- What happens to your consciousness and being stripped away from modern life.
- Why did all the mystics return to nature for extended periods?
- What does the exploration of spirit look like in a completely natural environment?
- What am I and What do I become?
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!!!
We’re joined this week by lion tracker and coach, Boyd Varty. Boyd recently published a book called, “The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life.” We talk about the art of tracking, his recovery from PTSD after several traumatic events (including getting attacked by a crocodile), his shift to doing coaching and his experience of meeting and living with Nelson Mandela as a boy. Our question this week comes from an actor whose work has dried up.
Boyd Varty’s TED talk about “What I Learned From Nelson Mandela” made Varty famous. His talk has nearly two million views.
His newest book came out this week. It’s called The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life.
Varty is a fourth-generation custodian of the Londolozi Game Reserve. Unlike his ancestors, he’s never hunted a lion. Now he just tracks them for eco-tourism. I ask him:
- What would his lion-hunting ancestors say about his conservation efforts?
- Does he think that hunting helps or hurts animal conservation?
- What does having a “sit spot” mean and how can it help you?
- How exactly does a male lion’s mane protect the lion?
- What’s the first story that we told ourselves?
- What can we learn from tracking a lion?
Born into a family of conservationists and trackers in South Africa, Boyd Varty began learning the art of tracking lions at a young age. Not for hunting, but rather as a devotion. And, eventually, as a scout for guides to bring guests into the wilderness in search of seeing animals, most often lions, in a protected environment. Through the process, learning to connect deeply with the land and natural environment, he discovered how to see and follow threads that often took hours, if not days, to lead to a majestic and wild end. But, when it came to his own life, he found himself shut down after trauma, operating on autopilot until a chance encounter with Martha Beck changed everything and opened his eyes to the possibility of using his skills as a tracker to find his way back into a life of meaning, joy and connection. Now, a storyteller, coach, tracker, activist, founder of the Good Work Foundation and the author of The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life, he’s on a mission to help others find their own paths to healing, wholeness and wildness or, in his words, to “Track Your 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
What Got You There with Sean DeLaney
#67 Boyd Varty- Life Lessons From The African Savanna
Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than eighty years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty’s father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement.
Varty shares his harrowing tales like an encounter with a black mamba, what it’s like to have a lion lock you in their gaze and run at you full speed and many other exhilarating stories.
This isn’t just a talk about animals and nature, its a story of transformation that inspires a great appreciation for the beauty and order of the natural world. With conviction, hope, and humor, Varty makes a passionate claim for the power of the wild to restore the human spirit.
Intro/Outro music by Justin Great- http://justingreat.com/
Audio Engineer- Brian Lapres
An interesting question that I think about a lot: how do you balance exploring the new with savoring what you already know and love? Most of the time I prefer to explore, but the best part of this podcast experience for me has been meeting people who become close friends. For episodes 99 and 100, I’m bringing back two of the most popular past guest who are both now dear friends.
This week’s episode is split into two parts, today and tomorrow. Today’s episode is with Boyd Varty and tomorrow is with both Boyd and his sister Bronwyn. The incredible Varty family hosted me in South Africa, so you’ll hear birds and elephants in the background as we talk.
This conversation with Boyd is about our shared experience called “track your life” which I couldn’t recommend more highly. We tracked animals on foot for five days, and learned a lot from the environment itself. While we discuss our time together, this is much more about how to live. My original conversation with Boyd had a huge impact on me, and this continues the exploration of Boyd’s idea that we should all be going our own way, in the right way, instead of simply following well-trodden paths.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with Boyd and the second podcast conservation with his sister Bronwyn Varty-Laburn.
1:55 – (First Question) – Encounter with five wild dogs
10:19 – The idea of a perfect day on the track
15:59 – The importance of silence
19:42 – Why we could all benefit from the power of silence
21:37 – Side effects of being on the track
23:49 – Following the smaller paths
25:20 – How culture can keep us from forging our own path
29:34 – The stress he puts on the watch at night
33:34 – The power of going from alert to rest and back again
35:11 – Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
38:25 – Disconnecting from the modern world and reconnecting with your life’s purpose
41:42 – How much does skill play into finding your life’s calling
43:23 – Common objections to what they do
49:58 – Importance of end of day on the track
52:33 – Silence and feeling of thousands of years of time passing through hallucinogenic
56:22 – His experience with bees
* This post is copied and embedded from my good friend Patrick O’Shaugnessy’s Podcast – Invest Like the Best on his website the Investor Field Guide
What if bees might be holding the key to an algorithm that could teach humanity how to create vast shifts in our collective consciousness? What if they are holding the key to how an individual can create waves of change through complex social structures. What if they teach us more than any creature about how deeply relational all life is. Well I learnt all of this…and then respect. Listen to my story on how being stung by hundreds of bees taught me all of this and more!
What if your life were being composed by an aspect of your consciousness that you are not aware of? Is this not what happens when we dream? What if we left moments and symbols in the dream of life to help us wake up to a deeper reality than what meets the eye? These moments might be what you could call synchronicity.
Synchronicity is a deeply meaningful and yet unlikely occurrence in time and space that forces you to wonder what the fabric of life is made of. As a tracker one must first notice a deeper harmony in life and then try and fall into step with that unfolding so your life gives way to life itself.
Take a listen to my 17 minute podcast in which I share with you some of my thoughts on the incredible occurrence of synchronicity…