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Guardian Way Blog

Stories from Becoming Wolf 2021 – An Overview of the Mission

Becoming Wolf was the topic of this guardian intensive training. The mission was to learn about wolves in general, and especially protect the wolves in this particular area we went to from illegally being hunted.
The area a little north of Mora, Sweden is a small part of a much bigger area, where wolves seem to disappear. It is even called a “black hole” by some.

The Mission

The idea was, that people being out in that area, watching the wolves closely, could scare off the poachers and keep the wolves alive a little longer. Also collecting pee and poop samples to send into an official wolf tracking database can even help keep track of individuals as well.
At the same time, the training was still also a guardian intensive training. This means, that all people involved would be forced out on their edge. Challenged to question ideas about limits of what is possible – physically and mentally. Facing challenges in the process of working together as a group, having both intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts, and learning to deal with them as quickly as possible, in order to function again and be able to live comfortably, surrounded by discomfort.

The discomfort in this case was high snow, heavy backpacks that needed to be carried all day every day, on skis, in intensely cold weather, and sometimes challenging areas with little water and little usable firewood.

The trainees

But 7 courageous individuals set out to face that challenge. Their self-chosen guardian names being Breathe, Snow, Crow, Blood, Bear, Vocal and Mouse Weasle. Three guides, four trainees, but as is the Guardian Way, all of them were actually trainees, since for the Guardian, life is training and training is life. The nights before the start of the training the cold had already started to set in, being around -24°C at night in the area of the base camp they had planned to start from, and even colder in the area the immersion was to take place. The snow that was at best about knee-deep, at worst going to the waist or higher (when sinking all the way into a ditch), was creating an additional challenge to the newly formed pack. Forcing them to find skis or snowshoes in order to even attempt to succeed in the mission they had set out for.

But wolves travel a lot in one day, covering huge distances, even in deep snow. So the first challenge was to get used to the new mode of traveling in deep snow, on skis, with heavy backpacks, through thicket and a lot of elevation changes. All of those conditions are no problem for wolves, but add up for humans quite a lot.

Also getting used to the cold temperatures, the new area, needing to find water sources at least once during the day as well as in the evening around a camp spot was coming in as close second, only a few hours into the immersion.

It was therefore pretty helpful, that even the participants were all quite experienced in certain wilderness skills already, having learned how to make a fire using friction (bow drill), collecting firewood, and sleeping outside. The first few suns were focused mainly on getting used to this new situation and surroundings. Already showing certain struggles of some pack members. Showing the strength of the pack as a whole on how they deal with slow or challenged pack mates. How tasks are distributed, and how to function best, taking all the limitations into account.

A different kind of training

Most trainings that are designed to bring you to your edge are mainly focused on the individual. But we are, as humans, social animals. So even more important than an individual’s strength is the strength of the group.

Being faced with the challenge of a pack member not being able to carry their backpack due to severe pain, it was on the others to distribute the burden in order to continue on the mission. Being out on your edge or even going over it now and then doesn’t mean that you have to shoulder the burden alone. All too often we are taught in our society, that we need to fight, that we are on our own, that we are not good enough and that we failed if we can’t do something.

The Guardian Way – at least how we understand and promote it – is different. Being on your edge doesn’t mean at all, that you are left to your own devices.

It rather means, that you will be challenged, while at the same time having a group, a pack that supports you in your growth. They might not take over your task, but they will make sure you have enough support and strength that you can overcome your challenge, learn and grow. And this is what was shown so beautifully in this past experience.

People taking over the burden of the backpack, while not letting the person quit so easily either. Them learning to continue with the amount of challenge they could handle, still needing to follow the rest of the pack through the deep snow, learning to track wolves in varying conditions of snow and surrounding. And learning to deal with other stress factors coming up.

So what happened with the wolves?

Well, we followed a pack of 4 wolves, 2 adults , 2 pups (almost a whole turn of the seasons old) for the whole experience of 2 weeks. First following tracks that were about 4 suns old, until we hit fresher tracks, at one point even having one of the pups checking out our tracks from the past sun! We found a lot of pee and poop, a kill site of a roe deer, lays, a playground, an exploration area, and even a pee spot with moon-blood, showing that we were right on time for the mating season.

We learned how they travel in circles, coming back to the exact same spots more than once, picking the same areas for hunting, and so much more.
We were able to get to know them not simply as wolves, but individual pack. Observing where they would get out on a road to get ahead faster, where they chose the thicket, and where they would avoid the deep snow. It was a truly fascinating story unfolding in front of our eyes, and we had the best seats in the house so to speak.

The discomfort

The cold weather also posed quite the challenge. Learning to stay warm, especially in your fingers and toes, both during the day, as well as throughout the dark hours of the night, is a very crucial aspect of survival in such conditions. A few days you can do just fine with the discomfort, but when you notice more severe signs of frost-related symptoms, it’s time to learn about wilderness self-care.

You learn how to keep dry and warm, or at least as much as possible; build up routines to keep clean, to dry your things while making sure they don’t burn around the fire, and figure out tricks to stay warm throughout the night. These might seem mundane skills for some, but having lived it, you learn about the importance – and relief – that mundane tasks bring.

This was a short glimpse of our immersion experience. More stories will emerge over time. For now, however, we would love to know what parts of the story resonated for you. And maybe even what aspects would draw you into joining a similar experience and why.

Awoooo!

here are some impressions of the immersion:

Guardian Way Blog personal story

finding your place

Do you know the feeling like you don’t belong? Well, I do. I know it like an chronic rash that just wouldn’t completely go away…

Of course, it’s not exactly like that, but I’m happy to have found a similarly frustrating analogy… Because this is the life of a Guardian. I once talked with a group of fellow guardians, and we figured out, we’re a pack full of black sheep of our communities and families. And the closest to finding a place where we belong might be in a group of other misfits…

So here is my story.

I’ve been in the world of computers for a really long time, and there is the feeling of home there. It’s known. Or at least I know what I know and what I don’t know, and I feel confident enough in my expertise and experience to openly say what I don’t know and that I’m fine with it. But there’s something missing.

And on my search to find what was missing, I have found the wilderness and my own wild side. The part of me that feels truly alive when jumping into icy cold water, almost burning my hands when roasting my food on the fire, standing my ground when the wind seems to want to sweep me off my feet, or digging in the dirt to build an earth lodge. There I can be fully present, in the moment, connected.

But there always comes a time, where I remember the civilized world. Where I feel the need to go back. To build a bridge between those two worlds that I know so well, but can’t stay in completely. The only thought that keeps me grounded, reminds me, that I am right where I need to be, and that this is my place. The knowing that my role in life is to be a Guardian. A Guardian of the Earth, of the people, of the natural balance of our ecosystem. And to bring those different worlds together in order to bring balance, I need to know all the different players in the game.

I still feel a lot like I don’t belong. At the same time I find comfort in that realization. I will not be a specialist or someone “successful” in either of those worlds. I will probably never be so fully immersed in the wilderness like some of the people I know. And I will just as likely not become super successful in the world of IT. The only place for me is to feel fully present with myself. To be an expert of being a generalist, of being myself. To be a full-fledged Guardian. This also means being comfortable not in finding my place, but creating it. Not to compare myself to others but only to my past self.

To let go of all the ideas. Even the idea of letting go of all ideas. I need to embrace the fact that I will never truly feel comfortable. I can seek comfort and have my muscles become weak. But I won’t really feel comfortable in my skin. And I can seek discomfort, and feel the most alive. And I need to train my muscles for that. I can’t go out with nothing and simply build my own place, my own space. A place where I can find a balance between comfort and comfortable. I need to start slowly to build my muscles. Like with the process of rewilding an animal, I need to slowly get used to it, slowly build my own wildlife habitat, before I can release myself in it.

This is my exploration. This is my mission. What I have set out to do. I started almost 8 years ago, and it might be a lifelong mission. But I know that that’s the only path I can take.

This is of course just one of many stories of Guardians. Every Guardian is different. Not everyone feels to only have the role of the Guardian, or the Voice, or the Nurturer for that matter. And we all interpret it very differently. And that’s the beauty of the Guardian Way.
To find out more about your archetype, check out Who you are.

Guardian Way Blog

Only Actions Speak

One of the principles of the Guardian is, that Only Actions Speak. This means, that as long as we only talk about something, in the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t really mean anything. Only when we act on it, when we bring it into the world, will it also build meaning.

To many people, those sound like harsh words. But if you go past all the resistances, you can discover a clear truth to those words. It’s not just that actions speak louder than words. Even if you hear words, and they touch you.. If you don’t change anything or do anything with them, they are still in the end not worth much.

For me, I regularly get thrown back into my honest and raw truth, when I hear those words and am reminded of their truth. This is also why it was so important for all of us in the team to start this page and the accompanied immersion trainings.

We feel the need for us as Guardians to step up for our neighbours all around us in Nature, which are Guardians in their own way. And in order to do that, we also need to step up for our fellow human Guardians. Share what we learned, support each other in our process of constant training and serving.

On this blog we will discover the different aspects of what it means to be a Guardian. What we can do, how we can support each other, and how we can grow to become the best versions of ourselves.

We love this to be a platform for active exchange around the topic of how we can best serve our communities, Nature and our Mother Earth.

So what are the actions you can do today to support a more balanced and healthy future?