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universal eco messages and Santa traditions instill the value of
authentic Christmas cheer and genuine well-being, all year round.
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Counseling and Healing With Nature
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Individuals who have enjoyed a
visit in a natural area often report that their contact with nature's
balance and beauty increased
their well-being in lasting ways. They say that the connection renewed
their mind and
energized their spirit. To this end, the process of Educating, Counseling and
Healing With Nature activities empowers
anyone, anytime, to increase personal, social and environmental
well-being, and to help others do the same.
Counseling and Healing With Nature (ECHN)
offers unique distant
ideas and traditions that enable you to
sensory nature-contact methods and credentials
to green your skills and
We honor any prior spiritual growth, practical training, or life
experience by providing grants
and equivalent credit for it.
You may take accredited
friendly coursework and/or obtain a
or Certificate in
most subjects or personal interests. (see bottom of this page)
people remedy the essence of their disturbed thoughts and feelings with
restorative gifts of natural healing and spiritual health.
- Increase the power of your whole love idea and
natural attraction eco-therapy stress-relief management and games.
- Strengthen missing personal social
and environmental self-esteem and well being .
- Add the free sunlight, cheer and beauty
of the natural world to your ideas, needs and community.
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Introduction and Synopsis
seldom acknowledge that the history
of Christmas season centers on the
profound ability of the original
attraction energy of nature to grow
build balanced relationships on sub-atomic and universal levels. This unique ability is a
recognized essence of spirit and the
life of the Universe, including our own.
Because this natural attraction spirit/energy
has purifying green powers, it grows and sustains nature's perfection.
From moment one, its balanced and beautiful ways in nature's flow have
health and integrated
relationships of all species, minerals and energies.
actually celebrates nature's eons of building balanced, supportive,
peaceful and ecologically sound relationships by and for the world's
plant, mineral and animal kingdom, including humanity. As
evidenced by the Christmas tree, mistletoe, holly, wreath and solstice
date, Christmas includes the nature of Mother Earth
season's greetings of Christmas include those of all seasons, cultures
spiritualities. They are nature's totality, its recycling and
restorative powers that maintain and purify its
Earth. They are not our culturally limited stories. Free of
the natural world does not produce
or pollution, or our unreasonable isolation, stress and abusiveness,
constantly seeks, creates and rejoices in the values of the Christmas
spirit because, to our loss, our destructive and excessive
indoor lives disconnect our psyche, thoughts and feeling from the
green benefits of nature's
We are foolishly fighting an undeclared war against nature and we
deny it. Our
great unsolvable problems result from this hurtful separation of our
lives from our
natural life support system.
traditions of most spiritualities,
dogma and institutions embrace the spirit of Christmas in order to help
implement the corrections we sorely need. However, to our loss,
because most of these well-intended efforts are severely disconnected
from the renewing gifts and powers of authentic nature, our
increase and intensify.
We presently spend over 95 percent, on average, of our time, thinking
and feeling while disconnected from nature's gifts and messages.
addition of eco
friendly educating, counseling and healing with
the power of spiritual life, as well as to studies like the history of
reverses our hurtful disconnection from our natural roots. The
practical games that help participants consciously
bring into play the balancing core and restorative energies of
nature/universe that sustain personal,
social and environmental well-being.
about this idea. The whole year around we have the opportunity to
the values of Christmas whenever we have a good experience in nature,
yet we continue discount sensory nature contact as being an escape,
unreal, freakish or
fuzzy thinking. The article, below, is dedicated to help us
reverse this great error and produce peace on Earth through peace with
the ECHN program. Enjoy our Free Activity materials and Free
release about this page that you may read or distribute.
Nature's Integrity and
the Green Classics of Christmas:
universal eco messages and Santa traditions that instill the value of
authentic Christmas cheer and genuine well-being, all year round
KEY TO THE UNIVERSE THAT YOU SHARE WITH
Scientists who study the universe
suggest that some 14 billion years ago, before the time, space and
matter of our Universe began, there only existed the nothingness of a
In this vacuum lay the beginning of our Universe. Reasonable
the Universe today
suggests that its true beginning consisted of its
natural attraction to
The universe's original natural attraction had the ability to flow and
becoming the attractive time, space and matter that we now recognize as
the Universe-Nature. It, as well as each of its parts,
us, are vibrantly held together by the powers of its original natural
Different things experience or relate to natural
different ways. However, the classic ability of natural attraction to
bind, resonate and
unify a universal, wide range of diversity identifies natural
attraction as a
prime form of unconditional love.
Unconditional love is an essence of Christmas, no matter who is
celebrating it or how.
Natural attraction was, and continues to be, unconditionally attracted
to flow, grow
and build relationships in equilibrium. This is the nature of its
spirit and cheer. It is also the ability of nature to be
on some level that its balanced and beautiful attractiveness can expand
becoming more powerfully attractive, moment by moment, relationship by
Natural attraction is a classic living essence, the heart
of all things
universe. It is the intelligence and
integrity of wholeness that is found everywhere, from sub-atomics to
galaxies. Its free
messages and energy gifts hold together every
of the universe including our
thoughts, senses, feelings and interactions.
If you doubt that nature's "attraction to be attractive" is
of everything, just try to change something. Note that the "thing" you
are trying to change is attracted to remain in the naturally attractive
relationship that it is in. This includes trying to change
or to modify how you think, feel or act.
Too often we overlook that natural attraction is the essence of
nature's remarkable powers.
It is a natural form of love that gives nature the unique
ability to create
and sustain its
Via natural attraction love, nature accomplishes this profound
achievement without producing
garbage. Nothing is discarded, everything belongs. Excessive
isolation and destruction, including war, are
Not accidently, these classic qualities of nature are an essence of
Christmas season celebrations adore. Most aspects of nature are
in our human Christmas. This is not surprising since
humanity is part of nature. The difference is that in nature these
virtues are applied and available to all members of the plant, animal
and mineral kingdom and their energies. They are not just gifts, spirit
and cheer for humanity
All year round, during any given moment, in Christmas-like ways, nature
has the ability
to make the changes
it needs to strengthen itself and grow in wellness. Most of
experienced and value this free, mind-healing power during quiet
we are in
natural areas or things.
Nature, via natural attraction love, sustains its paradise on Earth
using linguistics. There is no evidence that literacy in the form of
written or spoken words, metaphors, stories, beliefs, games, ideas or
films have been
part of the universe...until, of course, nature biologically and
spiritually produced humanity. We simply verbalize and
applaud in cultural ways, what the life of natural attraction love
has continued to do since moment one.
Although nature is attraction driven, Industrial Society has misguided
itself by addicting to nature-disconnected
stories, stories we invent that omit nature, including many Christmas
and Santa beliefs. In subtle ways, the stories urge us to excessively
control nature and attraction for
this process, we subdue the desire of our inborn ability to love to
with its origins in nature's self-correcting ways.
While all other things are attracted
to nature consistantly, on average, well over 95 percent of our time, thoughts
and feelings are bonded to our nature-disconnected story ways of
knowing. We suffer because we have cut ourselves off from our
We see and relate to the world through the color or warp of the
nature-disconnected glasses Industrial Society trains us to wear. This
makes us create and be responsible for most of the disorders that we
suffer. The glasses also blind us to the wisdom of the inherent sensory
powers that nature gives us to remedy our problems and to strengthen
individual and global wellness.
As demonstrated by engaging in the practical process of Educating,
Healing With Nature (ECHN), its activities, backyard or
backcountry, help us reasonably
blend our limited, nature-disconnected
stories (a free activity link)
with the gift of nature's
balanced attraction power. This
enables our stories, thoughts and feelings to create eco
friendly, transformative change
personal, social and
environmental well-being. Like nature works, these presents help us
experience and enjoy Christmas during its special solstice season as
during the rest of the year.
believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different
expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with
each other, therefore parts of one organic whole. … The whole is in all
its parts is so beautiful, and is felt by me so intensely in earnest,
I am compelled to love it and to think of it as divine.”
Christmas-Like Consideration of the Educating, Counseling and
Healing With Nature Process (ECHN) .
happened to stumble upon the Project NatureConnect web page one day
while googling "alternative
psychology". The search results brought me to the genuine
After reading a couple sentences I knew
this course was exactly what I had been looking for. I called
Cohen and signed up for the online orientation
my textbook I was amazed by what I read. It described what I'd been
feeling and thinking for awhile. It gave reasonable answers
had been asking about why there is so much uncontrollable negativity,
in the world today.
I discovered that the ECHN Natural Systems Thinking
Process is a wonderful tool for personal and global healing, that it
helps us find
wholeness in our being and that it makes us capable of reversing the
negative effects of our nature-disconnected thinking by passing the
along to others."
"Our Christmas tree we chose this year is a potted Colorado Spruce. I will
plant it on my property after its visit to our home is complete.
Sometimes that has been into July...So I chose to sit with this tree. I
love its presents, its presence and its aliveness...the spiritual
promise of what it will continue to be. This was evident to me when my
daughter and I were at the store picking it out. So for some of this
assignment I need to also include the nature of a human and
spirituality. Which in this case is my daughter.
When I was at
the store I was feeling my attraction to this tree and to my daughter
and that we were all connected. I also wanted to honor her nature and
natural attraction process. I could write several paragraphs on the
gratitude I was having for this course, the wisdom and the awareness I
was plugging into. I was careful not to let the story in my mind
manipulate what her attraction was.
I asked questions that
were invitations for her to explore her senses of which tree she felt
connection with. As a father this was a thrilling experience. Beyond
words. We didn't have to decide between two different trees between us.
We chose the same one. I took a moment before final decision and ask
this beautiful tree if it would like to come to our home and be part of
our family. As I was silently asking, the scent of pine seemed to
surround me. I asked my daughter if she could also smell this and she
expressed how strong she could when before it wasn't as strong. I
hadn't told her what I was doing at that time."
did not grow up in a family that celebrated Christmas or Hanukkah (by
birth I am Jewish, and was raised Christian) and the holidays are
painful for me. Although I’m not consciously reflecting on negative
memories, the past insidiously creeps in and puts a pall on what should
be a joy-filled time for me and my family. I formally coped with this
by feverishly throwing myself holiday preparations and rituals to the
extreme. The house was bursting with homemade gifts, we participated in
every holiday activity imaginable and there wasn’t a spare moment to
even sit down. People would delight in my gifts, charmed by my
professional looking holiday newsletter of our family complete with
humorous and touching stories and photos and make references to Martha
Stewart. But year after year, after our children would unwrap their
gifts from under our perfectly decorated tree I would crash in absolute
exhaustion and/or would be physically ill. The last couple of years
have increasingly been more challenging due to life circumstances added
with a string of devastating events. I’ve barely been able to
muster the energy to even acknowledge the holidays, much less truly
celebrate them. I’ve felt guilty and conflicted about this, unable to
overcome my inner turmoil to try to find a middle ground.
Christmas Eve I chose to do my assignment and seek Nature’s wisdom. The
weather has been intermittently stormy, snowy, wet, sleeting and so
forth, not just on any given day but at any moment it could shift
without warning. Around the time I stepped outdoors the sky had
cleared. I stopped and simply let myself breathe, in and out, in and
out. I let my mind go free and think of anything for awhile. My anxiety
rose up and unexpectedly so did my tears. Although I did not cry hard,
it seemed to have risen up from a low deep place within me. I felt the
air chill my hot tears as they sprang from my eyes. I stayed in that
feeling for awhile and then as my heart, mind and emotions quieted down
in the calm of nature I began to think of my assignment. I followed my
attraction and was drawn by the deep emerald green of the fields that
spread out in every direction. I began to free-form hum, then little
phrases of music began to creep up and spill from my mouth. The green
was like balm to my eyes and the music soothed the jangled cords and
began to form into song. Perhaps cliché, I began to sing the Christmas
songs my little girl had been singing earlier while playing quietly by
herself. I felt a strong sense of harmony with what I saw in nature and
what I felt inside, as the two were intertwined. Singing required a
different kind of breathing and this action regulated it. I suddenly
trailed off no longer feeling like singing. I simply listened to the
wind in the tall grasses and blowing the branches, to the creeping
crackle of a cat walking across the fallen leaves and to the sound of
our two ducks swishing their bills around in the water to drink. It was
a perfect disjointed and yet perfectly harmonious symphony of it’s own
kind and I felt myself a part of it. I thought about how I was a part
of it, it was a part of me, a whole community resonating together
consciously and unconsciously. I felt calm, quiet and at peace.
didn’t want to interrupt this feeling to go through the natural senses
in the book, so I tried to simply sort of generalize from memory what
they were. I thought of sense of community (all around me), the sense
of feel (the air touching my skin), sight/color (the soothing green
fields), but what most stuck out to me was that the longer I stood
there, the more I felt like I was part of a larger whole—a community. I
felt that as nature resonated with me and me with it that there was no
“me” or “it”. I felt accepted, as though I belonged.
carried this feeling of belonging and calm with me into the house as I
interacted with my family. I found myself humming and filled with the
holiday spirit as I prepared our Christmas meal of fondue. We literally
sat and broke bread together, I
laughed with them and we enjoyed ourselves.
prefers chilly sleeping so he’s been happily
enjoying the solitude of sleeping alone. However, this night,
apparently drawn by my
quiet contemplative calm spirit, he came out and “spooned” me, sort of
cocooning me as I nestled against him. We didn’t speak. We merely lay
quietly breathing together, completely filled with peace as we gazed
with love at our sleeping little children who appeared to be angelic
while they slumbered. I felt nature’s gifts to me, which I carried
indoors and into my family. It is the best Christmas present I could
"Each ECHN activity has been a wonderfully enjoyable
experience. Each is a present that has produced feelings of
that remained even after the activity was long finished. I
able to increase my awareness of natural attractions and senses that I
had not been conscious of previously. I could better think and feel
with them. One of the greatest
about it is the restoration of so many genuine
different senses that are
available all of the time but so buried in our psyche that they usually
'I found myself attracted
to the sounds of the nearby birds.
was able to distinguish at least five separate types of birds from
their unique calls. I was also attracted to the
was cool and humid out this morning but I didn't feel cold when the
wind blew-it felt refreshing against my skin. I was also
attracted to the sound the wind made against the leaves of the trees-it
was gentle and very calming. I also reached around
eyes shut and felt various things around me. There was an
attraction to the plants. I was also attracted to the smell
the air-it smelled fresh and I enjoyed taking deeper breaths.
When I opened my eyes, I was attracted to the water in the pond-I
noticed that I used many senses including depth of the water, distance
of the trees (sight) and distance of birds (hearing). I could
hear my dog coming close to me and used touch when she came
Some other senses I used were texture (of rocks, plants, the dog,
color-the colors of all of the rocks, the water, trees, plants,
flowers, birds, dog, sky, pleasure from the fresh air and the
cool breeze, humidity and temperature.'
cheer, awareness and restoration was strengthened more and more as I
doing each activity. For many of the activities, I visited
same natural area but each time I was amazed at all of the new natural
attractions that I experienced. From noticing the free wind,
temperature of the sun, to the color of flowers, birds, trees, to
distance, to sounds, connectedness and peacefulness, it seems that with
each new activity, my senses were more and more awakened to all of
nature. These attraction connections were experienced by
too. One eco-experience that impacted me is from Matt, a
our email interact group. He said:
has the capability to open our ideas and awareness to the "intricate
of so many senses. This eco
friendly opening of the senses is the reason
has classic healing powers. It broadens the experience of
planet. It's a wonderful thing to realize that in
moment, although we are usually unaware of them, there are countless
attractive things happening in the global web-of-life
community and that
are a genuine direct part of
awakening of the senses of community was just a sniff of what might be
possible. To be in the moment and aware of things like
nurturing, trust, place, reason, and companionship as well as color,
movement and sound is be incredible. I am able to learn as
can through reconnecting with nature and experience the intricate
complexity and healing powers of all these
senses more and more.'
what is happening in my day, I know I can always seek out a natural
area and benefit as well as apply it's natural restorative
powers. If I've had a student who has been difficult, I now
how to go to a natural area and be calmed by the present of a breeze or
at the beautifully colored flowers. Through ECHN I discovered that I
really enjoy spending time in nature. It has helped me remain
calm, has kept me outside more instead of watching TV or involved in
some other nature-disconnected activity. It has equally helped my
students, too, as I share it with them.
"The attractive value of the Orientation
for myself is that I have been awakened to recognize and appreciate the
variety and multitude of natural attractions existing all around
me. I have found a deep peace in experiencing them, bringing
about feelings of calmness, warmth, and love whenever I recall the
encounters or whenever I realize all the potential for more.
Additionally I found the creative expression of and the sharing of my
experiences was pleasurable, and the feedback or responses were
I feel more
Earth and because of that connection, feel a great responsibility to
care for Earth.
I know I've experienced growth in this
course by comparing my before and after scores in the Course
Description. My score at the beginning of the course was a
183. My score at the end was 400! As I went through
questions for the second time, I felt confident that I knew the answer
to each of them.
Through ECHN I feel a growing sense
of wholeness with nature. Each lesson includes a
nature-connecting activity or game. There are only a few
the activity; first, that the activity take place in a natural
area-whether it be a plant, a park, or in the middle of a
Second, one must ask for permission from the natural area to visit
it. Additionally, one must be as still as possible and
what they are naturally attracted to through their inherent 53 natural
attraction senses, and last, one should thank the natural
area for its contribution once the
activity is completed.
At first it felt a little weird
to ask for permission to be in a natural area, or thank it, but the
more I learned
in the course, the more I understood that when I am in a natural area,
I am interacting with another form of life and as such, need to treat
it with respect. It is the same as if I were
person's home. This is illustrated beautifully with a
What would happen if you walked past a complete stranger, into his
house, opened his refrigerator door, took out his sandwich and ate it?
You would trespass on his bonded integrity and his territory.
He would be frightened, upset, and angry...'
learned that just like Bob and Eileen's conversation, if I enter into a
natural area without asking and receiving permission, I, too, am
trespassing on a
sacred eco-place. The value of this process of asking
permission and then
natural attractions that suddenly appeared deepened my connection with
nature. It helped me realize that I am not separate from
that there is an underlying force that I can experience. It
connects each thing on this
planet. ECHN is designed to help us experience and
truth in our
the past 20 years the Spruce tree in the front yard has been my
year-round Christmas tree. Throughout the seasons, as I help
grow in healthy ways, it
has done the same for me. Sometimes, I seek its permission to visit
with it and that's when nice things happen. The world becomes more
attractive and alive. I've become very attached to it."
"By doing the activities, I was able to
genuinely feel and experience natural attractions and to strengthen
this connection by feeling authentically connected to the web of
life. I have learned that my actions have an effect on
and everyone else in the universe. Although no words are
exchanged, nature is communicating with me each moment.
of isolation and separateness now don't make sense for me. I
use my senses and connect myself to all things. This is a remarkable
thing. One classmate said:
I try to think of the river as a dead natural resource I find it
painful and hurtful. I feel a loss of something beautiful,
complex and magical. It is not just water. There is
more there. My being is immensely enriched by knowing it as a
wisely balanced organism. I think hat if this contrast of
feelings is generated when thinking about the river then how would I
feel if I think of the whole of nature /Mother Earth at all times as a
'wisely balanced organism', rather than a dead natural resource, which
I still inadvertently do. Wow this is powerful'.
essence of this course
is to learn how are all connected to the
wholeness and integrity of the web-of-life. That authentic
"out there" it flows all around as well as within and through
-it is us. This truly is powerful. If we were all
from this state of being and thinking, we would create a "New
Earth". I have a vision of that place now and will strive to
what I can to create it.
ECHN is a vital tool to help
us overcome the runaway devastation that humans have inflicted on each
other and on the environment. Although ECHN has helped me heal
personally, I feel that its real power is in it's ability to
on a global scale. One only needs to read about the BP oil
in the Gulf of Mexico to realize and understand the effects of our
nature-disconnected thinking. I was using Facebook to post a
quote from the reading and the quote was: "This is what you shall do:
Love the Earth and Sun and the Animals" from Walt Whitman. A
friend of mine responded that BP should take the quote to
I responded to him saying that if BP took the quote to heart, there
never would have been an oil spill. I believe that the ECHN
course has the power to do just this- to reverse our thinking from
dominating and exploiting nature to loving and caring for it.
This is achieved first by individuals taking the course and
regenerating their natural senses.
through the total online communication with the group that I've gained
insight than any lesson alone has taught me or that I've gained through
activity. It is through the group interaction that I can see
others are experiencing in their words. I have gained just as
much by reading my interact groups postings as I did reading each
chapter. This was one of the great joys I had each week.
each student has completed the course, they have the ability to pass on
the ECHN process to others. It is by doing this that we can
change the world.
Now when I talk with children who fall
into trouble, I look for which step in Nature’s communication will help
them the most. Listening with our senses keeps returning as the number
one need. We are together in building a new culture by sharing how it
works for us and its value to it. What you share with me
me. After this course my thinking will only go forward with
ECHN gives us the free power to produce change on this
planet. I see it changing the way we think about ourselves
our relation to Earth and each other. I see changes from the
we produce food and materials, build, develop, purchase, package,
clean, treat illness, and use products.
definitely relate in a much more empathetic and caring manner towards
the flow of mother Earth when I think if it/her as a 'wisely balanced
organism'. It makes me want to do more to protect the flow
Earth from the ravages of humanity. One thing in particular
choices of food. I still eat mostly conventionally farmed
produce, which is grown by treating Earth as a dead natural resource,
where chemicals are added to the dead soil to make food plants
grow. I feel compelled to explore options for buying more
organically farmed food, that process treats the Earth as a living and
Learning ECHN has been of exceptionally value to me. It has taught me
many lessons, the biggest of which
are that it is a wonderful tool for personal healing, that
helps us find wholeness in our beings and that the ECHN process is can
be a powerful tool for global change and healing.
natural attraction thinking allowed me to sense my relationship with
this wild and free Christmas tree. My whole-life thinking was
process of putting
experience in words and communicating it to you, this study group,
people whom I am learning from. Natural attraction connections are
developing now from my experience with nature and my communication of
the experience with each of you.' "
Additional responses to the Article are available
on the Spiritual Growth webpage.
information: contact Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.
360-378-6313 Pacific Time Zone
Ecopsychology Journal interview
with Dr. Cohen:
you to visit www.ecopsych.com
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