Posted: October 13, 2015

33+ hours it took to get here, from the foothills of the Colorado Rockies to the foothills of the Andes in Peru. I am honored to be a part of this transformative program. Every day I am tuned in to a primal intelligence, constantly downloading information from my wise professors, powerful peers, and the land. β€œIt’s a cornucopia of biodiversity,” my professor Will Helenbrook stated in a comedic sort of western drawl, but this is no joke. It seems as if I could learn from la selva (the rainforest) for my entire life and still be yearning for more.

Here with SFS we utilize time in both the classroom and the outdoors. It is easier for my colleagues and I to stay engaged when the subjects of our studies surround us in living color. I am thoroughly enjoying the beautiful and sweaty trips on the trails! We are taught useful field research techniques such as setting up insect traps, calculating tree measurements and canopy density, as well as going deep into environmental conversations.

Last week on the trails, we were shown medicinal plants. From vines and ferns that pack a potent antiseptic, to the little yellow flower that makes the mouth go numb in the case of tooth pain, it is wild to realize that this stuff just grows out of the ground. We saw plants and bark used to cure tummy aches, leishmaniasis, and even treat ovarian cancer. The healing power of the land is out there in many forms, and learning about it has been a healing experience for me.

From the delicious filtered water and the tremendous amounts of sweat induced by the tropical climate, I feel that I am detoxifying physically, and mentally as well. I have the time and space to slow down and recognize what is important. Here, I use the beautiful gift of the rainforest to motivate myself to delve deeper into the systems of education and understand what it means to me to be a great student.

Words for our friends and families back home, I state with deep truth and confidence that we are alive, and we are thriving! Growing together as a team, and on delicious meals we are dining. Together we learn what it means to be a conservationist, an ecologist, and even how to dissolve the human and nature divide by developing a mind grounded in political ecology.

Cosmic wisdom unfolds new teachings every day,
Letting go of attachments and homebound luxuries,
Simply living in a state of love, flowing as the dreams born in heart.
It is in this jungle gym where explorers come to have fun and play,
Always in the right place and the right time,
Peruvian Amazon… you are an ecosystem housing the divine!
Thank you for sharing your sweet fruit and fierce -encompassing beauty.

With a clear head- a full heart- and happy cuerpo,
Jamie Akens, explorer of the jungle