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is offered as a public service by Project NatureConnect
1999 Michael J. Cohen

In Balance With Earth

A ten minute sensory ecology activity that induces
sustainable personal and global equilibrium.


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 like GreenWave-54. For young or old alike, Organic Psychology activities, methods and materials effectively address this challenge. For this reason, we invite you to use, teach and network the activity In Balance With Earth.

In Balance With Earth is a unifying applied ecopsychology experience for use year round. It enables us to create and share unifying 54-sense moments in nature that let the pure and beautiful life of Earth touch us so we may interlace with its 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.


Activity Instructions

Select here for condensed activity instructions

(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. See With Justice for All for details)

Time needed to complete the activity:

Ten minutes


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
with respect, as a lover, equal or friend rather than as something to further abuse or exploit.


To discover immediate outcomes of an activity story that helps us treat Earth, nature and our inner nature justly and with respect by consciously connecting our life to the life of our planet home.


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.


The Metaphor:

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 be avoided?

Eileen: You could first make friendly 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.



This activity 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 tangible sensory 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 can't tell stories but 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 connection.

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.

4. 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, respectfully 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 Earth's 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. 

[FOR EXAMPLE: "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.

Ordinarily, during the 10 second waiting period another attraction would have appeared for her if she could have seen the color of the stick."]

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.

B. If 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 and consenting.


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?

Write down 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.

Thankfully asking 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.

Discussion Question:

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" 

The Experiences of Others:

Below are some reactions other activity participants have shared with each other. Many additional responses are located in the Archive and the Seeking Consent page

"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 this group"

"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 any further?

Additional Free Activities:


        • Worthwhile information: To read the fascinating validations of people who helped develop and have done In Balance With Earth .visit the archive and consent pages. Extended results of the activity are shared at nature/results

        • Network internationally: To communicate with others who are using In Balance With Earth take our online Orientation Course
        • Master Earth connecting skills. A newly researched nature connected psychology organically restores 53 natural senses for environmentally sound wellness, social balance and careers. Online books, courses, credit, degrees, internships. Master the essentials through our online Orientation Course

        • Get involved: Obtain information and updates about
          internships, distant learning activities, courses and degree programs that use In Balance With Earth
          .and similar sensory reconnecting activities. Visit our homepage

        • Natural Attraction Ecology: Learn to use and teach a sensory science based on your personal experience in natural areas.
        • Reference: An additional 23 applied ecopsychology activities, methods and materials may be found in the self-guiding Ecopress book: The Web of Life Imperative and Reconnecting With Nature: Finding wellness through your bond with the Earth. 


In Balance Wth Earth is part of a newly researched nature connected psychology offered by the Project NatureConnect. It restores 53 natural senses to produce environmentally sound wellness, social balance and careers through online
books, courses, credit, degrees, internships. The best way to learn and teach this psychology is to take their short, accredited Orientation Course.


 "We are dysfunctional socially and environmentally because we are cut off and isolated from the world of nature and the natural."

-Albert Gore

"Project NatureConnect provides alternative, holistic, sensory tools that help our psyche genuinely connect with natural systems within and around us. Our personal and environmental well-being improves through sustainable learning and counseling techniques that enable us to thoughtfully tap into nature's balance, grace and restorative powers."

-Michael J. Cohen




Readily available, online, natural science tools
for the health of person, planet and spirit
P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com

The Natural Systems Thinking Process

Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
The Web of Life Imperative.






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