Professor of Educational Leadership for Change at Fielding Graduate University, Prof. Don Trent Jacob (Four Arrows) sat down with Jim Paymar at this year’s SOH Forum…

JP – Now your role is what, how are you going about working with SOH Forum?

4A – The SOH Forum is important because one, what is happening to me. Every person I have talked with there is a mutual learning that happens. There is a sense of love and camaraderie and mutual support. It is a chance for us all to realise we are not on our own in this work. Secondly, we leave with not just that feeling, which can inspire us in the world where things are not this rosy, but there are ideas that are coming where you go ‘wow, I could use that’. So your bag of tools become bigger.

JP – Can we change the world by understanding ourselves and our own spiritual beings?

4A – I think that, the idea of spirits, it is giving significant to other and other is not cut off at the human world. I believe that it is not so much about changing the world as it is remembering the world. And if we can remember the world, we remember that, if right now a little cockroach walked across the floor. If we had the sensibility that maybe I don’t want to touch it, but wow there is a fellow creature. Instead of immediately stepping on it, you study it, you learn from it. Spirit is about the teachings of nature. I believe that the world right now, every life system, is at a tipping point. As long as we have a world view that we call it a resource, that’s economic, not spiritual. When we call it our brother, when we look at the tree and call it our grandfather and really mean it, and really know there is a life system there. So remembering that we are part of nature, we are not superior to it, that is when we can do what you are leading to and change the world.

JP – How do we get back to a more spiritual connection with nature?

4A – I remember bringing children from NYC into a wilderness area. One of the children looked up and said ‘what’s that?’. They hadn’t seen a star before. But most of the time, no matter where you are, you can see a star. There is nature in each of us, there is nature in plants, in our gardens. If you can bring in to your work place, bring in sprouts and look at the miracle of a seed sprouting. If we begin to tune ourselves into being not just about humans and really begin to see the other creatures. There is a lot of ways to do it.

JP – How do we reconnect people? That this is about a we, a collective place that we call Earth?

4A – It is not just a New Age metaphor to say ‘We are all one’. It is a reality. The difficulty is, in the dominant world view, that we can’t learn from nature, only men. The beginning of understanding oneness, is to be one with nature. If you can look down on an ant, that is the first step of looking down on someone of a different economic structure. The second part is complementarity. In our original world view it was a daily reality of effort. You would see things that seemed to be opposite, and you would see how they go together. But the diversity and the difference is the reality of what life is.

JP – When you leave Iceland, what do you take with you?

4A –  I take with me the inspiration of my comrades, that people all over the world they have the courage and love, with respect, as we did on the front lines of Standing Rock, and ultimately fearlessness. I am going to take more fearlessness with me, and know that I am not alone.