MISSION First Nature strives to inspire and catalyze each adult, youth and child’s unique creativity and imagination to deeply connect our modern, contemporary experience of life to a meaningful, passionate and purposeful vision to embody through daily practices what each individual deems a fulfilling life for themselves. The foundation of this connection is rooted in developing an intimate relationship with all systems, species, sciences and mysteries of nature inherent in planet Earth which not only provides the resource for each and every aspect of our daily thriving, but has also promoted the well-being of our species for millions of years.
Shawn Berry grew up in Michigan on a small family farm and spent many a day tramping around in the fields, quite often by himself, forgetting about time and becoming transfixed with small mysteries he would find in the bramble, creeks and pockets of “woods” sparsely pocketing the largely agricultural landscape. "I loved nature and even well into my mid-teens I could still allow myself to get mystified by a summer thundershower, a snowdrift, ants trying to accomplish some task and the mouse nests in so easily found in the barn in a forgotten corner of a stall, and of course, lightning bugs!"
Flashing forward to now, there was a long stretch where I left home, came out west, had a career as a motion graphics artist in Los Angeles. In that time nature did become more distant amidst the careen of the concrete and din of people and vehicles, but it’s pull and magic on me prevailed. Somewhere in there I wandered into the mist of the “visionquest”. I spent my first four days and nights out in the wilderness by myself, having been mentored and facilitated by other initiated men in the process. It was here that nature, the planet itself, intimately unveiled itself to me, inviting me in to peer even deeper into it’s polished mirror. I became keen to the possibility of having a conscious, alive relationship with all living things and the comfort of connection I felt with myself, the landscapes, creatures, plants and cosmos around me.
If you’ve read to this point, you’re probably feeling somewhere between dreamily inspired imaginings, or shaking your head with pragmatic disdain. And let me say, that either response is absolutely ok! Before you launch fully into the etheric fairy-lands to communicate with your animal spirits or, your intellect instructs you to disregard such subjective commentary as unfounded in facts, let me bring it back to
center by sharing this:
You, me, all of us, are on a planet. We are walking around on the surface of a cosmic sphere, often in shorts, t-shirt and maybe flip-flops feeling completely safe and comfortable. Yet, if you were to take a short drive for about an hour up the road, say from Santa Monica to the sleepy surfer town of Ventura - but instead, went straight up to the sky, you would be in the cold dark void of outer-space - It’s not that far away! Exposure in outer-space to someone in their summer wear would be a dramatic and immediate death. Any of the hundreds of possible planets including the our own solar system have nothing even close or recognizable - or even possible - to what we have on this planet. Trees. Animals. Fresh water falling out of the sky as rain. This is possible for a variety of reasons, one prominent being the Sun. Also known as a star. A star just like the thousands or millions you can see with your naked eye that would take a thousand years worth of generations to get to the closest one even with projected space travel technology. Yet, we are so close to a star here in our solar system that you can literally feel the heat coming off of it on a hot summer’s day! That’s close! I find these things amazing. They are facts. They are also almost intangible to our comprehension. Scientists require a great deal of imagination to discover the math and physics that explain the universe. And so it is here between these two realms, science and imagination, that First Nature sits, like the sliver between to overlapping spheres in a Venn diagram.
And it is here that I invite you in, to that sliver space. An opening into encountering the beauty and genius of your life no matter what your circumstance, challenge, goal or obstacle. I look forward to meeting you and finding ourselves reflected in each other as humans and traveling the journey towards our full expression of who we each uniquely are through all manners of creativity, intellect and immersion into our 'first' nature, tied so inextricably to the nature of this phenomenal planet, Earth.
Shawn C. Berry