October 1, 2020: Full Moon

In a circle, there is no beginning and no end. There is no singular right point of being, becoming, or perceiving. There is no particular perspective on life that’s right or wrong; just resonant or untuned notes, vibrating to nature’s rhythmic song. In a circle, there are no jagged edges, sharp lines, defined endpoints, finite polygons, or angular shapes. There is just endless, free movement and infinite points on a continuum of free space to creatively express one’s unique self with limitless, wiggly and wavy, good ol’ organic grace.

As code-name Dong, a native Hawaiian from Kauai in our village, explained to me — when Indigenous Peoples come together in community; they come together in open circles, intentionally. Gathering communities in inclusive, sacred (whole) circles creates the perfect balance of individual expression and communal participation. When all are free to share a new idea, reflect on an old thought, or inspire another member of the tribe to expand his-her creativity or innovative ability; then our unique innate expression is encouraged; our diversity of opinion, welcomed; and our free-flowing, boundless, uncontrolled, naturally evolving culture; celebrated and sustained.

Image from our Video production @ Prince Albert II Foundation One Planet Health Gala

It should come as no surprise that this paradigm of culture and community proves most adaptive to environmental change and resilient to unpredictable catastrophic events— like our Western wildfires, Eastern hurricanes, and ubiquitous CV19 pandemic. Coupled with a circular economy and a shared stewardship ethic to protect and to promote all life; the circular community becomes the secret sauce to ensuring that humanity truly now rebuilds a thriving new ecological civilization.

Further, sacred (whole) communal circles enable children to freely weave in and out of the conversation. Circles invite the young, adult, and elders to join in from anywhere in life, to bring any perspective or opinion to the collective whole, and to join in any hole that feels right to expand the conversation well into the night. And it should be no surprise that circles are naturally intelligent. If you look closely at nature with a circular lens; you will discover that her form and figure is curvy, and naturally bends…and actually never ends.

You see; you and me are the same as the beetle, the woodpecker, the wolf, and the redwood tree. What is considered waste for one, is essential nourishment and wealth for another. In this circular dance of life where we exchange air, water, food, life force every breath we take-every move we make; nature’s watching us…closely. When we are generous; when we reciprocate; and when we view our existence beyond little ME; then we truly see and we will effortlessly promote the health of the infinite WE.

Image from our Video production @ Prince Albert II Foundation One Planet Health Gala

IF we dare to take time and stare long at the cycles that allow our own being to exist and to persist— our eating and excreting; our working, moving, living, breathing, and being; we may begin to see that the lines of life’s individual forms are blurred. You become me; and I become you… and that is why when others repeat the honest words of Nelson Mandela – “when you are not well; I am not well” —this is no lie. If we allow 1 million more species to go extinct and over 50% of our wild nature to be over-exploited, under-nature nourished by human hands, serving only our human needs; then we will also die.

Finally, if you consider this fake news, flawed logic, pseudo-science, or hyper-allergic climate-nature activism; please consider what our world may look like if we choose not to expand our circular thinking… might we let this once in a species’ lifetime opportunity to consciously evolve, pass us by?

Prince Albert II Foundation Planetary Health Gala, September 2020

Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD, Natural Intelligence Media is committed to awakening Natural Intelligence in the World. She produces multimedia content — books, films, interactive media, and podcasts with her creative companions that aim to inspire everyone, everywhere to live a happy, healthy, naturally intelligent life.

Visit our Natural Intelligence Website HERE.

Listen to my Naturally Intelligent by Design Podcast, featuring strategies from animals in our world to adapt to disruptive environmental change. HERE

Listen to our Natural Intelligence Worldwide Podcast 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.