“Our primary mission is to support collective evolution toward a life-sustaining, life-enhancing world.”
Who We Are
S.E.E.D.S. (School for Ecocentric Evolution & Design Strategies) is a diverse network of change-makers, visionaries, artists, farmers, and localized community members sharing ideas, design strategies, working models, and living examples of ecocentric interdependence, sovereignty, true belonging, and healing justice on all scales. We are everyone who holds in their hearts that a more beautiful and just world is possible. We are all those who feel the pain of what our world has become and are not afraid to look at the shadows, to heal our wounds, and to collaboratively forge a new path forward that combines ancient ways of knowing with creative modern innovation. We are those seeking community spaces safe and brave enough to allow ourselves to be seen and to choose to see one another. We are SEEDS of change ready to bring forth that which lives in each of us in order to grow the world we each know is possible.
We Aspire To…
- Help catalyze the growing and emergent shift in the collective consciousness from individualism towards mutuality, integration, interconnection, and collective belonging.
- Disseminate the processes and practices of healing spaces that are safe and brave enough for individuals to do the work of examining the role that deeply held unhealed personal, interpersonal, and intergenerational traumas have in promoting fear, separation, violence, hierarchy, exploitation, competition, scarcity, greed, and other dehumanizing mindsets and actions toward self and others.
- Lift up the revolutionary models and living symbols of alternative ways of being and living in relationship to the earth, self, other, group, and species that facilitate and impel the dismantling of settler-colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, racism, classism, ableism, heteronormativity, patriarchy, reliance on fossil fuels, and all other forms of oppression and entrapment.
- Explore the concept of sovereignty (on all scales) and the role it plays in facilitating bio-regional shifts towards freedom, abundance, mutuality, and autonomy.
- Honor and promote holistic psycho-spiritual development practices (i.e. rites of passage, ritual, and ceremony) at individual and collective levels in order to support a much needed species-level maturation from a patho-adolescent life stage to a nurturing and generative adulthood life stage.
- Recognize and implement systems of governance, communication, economy, conflict resolution, and decision-making that are truly egalitarian and radically inclusive
Questions Sourcing Our Work:
What world do we actually want to create?
What have we learned from what we have created thus far?
What is life and experience trying to tell us about the world we have created?
What is life, our dreams, our deepest hopes and longings trying to inform us about the world we could create?
How can we best serve this evolutionary moment and gain clarity into what life is desiring to dream and live through us?
How can we facilitate a consciousness shift for a pathological self obsession to a generative collaborative ecocentric awareness?
How do we collectively move from one world view to another in as graceful, strategic and timely a fashion as humanly possible?
How do we actively deconstruct the most harmful and existential aspects of this current society in a timely but omni-considerate way?
How do we identify, cultivate and embody our unique personal gifts, skills, passions, interests in a way that serves not only ourselves and our human communities but also the other than humans and the evolutionary invitation of the moment?
How to build the spaces, containers, communities that can facilitate personal healing, and wholing work while simultaneously creating innovative and revolutionary ways of participating in this life experience that are: more interesting, meaningful, resilient, collaborative, generative, considerate, creative and inspiring?
How can we mobilize the tremendous amount of collective resource to build new infrastructure, education systems, governance systems, economic systems, localized food networks, medical systems that will serve as the foundation for this transitional phase of society towards a more ecocentric world?
How to weave networks of resilience between communities and local bio-regions that can facilitate rapid exchange of information and resources to adequately respond to the dynamic and shifting nature of this transitional time?
How do we facilitate the maturation of individuals so as to generate true adults, elders and leaders who can lead and grow future generations in ecocentric values?
Why Ecocentric Evolution?
It may first be helpful to digest the word ‘ecocentric.’ Eco stands for ecology which is the relationship between organisms and their environment that gives rise to the nature of place. Centric stands for being in or at the center of/surrounded by. When we combine the two, we arrive at the following meaning: being centered in the relational web of life.
By centered, we mean that our waking consciousness is rooted in the knowledge that we are an emergent property of relationship, completely dependent and interconnected with countless organisms that through complex and collaborative relationality have/are giving rise to the possibility of this human life experience. An ecocentric human conscious awareness not only understands that our life is a gift from life itself, born out of billions of years of evolutionary process and held up by the life that surrounds us, but also understands that its health and scope of experience is determined by the health, diversity, beauty, and freedom of the life that surrounds it. From this conscious awareness, we can participate in the evolutionary process in a way that truly benefits this planet’s life expression at large.
Egocentric Spirit of The Times:
When we observe the world around us (the spirit of the times), we can see that the driving forces of society, the predominate worldview, and the mainstream values and incentive landscapes are far from being rooted in an ecocentric awareness. In fact, we could say that the driving consciousness of this time is rooted in an egocentric awareness. If we piece apart the word ‘egocentric,’ we come to a definition that looks something like centered in a separate personal identity. Another way to say it could be, focused on oneself irrespective of the larger web of life. This form of consciousness is fundamentally unaware of the inter-relationality of its own existence, and thus can easily justify the harm of another (human and other-than-human) for “personal gain.” This world (from an egocentric view) is fundamentally a competitive stage, a game to be played where the meaning of life finds itself rooted in comparison. A game aimed at the accumulation of power, wealth, beauty, status, intellect, and prestige gained through almost any means. A game where exponential growth is linked with well-being, irrespective of the harmful externalities that that growth is based upon in terms of the exploitation of human labor and/or the extraction of the earth’s resources. Infinite egocentric human-centric growth is an impossibility on a finite planet and will inevitably lead to self-termination.
It is interesting to note that egocentrism does play a role, albeit limited, within wholistic human develop. During the adolescent life stage, more than any other, the human being is centered on the development of a personal identity that is both authentic and viable in the broader social context in which one exists. Thus, adolescence is a period of life where the individual is creating an individuality and discovering the gifts, talents, and interests that later through a maturation process will serve the evolutionary development of her community, society, and life itself. During this time, the adolescent is focused on growth, consuming information, discovering personal power, exploring sexual identity, playing different roles, wearing different masks, and generally consuming (in an expansive sense of the word) more than he is giving back. However, this developmental process (if held in an ecocentric container), eventually matures itself through a process of reintegrating the individual, unique, separate identity into the larger family of things through a foundamental worldview shift of the individual’s understanding of the self from the separate-self ego to relationship-based eco. This maturation process results in the individual now finding its meaning in offering its gifts back to whole in nurturing and generative ways. This is a maturation/initiation process that marks one’s transition to true adulthood and provides one with the possibility of living a truly meaningful life.
Through this lens, we can better understand the plight of our times. Human society has become patho-adolesent, by which we simply mean: valuing adolescent qualities beyond their usefulness to the point of undermining the organism’s ability to live into the future. What is needed, then, is a collective maturation process likened to the initiatiory process of an individual just at the collective level. This collective initiation can be understood as an evolutionary phase shift that is capable of giving rise to a collective meaning, a transcendent human why that is capable of bridging the divide between even the most polarized of identities. This why, in order to be meaningful, must be in relationship with all life on the planet and in context to the spirit of the times. This human why must be connected to the call for collective healing of all that has been done, in order to lay the foundation for a life-enhancing world. This human meaning must promote, foster, and facilitate healthy individual uniqueness that is capable of acting in collective service to the healing of our planet, each other, and the holistic expression of life. This human meaning must compels us as a people to weave our way back into the family of all things, in order to take our place as a species as agents in service to the evolutionary movement of life itself.
The School For Ecocentric Evolution & Design Strategies:
The primary area of study for our school is this collective transition, initiation, evolutionary phase shift, sacred invitation of the times. We are actively apprenticing with the process of ecocentric evolution, and life itself, in order to learn how this process takes place through us and what it’s asking of us. The mission of the School for Ecocentric Evolution & Design Strategies is to support collective evolution toward a life-sustaining and life-enhancing world, occurs through us becoming active agents of the evolutionary impulse in our personal lives, relationships, communities, the places we live, and as members of the global community at large. This task requires effective, adaptive, complex, whole-systems design strategies to navigate this treacherous yet transcendent path of conceiving of and then delivering a new world. We are grateful and excited to have you as fellow students of life along this path of learning and remembering who we are and why we are here in these unprecedented times!
What We Mean By Healing Justice On All Scales…
We at SEEDS honor the fractal nature of all things, which necessitates transformative change to occur on multiple scales of impact if it is to take root in a meaningful and long-lasting way. Because of this, we seek to honor and promote healing justice on all scales, ranging from the individual to the larger ecosystem. To further explore this concept, we’ve expounded below on three scales of transformation that we hold as foundational to collective evolution: individual soul-centered development, holistic community practices, and ecocentrism. Please explore our working explanations of each of these three scales of healing justice below, and then head over to our resources page to dive deeper into specific practices that support the cultivation of healing justice at all three scales.
Soul Rooted Development
We at SEEDS believe that within each of us resides a unique seed or essence. This essence has been conceived of in many different ways throughout time and culture, with a shared foundational premise that each of us are a unique expression of life in human form. Pre-industrial societies recognized the necessity of creating rituals and conditions that supported individuals’ unique soul development and expression. This understanding was gleaned from an observation that individuals were happier, relationships were strengthened, and the capacity of the entire community was broadened when each individual was bringing forward their unique soul gifts and walking along their soul path of development. In contrast, the driving forces of predominant western society – separateness, competition, exploitation, and domination – do not nourish healthy soulcentric development, individually or collectively. This leaves the majority of modern people spiritually malnourished, seeking guidance and support for how to walk a soul-centered life. Our collective spiritual malnourishment is both a symptom and a cause of our collective suffering – keeping us collectively stuck in what Bill Plotkin calls a “patho-adolescent” developmental stage. In order to meet the tasks of this developmental stage so that we can move into the subsequent stages of the nurturing and productive adult community member, we must create conditions that support individual and collective soul initiation and development across the lifespan.
What is soul-centered development?
"By ‘soul,’ I mean our individual and unique place or niche in the Earth community — not our place in the human village (identified by social and vocational roles) but our place in the greater web of life… Your soul, in other words, corresponds to what poet David Whyte refers to as ‘the largest conversation you can have with the world’ or ‘the truth at the center of the image you were born with.’ This niche, this conversation, this truth, this image, is not primarily cultural or merely human; rather it is ecological and mythopoetic, which is to say clothed and communicated in the metaphors, symbols, images, dreams, and archetypes of nature and of our own wild minds.”
Need Help Getting Started On Your Soul Journey? Looking For Support Along The Path?
“Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives… It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Holistic Community Developement:
At SEEDS we honor the transformative power that groups and communities have in promoting healing, justice, and change. Although community development practices have looked different across time and culture, certain basic principles have remained consistent across diverse regions and customs. Two such common principles have been a shared understanding of the processes and protocols of collective decision-making and conflict resolution, in order for the community to effectively take action as well as resolve conflict when it inevitably arises. Another universal principle of community development has been shared customs and rituals that support the psycho-spiritual development of individual community members through shared stories and practices for nurturing soulcentric maturation. These universal community practices support the development of individual community members, which in turn supports the health and strength of the community as a cohesive and integrated whole.
At SEEDS we believe that we must collectively transition from the ego-centric worldview that the majority of us are currently stuck enacting toward an ecocentric worldview that honors life in all forms. Ego-centrism is based upon assumptions of the separate self, competition, scarcity, and domination, which have led to the predominant western paradigm of over-consumption, extraction, and imperialism that we see infiltrating the majority of ideologies and societies today. Living our lives from this worldview is not only psychologically and emotionally unsatisfactory – as reflected in skyrocketing depression rates in western countries – it is also ecologically unsustainable and therefore a blatant form of collective self-destruction. We must broaden our lens to understand our place amongst the family of things so that we can live our lives in ways that honor the interdependence of all beings. From an ecocentric perspective, value is placed on all life with a deep knowing that life fundamentally supports life because everything is mutually dependent on everything else. From this place, we can build a world that promotes life and celebrates the beauty of diversity, interconnection, and true belonging within both our human and more-than-human communities.
What is ecocentrism?
A philosophy or perspective that places intrinsic value on all living organisms and their natural environment, regardless of their perceived usefulness or importance to human beings.