Your NameGanga Devi Braun
Cohort AssignmentAmericas with In-Person Intensive in Santa Fe, Fall-Winter 2023
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

My work is in facilitating experiences that deepen peoples connection with the web of life. Right now that is manifesting in two parallel tracks in my work: in time, and in space.

Space: We moved back to the land that I was raised on to raise our own child. I was raised on an 80 acre Ashram / intentional community abutting thousands of acres of conserved Florida Wildlife Corridor. Just after I gave birth, much of the land of our community was sold to Tony Cho, who is the grandson of the founder of the Ashram. Together, we are shaping ChoZen Retreat to be a model for deep ecological connection, with my focus being on place-sourced experience design. Our primary culture making objective is that the people who come here leave with an embodied connection with and commitment to advocating for the Florida Wildlife Corridor, as well as a deeper connection with the biosphere wherever they call home.

Time: My husband and I have recently synthesized our work together to create EMUNAH, a platform for internal, interpersonal, and intergenerational healing and growth. We provide courses, workshops, coaching, and consulting for individuals, couples, and entire families, with a focus on trauma-informed nervous system wellbeing, embodied communication skills, and visioning for collective thriving. We are still in the early days of refining how we approach this work, but are synthesizing decades of experience and deep trainings to offer a unique quality of both breadth and depth to the clients we are a good fit for.

Both of these areas of focus are deeply connected with my other, and perhaps most primary work, which is that of a mother.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

A few archetypes:

- Mother: I feel deeply at home in the mother archetype, and long before I was a literal mother, I received the reflection often that I create spaces of welcome, warmth, and connection in which everyone feels safe to access their whole range of emotion. I create beautiful spaces and delicious meals and speak in ways that allow peoples' inner child to feel at ease.

- Council Holder: I am committed to nurturing collective wisdom and love to do so in circles that I hold.

- Advisor: In seeing my husband's natural and powerful capacity as a coach, I realize that I am definitely not a coach, however I do serve well as an advisor. I see patterns clearly when I have a little bit of distance and space in my own mind, and love to help people see themselves, their tricky situations, and the people they are entangled with with more clarity, compassion, and an expansive sense of what is possible.

- Mycelium / Collaborative Designer: I absolutely love design, and I love approaching design like mycelium- exchanging resources and ideas with the entire forest to create something uniquely nourishing, something the world is asking to be born.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

My goal is to have such a depth of embodiment of regenerative principles that I can serve the people and organizations leading in the regenerative movements with deep love and integrity. I want to serve the integrity of this movement.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

In my life due to chronic illnesses with no clear diagnosis or treatment, I have been required to cultivate a life of deep presence, rest, and connection with the living world. For most of my life this has been the primary way I have operated, in large part due to the care and support of my remarkable mother who is a therapist, dharma practitioner, and avid gardener. For many years I cultivated myself, studied living systems, deepened my relationship with the living world, and explored the inner and outer dimensions of regenerative patterns. I never had significant income, but my overhead was low and I was young and committed to my learning and growth in a deep way.

However, when I got married in 2020 and we began feeling into the timing of becoming parents, I began panicking about the way that even mothers with significant earning potential before they give birth are often pushed out of their careers and can often never recover their earning capacity. I entered into an extended fight response within my nervous system then, which I am only just now beginning to release. This is what it looked like: for the last 4 years I have been very driven professionally, have worked in multiple teams of brilliant collaborators creating incredible bodies of work, consulting on very exciting projects, and really expanding my work ethic and capacity for consistent energetic resourcing and a very high quality of work.

I'm grateful for this, but it is a fight response, a trauma response rooted in our collective mistreatment of mothers and my own ancestral trauma of far too many mothers abandoned by their spouses to provide for their children with no outside support. My nervous system has been in hyperarousal for far too long, including during my pregnancy.

I feel this journey has been a Hegelian Dialectic of sorts, with the more easeful slow state of my youth the thesis, this hyper focused period I have been in the last 4 years the antithesis, and now I feel deeply called to arrive at a synthesis of these ways of being that truly enables me to serve the collective in a grounded, deep, effective way that actually provides for my family and I in a stable and real way.

5. And for professional growth?

My professional and personal growth edges are entirely entwined. Continuing from the previous question–

One's worst fears coming true is a powerful thing. Though I poured all of my life force the last few years into projects that seemed very promising and which I was very passionate about, I have little to show for it. All of my income from all of these projects did indeed fall apart when I was ready to return to work from the maternity leave I'd created for myself, and the professional pivots my husband made in order to be a very present father have yet to gain the traction of income needed.

We have done a lot of work with our relationship with money, individually and as a couple, and feel grounded and healthy in that relationship overall, however we simply don't have the income our family needs at this time.

I am hoping that through this training I will be able to hone my own capacity to offer highly valuable guidance for individuals and organizations on how to develop and design their lives, their families, and their companies to thrive in alignment with the principles of regeneration, the principles of living systems.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

I have entrusted my entire life to the regenerative patterns that this world wants us to remember. My academic work at New College of Florida brought me to deep study of Joanna Macy's work, and after graduating I went deep into embodied, hands on study of living systems. I invested a tremendous amount of time to that study, including the time I spent learning to care for the dying when my father and another close mentor of mine were simultaneously dying of cancer in 2017-2018.

In terms of finances as well as time, I have invested in my ongoing education, including in my capacity for collaborative design in the Buckminster Fuller Institute's first Design Science Studio cohort in which I volunteered a tremendous amount of time and labor to facilitate and lead the group; in my spiritual leadership via One Spirit Interspiritual Seminary, through which I was ordained as an Interspiritual Minister in 2020; and most recently I was in last year's Trauma of Money training and am now a certified Trauma of Money facilitator, which has been a very insightful process both informing my understanding of my own embodied relationship with money, as well as our larger cultural and systemic patterns.

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

Fields of learning: Mahayana Buddhism, General Systems Theory, Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science, Entomology, Mycology, Interspiritual Noetics, Somatics, Polyvagal Theory, Jewish Lifeways, Jewish Mysteries, Vishishtadvaita Vendanta

Some of my greatest teachers are: Joanna Macy, Buckminster Fuller, Neem Karoli Baba, Ram Dass, Rilke, Audre Lorde, adrienne maree brown, soil, bees, fungi, cacao, and time.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

In my garden, on a repurposed sliding glass door, we have etched in it this line from Stanley Kunitz, "The universe is a continuous web, touch it at any point, and the whole web quivers."

I hold within me many cosmovisions from my time in study and practice of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish wisdom traditions, however the Stanley Kunitz quote captures it best.

I believe that humans are fingers on the hand of Gaia. We are entirely capable of being loving partners with the living world, but the violence in our institutions, the violence in our culture, the violence we carry stored in our bodies, blocks us from living in the ways we are able to. So many indigenous people are continuously seeking to remind the rest of us of what our potential is.

If the entire web quivers with every touch, and if we are fingers on the hand of Gaia, I pray that we approach each touch with love and awareness and care. I am committed to making that prayer a reality.

Date CreatedJanuary 11, 2024