One of the missions of Dancing Jaguar’s Spirit Camp is to help children disconnect from technology and establish a deep connection to the natural world. Each day at the five-day summer camp, children spend time in nature, learning ancient wisdom teachings that build one upon the other throughout the week.
The Earth is like a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electrical charge. Almost everything in the electrical world is connected to the Earth for safety and stability, whether it is a power plant or your microwave.
We are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet. Our bodies operate electrically. Our cells conduct electrical currents that allow the nervous system to send signals throughout the body and to the brain. Those electrical currents make it possible for us to move, think and feel.
Every living thing on the earth is connected to the Earth by electrical currents. As human beings evolved, we started losing that connection. Today, most people live and work above the ground, and are disconnected and ungrounded.
We want children to experience their physical connection to the earth and teach them the importance of spending time in nature to support their health and well-being. When they walk barefoot on the ground or sit on the earth and lean against a tree, they are grounding themselves and will feel centered, relaxed, calm, strong, and balanced. Done regularly, children can experience better quality of sleep, reduced stress hormone levels, increased self-esteem, and improved electrical activity in their brains.
From a spiritual perspective, it is our belief that everything in nature has a spirit that can be honored and celebrated. Before we go outside at Spirit Camp, we invite the children to listen with their hearts instead of their ears. We invite them to see with their heart and not just their eyes. When we open our hearts to experience the mysteries of the natural world, we will discover the depth of the wisdom inherent there.
We encourage children to share any experiences they have had with nature spirits or other nature beings they have encountered. One child mentioned the fairies he sees in the woods on his property at home. His mother confirmed his account later that day and said he had told stories about the fairies in the woods since he was able to talk.
We lead an exercise in which children are encouraged to meditate while sitting at the base of a tree. They are instructed to sense the energy of the tree and ask it for a message they can bring back to the group. Finally, they are reminded to open their hearts to whatever information they receive.
A five-year-old child said, “I remembered you told me to listen with my heart. When I did that, I could hear the sap moving inside the tree.”
A seven-year-old shared, “The tree told me it wants me to protect it. It is afraid it will topple over in a windstorm.” When I looked at the top of the 40-foot tree she had been sitting under, I saw the top portion of it was dead and could very well snap off in a strong wind. There is no way the child could have seen the top of the tree when she was sitting under it.
An eight-year-old said, “The tree told me it loves me and loves watching me play every day.”
This exercise instills a deep connection to nature that can last a lifetime. Spirit Camp plants a seed in the hearts of the children that grows into a reverence for the natural world. Although they are young, the children have embodied the wisdom that we are all one in this great web of life, and we are all connected. That wisdom and knowledge will be there when they grow into adults who make decisions that impact our communities and the world.
Let’s continue to encourage children to disconnect from technology, deepen their connection to the natural world, and talk to the trees!
A child connects to the spirit of a tree