What Is Connection?
Connection implies relationship. The relationships we tend make us who we are. Meaningful reciprocal relationships to the human, more than human, seen and unseen worlds are essential to accessing our full potential. Connection is an action, a feeling and a state of being. The act of connection is to open ourselves to fully perceive other beings through our curiosity and awareness.
The feeling of connection is a feeling of belonging on a human, natural and spiritual level. It is the result of building relationships with all living beings. The connection to an unseen and mysterious universal creative process must also be acknowledged; how we describe and relate to it is up to each of us individually.
The state of connection is joyful and full of vitality like a child. There is a deep, quiet and present awareness of the internal and external worlds. It brings about the ability to listen deeply and empathize with nature and people. From this empathy and awareness arises the desire and ability to be truly helpful both by our simple daily acts and by offering our unique gifts to the world. We are able to feel awe, reverence and gratitude for all aspects of life, even the challenging ones. When we are in connection, we feel unconditional love and compassion. It gives us the ability to forgive and see the good in all people while also holding strong, confident boundaries and values.
Ancient Skills & Wisdom For Modern Times
ANCIENT because I didn’t make any of this stuff up. It comes from understandings that have kept people alive and thriving all over the world for thousands of years.
SKILLS because by practicing the skills of pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer nomads, we can access a direct and powerful connection to the Earth that is unattainable within a modern lifestyle. Learning these skills also creates an expansion of our human potential, allowing us to navigate the modern world with a powerful combination of physical skill, cognitive ability and intuition.
WISDOM because the universal cultural practices of Earth-based people connect us deeply to all aspects of the natural world, the deeper aspects of self, the people in our lives and a tangible sense of being supported by something that is much greater than this physical life.
FOR MODERN TIMES because it’s not about romanticizing the life of hunter-gatherers or pretending we can go back to living that way tomorrow. It’s about slowing down, re-connecting with the Earth Mother we are all born from and growing meaningful relationships to the other beings we share this life with. It’s about bringing ourselves back to a state of being and way of life that is in alignment with our original instructions as human beings.
In the same way we learn to read, the tracker first learns to read individual tracks and sign of animals before learning to string them together to tell a story. Eventually, they reach a point where they can not only see the story of the animal playing out in their mind but they experience it with all their senses. The tracker can feel the animal and see through their eyes.
Tracking effectively requires our full sensory, cognitive and intuitive capacity. This is why we believe that tracking can activate our full human potential.
Holistic Tracking means looking at much more than just footprints. Ecology, behavioural clues, bird language and gut feelings are only a few examples of what the the holistic tracker is paying attention to while on a trail.
Holistic tracking also means that tracking permeates all aspects of our lives. It's a way of being, thinking and paying attention we apply to everything we do from finding a deer to fixing a plumbing leak, designing a website or regulating our emotions.
In modern times, the holistic tracker brings home the stories of the Earth to those who have forgotten them. They also have a unique ability to perceive what's needed to help the earth and the people thrive.
What is HOLISTIC TRACKING and why is it so important?
Arnaud has been a deep nature connection mentor and facilitator for 20 years. With deep gratitude, he continues to be mentored by master holistic tracker Jon Young, one of the global leaders in the nature connection movement.
Alongside his wife Kristyna, he is raising his son at home with the physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment of nature, family and community. He is deeply passionate about helping other parents create a deeply connected natural way of life for their families.
Arnaud has a life-long commitment to helping restore a culture that prioritizes connection to nature, spirit, self and community for all ages and stages of life locally and globally. He lives and breathes what he teaches, not only as a livelihood but as a way of life.
Becoming a Voice of the Earth
In the early 2000s, after I had been reading Tom Brown Jr's books and obsessively practicing what I was learning, a friend introduced me to Jon Young's Kamana Naturalist Training. I graduated Kamana in 2013 and it was a life changing journey. The unwavering curiosity and passion for the natural world and life in general it cultivated in me permeated my life in ways I had never imagined.
The relationships I built to all the beings and elements of the natural world during Kamana allowed me to step fully into who I am. This time of my life was the foundation for the activation of my Vision to help others live a natural and empowered life in modern times.
The journey didn't end there, it had only begun. I now carried a deep longing to live at one with both people and nature. It brought to explore as many of the cultural teachings of the lineages behind Kamana as I could. I met Jon Young in person in 2017, he started mentoring me more intensively on the Holistic Tracker's path in 2020. I'm currently working on the 3rd level of the Shikari Tracker Training.
My commitment to the Shikari path is to continue to deepen my knowledge and connection to the natural world because we owe it to the future generations to pass that knowledge on to them. It is also a commitment to always deepening my awareness through the art of tracking so I can relay the stories of the Earth to the People. This is why I mentor others on the Kamana and Shikari path.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF LAND,
LINEAGE, HEALING AND THE TIMES WE LIVE IN...
By Arnaud Gagné, Founder of Connection Pathways
There's often controversy and confusion around the teaching of ancient skills and wisdom in modern times, especially here in North America.
The following is my effort to honour land, lineage and people in an honest and meaningful way. I speak from my heart with the hope that you will hear me with yours. I thank you for taking the time to read on.
I walk my path with integrity and a commitment to growth. I look forward to sharing the path with you...
Lineage vs Ancestry
I refer to ancestry as the people we descend from through our family line. Though it can and is often passed down through family lines, lineage transcends ancestry. The intergenerational transfer of lineage is essential to keeping skills and wisdom alive that are impossible for a person to learn in one lifetime. As with ancestral skills, I believe universal cultural elements that support connection also take many human lifetimes to learn. They need to be preserved and passed on for the benefit of the future generations. They are essential for all of humanity and the Earth's ecosystems to thrive.
Honouring My Lineage
First and foremost, I offer gratitude to my main teacher and mentor Jon Young. This deep nature connection mentoring and culture repair work as we know it would not be possible without his deep commitment to the future generations. I also give thanks to Jon's mentor Tom Brown Jr and his mentor Stalking Wolf who came from a long line of Lipan Apache trackers, scouts and medicine people.
Jon's lineage and the nature connection movement have been deeply enriched by the generous contributions of many indigenous elders. Ingwe, of British ancestry and an initiated member of the Akamba tribe of Kenya; Gilbert Walking Bull, Oglala Lakota holy man and wisdom keeper; Jake and Judy Swamp Wolf Clan Elders of the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation and founders of the Tree of Peace Society; Naro (San Bushmen) elder Ganuma and many others.
Sal Gencarelle, founder of the Helpers Mentoring Society has been instrumental in supporting the deep healing necessary to carry this bundle into the world through the teachings of his lifelong mentors Benjamin Godfrey Chipps Sr, Oglala Lakota healer and his mother Gramma Victoria Chipps.
Many of these deeply connected people have now become ancestors. Their commitment to health and happiness for the future generations lives on. I send them my deepest gratitude for their dedication to a hopeful future and helping all people live a life of connection. The best way I can honour my lineage is to continue their work.
The land I live on has been known for a long time as Mi'kma'ki, territory of the Mi'kmaq. The territory is unceded and governed today by peace and friendship treaties. It encompasses most of the what settlers know as the maritime provinces of Canada, a small part of Quebec and a part of the state of Maine in the USA. Mi'kma'ki has 7 districts, I live in the Kespukwitk district which translates as Last Flow.
The Mi'kmaq are incredibly resilient people. They have had the longest relationship with settlers out of all the North American indigenous people. The last 500 years have been filled with incredible hardship. As with many indigenous people, they have survived multiple holocausts. Much of the hurt is very recent and the oppression continues. They have kept much of their culture, traditions and language alive through all of it. I have found the Mi'kmaq people I've connected with to be some of the most peaceful, welcoming and generous people I've met.
The Mi'kmaq also refer to themselves as L'nu, the People. L'nu predates Mi'kmaq which I was told means ally and was how they referred to the the French who misinterpreted it as Micmac. I seek to learn as much as I can about the Mi'kmaw culture and to be in right relationship with this land and the people who have taken care of it for a long, long time.
Healing Historic Trauma Through Deep Nature Connection
I believe that all people once lived in harmony and connection with the Earth. At one point in time, with variations in story and timing, the ancestors of almost all people were separated from land and culture by force. The effects of these traumatic events have have been passed down from generation to generation throughout history. The biggest challenge is that many of the symptoms of historic trauma have largely become normalized in modern society taking the form of chronic disconnective and destructive behaviour. I fully believe that all social and environmental issues on the planet can be traced to one word: disconnection. Modern people are no longer in communication with Nature, the Great Mystery, each other or even themselves.
My experience is that the process of nature connection lays the foundation for the healing necessary to overcome the effects of historic trauma. Co-regulation with the beings of the natural world is a tremendous help in regulating our own nervous system. It helps us cultivate healthier, more meaningful relationships to other people. The expansion process also brings about our connection to something much greater than us and the realization of our true power. From this place we are ready to come together as human beings, ready to build a better world for our children, their children and their children's children's children...
On The Topic Of Money...
What? This is our birthright, how can you charge money for this?
I know this can be a challenge for some. I know it's been a challenge for me in the past. As someone who has always prioritized living in integrity with my values and following my passions over making money, I was resistant to paying to learn what I felt was everyone's birth right for a long time. The day I changed this mindset was the day the path opened up for me in a whole new way. I realized that money was not about to go away in my lifetime and that if I was to fully dedicate my life to this path, it had to become my livelihood and it had to generate abundance; not-excess but abundance.
The prices I charge reflect what I need to support my family to thrive and my vision to be regenerative. I chose this path because it's the only path for me, it's what I need to bring into the world. I'm always grateful to the people who invest in my offerings. Thank you for supporting my family's material needs and for this investment in yourself that ripples into your community and the future generations.