Happy Winter Solstice!

Wishing for you, much inner light to meet this darkest day!

As we circle around the sun once again and approach the darkest day (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), have you yet taken a moment out to reflect in your own way on the person you’ve become from January 1, 2020 until today? Indeed, this year has been a most disruptive, disorienting, unnaturally social distant 365-day solar journey, aye? And yet, I feel many of us Type A, industrious worker bees have finally during CV19 unlocked the secret of sustainable success—slowing down, breathing deep, smiling often, balancing work and play. As well, I can honestly say– I am still quite happy sitting alone on our seaside cliff below a sky full of stars at bay; observing a candle dance wildly to the random chaos of the Pacific’s evening wind once the sun disappears with a flash of green light over the edge of the ocean’s heavenly gateway. What’s on the other side of this undulating sea of life, I wonder and pray…. And by the way, what ultimately did the year 2020 mean for humanity, anyway?

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

My first thought was that most every one of us have been infected and impacted socially, economically, physically by CV19; such that in our sickness and in our health– solidarity and selfless concern for one another has taken root and grown among us– friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and colleagues—our little living threads linked and woven underground. For this experience of authentic community, awakening human consciousness, and collective care; I am grateful. We have now proven again (as in other tumultuous times in human history) that we know how to act– as fearless lights of innovation in dark moments of uncertainty, as collaborators and friends rather than competitors and distant colleagues, as respectfully distanced neighbors bound by stronger social connectivity, as active advocates of nature restoration rather than passive armchair admirers, as givers of gifts and natural actors of random kindness rather than unbecoming takers of toilet paper and hoarders of honey. Thank you. Thank you, humanity, for showing up most humanely to our 2020 human-nature-human experience.

My second thought is that we’ve learned this past year that 20/20 vision is circular. We well know– life and all earth systems supporting life are naturally intelligently… circular. As winter is to summer; autumn will be to spring. We well know– that this spring the tulips will rise, the rose bushes will bud, and the forest fern fiddleheads will again unravel and grow.  We well know — that this spring the foxes will recover from their distemper, the rattlesnakes will shed their old skins, the young coyotes will join in howling at the full moon, while white-spotted fawns will bound through the wild grasses to their own tune, and migratory birds will pass by our lagoon with their song to cut through the dark frosty morn cold, so long. But do we believe in the promise of our own personal wellspring? If 20/20 vision is circular, then we can also conceive that what we give we will on another day, in another way, receive; especially if we truly perceive ourselves as one.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

And, the good news is that 2020 taught us, we are naturally intelligent when we weave our work together. When we give to the hive, we increase our communal potential as a species in the spring, to stay alive. When we till together our luminous (soul) soils, then we create a virtuous nutrient cycle of vibrant soil to plant new seeds of innovation for 2021. Truly, we are the #climatechampions and #kisstheground farmers of our future we’ve been looking for…and we really can’t wait anymore. Indeed, we are still very much in a #racetozero net carbon emissions. We are still very much in the midst of a #planetaryemergency… much more insidious than CV19 alone, and everyone’s every lifestyle choice, now matters. The good news is that the growing social movements around #nature4climate , #sustainable #food systems, new #bioregional #bio-economies , and transformative #biodivercities are the keys to unlocking a regenerative future for future generations and for providing everyone, everywhere new, better, healthier lifestyle choices.  As we’ve learned this past month that the over $11.2 trillion USD in national funds for global relief of CV19 have largely being committed to sustaining, unsustainable systems and archaic energy-transport infrastructure; we are going to have to be as a global community in 2021 super creative, nimble, innovative, and quick in order to keep our earth life support systems now from irreversibly getting sick.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

My third thought is that we are the lucky ones–we’ve yet survived (and hopefully in even small ways, thrived) the CV19 pandemic pulse. We’ve arrived around again to this most spectacular day –the winter solstice- December 21, 2020, yay! And, this winter solstice comes complete with a super novel close encounter (0.10 apart, 1/5 of the full moon diameter) between Jupiter and Saturn. This special union between the planet of prosperity (Jupiter) and the planet of hard work and economic success (Saturn) only occurs every 800 years. And, this cosmic communion comes tonight with a meteor shower and solar eclipse. Simply look westward for this (Jupiter-Saturn) Christmas Star about which the little drummer boy in the front of the nativity scene, sung from Bethlehem afar.

May you believe in the promise of this most brilliant light that traveled to us as powerfully potent as a black jaguar.

May your feet be firmly planted in the earth’s present ground; and may your hope lie in the future sound– that all humanity will this 2021 year awaken in many ways, profound.

Nature’s Reflection Photography 2020

Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD, Natural Intelligence Media is committed to awakening Natural Intelligence in the World. We produce multimedia content — books, films, experiences, and podcasts that inspire everyone to live a happy, healthy, nature-conscious life.

Visit our Natural Intelligence Website HERE.

Listen to our Natural Intelligence Worldwide Podcast HERE.

Listen to our Naturally Intelligent by Design Audio Book HERE

View Our Natural Intelligence Books HERE.


  • Catherine Cunningham, PhD

    Mission Possible: Awaken Natural Intelligence in Our World

    Natural Intelligence

    Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD is an ecologist, anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, and media host producing films, interactive experiences, and online multimedia for international clients who are focused on positive economic, social, and environmental win-win-win solutions to global conservation and climate change.

    Catherine has travelled, written, photographed, and filmed in 70 countries, producing creative films and music videos in support the UN Global Goals and the human+nature planetary health narrative. Visit Natural Intelligence.com to see where her work has premiered internationally. Over 20 years, she has interviewed hundreds of global thought leaders to promote sustainable solutions to climate change and conservation in creative ways. Catherine has written numerous articles on climate change, nature, and regeneration. She’s currently writing two books: “Naturally Intelligent by Design” — a fine art science and culture book for families and “Natural Intelligence”— a guidebook for well-navigating a post COVID-19 world by following nature’s principles. Partnering with Eurovision News and Events, Catherine is also an independent media host— producing content on nature, climate, and regeneration; syndicated globally by EuroVision’s News Direct. She is a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Medium. She currently produces communications for the Prince Albert II Foundation and participates in programming @ the World Economic Forum on Climate Change, Nature, and Biodiversity. As an university educator, Catherine taught undergraduate and masters courses in corporate sustainability communications at Arizona State University; global sustainability at Chapman University; biology, ecology, botany, and environmental science at Denver State College and Front Range College. In 2016, she designed one of the first university courses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also online), contributing to youth action on the UN Global Goals. She also created a post-graduate program with UNESCO on the MAB (Man the Biosphere) reserves. Catherine earned her PhD in Ecosystem Science at ETHZ in Switzerland, studying climate impacts on mountain ecosystems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology and International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters degree from Utah State in Ecology. Catherine speaks fluent English and conversational Italian. She loves creative collaboration, media production, mountaineering, outdoor sports, yoga, wellness, and travel.