Just imagine how the life of Earth might be more at
peace and in balance if 600 million people learned to deal with
the underlying ecological and psychological causes of our increasing
personal, environmental and social imbalance. Our runaway stress
and abuse problems are not found in natural systems or nature
centered people. They result from contemporary society's excessive
separation from nature.
Too often, our efforts to sustain
unity and wellness on Earth do not meet their goal. Our mentality's
estrangement from nature's balanced energies produces our apathy,
resistance to change and addictive prejudices. This is far more
than a social disorder. It is an ecologically rooted psychological
problem, a problem that begs psychological solutions. For young
or old alike, applied ecopsychology activities, methods and materials
effectively address this challenge. For this reason, we invite
you to use, teach and network the activity In Balance With
In Balance With Earth is a unifying applied ecopsychology experience
for use year round. It enables us to create and share moments
in nature that let Earth touch us and share it grace, balance
and self-correcting powers. Because the activity strengthens interpersonal
and transpersonal relationships, it enables people to reverse
destructive tendencies. It is appropriate with friends and family
and contributes to the celebration of Earth Day, Arbor Day, most
holidays and personal celebrations.
here for condensed
(In Balance With Earth
is drawn from the elements of the applied ecopsychology book
Reconnecting With Nature: Finding
wellness through restoring your bond with the Earth by Dr. Michael
J. Cohen. and has been donated for public use.)
to complete the activity:
Although we are part of the life of Earth
and it is our life, the global life community does not exhibit
our personal, social and environmental problems. The Earth community
knows how to cooperatively relate in ways that sustain an optimum
of life, diversity and beauty without producing our runaway garbage,
pollution, war, stress or abusiveness. We biologically inherit
this legacy. It is in us. We often call it our deeper ideals,
inner nature, or, psychologically, our inner child.
The deteriorated state of Planet
Earth's natural environment
and people infers that our misguided stories educate us to excessively
separate from or injure the Living Earth community including people.
This activity helps you discover immediate positive outcomes from
recognizing that the life of Earth's community and your life are
identical. We must treat Earth's life
fairly, with respect, as a lover,
equal or friend rather than as something to further abuse or
To discover immediate outcomes
of treating Earth, nature and our inner nature justly and with
To learn how to obtain a natural
area's consent for us to visit it.
To enjoy the benefits from
obtaining a natural area's permission to visit it.
Bob: What would happen
if you walked past a complete stranger and into his house, opened
his refrigerator door, took out his sandwich and ate it?
Eileen: He would be frightened,
upset and angry. A fight might break out or the police called.
Bob: How could that disruption
Eileen: You could first make
connnection with the stranger, thank them for listening, communicate your desire for food, and ask for and obtain his consent for you to enter the house and satisfy
your hunger. A respectful friendship might develop.
parallels the procedures (blue) used above in the metaphor about the sandwich
. Follow the instructions below written
in red and consider the explanations written in black.
1) Nature enables things to
build balanced relationships through natural attraction energies. Notice how you feel right now, then
go to something in nature that you like, that you find attractive.
A park, backyard, aquarium,
even a pet or potted plant will do. Their attractiveness is a
connection, some of our 54 natural senses being activated. It invites,
welcomes and consciously, feelingly connects you to them. Just
like thirst naturally attracts you to water, or contact with
water may make you thirsty, you are biologically built to naturally
connect with the Earth community through cohesive
sensations, natural "webstring" loves that feel
good. The more natural and attractive a natural area or thing
is, the more worthwhile the results of this activity. A goldfish
or a flower may be better than a wilderness area if it is more
attractive to you.
2. Thank the natural attraction that brings
you to this area for being there for you. Thank it for
safely activating a good feeling in you through this attraction
3. Recognize that as part of
the life of Earth community, justifiably, as in your life, this natural area or thing
desires and has a right to exist, build beneficial relationships
and grow, just as you do. Decide that you are going to respect its integrity by asking for its permission to visit it.
Because our story way of life socializes to think and act in
nature-disconnected or conquering ways, we are foreigners to the life
of this area. We build relationships through stories, accurate or not,
that it doesn't understand and often hurt it.
Silently, aloud or in writing,
ask this natural area for its consent for you be there and do
this activity there.
It will not give you permission
to visit if you are going to injure, destroy or defame it, or
if it will not be safe for you. Remember, in nature, negative relationships
are not attractive. Promise this area that you will treat it honorably because you love your life (to survive) and it is its life and vice versa.
5. Sense the area for 10 seconds or more
in silence and respect.
Be aware of negative signals from stress, discouragement or danger
from it, such as thorns, bees, poison ivy, ticks, cliff faces
or unpleasant memories, thoughts or feelings. If they appear,
thank them for their "attractive" message to help you
find ways to obtain good feeling and rewards safely.
"Our group was asked
to select something attractive, sight unseen, from a bag full
of miscellaneous objects. One adult woman blindly selected a
piece of wood in the bag because she was attracted to its shape
and smoothness when she groped and explored it by touch. But
she had an negative reaction to the wood once she took it out
of the bag and saw it. At first she did not know why she didn't
like it when she viewed it, but in time, perhaps through her dreams, she realized it was a
subconscious reaction. The wood was same shade of blue as the
walls of a room where, as a child, she had been molested.
during the 10 second waiting period another attraction would
have appeared for her if she could have seen the color of the
A. When the 10 seconds are up, note that if the area still feels attractive,
or has become more attractive. If either, it has consented to
your visit through a multitude of your natural senses.
Proceed to 6.
this part of the natural area no longer feels attractive, or
is replaced by another attraction, thank it for its guidance
and simply select another natural part of the area that feels
attractive to you. Then repeat the gaining permission process.
Do this until you find a ten second period when a safe attraction
feeling remains for a place, color, shape or other natural thing.
When this occurs, you have
multisensory permission to visit it. In that safe moment, many additional
natural senses are happily connecting
6. As soon as you gain a natural attraction's permission
to visit, genuinely thank it for giving its consent.
7. Now: Compare
how you feel about being in this mutually supportive moment with
how you felt when you first started doing this activity. Has any change occurred because you gained the life of this natural area's
consent and thanked it for consenting? Does the area feel better
or friendlier to you? Do
you find it more attractive, ethical or rewarding now than before
you received its consent and thanked it? Do you feel better about
yourself, more supported by the life community? Do you feel less stressed?
what occurred and if you obtained good feelings or rewards from
doing this activity, what
they were and whether you trust them. See if you can identify which of you 54 natural senses were involved. Share this information with people
close to you or others who are doing the activity.
If you find that thankfully
gaining permission to visit the life of a natural area is rewarding, remember that whenever you want to
feel rewarded and less stressed, you can repeat this activity.
Remember too, that the life
of nature exists in people, It is our life and your sense can connect
with its attractive, non-story existence in any moment.
permission and gaining consent to relate to the life of people's inner
nature also provides rewards and helps build good relationships. It is
also satisfying if you thankfully request that people seek permission
from you with respect to how they relate to the life of nature in you.
Doing this activity may help them learn to relate that way.
Learn to trust
the process and sensations in this consensus experience because they are safe, supportive,
earth linked, sustainable, in balance (multisensory), intelligent
and they feel good. In them lies hope.
The life of Earth naturally produces a
balanced optimum of life, diversity and beauty without producing
our runaway garbage, stress or abusiveness. Do you think it accomplishes this "miracle"
by having each thing in nature somehow establish consent (con-senses) to
exist with its surroundings?
To complete this activity and course, apply what you have learned here by gaining consent to visit the living parts of "Organism Earth"
Below are some reactions other
activity participants have shared with each other. Many additional
responses are located in the Archive
and the Seeking
"It was hot. Soon after
I asked for permission to visit with the grove of young trees,
a gentle, refreshing breeze came through them. It cooled me,
and the trees waved their leaves at me. It felt good, like the
grove smiled its consent. Thanking the grove strengthened that
feeling as does sharing the experience with you now."
"I was attracted to the
sound of a raven on the rocks ahead. I stopped and sought its
consent for me to enjoy its presence. It began to come closer
and closer, increasing my delight and excitement. That was so
fun and unforgettable. I feel thankful to that experience and
"My whole attraction to
the moss on the rock increased. I felt more intensely than when
I first arrived, it felt like a hug from the planet."
"Many times I have forced
myself to back away from the deadlines and details of the our
super demanding lives and return to nature. In every case I have
found the same welcoming feeling of self. In fact, I had to stop
today (a particularly stressful day) and gain permission to connect
from a beautiful maple tree outside of my office window whose
leaves are just popping out of their buds. People often ask me
how I stay so calm while they are all running around like crazy.
When I try to share the ideas of this activity, so many people
look at me as if I was the crazy one."
Interject the statement below
into discussions and protests about our trespasses against people
and the environment.
"What knowledgeable source
or authority has given ______________permission to relate to
life of people and the environment in this questionable way? Shouldn't
we immediately demand that all persons associated with them now
learn why it is necessary to seek permission from nature and
people, how to do so, and then actually do it before proceeding
Additional Free Activities: