South Shield- Commitment and Perspiration

south shield

Let us enter the South! The South represents the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, or Mid-day when the sun is at the highest point in the sky residing directly in the South. This where we do the hard, physical, and mental work. This is where we make commitments and practice. We call this shield Perspiration.

In the curriculum, we teach this is represented by holistic tracking of wildlife. When you go tracking you are not just out looking for tracks. In fact, when you get really good at it that’s the last thing you are doing. When out tracking on the landscape you are using your whole self, engaging all of the senses. When you see a track on the ground you stop and listen for any bird language that may inform you of the animals’ location, smelling the air to catch the scent, feeling the tracks to determine when it was here, imitating the movement to feel what it’s like to move through the landscape as this creature, using your mind’s eye to imagine this animals story and piecing all this evidence together to predict where this creature is right now. When we do this we cultivate the inquisitiveness of an investigative reporter and the awareness of Sherlock Holmes.

When you put your whole being into something it can be really exhausting. Think about a time you’ve been so inspired and motivated that you put your whole self into working on a project or skill. At the end of the day, you achieve that really good kind of tired, where sleep calls to you.

Let’s use the example of playing the guitar. We have inspired our students to play, they’ve now got a guitar and are motivated to play, now comes practice. Practice, practice, practice. Learning notes, chords, scales, and all that goes along with it. Playing until your muscles ache. This can also be the point where someone can lose interest. So it is important to find balance. Again this is where the SW comes into play.

On a teaching team, the South is in charge of timekeeping and attendance. They make sure we are starting and just as important ending on time. Giving reminders to people so that they are aware of what’s next. They also make sure that everyone is there. Tracking people as well as the clock.

The Indicator of Awareness that shows up in this shield is Inquisitive Focus. The kind of curiosity and determination that when you start a project you work into the wee hours of the night, or when you read a book so fascinating you stay up all night until it is finished. Something we put our whole selves into, which seems to be rare in this time of options. It is so easy nowadays to pick something up and then move on to something new and more exciting. As a mentor is it important to help our students find this inquisitive focus, to engage in something with their whole being. It helps us develop so many skills, from curiosity and awareness to problem solving and commitment.

Yes, this is an important shield, but it takes all the spokes to make the wheel turn fluidly. You must inspire and motivate to get your student here and just as important is what you do next. Join now as we enter the South West a place of timelessness, wandering, and relaxation.

Wilderness Awareness School