Ian Sanderson: facilitating experiences as blue feather educator 

episode 43

Ian Sanderson and Sarah Pottle

a conversation co-created by


Regenerative Ed Patreon

Ian's Dojo- Boulder Quest Center

Regenerative Ed is brought to you by Grounded Teaching, and this episode is made possibly by a little extra space I’ve been able to create this week, the gorgeous spring weather here in Cleveland that is inspiring me, some books I’ve been reading and music I’ve been listening to more, all of you folks out there who listen to the podcast. I am grateful for you and for you passing the podcast along if you find it worthy of doing so. Most importantly, this week, the podcast is made possibly by my guest, Ian Sanderson. I couldn’t be more thrilled to bring you alongside our conversation in the timeless, spaceless place of the interwebs.

I’d love to share a little bit with you about Ian. We met only a month or so ago after a listener of the show filled out the nomination form on the podcast page, nominating him to be on the podcast. I couldn’t be more thrilled that she made that effort, because what I’ve found now in two conversations with Ian is an honest, real, human with loads of experience and worldviews that we can all benefit from listening to and interacting with. I hope that all of you will find people like Ian to listen to, and interact with, and I’m so happy that you can get a glimpse here on this podcast.

Ian Sanderson is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He is committed to serving people from all backgrounds as they develop and elevate their awareness—of themselves, their work, their relationships, and the world—through innovative synthesis and application of Indigenous, Eastern, and Western thought. He facilitates individual and group learning processes, serving a diversity of people and organizations whether in conference rooms, schools, or in a forest. He has 25 years of outdoor and experiential education experience, applying principles of tracking and other natural-world skills to present day situations. He owns the Boulder Quest Center, a martial arts dojo where he teaches and trains in the art of To-Shin Do ninjutsu; a modern application of timeless principles of how to intelligently handle the challenges likely to arise in our societies today. Utilizing reality-based empowerment training, he coaches students in ways to promote peace, security, well-being, and building the kind of resiliency and perseverance that leads to life mastery. He holds the rank of Yondawn- 4th-Degree Black Belt, and is also a student and practitioner of the Tendai and Shugendo Buddhist traditions of Japan since 2007 and took his deshi vows in 2017. Ian has also taught at Naropa University for over 10 years and is a Senior Adjunct Faculty member in the Environmental Studies Program. 

The variety of perspectives that Ian brings through his words are so helpful, and I hope you find this conversation as life-giving as I did.

I had prepared several questions to ask Ian for our conversation, but I was delighted about how the conversation simply rolled and became a thing in and of itself, which is how I’ve been trying to think about conversations recently, and particularly how I said a little prayer for the conversation before we signed into zoom– that it would be a thing of its own co-creation, not a transaction. I hope you appreciate this conversation between us as we hit on topics from breaking patterns to embodiment to disconnection because of covid to fear-based living, to the complication of a pendulum swinging, reactive culture around very, very important justice issues that might not get us as far as we want them to because it creates more polarization. We sneak in a few things about teaching, too. I also reference an educator group I’m a part of a few times– that’s the We Are Verbs group, link in the notes if you’d like to learn more about joining that group. There’s also a link to the Boulder Quest Center, Ian’s dojo, if you want to get in touch with Ian, as well as a link to the book we discuss towards the end of the podcast, Sand Talk.

Without further ado, I bring you a conversation between Ian Sanderson and me.

A Conversation with Ian Sanderson

We Are Verbs Community

Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta

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