It’s hard for me to contain my excitement for this week’s episode.
Having spent 5 days in July 2019 in the South African bush with Boyd Varty, our guest for this week, I knew the conversation would resonate with so many.
Boyd is literally a lion tracker. He also has the unique gift of translating the lessons learned on the Londolozi Game Reserve into deep wisdom that resonates with those of us that are thousands of miles away.
In this episode, we discuss the importance of decision-making through presence, how to foster “track awareness”, and discovering that all we need is already within us. Boyd’s gift of storytelling is on full display as he shares tales that made my heart race a little faster and stoked my excitement for my next trip to Londolozi.
One thing I’ve learned from the current COVID-19 situation is that with all the uncertainty and challenges, I truly believe that this is an opportunity to question the pace with which I’ve been approaching my daily life. With that in mind, there are few guides (if any) that I would rather have as a companion than my South African brother Boyd Varty.
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8:28 – Tracking as a tool for development
16:00- The comparison concept
17:18 – The meaning of Ubuntu
20:07 – How to start REAL dinner party talk
22:21 – Separating what you want from the noise
30:05 – Byron Katie’s meditation technique
35:48 – Your wild side vs. social side
42:13 – How to handle the unknown
48:32 – Boyd and his family’s traumatic experiences
1:01:30 – The authentic track
1:09:14 – Embodying different roles
1:12:33 – My slow path to love completely
1:17:30 – Fully connecting with family
1:24:17 – Teasing the trauma out
1:31:14 – The path of the tracker
1:41:09 – Your track should scare you a bit
1:42:28 – Attuning to tracking through presence
1:46:48 – Redefining your relationship with time
1:48:56 – The paradox – is this your doing?
1:51:57 – Yoga is not about the positions
1:56:35 – Track Your Life Retreat
2:13:53 – More presence, less conditioned response
2:15:38 – 40 days, 40 nights in the wilderness
2:18:19 – How to disconnect with little time
Byron Katie – TheWork.com
Boyd Varty’s Latest Book – The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life
Boyd Varty’s First Book – Cathedral of the Wild
40 Days and 40 Nights Podcast – 40 Days and 40 Nights Podcast
Boyd Varty’s Website – BoydVarty.com
Sit Spots – Disconnect in Nature
Adyashanti – Adyashanti.org
Connect with Boyd Varty:
Website | https://boydvarty.com/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/BoydVarty
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/Boyd_Varty
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/boydvartyinc/
Connect with Cal:
Website | https://www.thegreatunlearn.com
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/bunkercal/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/BunkerCal
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/BunkerCal
YouTube | The Great Unlearn
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Today I’ll be talking with Boyd Varty, master life coach author, and TED speaker, who runs retreats that merge tracking, coaching and storytelling at the Londolozi Gme Reserve in South Africa, and the author of my favorite book of 2019, The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life!
And that’s just what I want to talk with him about, about going deep inside, finding your wilder-self, and rediscovering your gift, your purpose, and your mission.
What does Lion Tracking have to do with your life? Apparently, a LOT!!! This is my favorite BOOK of the year, and perhaps my favorite INTERVIEW of the year as well!!! Boyd Varty on the Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life!!!
Boyd Varty is a lion tracker, wildlife and literary activist and the co-founder of the Good Work Foundation. He is the author of Cathedral of the Wild and The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life.
He has worked intensively over the past 7 years in ceremonial spaces as an apprentice to a Peruvian shaman while generating his own system of coaching called “track your life” which draws lessons from the ancient art form of tracking and his psychology degree from the University of South Africa to help people find more meaning, purpose and motivation.
As a speaker and trainer, he has taught his system all over the world and has been featured in the New York Times and CBC.
Boyd’s families land
Re-generating the land
The story of the mother leopard
Restoring their relationship with the natural world
Humanity needing to shift to support the natural world
The ancient art form of tracking
Why a high level of presence in one art form can transfer to all areas of life
Taking on the archetype of the tracker
The art of going without “knowing”
Knowing as the discipline of aliveness
Why knowing the next step with keep you in the same place
Tuning yourself into the information that is there
You start to generate your internal tracks of success – developing inner track awareness
Developing that feeling of aliveness or feeling of expansion
Discipline of attention
Distilling infinite possibility down to the next step
Why you need to be consistently willing to make small changes
The trackers version of “flow state” the “follow state”
Making micro adjustments that the moment is asking for
What you can be sure of is you will lose the ‘track” or the ‘path’
Losing the path is a part of returning to it
Never track alone
Why people will see you their fears
The story of the Bull Elephant
Opening yourself to encounters you couldn’t even imagine
The work of Joseph Campbell
The path is a the reward
Engaged by the process of living
Relating to others rather than comparing
Going back to a more natural way of being
Questioning your own thoughts and beliefs and limitations
Living this way requires a warriors heart
Stripping all the layers of what you were told to be or should be and simply be your self
When a great tracker loses the trail of an animal, he may learn where it has gone by discovering all the places it has not gone.
In the moment the tracker loses the track he meets the full 360-degree dimension of possibility. The animal could have gone in any direction and so each path of blank, trackless soil is talking to him.
“Not this path”, “not this path”
As he walks he is eliminating wedges of the full degree of that rotation. Refining where the trail may run by learning where it does not run. In this way, a tracker is always on track even when he is off it.
I always wanted to be someone whose life was an expression of the things I cared about. For me in some cases coming to that path began as an imitation of what I thought I should care about.
The gift of finding the path of ‘not this’. The realization that certain things I thought were for me was in fact not part of my path helped me know myself much more deeply.
By tracking imitation, my own trail twisted, turned and then opened to the authentic. In this way, no trail is ever wasted by the tracker.
Walking in a life that is not for you can be the beginning of knowing the life that is meant for you.
The path of ‘not this’ is a part of the way of a tracker.
“Humans are tuned for relationships. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears, and nostrils—all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness. This landscape of shadowed voices, these feathered bodies, and antlers and tumbling streams— these breathing shapes are our family, the beings with whom we are engaged, with whom we struggle and suffer and celebrate.
For the largest part of our species’ existence, humans have negotiated relationships with every aspect of the sensuous surroundings, exchanging possibilities with every flapping form, with each textured surface, a shivering entity that we happened to focus upon. All could speak, articulating in gesture and whistle and sigh a shifting web of meanings that we felt on our skin or inhaled through our nostrils or focused with our listening ears, and to which we replied—whether with sounds, or through movements, or minute shifts of mood.
The color of sky, the rush of waves—every aspect of the earthly sensuous could draw us into a relationship fed with curiosity and spiced with danger. Every sound was a voice, every scrape or blunder was a meeting—with Thunder, with Oak, with Dragonfly. And from all of these relationships, our collective sensibilities were nourished”
~ David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
Curiosity is the mechanism by which you pull a destiny better than what you could imagine for yourself towards you.
To remain curious is one of the primary disciplines of a tracker. It takes cultivation and awareness to become a curious person. You need to wake up daily in your own life and be willing to find the unanswered wonder, and then wonder toward it with intention.
This is the paradox: to be disciplined about being whimsical. To learn to follow what brings you to life.
One of the things I have always felt in the presence of masters is this deep sense that there is more than enough time.
I remember sitting with my guru, when I was young, in a garden in Delhi. It was the first time I had met him in person and although our encounter was only a few minutes it felt like hours. When you were with him, despite his intense schedule, he always felt relaxed and unhurried. You felt spoiled by the abundance of time you were getting when in fact it was not time but rather presence you were receiving.
To be more present is to make more life.
It is to be the sort of person who can bend time.
It seems to me that to be unrushed is a lost art form.
Presence and rushing have never met.
In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
When you look at the image above, what do you see?
Perhaps you see a man standing in an odd position (I’m hiding a beer behind my back). Maybe you see the tree on the left of the frame that has had its head cut off or the odd shadow below it.
When I showed this image to my tracker friends and asked them what they saw they all answered as if I was asking a stupid question.
“The elephant track”
The first thing they notice is the twig in the front left-hand corner of the frame and the impression of itself it has left in the powdery soil as an elephant has compressed it to the ground. They see the wrinkled edges of the elephant’s foot.
They see it because they have trained themselves to see it. This is the development of track consciousness. It’s the development of searching images in the filing system of the brain so that you begin to see through the eyes of a tracker. You begin to notice what you’re looking for.
Life is full of tracks. You have to train yourself to see what brings you to yourself and what dissipates you.
You have to learn to see the track. You have to become the sort of person who might notice the subtle signs of destiny if you walked across its path.
That is the way of the tracker.