A Natural Apprenticeship

Holli Sullivan - Brazil


April 25, 2012

 A Natural Apprenticeship

 

I always knew I was a child of the universe. I was born on the beach. Like, literally, the hospital was on a hill overlooking the ocean. From the beach I went to live in the countryside for 2 years. From there I went to live the better part of my life so far on the sandstone shores of Lake Powell. There, I spent all my days swimming in canyons, searching for ponds, and climbing up cliffs to find the best possible view of that natural kingdom. From day one, nature has been my everything. From the air I would breathe, the sand between my toes, the 100 degree sun on my skin, and the beautiful relief of the water to balance it out. But for my whole life, these were simple things. I knew somewhere inside of me that there must have been something more, some sort of deeper connection between me and this nature, but never could I find the words to describe any of it. And so I went on looking, climbing, and enjoying…

After 19 years I found Global Citizen Year. Upon signing up I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for in my journey. It was hard to articulate and put words to, but I knew what it was I wanted to do. I wasn’t out to change the world. I wasn’t out to learn about economics or politics. I was more or less just following what Michael Jackson once said-“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change.” I knew when I came here I wanted to work on myself: strengthening myself, finding myself, and enlightening myself. I didn’t know how I was going to do this, but with full faith I dove into the experience with everything I had, ready to see what would unfold…

Through many an adventure I was called to a little place called Terra Mirim. Terra Mirim is an Eco-Village that bases its ways of life on Shamanism and the 4 Elements. Okay so you probably all know what the four elements are, but what is Shamanism, right?

Shamanism is that word that I never could find before in my life. It is a deep connection with nature, with our roots as beings of planet earth and of the universe. It is a respect and appreciation for the nature, and the knowledge that if we will respect her, she will respect us as well. It is the ways of the ancient peoples of the earth, the ways that were practiced and lived by the people who, instead of sitting on the couch and turning on the 6 o’ clock news to find out what was going on, laid in fields and on mountain tops, allowing the stars to bring them the news of their existence. They studied the earth, the air, the water and the fire, and, because of their clarity and humility, were able to be taught all the lessons of life that they needed to know. Because of their trust in Mother Earth, they were given food, water, medicine, and all other necessities to live. It is the lifestyle of these people that is practiced at Terra Mirim.

Clearly it is not quite the same as it was in the good ol’ days. Back then it was normal, it was what everyone did. But now we fight against every aspect of the system to be able to live this way. Be it in terms of food, finances, or just the understanding of all types of people, truly living in what was once our natural way is unfortunately considered to be not so natural anymore.

Despite the challenge, I know that here in Mirim, I have found a truth about humanity and a connection with myself that I never knew existed. Terra Mirim was a little different than what Global Citizen Year had had in mind for an apprenticeship, but I give them all my gratitude for allowing me to take this step along with my fellow fellow Karina. After all, GCY is all about being different, doing something that might not be considered so “normal.” As you can read here in my very first ever blog post, I am exactly the same way. I believe that if we are ever to get back to our roots and natural ways that we will have to take a path that will be viewed by the world as “unnatural.”

Let us go with strength, my brothers and sisters. Let’s go.

Holli Sullivan