CO Mirroring the Four Shields of Human Nature: The Art of Story Telling and Listening

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Aug 17th, 2022 - Aug 22nd, 2022 | Dragonback Springs Ranch, Colorado | Emerald North, Ray Hillis, Scot Deily

Who is this miracle speaking to me?

And who is this miracle listening?

What amazingness are we creating?

Out of gray matter a star spark of thought

leaps between synapses into the air,

and pours through gray matter, into my heart:

how can I not listen generously?

~Marilyn Nelson

The shields of human nature turn with the experiences of life, from the smallest cell to the great seamless whole of the biosphere called earth. It begins with the body (summer), turns into psyche (fall), becomes activated form (winter), which dissolves into spirit (spring) — which is born again in the body (summer). The four seasonal directions of human nature, in their complex, yet simple, interaction, form the basis of an eco psychology which redefines traditional psychologies based on human alone, apart from nature.

Telling one’s own story is an ancient art. Nowadays, we have forgotten how to listen and how to tell. Yet the very survival of our species depends on our ability to communicate with each other in such ways as to be mutually enriched by the telling and the listening. If we cannot tell with expression, our life is mute. If we cannot listen like a mirror, we cannot reflect back the wholeness of the four shields — the body, soul, mind and spirit of the teller. The best stories are about human nature — that is, the human of us which is, after all, nature in her basic manifestations as physical, psychical, rational, and spiritual. One of the best ways to create a four shields story, if not the best, is to put people in contact with nature in the raw.

What comes forth in the story is the stuff of self-transformation. Even as we “myth” ourselves into experience, so we express ourselves into existence. Our stories about our natural selves, and our means of expressing them, lead us to courage, determination, commitment, hope, wisdom, and the will to survive, to transcend the difficulty, to go beyond ourselves. Those of us who work with people must know how to listen and respond to the stories our people tell, so that we can help them create a life that is deeper, richer, and of greater benefit to our community and the earth. 

Program Overview: We will meet together in outdoor settings. Mornings will be taken up with meetings, afternoons or evenings with solitary excursions into the surrounding forest. Participants will forgo companionship, food, and shelter during these times.  We will tell and listen to stories that empower and participants will respond to stories in a variety of ways. The objectives of the seminar are to experience human-nature deeply; to elicit personal “mythos” through the expression of the story; to acquire knowledge of how to listen and respond to the four personas of human nature (to “mirror”), and to utilize a powerful incorporation tool of self and group empowerment.

Program Questions Contact: Emerald North at [email protected]

***Please note: You must be vaccinated against covid to attend this program.

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TUITION: $650-$1,150
DEPOSIT: $250

We have a sliding scale for our programs in an effort to make them accessible. Please pay what you are able and know that your generosity supports the affordability of all our programs. If you need financial support or a payment plan check out our scholarship fund.

Pay program deposit

This deposit signifies your commitment to the program and is deducted from the tuition balance. This is a non-refundable, non-transferable deposit that is required for enrollment.

Submit enrollment form

Once you have paid the program deposit, please fill out and submit the enrollment form below. After your enrollment form is complete, please submit all health and liability forms.

Submit Waitlist form

This program is full; however, you may add your name to the Waitlist by clicking the Waitlist button below.

Additional course details & Materials

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We will meet at 10 AM on Aug 17th. The program will conclude by 2PM on Aug. 22nd.
ADDITIONAL FEES: Camping and Land Use Fee of $30 will be collected at the time of the program.

You will be responsible for bringing your own food and equipment, though we can provide some gear if needed. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. You will need to bring shelter and clothing suitable for a full range of inclement weather. 

To address safety concerns during the pandemic, please contact us regarding our current Coronavirus protocols as well as any current travel restrictions. These protocols may affect how you are able to travel to the program.

All participants must submit the required health and liability forms.

Following enrollment, please submit the Letter of Intent. We ask that you write a letter of intent at least a month before the program, stating your reasons for enrolling and what is calling you to attend.

If you have questions about the enrollment process contact us at [email protected] or call 760-938-3333.

There is no required reading for this program.

Dragonback Springs is land of the Tabeguache Ute people and other Indigenous tribes who traveled through this area of the Colorado Rockies. The Ute lived and hunted in this abundant land of elk, buffalo, deer, and bear before white settlers came and forced them onto reservations in southwest Colorado and Utah.

To learn more about our commitment to regenerative relationships please visit Cultural Relations.