About Rod

Rod Safstrom

Rod Safstrom

Hi, my journey in this time is for the earth and its peoples. I am an Australian, from Melbourne, country Victoria and now Western Australia.

I love to tell stories about nature. I enjoy sitting in circles with people sharing what our inner voices are guiding. I love creating and being in environments where people find warmth and wisdom through increasing their connection with each other and the land.

I have always enjoyed being in nature from when I was young, in the garden with my Mum. Later as a teenager I grew and sold my own native plants, worked in plant nurseries; and inspired by trips with Dad, canoed and camped on the Yarra and Goulburn Rivers. A school excursion to deep gully erosion evoked a powerful call to work for healing the earth. As a teenager I took photos of landscapes. The bush called me and I studied forestry, worked in the forests in Victoria and raised 3 beautiful girls. I was often saddened by this work, which was often not regenerative, so I moved to helping people with revegetation on farms and later helping people protect and manage their bushlands and wetlands. I loved this work, supporting people to do what felt right in their hearts.

In this journey I could create beautiful listening spaces so that I could hear and honour others, the workmen in the forests or the farmers on their farms. I was always strongly interested in their stories. But I could not listen to myself. In this process I lost my marriage but kept a close relationship with my three wonderful daughters. I was drawn to Western Australia, the vast rich landscapes, the spark in people eyes and to do more study.

I remarried and set up my consulting business, Environs Consulting, working mainly in nature conservation at government policy and on-ground levels. I was fortunate to influence bringing Land for Wildlife, Conservation Covenants and Conservation Volunteers Australia to Western Australia and to be Chair of Greening Australia, Western Australia and a member of the Conservation Commission for Western Australia.

But I was still operating on automatic with little self awareness until I was challenged by my nearly two year old son and was led to hear Steve Biddulph talk about manhood and raising boys. This was the spark I needed to begin to see myself. Wes Carter was the first man who listened to me and I was led to a mens weekend workshop with Wes and Steve Runciman. The participants formed the former Victoria Park Men’s group and I went, scared, to my first Annual Men’s Gathering (www.wamensgathering.org.au). From there I was asked to assist with Pathways to Manhood (www.pathwaysfoundation.com.au) rites of passage camp for teenage boys. I was inspired and challenged by this work to do the things I had not yet mastered!

So I kept seeking, explored my archetypes and discovered Pranic Healing (www.pranichealingwa.com.au) and Arhatic Yoga, did a vision quest with Beyond the Threshold (www.beyondthethreshold.net). I helped found the Darlington Men’s Group with a desire to go deeper by beginning circles with meditation and close attention to the talking stick protocols. I have learnt so much through the Darlington Men’s Group, Pathways to Manhood, Rites Together and the Annual Men’s Gathering in Western Australia.

I had a growing wish to be of greater service to humanity and the earth by exploring systems thinking processes, such as resilience and soft systems, ways to assist more robust decision making taking into account science and feelings. Learning about circle facilitation for business (www.sociocracy.info), for land use planning, and justice. Journeys into Spirit with Noongar Aboriginal Elders and leaders and working alongside Noongar Elder Eugene Eades at Nowanup have all been deep awakenings; and to see that Aboriginal traditional ways of being with land have many teachings for current society.

One of the joys in my life is writing and sharing my connection with nature through fun and quirky stories immersed in the beings of animals, plants and ecosystems. I am often transported while telling these stories to children and adults.

I enjoy creating furniture and tactile pieces from wood, especially when I have an intimate knowledge of the wood and the tree when it was living. I also enjoy sowing, picking and cooking with food from my gardens.

I am supported by and help nurture my family including my wife, my five children and five grandchildren as well as my family in Melbourne. The people connected with my men’s group and other mens wellbeing activities give me a powerful sense of belonging. Pranic healing, connections with Noongar people and my ongoing learning journey with generative systems (www.apithology.com) are supporting my contributions.

I love exploring with my billy, my swag and my four-wheel drive, and sitting gently by the fire with my boys, our swags rolled out, and soon I hope joined by my grandkids and many others.