16 ~ May ~ 2022
To be a Relational Being, an inquiry…
sharing gifts of knowledge
mostly in the form of questions,
explorations into the land of wonder
Many of our guides take different forms
the buzz of a bee or wind through the trees
even messengers within our very own bodies
lessons for learning are available everywhere
The greatest challenge to us being able to receive
is opening up, quieting down, and letting it flow within
then we can begin to channel and funnel the information,
tune into the frequencies that are always readily available
We are all students and teachers,
knowers and dreamers,
we can share answers
but really only have
questions to give
To be a Relational Being…
What does it mean to be a Relational Being? To participate in a reciprocal way with our shared ecologies, as a being, companion, and in many ways as kin/family with all those dynamic, visible and invisible beings that don’t happen to be human beings.
To live, and become a Relational Being is to be a more accurate, authentic, and holistic version of yourself.
To stay present is one of humanity’s great challenges. Staying aware of the myriad layers and levels of intimate connection and relationship we constantly are navigating with and through. To see ourselves as an intricate part of nature is to embrace being a Relational Being. These relationships exist whether we’re tuned into them or not.
At any given moment, there are countless, vitally alive, agency-filled beings who are part of systems and networks, constantly in relationships and motion with one another. This is the ongoing operation that literally allows for this reality to be possible. Human beings are but one infinitely small part of that. Many human cultures, specifically and especially the currently dominant global ones, participate in actions, practices, behaviors, beliefs, ceremonies and rituals, stories and mythologies that are detrimental and damaging to our greater planetary system (and Being) to say the very least. They pay little attention, care, or reverence to the amazingly woven together fabric of our shared ecologies. We of modernity have largely been navigating in a perceived state of separation from the rest of nature. Forgetting, crucially, that we are indeed nature, too. We’ve come by this honestly. This does not mean we are to be shamed and ridiculed, nor does it negate our responsibility for the consequences of these human-centered (anthropocentric) patterns that are perpetuated, it merely illuminates them and strongly invites us to break free from these detrimental paradigms so that we can be liberated and thus re-integrated with our greater ecological communities, as kind, caring, reciprocity driven, ecocentric Relational Beings.
This is not a romantic, fairytale fueled idea that has some clear conclusion where perfect harmony will be achieved if we participate in this shift of awareness/consciousness. Transforming our collective orientation, perspectives and the paradigms is, and will remain a messy ongoing, and unfolding process. In this way it can help move humans away from this audacious, dangerous pedestal of dominance and power that is so short sighted, selfish, and detrimental to us and the rest of this living world. It can provide pathways that move us towards more humble grounds to tread collectively upon. These humble grounds will likely promote more positive practices and ways to engage with, and navigate through reality and our shared ecologies. As Relational Beings we can move with more reverence, respect, love, and care for all the myriad fellow beings we’re in relationships with. And this naturally (pun intended) happens through a heightened level of attention and awareness that comes from being a relational being.
To become a Relational Being is a process and is truly not outcome driven. It is a verb as much as a noun. Relational Be-ing, being in relationships with the more than human world. How do we become Relational Beings is a question I, and many others are actively exploring. This is a work in progress and as noted, is a messy one that will undulate regularly. There are so many implications of what this transformational way of living and being can create.
What it means to be a Relational Being is a question that is very much alive and holds an open and invitational guiding light for others to explore. There are numerous current worldviews, cultures, and narratives that place humanity as the central characters in our collective planetary story. It is also extremely important to be aware that there are groups of humans (largely indigenous/first nations) who have lived in more relational ways, who hold the wisdom of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in their stories, cultures, and communities to this day. But here in what we call America, and in most of what we refer to as Western Civilization and the Global North, there is a pervasive perspective that centers humans. Where we imagine that the world revolves around us, not seeing that we revolve around, and with, the world. The Institute for Relational Being wishes to acknowledge, honor, and give reverence and respect to these other cultures and in tandem with that, work to meet the humans of modernity, and the cultural popular consciousness, where it is at. This is no easy task to be sure.
As we embrace and examine our current storylines that raise needed awareness and attention to the myriad of social, political, and ecological crises humans face, it seems evident that we also could benefit from appreciating that these are relational crises, too. And in many ways, all of these crises can be seen as opportunities for doing better and doing so not just as humans doing all the “work” but as relational beings doing this together with the greater surrounding ecology. Not only as stewards or protectors but as collaborators and students who can learn and be guided by our ecological companions as well.
This inquiry and idea involves a regular practice of shifting our orientation and invites us to embrace a different place to navigate from. Where we see that we are nature, intricately and intrinsically connected in intimate relationships with the rest of nature that surrounds us, the Trees, Birds, Soil, Rivers, and beyond, who collectively shape our shared ecology. This helps to make what has become invisible visible.
Why is this so important at this time and what is at stake?
We currently frame most personal and collective actions from a human centered position and perspective. This can be seen in the usage of “social” all over the place. Terms like; social change, social media, social impact, social investing, and social justice are to name but a few. What these typically contain, in our current paradigm, is an implication that the social dynamic is exclusively human oriented. By shifting, and adding more awareness to relational issues, we naturally incorporate our more-than-human communities into the conversations and narrative. This relational lens can live along side the social leaning perspective.
What happens when we create narratives, actions, and movements around Relational Change, Relational Media, Relational Impact, Relational Investing, and Relational Justice? And explore the framework beyond the important, though often abstract notions involved with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) for example. This popular area of focus in modern business practices is helping in many way but how much more visible, transparent and accountable could this be if we also incorporated a more comprehensive analysis with an Relational, Ecological, and Governance (REG) framework? Or perhaps a Relational, Ecological Emergence (REE) framework of exploration, what could this look like?
These, and questions like them are what we are exploring at the Institute of Relational Being.