Rewilding Human-Made Systems

Written by Jamie Harvie

Jamie Harvie serves as the PRATI Executive Director and is an innovative systems thinker working at the leading edge of institutional and organizational change. Jamie offers a collaborative leadership style and practice which has resulted in highly successful national and local collaborations. He is nationally recognized for his extensive experience at the nexus of health, community, environment and healthcare and has been interviewed and cited in media including Time Magazine, USA Today, and National Public Radio.
Last month, as I was preparing for a webinar, I stumbled across an article about the reintroduction of beavers into the American West. The article described how beavers, by creating dams and sequestering carbon and water, improve the climate resiliency and biodiversity of landscapes. And, highlighted the changing mindset of ranchers who once saw the furry rodent as a competition for scarce water and now, with some struggle, are shifting to a mindset of mutuality. 

In an era of great extinctions and climate trauma (see the PRATI webinar Climate Change and Psychedelics in the Great Turning ) the hubris of the dominant human culture is not lost. Beavers were hunted to near extinction in the 1800’s for their fur and are still trapped today as a nuisance. At its best, the article was another story about learning to live in right relationship with the natural world, and how individual health is inseparable from that of the whole — it is a false construct. There is only wholeness. The story is a powerful metaphor for the great transition that is happening all around us as the plants and planet teacher beckon us forward, to live in the mystery of connection.  

Similarly, I remember vividly the first time I came across the now familiar image illustrating the increased connections made in the brain on psilocybin. Outside my window, the leaves were putting on their fall display, and I was perusing some research on nature-relatedness and psychedelics. Image (a) is a placebo and image (b) is psilocybin (CC BY 4.0 Petri et al, 2014, Royal Society). 

My artist self, appreciated the vibrant colors, but there was something more. With the psilocybin brain image, there was, and is, something hard to put into words; a sense of aliveness, of movement. Akin to a rewilding of the brain from a state of control and order, to the needed rewilding of human-made systems and landscapes; or to the reintroduction of beavers to the American West.  

The psilocybin image embodies how I’d like to show up in the world: dynamic, open, and fully alive. Of course, hidden behind my desire is a twist of fear. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I, why wouldn’t we, always show up, fully alive? Within is an acknowledgement of the real dance of life between our inner and external world, between ego and fully letting go. A movement toward complete vulnerability and trust in the mystery of life; when longing to be and belonging become one.  

When the news only shares the symptoms of dis-ease, of an inflamed planetary immune system reacting to business as usual, it is a natural reaction to take fright or flight and it is hard to believe that the world ever changes, but it does. Old systems decay giving birth to the new, homeo-dynamic. It is the ecology of life, always seeking dynamic equilibrium, though often at a pace that doesn’t always fit within the timeframe of our physical lives. 

I’m grateful to be part of the extended PRATI community sharing and building stories of connection to the Sacred: Self, Community, Nature, and Spirit, fostering transformation, together.  And, for our Colorado friends, in just over one month Colorado will have a historic ballot measure, the Natural Medicine Health Act, that will decriminalize four psychedelics. So don’t forget to vote.  


With gratitude,


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