🌳 The Quest #4: Learning from trees, the wood wide web, and choosing joy

Hello friends!

In this week’s edition of The Quest: What we can learn from trees, the wood wide web, and choosing joy. Yes it’s the tree edition. Here we go!

  1. 🌳If you want to be a better facilitator, listen to trees: A blog I wrote about what Herman Hesse called the “wisest of teachers”. Trees. I was curious to explore the parallels between forests and groups. They both have complex connections and mysterious interactions. They are much greater than the sum of their parts. They both have the innate ability to self-organize. If trees can talk, what would they say to us about the nature of group work?
  2. 📗Overstory: Speaking of trees, I finished The Overstory, a beautifully-written Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Richard Powers (thanks to niece Andrea). It tells the story of nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests. It’s literally a breath of fresh forest air in its originality and prose. It sheds light on what trees can teach us about our relationships with the natural world and with each other.
  3. 🍄Understory: There’s more! By chance I came across Understory, a fascinating article written by English nature writer Robert Macfarlane excerpted from his new book “Underland: a Deep Time Journey”. In his article he examines the extraordinary life beneath the forest floor, or what is called the “wood wide web”. Macfarlane tells of his walk in London’s Epping Forest with scientist Merlin Sheldrake, who recently published “Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape our Futures”. Sheldrake writes about the mycelial universe that exists underground, and crucial role of fungi. Reading the article, I felt like I was being let in on some of the great secrets of life. My mind was exploding with new insights on creative process, facilitation, and learning. Not to mention that they have some of the most stunning cover artwork I have seen in a while.
  4. 🎥Three videos on how trees talk to each other: In case you want to delve deeper into the secret lives of trees:
  1. Choose Joy. One of my favourite newsletters is Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings. It is the perfect antidote to doom scrolling. She has written extensively about what we can learn from trees. In a special 14th anniversary special edition, she writes an extraordinary article called Choose joy. This piece distills down into 356 words and a two word title what she has discovered over 14 years about living. It it one of the most moving things I’ve read in a while.

  1. 📷Photo of the Week: A photo that I took last week of Pi d’en Xandri, 230 year-old pine tree that lives in the Collserola Natural Park in our town Sant Cugat del Vallès. The tree was almost cut down by land developers, and nearly burned by vandals. The town’s residents mobilized to save the tree and protect the forest from development. It has become a symbol of Sant Cugat’s identity and efforts to protect the environment.

Until next week!

Gwyn

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