just waking up, I tend to take a really long time to wake up, but it’s quite useful as well, because then I stay in that liminal state a bit longer. And sometimes, you know, when you sort of think you’re awake, but then you go, Oh, wait, but I’m saying this thing, that must be a drain, that’s usually, you know, the time for me that I find it most likely that spirits actually going to finally be out to, like, you know, right through the crap, give me something. When you

 

 

say spirit, what do you mean by spirit?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Um, I use that very, that term very generally, to sort of, you know, refer to the unseen energies, really, like, you know, I don’t see, in my view, I don’t say that there’s, you know, a separate realm, that can certainly seem like, different kinds of qualities of energy in different zones. And I do have, you know, my sort of map of how things are, I do think of it in terms of dimensions, but not in clear. You know, segregation between this is matter, and that’s spirit. But I’ll use the term spirit, because there’s a lot of things that don’t actually exist in this, you know, supposedly material plane. And there’s different degrees of ability to, you know, interact with them, depending on you know, soul vibration, like it’s, you know, if their vibrations relatively close to how we are, it might be seemingly physical things, like some of the things can be a little bit multi dimensional. Yeah. I mean, that’s the whole practice of shamanism is allowing your consciousness to move through different zones to bring to return and bring back healing power and information. So, yeah, spirits just a nice general. Yeah. And can be like, you know, you could refer to spirit in a way that’s, you know, maybe the Christians will call it Holy Spirit, or the Native Americans might call it great spirit. But these really sort of high level transcendent. You know, it’s powerful, but it’s also all compassionate. And that’s a very particular way of, well, way of an energy of spirit. Yeah. And yet, then there’s also spirits, you know, for example, that some people might experience is like ghosts in the house. And yeah, that’s, you could call that spirit, too, but those are, you know, very, two very different. Yeah. And vibrations and yeah, thoughts. Yeah, I kind of I use the word spirit in a vision quest context. It’s

 

 

Yeah, yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

very much that transcendent energy that can guide awesome. Yeah, it’s so beneficial.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So when someone’s completed the four days as they come out of it, because you got to be pretty delicate with them.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. People come back in very different states, which can really depend on, you know, that process of the blocks coming up being released and then entering a deeper level of refinement. You know, that can happen. The longer you spend out the more you say that that’s sort of like a dance, it’s like something comes up, it’s released deeper level of refinement, which creates enough stillness and space within the next you know, it’s it’s all layers. So depending on where people are in that process, they can come out in different states. Usually, though, because people know when the end of it is there’s some form of like, you know, resolving, so that when they come out, they’re generally like, glowing and floating down the mountain so to speak. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Because you set the timescale, there’s something can notice that we’re going in here, and then we’re coming out exactly. Why when you set your alarm for 20 minutes of meditation, and you’re always

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you know, 90 minutes and 55 seconds. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, that’s very much like that.

 

 

Yeah. Which is cool on its own. Right.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

It is, it is cool. I mean, and that’s my favourite part is like it safe people come back and like, you know, sometimes they just so bright and shiny, like, Whoa, man, I think I need sunglasses. Just look at you. And I like, feeling like, you don’t really like I thought I was just like, Um, but yeah, that’s also part of the, you know, we have at least 24 hours together before people go back. Yeah. Which, you know, sometimes I do wish was longer, but it’s hard for people just to take a week off.

 

Bryn Edwards 

You know, those seven days right there, isn’t it?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. So you my standard programmes, like eight nights, seven days, basically, um, it would be helpful to have more time in the integration phase. It’s always a challenge. You know, there’s definitely in terms of facilitating these kinds of things. The integration parts are always the hardest. Because usually, you know, it’s not immediately after that the hardest part of integration comes, it’s actually, you know, the first slap in the face is getting back to the city. Yeah, you know, because that’s when you realise how open and sensitive you are.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, you start to notice that first time you sort of driving back towards the city, you go to the petrol station, and you have to interact with someone or something of that ilk are really incidental. Yeah. But you’re like, Oh, yeah. And then I’ve had was not meant to a vision quest. I’ve had plenty of experiences of that. And it’s always feels like physically jarring is Yeah, it’s like, oh,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

yeah, like this. Totally, it’s a very different mode of operating, which is so much. You know, that’s why the process doesn’t just happen, you know, during those four days, it’s not, it’s not just an unfolding out of what happened in those four days, but you

 

Bryn Edwards 

stay in touch over the following weeks.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, I’ll check in with, with people I mean, you know, over time, the more people go through it, the more then I can aim for building, you know, like, community, unfortunately, with the place that I use most to run quest now. They hold a really beautiful space to and really welcome people back. So what’s happened is that people go back and, you know, visit the place, you know, they’re welcome to come back pretty much whenever I’m back. Yeah. And then people have done different quests and meeting each other. And, you know, so that that’s worked. Really? Yeah, definitely. in that in that regard. But yeah, it’s it’s a, it’s a, it’s a hard thing, especially for people who don’t have all that many people around them. Yes. Who can really get what just happened? Yeah. Um,

 

Bryn Edwards 

so I, you know, even hold space of what they’ve done. Yeah. Because so in the background of the podcast at the moment, I and a few others are doing a small subjective research project, to what we’re referring to as psychological or spiritual awakening experiences are existential crisis. And one of the things that’s coming out in that is that more and more people have been drawn to these interior exploration experiences. So they go into their interior a lot, lot more, and, you know, like, four days out in nature, that’s Tip Top exposure. You know, I know a lot of people are drawn to psychedelics and particularly like I wasco, and stuff like that. And, and whilst This is going to piss a lot of people off, I find that a bit lazy on one level, because you just drink the thing, and then it does it for you, and you go off. I mean, you’ve got to have a bit of bravery to stick it in your mouth and then throw it up. Yeah. But it does a job for you. So it’s very much from the outside world coming in. Whereas this is an internal thing and staying internal. So but I’m not here to cast judgement on which one’s the coolest hardcore any of that crap, right? It’s just whatever floats your boat. But ultimately, these are all around exploring our interiors, we don’t seem to have a culture that’s all set up for even normalising a discussion around exploring your interior, it’s very much a private intimate space that you just don’t share. We’ll share just a little bit. And then when you have a partner, you know, your share a bit more, but then even there, you know, there’ll be other layers, the GI think, am I fucking nutjob or something? Yeah, I don’t want to lose the partnership and the friend, you know, and the closest the intimacy and the love and affection that comes with that. So, more or more, what I’m finding is that people explore their interior through one method or thing or another. And yeah, it’s not straight away. when things start to happen. It can be in weeks, months later, that all of a sudden, something’s changed the way they make sense of the world, their priorities in everything. And it’s that, yeah, integration, and the ability to talk to somebody which, or lack thereof, which can cause these psychological crisis, existential crisis. So do you find that happens with some of your?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, see, it’s funny, like, you know, the existential crisis, like dark night of the soul thing, doing something like a quest can either help you get through it, or it could also help put you into one. Yeah, it’s sort of just a matter of like, where you’re at in your development. But either way, it’s a sign of like, well, I don’t like what progress but you know, it’s a sign of coming to more and more ability to make meaning in a way that gets closer to truth. Yes, it’s my way of putting in someone’s truth. Yeah. True. Yeah. Yes, sir. Yeah, it definitely, you know, is something that does happen. And but this gets back to, like, because I, I don’t like talking about things of like, you know, in terms of this is personal development. Yeah. Because I’m written the whole point of this is to develop ourselves in partnership with the rest of life. Because that ultimate truth is that we are not separate. I mean, do people say that 1000 times, but there’s so much spiritual shit going around, that’s like, let’s just, you know, work on our blah, blah, blah, you know, and it’s all from this mindset of the person as this individual. ego, yeah. Not that that would ever use that word, but they don’t realise that that projecting that deeply held worldview on to spirituality, yes. And then what happens is, people have these so called peak experiences, or moments of like, clarity, or the feeling of power, or whatever, and then the ego just goes, I’ll take that, you know, and finds a way to integrate what’s happened into their story of why I’m so good. Or, you know, I mean, ego works in other ways. I’m just, I’m good. It also really reinforces I’m shit to know. Yeah. And it just wants control, you know? Yeah. But that’s why, you know, working with nature is so important, because we were working in tandem to, yes, get to know our inner nature, but it’s also a process of coming to know out in nature, yes. And ultimately, true nature, at the same time, and if we do that, then the risk of edges existential crisis becomes a hell of a lot less, because we see ourselves as just part of this greater pattern of things. And so, you know, a, we don’t get that I don’t feel quite so isolated. Because I come to know that, you know, we’re never really alone. Yeah, you know, you can go out into the wilderness for four days, like, hundred percent, you know, and this is, yeah, and you’re not alone. You’re not alone.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And things, even the stuff in the interior is not about

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Yeah. Right. Cuz Why do you like sit with it? And this is, you know, you mentioned, you know, wasco, which can be very helpful. But the thing that I really like about the quest is an alternative to that approach is that, like, I was saying, how we give people a lot of room to make decisions for what level of like comfort they want.

 

 

Yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

a really big part of that for me and like how I’m to like hold the space for people is that I’m giving them the power to make their own decisions, because ultimately, then they know everything that happens, comes from them, the choices that they’ve made and their authentic relationship with life around them. Yes. And there was no need for anything else to you know, be taken or imbibed or passing over their power to a shaman or, you know, whatever it is, you said, you

 

Bryn Edwards 

know if times tap out they can leave the message. Yeah. Oh, yeah, they can walk out

 

Claire Vanderplank 

they can get back in there all the time. You know, it’s Yeah. Everyone gets what they need. Yeah. And even, you know, quest that quest can look very different. Yeah. Completely different

 

 

story talking about that interior subjective experience. So they are,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

yeah. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I don’t want to say like, I’ll do a question, you know, like the existential thing isn’t a problem because it really can be I mean, I, you know, sometimes people do a few quests, and then the existential crisis comes because it really is, you know, it takes a lot of undoing of how we’ve been conditioned. And then it’s hard to then know how to sort of operate and function in a world that comes from a very different place. But yeah, once you started on the journey, at least you better resource to know then how to, you know, keep working through it. Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

do you find in the body is sales and marketing of this? Because it is your work and your business? What do you,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

buddy, it’s all right. Doing that a lot? Is

 

Bryn Edwards 

that when that I would imagine for something like this, that when someone’s called to it, then the call to it? Yeah, and then, yeah, okay, this is probably discussion and taking away a couple of the top level barriers, or what how does it work in this? Yeah, but if somebody called them they call?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Oh, yeah, I mean, I’ve given up

 

Bryn Edwards 

trying to convince people into it.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, even want to, I mean, I know, you don’t want to convince people into it, because then you there’s a mismatch between what they think they’re doing and what they’re really kind of willing to surrender to. And, yeah, and so it’s always a funny thing, like, you know, more and more I want, you know, my work and how I earn money to be, you know, what, I will just how I get what needs to sustain me doesn’t have any money. You know, I want it to be at least then feeding all this good stuff, and what I, you know, sort of work that’s really important in the world, but yet that sales and marketing, it’s like, I’ve, I’ve literally just given up, I’m just like, I’m just gonna share it. Heart people, you know, hear there’s a real catch on Yeah, resonate with it. I mean, you know, of course, there’s a job to get the invitation out to people and, yeah, you know, in a way that’s clear, so that I can understand it and all that kind of thing. Yeah, yeah.

 

 

Huh.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

gets trickier because I’m trying to tailor the work more and more to not tailor it, but to be able to work with groups, not just individuals, because, you know, which is relates to what we were just discussing, like, there comes a point when individual work development, realisations kind of reaches this pressure point when it bumps up against a collective life that is, you know, operating from a very different place. Yeah. So at some point in time, we need to be able to take that kind of awareness from the individual, and have it integrated as part of our collective life. Yeah, so I’m more and more interested in working with organisations not because corporate pays well, but because we actually need that to be integrated into, you know, mainstream life, like, I’m all for, like working on building the new and alternative systems. But at some point, we also need part of what’s the current system to go through a form of, you know, transition, yeah. Or at least to be ready to jump on board when some step change, you know, kind of enters. And then we also get the effect that, you know, culture gradually changes. And so we have more and more people who, you know, are willing to support you know, someone who’s gone through a big transition.

 

 

Yes. You know,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

in a workplace, like, you know, when you admit, you know, at the moment, it’s more normal to not talk about,

 

Bryn Edwards 

yes, you know, that kind of thing. And one of the things in the research that we’ve found is that, yeah, that some of the things that make it uncomfortable and jarring is knowing that, oh, I need to have some time off work, because I just can’t function. But yeah, there’s expectations on my work. And I can’t say that so I just say something to do with mental health. And yeah, might be enough to keep people at bay for a week. Yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

I need some space to integrate.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, it’s not it’s not really a thing. And so, if we come out of this and take on board, do you think nature is a key component? And a great, as you said before, like a chair A teacher etc, etc. And what do you see going on? in our community, society culture, particularly here in 2020, which is a fascinating year to say the least. Because you strike me as someone who’s very connected not just to individuals, but collectives as well. What do you feel at the moment? Because? Yeah, I’ll let you just go.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. I mean, yeah, lots of different ways to answer that question. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I feel shy. It’s a massive bought question.

 

 

Yeah.

 

 

I feel

 

Claire Vanderplank 

excited, cautiously excited. Because I get the sense that 2020 has been a very galvanising year, like, in terms of it, really asking us really who we are, what do we value and realising that, you know, things are going to be changing anyway? So how can we feel that we have some influence over that direction of change? Like, I feel like there’s more of a desire to be active in terms of, you know, having some power over where things are going. And, you know, all the things that have gone on, you know, even, you know, we just recently, you know, the US elections and that kind of thing. But even with covert and, you know, that sense of like, well, who really knows what’s going on? I believe that there’s more and more, there’s a lack of faith in just taking, you know, the mainstream, like, narrative for how things I’m not saying that, of course, it hasn’t been force people to want to hold on to that more tightly, because, you know, we feel it slipping through our fingers. fingers. Yeah, one, we want what we thought was, you know, our solid ground, but it makes me excited, because I think then, you know, while it’s like, like a rite of passage, while it’s not comfortable, that if we can, you know, embrace the ordeal, and fully go into it, then we can actually, you can really do that, you know, alchemy and come out the other side. I mean, I noticed like, there’s been just in the last month or two, like so many more people than normal. Contact me about a quest or,

 

 

you know, have that surprise you.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

It doesn’t surprise me. I actually thought it was going to be earlier. Yeah. Yeah, I was like, Alright, okay, everyone’s really gonna, okay, I need, you know, I want something help me navigate this shit show of, you know, just what, yeah, you know,

 

 

I need something.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Exactly. And that, and because for me, like, I don’t, I don’t know how I would get through life if I didn’t have that anchor to, you know, the sacred, you know, way. Like, if I, the gifts that I’ve been given out, you know, on solo time, possibly the biggest one of them all is just that little, you know, flame that sometimes it’s hard to see, but like, deep inside is somewhere that knows that I can trust life and how it unfolds. And

 

 

that life

 

 

and how it unfolds. Yeah.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Because when you realise like, the fundamental you know, life force itself is always seeking to promote life. Yeah. So and even if you’d like look at you know, patterns in nature, for example, even though some systems go into decay. And some you know, species try something weird and it fails. Yeah. All that still learning for the bigger hole. Yeah. So, you know, and when something decays, it releases energy that then nourishes something else.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Well, I couple of weeks ago, ended up having a fantastic conversation with Graham Upson from touchwood mushrooms down in Denmark, cool. very gifted. Mushroom. was a grower cultivator cool. When you actually dive into just what’s going on in the mycelium network in the mushrooms. A tree falls over and then all of a sudden these things arrive and yet the spores are always travelling. Yeah, and You just understand that. Yeah, it’s constantly on pot constantly progressing, moving, morphing?

 

 

Totally.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And it was just fascinating to me, there was just so much to learn, consider and meditate on from a bigger systemic point of view. Absolutely. And that was just mushrooms. Exactly.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Exactly. And I really like, you know, I don’t think it works. Like, I mean, it’s useful to go and look at things in nature. And then, like, think how I can apply that back to my lived experience. But I think you probably got that those, you know, lessons points for reflection from those mushrooms. Because you already have, you know, backing in, you know, consciousness development and whatever you want to call it. Because I think at some, at some level, like learning from nature is a process that is a very, you know, it’s a very embodied, yes. So, you know, when I think like, where does that trust of life come from? I would not be the same if I went, Oh, well, ecosystems working away, which,

 

 

yeah, you get ahead answer.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Which is, is useful. Yeah. But really, you know, needs to be coupled with that, like, felt sense of, you know, life wanting to work through you and with you and supporting you, which you see in, you know, signs of whether it’s, you know, synchronicity like things happening right at the right time. And, you know, and sometimes it’s like, it’s so playful, like, you just, yeah, laughing like, what appears at the right moment, or, huh, yeah, it’s beautiful. And you know, the space of a question, especially, you know, longer periods of time, you start to say that, you just go, Oh, my God, this is actually all the time, like,

 

Bryn Edwards 

this is on all the time. Yeah. And I think, you know, I was guilty in my 30s. You know, in our 20s, I did a lot of travelling and went on all sorts of adventures, and I was just, I felt like it was always connected to whatever was going on. And 30s, you know, go off into some corporate management consulting career. And it’s only when you’re on holiday, you suddenly sit, you know, after a couple of days, you go through the ritual of getting shit faced for three days, and then feel crap for a couple of days, and then find the bottom out being quiet. And then you just look outside, wherever you are, and you just go, Wow, that tree is always been. And it’s just looking at me, it’s been more looking at me for last several. And it’s always there. And it’s always faithfully waiting. I was fine. You know, like nature’s faithfully waiting, where he’s getting on with his own business, but it’s always they’re very welcoming. You know, so almost greatest sign of unconditional love.

 

 

Totally.

 

 

Always here. Whenever you ready? Yeah. Never not here.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Totally. That’s, you know, how it nature’s always ready to share its gifts. Because, you know, and like that, to me is like, Huh, you know, even I always think about, like, a gift economy is, you know, if we were to need another, you know, way of distributing resources, you know, get it make sure everyone gets what they need. Just like, well, like everything, and I think we’re getting better at realising is like, oh, living systems principles. kind of work. Yeah, you know, how can we humans do that, too? And, you know, and a gift economy is like, the natural economy. Yeah. Nature’s not judging going, Oh, well, I’m only gonna give these three apples to that animal because they didn’t do that. Other things. Yeah. You know, it’s like, you give and it gets back to trusting life, right? You give because you trust that if you’re, you know, contributing to this growing, flourishing system, you get, you always get what you need back because you are part of it. You are meant to be part of it. You actually belong as part of it. So, yeah.

 

 

Which is why we’ve gone so far apart from

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Hmm, we’ve forgotten all that. And it will take it’s not to say that it’s busy. That’s not just because I reckon it’s true. It also doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like, I don’t think getting back to humans living in harmony with the natural world is gonna happen. Quickly, you know, like, I wouldn’t say that I’m optimist, even though I trust life, I wouldn’t say that I’d be necessarily described as optimistic about, you know, the next century or two. Yeah. But also when you see things in as in greater and greater holes, you also go that’s also okay. You know, I’m not saying that I particularly am looking forward to experiencing you know, as the as system breakdown gets closer to home. But, you know, when you go I’m part of life and life is doing its thing. And in a way, that’s beautiful.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. That’s not to give us a bypass on our decisions that we might. But sometimes, you know, it’s very, very easy to, particularly here in Wi Fi. And that’s probably, again, a reference from living in England, it’s very easy for people and even myself to go back to old ways of doing this, this and this, and it’s easy to do that. But at the same time, I think to myself, well, life spirit consciousness, whatever you want to say it is, with evolved this way. Nature doesn’t do things for shits and giggles, there is a reason why we’ve evolved this way doesn’t necessarily mean that the end point is now you know, in our minds love endpoints, right? It doesn’t like process or in process. I’ve used the analogy before, if I had a ball in my hand, and throw it up in the air in the air, your your mind’s not going to be really happy with the ball. And it’s back in my hand. It’s done the travel, but it’s been there all the time. So it’s kind of it’s not to give us a free pass on, on facing up to our responsibilities, but at the same time, calm down and just go, Well, you know, they just pushing us or consciousness is pushing us in this direction to learn something to move somewhere. Where that may be where the end of this stage development destination is?

 

 

Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

I don’t know. Exactly. It’s part of it. So when you get into the real, darkest parts of the existential impact of considering what we’re doing with nature and our lack of connection, it’s still there. It’s still waiting. Things like vision quests are there is a reason why more and more people are being dragged to Yeah, and I like, you know, I like the idea of collectively that we’ve had to sort of go away to fully appreciate and come back with something new, whatever that is, like, the whole idea of transcending include transcending. Yeah.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Important. And I also like, yeah, it’s such an interesting line of questioning, you know, far. Yeah, you know, it gets to like, what’s the role of humans, it also gets to, you know, you’ve also got to be careful about going just because it’s all okay, doesn’t mean humans are actually a part of the future. Because sometimes bases do come up, and then they disappear. You know, because we’re serving a function for the whole, I’m sure. Ultimately, that function might be the cause of enough disruption, that after we’re gone, there’s a great flourishing of life, you know, so, I don’t ever take it for granted that just because humans are here for a reason, actually means that nature’s gonna keep us.

 

 

Yes.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

You know, like, I think actually, that’s still very much up to us. Yes. Because no matter how we play it, nature’s gonna incorporate it ultimately. Yeah. And you know, I get like, a find a lot of, you know, spiritual and even nature love and, and actually more so nature loving people end up in this like, Oh, well, you know, humans are crap, nature is good. But it’s okay, when we’re gone, nature will be fine. So really, we just have to worry about that, you know, then it goes into weird, like, so we just have to worry about the humans, or we just have to hurry up and get over and done with or let’s just ignore it all, because I don’t know what that means. Like, yeah. But I’m like, No, but that’s actually the quest. That question is really what is our role here? Because just say, nature will be fun. Eventually, we could we’re already causing, you know, this six metrics, mass extinction, some modelling or climate change shows we could wipe out virtually all life on Earth. Maybe it’ll come, you know, guessing, we’ll probably come back. But like, just how much is acceptable to us like, and ultimately, like, yeah, are we living up to the role that we’ve been given? So I really, really do like those, you know, the role of having a grand narrative, like a story that tells us where humans come from and why we’re here. So, obviously, you know, the common theme in indigenous cultures and including, know our culture, that story of us being the cares of everything. custodianship, you know, there’s a common theme around humans were given the role of looking after everything. And that’s what I think, you know, ultimately, that’s the only answer to all those questions that we can at least rest in that a bit and not try to like to stop trying to work it all out, because we never work it out. There’s no right answer, Ray. Oh,

 

Bryn Edwards 

yeah. Was it the complexity of the current challenges faced? way bigger than the horsepower of one individual?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

family? Absolutely. And so, you know, coming back to go, Well, how are we, you know, because ultimately, what that means, to me is like, we’re acting, just like nature does in terms of like, trying to take care of all of life and trying to promote the flourishing Yeah, of all. So, you know, that’s where just embodying nature comes coming back to being so important, because the more that we can, you know, embody those principles and embody generativity itself. To me, that’s where the answer, you know, once you go through that line of questioning, to me, that’s the only place it can really kind of come back to, because I think if you stop at any point in time go, Well, I don’t have to do anything, because it’s all perfect. Like, well, you’ve just cut yourself off from that process, because you’ve just, you know, stop listening, because you’ve decided that, yeah, and that’s not you know, that’s not nature, that’s not flow, that’s not life moving through, that’s like you actually cutting that off? Yeah. Well, likewise, nature will be fine, which is a lovely trusting nature, but also, then cutting yourself off from it, you know, it’s exactly yeah.

 

 

Do you?

 

Bryn Edwards 

So here’s a question, probably more personal one is that the last several years, before any sort of large scale collective event, like COVID, etc, for you to do your, the work that you’ve done, obviously, you’ve been through your journey, which is your interior, interior experience. And you find that previous to 2020, you kinda have to hold just hold your own space. And now, because there’s more of these shared larger experiences, it sets a nice context for people to open up to these sorts of discussions. Does that make sense? So how have you found the journey from holding your own space to almost like, because? Do you see where I’m going?

 

 

Yeah, like, finally, the

 

Claire Vanderplank 

time has come? Yeah, there’s

 

Bryn Edwards 

a bit of that. That’s kind of it. Because, you know, I’ve been doing this podcast for three years. And I’ve listened to people’s stories, and it felt like different people on their own little stories on their own journeys. And I’ve started to, through doing it, notice patterns in things that people are saying, and so we’re starting to go, this is more like the truth of what the human experience is about. The narrative that we tell ourselves is just so far apart. Now, and, and there’s never been the sort of reconciliation events, collectively, individually, yes, but individually, you can pass those off really quickly. Or they can be you know, pushed down or whatever. But now, you know, we were all asked to stay at home and this that the other, you know, everybody had to be at home, everybody had to be with themselves, everybody. So all of a sudden, now, the conversation I’ve been sort of having with a smaller group of people. Now all of a sudden, everybody wants to chat thread about this, or a new sort of intimated that with more people want to come on, visualise me stuff like that. You. So I guess, the sort of question I’d like to hear your view on is, have you seen a similar sort of thing? Are you seeing like a closing of the gap between? What’s the bullshit narrative we tell ourselves and the reality and truth of who we are and what what we’re up to? Yeah, at least the Genesis towards that.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. I mean, I think probably I can’t answer that completely. Just because through all this, like, I’ve been quite insular, myself in this feeling of like, you know, really needing to stay, like not jump into action too quickly. Like, even after restrictions have been lifted sometimes, like going out. I’m like, Oh, my God too soon. Yeah. And that’s probably for other reasons, but I’ve felt personally still, like just, I haven’t been reaching out to many people so far to have a flavour of what the, you know, broader conversation is like, however, I feel like Even just, you know, looking at when, you know, talking to friends who work in different disciplines, there does seem to be more and more of a error. People coming back to the same kinds of Yeah, ways of thinking about things. And yeah, much more integrated. And yeah, those just those little moments that come up in conversations where you’re talking about, you know, examples from very, very different contexts, but people are starting to notice the same kinds of patterns and same kinds of, you know, desire to just go, Oh, can we just, like, stop with the, you know, the nonsense like, yeah, whether it’s, you know, people getting more and more interested in, you know, how the economy functions, more or less and less people having trust that, like, Oh, yeah, you should just buy a house and, you know, be part of this bigger thing, too, you know, there’s that type type of conversation too, like getting more interested in local economies and local currency, and all that kind of thing. It all ends up looking like, yes, more and more people are realising that we need to be inventing other ways. Yes. And that, that needs to come from, you know, a much more real place of like, connection, and it needs to be serving all of humanity, but also more and more about the realisation of including nature. Yeah, so I can only really answer your question in a general way, because I’m sort of, you know, in the process of getting myself to that point of doing a, you know, conversation based project that aims to wave in, you know, different areas. So, sure, we talk about this in like, six months time, I’m gonna have plenty of stories. Yeah, cuz that’s kind of the goal. I mean, that’s sort of the premise that is based upon is that we are sort of ready for this higher level of, you know, sense making, and that we’re ready to actually form this sort of group, you know, community like, collective coherence.

 

 

Yes.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

So that we have a common language we’ve made sense with enough. You know, one enough of a level of collective intelligence, that that gives us a platform to sort of move from like, I’m launching this project, because I do really believe that there’s that readiness, and you know, now’s the time that people are open to it and willing to desire to explore. So yeah, that’s right.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes, yeah, I do feel there’s a general shifting in collective sense making. Are we starting to see that?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Which is funny, though, because it is at the same time as all this polarisation happening.

 

 

Well, yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I think we’re underplaying as well, the collective trauma that occur and has occurred, yeah, in the past, and the way that we’ve done things, you know, since the post enlightenment, rational, you know, 1960s, when we moved into the postmodern world, and, you know, those sort of transitions and the collective response to what has occurred this year, is unparalleled. Hmm. And if it I don’t think anybody’s not, at some point, not felt safe in the world. And all the pillars that we hold on to have been moved, or taken away or shifted, all those things that we orientate ourselves with other the really interesting exercise one day with my journal, I’ve broke it back to what are the things that I’ve referenced myself with and made a list of them and then I wrote down, I think, actually, tangibly rail.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Are they an internal construct? And, you know, when I stripped it back, it came down to things like, Am I awake? Am I asleep? Is the sun up? As you know, am I in the ocean and my wet or dry? Yeah. And, you know, nature was definitely one of those as well, an interaction with it. And I’ve said several times in between periods podcast, Richie granddam was really good. You know, the sun is good, nature is good. We’ve lost many of that, but it’s also great places to just reference ourselves before we start referencing ourselves with all the rest of the junk. Yeah. And the constructs and stuff like that, yeah. previous podcast guest, Thomas Bjorkman talked about Aaron money. We all say that we can’t live without either of them. But we could collectively agree tomorrow that we don’t have to bother with money. Yeah, yeah. Big, big job. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you know, being idealistic. But we can’t collectively suddenly say tomorrow, we’re not gonna bother with that.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, nature to me is like, like, it’s truth in terms of, yes, the great level, because ultimately, if we didn’t, you know, have a planet or, you know, healthy ecosystems, water air, then yeah, we would be fucked. But also in that way that nature’s spirit made manifest, it’s, it is just, it is just creation expressing itself. And so that’s why all those, you know, beautiful wise, like Lao Tzu Dallas store, you know, Buddha’s great at using nature metaphors. Yeah, Aboriginal people are amazing at using nature metaphors. And they use it because they express truth more eloquently. And, you know, some simplistically, then anything else that way could create, explain. And that’s why I got, you know, one of the things I’m trying to work on is how to, not just talked to, like, you know, leaders or organisations about living systems principles, and how that could apply to, you know, like, organisational design or whatever, because that’s, you know, kind of other people have already started that work. But also then how to give people that deep, you know, embodied connected experience in natures to sort of, you know, be able to marry the two of like, a felt sense of those patterns in nature, married with the light, cognitive understanding of like, you know, how to be an agent in a complex adaptive system? How could we organise around principles of how nature organises? And I think that, like,

 

 

how’s that received?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Well, I don’t know yet. I’m, I’m about to test all this. Excellent. I feel like, you know, then when I have conversations with people about it, you know, just informal one so far, it’s, you know, so far, that’s been, it is like, yeah, oh, yeah, of course, you know, like, it kind of makes sense. I mean, I’ve worked with a couple of organisations so far, who get it, but it’s always taken, you know, one, lidos, you know, already really switched on, who wants to, then, you know, bring that to more and more of their staff, but, you know, you’ve got to, people are at different stages of readiness. So I would have been strategizing how to be, you know, smart in the approach to, you know, meeting people where they’re at. Because it is complex, you know, like, it’s complexity, intellectually, it’s complexity, even, like emotionally because the process of connecting brings up a lot of stuff. Yeah. That people and like, you can’t, people’s healing journey can not be, you know, part of all that too, because if I’m helping give people a sort of, you know, deep experience out in nature, you can’t not talk about that stuff. And yeah, you know,

 

 

and not talking about it. Well, I see it sends you into some sort of neurosis or psychosis. Yeah. Which is probably worse than where you were before.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah, and it’s not. Um,

 

Bryn Edwards 

so this is the challenge of Thailand. And it it’s like, taking these bigger integrated thinking, but then put them into these quite narrow organisms of let’s just say, like a corporate business environment. And I say narrow because they’re there to serve. One, one, maybe two functions, we deliver profit, shareholder return. And, and we can dress it up like we want in our community engagement and all of that, that. You know, I’ve been a business consultant, 15 years, and I’ve seen how you know, how much money spent on community engagement and all the great stuff and then how that disappears so quickly, when you, you dial down the profitability. Yeah, like that. And so, and there’s always that reward that’s then linked within the consumer capitalist system. Yeah. And it to me without seeming pessimistic is always destined to fail. Yeah. Because we’re not recognising where the organisation sits in. In the ecosystem. Yeah. There’s not that many people who can hold all the different nuances in their concentration span, at the different levels all at the same time, because what you’re talking about is is, is, is deeply nuanced. And, and does require people to hold opposite tension tensions of opposites and things like that, to understand that, you know, even nature itself can contradict itself, amazingly growing stuff here, and then not decaying stuff and entropy there. And it’s like, what’s one than the other? And, you know, so can be challenging. And I, you know, as one of the reason why I wanted to speak to you again today is it’s because if anybody can see how it’s not, like I said, pessimistically destined to fail, because it’s one slither within a big integrate. Yeah, they love to hear that. Yeah.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

I guess I get sick of that. Like, I mean, it was a line I had today, like, no, there’s no, there’s not a tension between, you know, making money and doing good. Because, you know, look, look, look at all these examples of businesses who do better, because they’re doing good, because that’s not what I’m like, that’s good in some cases, but the reality is that, like he can’t, the whole economic system is built on. Yeah, taking things that were complex and making it simple, like turning nature into products turning human and their relationships into sellable chunks of data. Yeah, that is an entropic system, you know, let alone, you know, that’s just thinking in that living system complexity stuff, like to me like, it’s just obviously,

 

 

yeah,

 

Claire Vanderplank 

but, you know, it’s that, but that’s where I kind of hope COVID and all the other disruption that’s happened, you know, especially this year, but has been happening a lot more in general, helps create the space for conversations where, you know, the transition part, there will be a phase of like, we were wearing one, you know, phase state, and we’re moving to some other one, and we don’t know what that is yet.

 

Bryn Edwards 

That’s okay.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

Yeah. And that’s okay. But it doesn’t mean, just ignore that until that time has come. Yeah, it means that there’s a period of transition that we can be smart about, and I hope to be finding more leaders and organisations who go, we know that what we’re doing could be completely different in the future, we may not even have a role in the future, who knows. But we need to be creating space, you know, for that conversation that goes, shit, when we say we want to make profit and do good. We actually know that that’s really difficult. But so to have that real conversation about it’s a very, it’s a fundamentally flawed, self terminating system that we are a part of, yes. We don’t want to necessarily fade it. Yeah. Yet we also the game be isn’t here yet. Yes. I like what can we do that’s in fully knowledge meant of this situation? Even though that’s completely we had for us to talk about as a, you know, business or? Yeah, I don’t know. It’s not just businesses that, you know, I think this is applicable to but where’s that? I think there’s more opening now to have that, yes, acknowledgement, and definitely openness, but still going. Like it’s still it’s so challenging, because like I said, it’s complex, mentally, it’s complex, emotionally, it’s complex, spiritually, yes. And people are at different levels of readiness. So how can we create? What is it my friend wants, like, islands of safety and nodes of resilience, you know, where people can, can be supporting each other, because, like, when it comes full circle back around to that, you know, notion of existential crisis, and, you know, the lack of ability to support each other in our collective life. Because the culture is not there, but how could you, you know, in the groups you’re already involved with, whether it’s work, whether it’s a community group or volunteer, you know, whatever it is, like, be able to change at least the culture within your own group. least be able to have honest conversations about where you’re at and how you’re working and helping Ah, yeah,

 

 

navigating that honest conversations. Yeah, yes.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

And realising that I, like let’s think about some principles that we’re aiming to try to live by and we’re gonna keep our awareness Life into when, you know, the opportunity comes for us to, you know, move and be able to integrate that more, because that’s really like, what’s that saying? Like, you know, we need more leaders like the samurai that have meditated on the thousand ways they could die. Not so that’s so much willing to go and die yet so that when they’re faced with a really tough situation, you know, it’s not a shock to them that you’re actually prepared for it. And that’s like real, you know, resilience on like, a collective level. To me, like, it’s better to be a warrior in a garden and a gardener, you know,

 

 

huh.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

So we need you having those spaces for those, you know, pretty confronting conversations about the route reality of where we’re at.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. And stay open in those. Yeah.

 

Claire Vanderplank 

And how do we still live with joy? Despite all that, you know, that’s really what takes up most of my, you know, time and thinking that’s the big picture of where it all fits. And then, you know, the

 

 

answer is

 

Claire Vanderplank 

nature, tools like questing and healing. Hmm. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So the last question, I asked all my guests Oh, yep. hypothetical, one of the answers is, if you could upload a single question into the collective consciousness. Everybody just sat still for 10 minutes, considered it all at once? And what would that be?

 

Claire Vanderplank 

was really bad thinking questions, but I’m the one that came to me straight away when you said that was, who am I to contemplate Who am I? Which is, you know, spiritual practice, you know, to get to that, that, you know, what am I not, and strip away identity because that re forming of identity to Yeah, you know, to be more aligned with fundamental truth, love, spirituality, oneness, whatever you want to call it, but also that lives by us to then re form our identity in the context of which I again, it’s where I think nature is so important is that we also need to have that sense of like, you know, we are our place and we are our relationships and we are our ecology. Yeah.

That’s how they weren’t keep we are all in this together.

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

It’s been a pleasure chatting to you today. Thanks. Look safer, enjoyed it. Make sure people want to find you reach out finally find you

 

Claire Vanderplank 

and my websites clevenger plank, calm. And I’m on Facebook, if you’re interested, particularly in the quest way of nature, who is the Facebook page where I’ll put all the dates for the quests? Or if you Yeah, go to the website, and you can sign up for the newsletter and then you’ll get notified when an event occurs. Okay. Yeah, that’s a good spot.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Thank you very much. Thank

 

Claire Vanderplank 

you.

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