Updated: Oct 9
Human suffering results when we are disconnected from ourselves, each other, the planet and the spiritual realm. Our maladaptive response to this suffering is the cause of individual, social and environmental disease. As such, a scaled effort to foment human healing and growth are the solution.* To become worthy stewards of our cognitive power, we must balance the urgency to rediscover that we are all one,* with the knowledge that healing the trauma of disconnection moves fastest when we have the courage to go slow.* Only when we can accept and hold compassion for the damage we've done while suffering and asleep, can we collaborate and innovate to protect what remains; repair what can be restored; and, accept, grieve, and honor what's been lost to evolution.
A Practical Approach to Systemic Change
Based on the evolutionary recency of our outsized cognitive capacities and the architecture of our nervous systems, we must wake up and heal at the same time. We can only do this when we feel safe, and we can only feel safe if we have the unconditional support of fellow humans and the flora, fauna and elements of the natural world that soothe and sustain us. As such, expanding human consciousness and reducing human suffering, in communities, for communities, by communities is not an idealistic vision or an uninformed pipe dream. Instead, Lichen's mission outlines a comprehensive, practical and realistic approach to managing this period of great tumult and transformation with as little suffering and destruction as possible.
While there are technological innovations that can improve the wellbeing of all, the majority of our healing and growth comes from remembering our interdependence with everything then working to restore balance within ourselves, between each other and with the planet. Because neocortical mutations in our brains merely ~75,000 years ago gave us access to collective wisdom without the evolutionary runway for our instincts and senses to catch up; as spiritual traditions have done for thousands of years, we must put our powerful ego in check by returning to a regular practice of deconstructing the separate self.
Because every layer of our biology is programmed to hate or banish the parts of ourselves that are abused and neglected in our families and systems of origin, we must simultaneously become aware of, accept, have compassion for and love ourselves in corrective, human relationship. Healthy attachment is required to feel safe on a daily basis and to override the inherent bias against the "other" baked into our endocrine system.* Since this state is a prerequisite to implementing social, economic and spiritual systems that honor the sanctity of all beings, our humanity needs constant, secure attached to other humans, while our soul needs to honor that the self as separate from the collective divine is a biological facade. *
While our cognitive capacities allow us to circumvent authentic attachment to collaborate, our bodies are still wired for five to eight close human connections, up to one hundred social connections;* and, a consistent relationship with the land, plants and animals around us. These connections are maintained and reinforced through reciprocal acts of service and love, which release happy chemicals in the brain and turn on critical genes in the body, which keeps us healthy over time.* Because close human bonds are our deepest survival imperative; without them, we become overwhelmed, burned out, numbed out and sick.** Because we cannot "hack" these biological imperatives; to act as a one, global tribe, our health must be maintained in our local "troop," in reciprocal relationship with the land. Said another way, the corrective social network must be analog and local.
The most efficient and effective way to wake up to this truth is to provide communities with a holistic healing experience that honors the interconnection of our mental, physical, energetic, spiritual, communal and environmental health. From the antidepressant properties of soil,* to the positive impact that horses have on the nervous system,* to the years that are added to one's life with the love of a dog;* to the anxiety, depression and addiction treatment capacities and neurogenesis fomented by psychoactive plant medicines;* holistic, earth-based healthcare is the minimum viable treatment model to prepare communities to become prosocial and environmental advocates for global systems change.
Our nature makes the re-localization and decolonization of all systems imperative. Because we are hurt in relationship and heal in relationship; when a human is supported by those who have healed from a similar wound, the safety and efficacy of the care improves dramatically. As such, a community based, holistic care team can yield results that may appear miraculous to our incumbent systems, which dissect and reduce humans into parts while dismissing anything beyond their perception and the western medical measurement methodologies their egos validate.* Luckily, the measurement tools of these same systems have become powerful enough to measure the holistic energetic forces behind the healing and growth that happens at the holistic crossroads of physics and biology.