Tracking the Original Design

Directors and staff of Africa Media have been noticing over the years that, interns appear to be more often, further and further removed from their connection with the earth and its other inhabitants, whether fauna or flora. The idea of having a short program, Tracking the Original Design, built into the busier month courses (usually June to September) to reconnect participants with the earth and with themselves, was initiated.

Fiona enlisted this compelling work of Pierre Morton ( a.k.a Jubee ), a practitioner from Cape Town. Pierre now runs two-day tracking the Original Design courses on the busy months and when we can secure his wise teachings! The goal is to introduce us to ‘bite-sized’ self-work that we can take away and use to keep ourselves connected with nature, both throughout the month-long program and also through our lives, some as they leave Africa, and others of us lucky enough to be staying behind. Africa is the perfect place to become reconnected with nature.

Jubee teaches how to connect and become aware, by aligning with nature. He has rich experience as a qualified yoga and tai chi chuan teacher, a body stress release practitioner and a nutritional therapist. Having lived and travelled in South-East Asia for six years- Jubee immersed himself in the study of martial and healing arts. Currently, Jubee teaches ‘Primal Joy’. He describes this as the naturally occurring state that arises in human beings when we are ‘in sync’ with our original human design. The original design is our inherent ‘hard-wiring’ that involves our well-being and, includes both our physiological and psychological needs.

Participants enjoy various outings, including a visit to the St Blaize trail in Mossel Bay, to witness the sun rising over the distant mountains. The idea is to start the program feeling fully immersed in the beauty of the natural world and within the group. Within that safe space, it feels more comfortable to see nature, rather than continually reach for cameras to witness it only through a viewfinder. A highlight of the two days is a visit to an isolated river, tucked away in the African bush. Participants spend time learning the patient art of rock balancing and creating patterns. When balancing one rock on top of another, using its point, you’re looking for the ‘lock’ between the rocks. It can be as subtle as a fraction of an mm between having the rock balance or, having it fall. It’s impossible to rush this process, and it encourages the use of deep breathing techniques to slow down and feel the subtle balance.

In the evenings drumming circles under the stars with open fire cooking and the creation of music, are popular activities. An exploration of the sounds the drums make entices us to release a beat from within. A deep and ancient connection takes place here, which is particularly poignant as Mossel Bay is thought to be the point of human origins.

On the second day, there’s a yoga meditation on the beach while greeting the rising sun and then an icy dip into the bay, where we feel the unbelievably powerful stimulation of cold water immersion. Intertidal zone exploration turns up many tiny treasures when carefully examined. Various shapes and colours in nature are explored and at times, discussed, and often, by this stage, a feeling of deep connection with nature starts to ignite. Jubee has spent many years “tracking the original design’ and has created a set of practices to help us connect back to ourselves and to ‘primal joy’ and a reawakening of the senses. For media students it’s a vital skill- to look deep and beyond the obvious but also – to see and not always feel compelled to ‘chase’.

Field Specialist Annie Post had this to say about her experience on the Tracking the Original Design program “ By the end of our time with Jubee, we felt rejuvenated and reconnected with nature. He taught us to see with our eyes first, and that not every moment needs to be recorded on a camera; it is so easy to miss some of the moments because we are too focused on whether our exposure is right, or if the composition is flattering. Sometimes, it’s OK to put the camera down and to see what is in front of you. While seeming counter-intuitive, this does help us in our art”.

Fiona Ayerst June 2018