TOPIC: Help Wanted: Art Related Organic Education Counseling and Healing with Nature Online. Too often troubles and debts result from our leaders socializing us to obtain emotional fulfillment in excessive, expensive and irresponsible ways. Deep, renewing Art satisfactions that remedy this are always available, free of charge, through sensory nature-connecting activities in natural areas like dandelion fields, backyard or backcountry. Learning and teaching these organic activities enable us to benefit from the grace balance and restorative powers of natural systems within and about us.
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Out of habit, most of us suffer disorders because, from early childhood on, our leaders socialize us to believe a critical lie. Do you, or others you know, suffer from this practice? A remedy for this hurtful distortion is readily available.
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The Artisan and the Art of Nature
Michael J. Cohen
My organic psychology study group on Vancouver Island did their assigned nature-connecting activity outdoors. They then reconvened in the meeting room to share their thoughts and feelings about what they had discovered.
Lois read from her journal about a tree that gave her permission to visit with it. She said, "I know I had this Pine's consent because I used the special connecting activity that helps me be aware when mutual attraction is present. I like this Pine because it stands a little apart; it's a great destination, it has a lovely shape and color. I like the curved nature of its branches and its soft needles. And because the tree and I are identical with respect to the natural systems that sustain us, the Pine helps me identify myself. I can truly say I like myself because I stand a little apart; I am a great destination; I have a lovely shape and color; I like my curved branches and soft needles, and, in metaphor, all this feels right."
Lois hesitated and then read on, ''Right now
I have tears in my eyes. I hardly understand why. I feel as if I can see the Pine now, I feel her essence, her beauty as she stands a little apart. She mirrors something within me. I see that I am transformed when I am outside and connecting to the natural world. I am nurtured, calmed, soothed, held, warmed, excited, stimulated, active, empty and yet full, happy, content and connected."
Lois was a graduate student in Counseling Psychology who held a summer job as a Park Naturalist while taking a course in watercolor painting. She joined our organic psychology workshop because she thought it might give her more expertise in each of these areas.
The course started by instructing its participants to visit the natural area that surrounded our meeting place. They were asked to remember during this visit that natural areas consist of balanced eons of life experience, that they communicate with attractions, not words, and that there is no known substitute for nature's perfection.
Participants were guided to find immediate natural attraction(s) in nature and for ten minutes get to know them non-verbally: "Try to override your mental stories, labels or chatter by identifying whatever you sense as a natural attraction and by how that attraction feels."
The group returned and discovered that, between all its members, it had identified 29 of the 53 natural senses that energize themselves into our consciousness when we make attraction contact with our sensory origins in natural systems. They had experienced:
Motion, sight, belonging, beauty and reason;
Temperature touch, place, color and language;
Nurturing taste, reasoning, pleasure and hormonal;
Community, smell, peace, appreciation, and intuition;
Trust, sound, texture, form, and gravity;
Companionship, compassion, respiration and consciousness.
Three months later Lois sent me an email that explained how the course had helped her saying: "I used the activities to energize my sensitivities. This increased my ability as an artist and naturalist and deepened my relationships with myself, others and nature. It also helped me add a new sensory dimension to my professional interpretation of nature at the park and this opened the senses of visitors to natural systems within and around them."
Lois continued, "As an experiment I did activities that intensified a specific natural sense and then I painted a picture of a single field of Dandelions from perceptions that registered through that sense. I did 18 senses and 18 pictures of that one field. Each picture was different because each heightened sense had me paint the picture through its focus.
I continued this experiment by mounting the pictures in a room at the counseling center. I then asked clients to identify pictures that attracted them and to tell me about what they thought and felt about them. It became apparent that the senses and pictures that clients registered most strongly were the same senses I used in drawing the pictures. I also noted that these "more engaging" pictures centered on thoughts and feelings that seemed most important or most disturbing to the client. This helped to diagnose and identify areas we might explore in counseling.
Some clients were quite excited about their improvement from connecting with nature in the pictures and I encouraged them to do additional activities in local natural areas. One client wrote:
'The longer I looked, the deeper the reflection of the Maple in the pond became, growing with no bounds and changing with the movement of water. It became almost a mystical place. As I looked up I was inside this space and felt blessed to be. ...be connected to this natural place because of the awareness of all the senses that open up, with more awareness of more senses, with more openness...a never ending circle of being connected. I became this place and the "I" in me disappeared along with troubles it causes. I felt like your Dandelion painting looked.'"
Online references and a Bibliography may be found at the end of an article at http://www.ecopsych.com/articlekey.html
During his 57 years living and teaching in natural areas year round, Ecopsychologist Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D, has founded Project NatureConnect, written eight books and created online degree programs that teach nature-connected education, counseling and healing.
The updated tenth anniversary edition of Dr. Cohen's book Reconnecting With Nature will be released this month
Observations About Art by an Organic Psychology Student
When I enrolled in this course, I had certain Art needs and goals in mind this course has contributed to fulfilling them by supporting my endeavors with sensory nature connections. Through them and the voice of other participants a colorful thread was woven in which a tapestry of diversity embraced my consciousness and expounded the messages I am attracted to Art in natural surroundings. To me, it is a divine energy raising the veil like the clouds rising rapidly along the mountainside crawling through the forest to the top of the ridge lines. The mountains appearing as if they,re breathing as the mist rolls off the boughs of the trees into the wind soaring high in the sky.
To fully understand the creative force celebrating and contemplating the astounded effects nature has upon us whether we are awake or waking the relaxed natural environment offers us a way to release the mainstream of consciousness of tension, stress, disorders and fear to a receptive psychological setting where the individual,s thinking is not controlled by wrangled thoughts, but by a changed state of consciousness that soothes the mind, body and spirit.
My career objectives are to study the effects the environment has on Organic art. Native Americans have been interdependent on Natural Laws in Nature. Organic Art touches the deepest realms of the psyche and the sacred breath of the artist creative process. Organic Art is a sacred level of art that not only transforms something into art, but transforms the artist at the very center of their existence. This way of engaging/relating to art makes the process and context of expression immeasurable. Nature such as plants and animals are used as integration as well as clarity of purpose with mind and heart. From intention and conception to completion and use, each step of the creative process has an inherent meaning within a broader perspective of relationship to spiritual energy (Reconnecting to Nature through Organic Art balances the well being).
When an individual is connecting on a natural level in nature stress, related /disorder tendencies disappear wholeness is achieved. My primary goal is to study how the behaviors in natural surroundings inspire the artist senses, and when the senses are functioning the well being of the individual is in tact (by expressing creative participation in nature a universal peace is found in the mind and heart). Therefore, when the individual is at peace within, the world only benefits for the simple reasons conflict does not arise. The foundation (nature) becomes integrated back into the self and expressions of love connects the world together rather than dysfunctions.
My goals are to assist the individual/groups to express senses that have been overpowered by industrial/material wants that only create upheaval in the body, mind and spirit. Through natural expressions earth consciousness is restored. A transformation of thought is needed in this world today (an ecological consciousness). Some of our senses have been left dormant for the simple reasons the native/cultures have been robbed by environmental destruction. Earth nourishes all humanity and if the senses are lost dysfunctions is close at hand. Creative participation in nature can be expressed through many mediums. I would like to reconnect with nature through an organic form (NOTE: NSTP) where one can create positive forces in the world. I intend to apply what I have learned in the future by creating a workshop where nature can teach the individual about whom they are (let earth teach) and the world around them peacefully, (I believe Organic Art is a tool where behavior can be embraced as a positive experience).
Online reading: useful online articles and activities
INSTITUTE OF GLOBAL EDUCATION Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council
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"Human behavior is rooted most deeply in nature's intentions and desire. The rhythms of nature underlie all of human interaction: religious traditions, economic systems, cultural and political organization. When these human forms betray the natural psychic pulse, people and societies get sick, nature is exploited and entire species are threatened."
In industrial society our excessively nature-separated lives mold us to betray the natural psychic pulse. We learn to block from our thinking over 98 percent of the wise sensory callings and fulfillments we normally receive from natural systems and their eons of experience. Our subconscious hurt and frustration from the severed disconnection of these senses underlies our greatest troubles.
-Michael J. Cohen
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"Truth is what stands the test of experience."
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