Saturday, July 2, 2011

Becoming Water Birds: In the Kayak in Granite Dells

Early this summer I had three opportunities to encounter the Granite Dells in the highlands of Arizona. I had visited several times before, and in the space of the week, enjoyed rock lounging with colleagues, rock tromping down to the water with a different group of friends, and finally kayaking within the water with friends near and far. Walking down in and then kayaking radically changed my perspective, placing me at waterline, from within the Dells, instead of on top of or beside them. In this way, I came to know the Dells entirely newly, from within it rather than from the edge of it or on top of it. "Embed and embody" is one of the four characteristics of Gaian Methods, which provide models for research based on the living system(s) of the Earth (deChambeau et al, 2010). Experiencing relationship with the Dells from within the Dells demonstrated that regenerative creativity is a Gaian method of research.

This important change in perspective relates to designing for regenerative creativity. To design from within, rather than with a deracinating sense of distance from, changes me from raptor to water bird, bringing me within the design as an active and activating catalytic presence, blessed by the movements of the work and blessing through my being and interacting presence. The rampant threats of the consequences of scientific innovation separated from the living processes of the planet can be countered through regenerative creativity, which invites symbiotic, ecological, and bodily connectedness. Complex and regenerative creativity requires ecologies of connection and engagement to be saved from the dangers of Cartesian deracination. We become part of the design. Regenerative creativity stirs us into deep, meaningful, and fruitful Earth collaboration, revivifying our creative intelligence, while protecting us from planetary harm.