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Dr. Cohen further explains Applied Ecopsychology at the Institute of Global Education and Akamai University.

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Click and read the Ecopsychology Journal interview of Michael J. Cohen,

by Dr. Thomas Joseph Dougherty. (Courtesy of the Ecopsychology Journal)


"The core of the science and process of Natural Attraction Ecology, an application of Ecopsychology, is that from its inception, the essence of our Universe has been to build natural attraction relationships. Natural Attraction can be empirically identified, sensed and felt as the heart of responsible attachments between all things. It's a fundamental of the place all things come from. an intelligence that all things 'consciously' share with each other in balanced ways."

- Michael J. Cohen

Read, below, Cohen's responses to additional questions asked by a Project NatureConnect participant.

INTERVIEWER: In considering the field of Ecopsychology as a science, its roots seem to be mainly in traditional academic theory and studies like psychology, philosophy and ecology.  Your interview in Ecopsychology suggests that although you have a strong academic background, your work, in addition, mostly originates in the progressive camping movement, outdoor environmental education and wilderness group experiences. What do you see as a unique awakening and contribution that your work makes to Ecopsychology, or to fundamental things like God beliefs or global warming effects, contributions that are not fully explored in the interview?

COHEN: What first comes to mind is that the value you give to something as a "contribution" entirely depends upon the background or filter through which you perceive that contribution. For example, some lilacs look red against a blue background and blue against a red one, yet the color of the lilac also has its own natural truth and integrity.  Similarly, experiencing life or God things as a Hindu rather than through a belief in Jesus Christ or global warming colors them differently. Yes, the fundamental roots of my work were planted and grown in nature, in the progressive summer camps and natural areas where I spent much of my time. However, the way I'm recognized in that setting is quite different than how am known and reacted to in nature-removed academics and research.

Today, the value of my work is that it is a rooted network of genuinely nature-connected thoughts, feelings and observations while one is in natural areas.

The core of the science and process of Natural Attraction Ecology, an application of Ecopsychology, is that from its inception, the essence of our Universe and its eons has been to build and grow natural attraction relationships, sub-atomics to galaxies, including the space between them.

Natural Attraction (NA) can be empirically identified, sensed and felt as the heart of responsible attachments between things.
It is the driving, unifying, force/energy not only of the physical world, but of life, love and spirit, too. NA is what holds things together, makes reasonable relationships attractive and drives them to sustain themselves. This means that all things are conscious on some level that they are attractive and that they are attracted to sustain or increase their attractiveness. This "natural attraction fact" contradicts the anthropocentric mentality of our central culture for the latter seldom respects nature or the way nature works through NA sensitivity.  Rather our thinking tends to "improve," develop or exploit nature, in and around us, as if 
NA and nature have no integrity, wisdom or value of their own. 

We tend to think of Nature and its 
NA flow as our slave. We treat it as such and suffer accordingly.  This holds equally true for how we treat things or relationships attached to nature.

INTERVIEWER: Yes, you explain the origin of this anti-attraction prejudice in your descriptions of Tropicmaking on your homepage.  I have read about it in depth in your 1982 book Prejudice Against Nature. I think it conveys a major essence of your application of Ecopsychology as a science.  As you say in the Ecopsychology interview, we learn to think and build relationships in literate ways while nature is treated with the bias we have against the non-literate...and the latter has no words to defend itself.  That's almost like Herman Melville's "Billy Budd," who was executed due to being unable to communicate his innocence, worth and integrity.  In Industrial Society, non-literacy is close to being a form of death. So, since this interview is "literate," how can we make the transition and have it be accurate about nature?

COHEN: Let's start where I started. You and the reader think of one or two good experiences or beliefs that you have had in nature. Then, apply what you read here to those experiences. Ask yourself now:
- Would you be attracted to repeat your good nature experience again because it was attractive?

- Can you now attractively sense natural colors, sounds, aromas, textures or flavors that were part of the experience?

Can you now attractively sense comforting motions or feelings of community, trust or place that were part of the experience?

- Can you now feel  enchanting, self-enhancing or spiritually pleasing aspects of your nature visit?

- Can you now sense or feel the experience is supportive, peaceful or both? Is it able to reduce stress, anxiety or depression?

- Does the experience help you feel that you were part of a greater whole?

The above awakenings are some of the results that people have reported from remembering their attractive experiences in natural areas. Their direct sensory contact with the non-literate web of life community helped them escape their addiction to the "industrial-story world" for a while. They could sense and feel the true natural being that they were born. They could think with the purifying powers of that truth. It was an indisputable root, an anchor in the eons that could provide answers that did not always raise additional questions. Its self-correcting ways refreshed their psyche as it flowed through them.  Even just the memory of the experience reduced their blood pressure and deepened their breathing.

The contribution of my work is that it gives anybody the ability to validate and strengthen this connective process, to increase its availability rather than take it for granted or consider it an "escape from real life."  It adds scientifically grounded and unifying natural attraction roots to our 
different fundamental belief things such as God, Hindu, Jesus Christ, death or global warming.  This is significant.

If we are to peacefully unify with Mother Nature and each other, we must identify the unifying power of nature that we share and have it help us reach this goal.  We are born innately knowing that unifying power is natural attraction but we learn to turn it into divisive God, technology and cultural stories. They usually separate how we consciously think and feel from the natural attraction ways of nature that we inherit and share with the natural world.  That is the root of our most challenging problems. (UPDATE:in 2012 the Higgs Boson Unified Field "God Particle" was was scientifically validated as a fundamental attraction energy of the Universe in the Big Bang.)

Remember, we comfortably believe it is normal to spend over 99 percent of our lives, on average,  thinking and feeling while disconnected from, and out of tune with the way nature works.  This belief is also a form of death. My "application of Ecopsychology (AE)" provides exacting tools that enable a person to sensibly and intensely reconnect with nature at will, and reap the rewarding benefits.  AE is functional, not just another theory, science of mind philosophy or paradigm that we seldom can achieve while we discuss it forever.  It is a procedure, not a philosophy alone. You simply choose to learn and apply my AE procedures.  When you do, its similar to allowing sunlight to reach a garden. Things begin to grow. Garbage and contamination in our body mind and spirit are organically recycled into mutually supportive relationships. AE methods and materials help you take a new thought step into improving your relationships.

INTERVIEWER: That sounds like it will work.  OK, I'll network what we discuss here to a wonderful experience I had many years ago when I saw an lame wild goose being supported by its companions.  Just then, the sun appeared from behind a cloud and everything brightened.  I sensed that everything was supportive in nature, just like the geese with each other, or like the sun warming me and increasing the light on nature's ways. It made me feel more supported for being just who I naturally am.
Your six books and five major courses since 1990 explore and explain the how and why of AE via many routes, activities and studies.  All that can't possibly become conscious in your or my immediate moments while in nature.  Could you share some key things or beliefs that you, and readers here, might apply in a natural area to help us benefit by thinking like nature's balance and beauty work.

COHEN: Sure. First and foremost to me is my continual acknowledgement that Mother Earth is alive. I enjoy a global experience, that our planet is an intelligent and conscious living organism that desires to live and that I exist in it, not on it. I'm one of billions of things of which it is composed.  This helps me recognize that whenever I think about it or treat Earth like it is a machine, or a dead rock or a "resource," I am trespassing on its life in myself, others and the environment.  Acknowledging this trespass of Earth's right to life makes me uncomfortable. The irritation immediately signals me to seek other more sensibly attractive ways to think or act. Then what I do is find an attraction in nature.
Through the acronym NNIAAL, I bring to mind many vital fundamentals of this moment.  Each fundamental is one of this attraction's attraction relationships to everything else, including myself,

NNIAAL enables me to perceive that each and every moment in nature is like knowing myself as part of a friendly, attractive and supportive pure spring of water whose life produces a flowing upwelling of nature's attraction-relationship essence.  Each moment consists of nature's attraction spring water consciously unfolding into the time and space of the next attractive moment.

INTERVIEWER: What does the NNIAAL acronym do, or stand for that makes it helpful?

Thinking while using the NNIAAL acronym brings my whole history with nature and humanity to my conscious mind (thoughts and feelings):

The first N reminds me of "Now," that nature's upwelling, pulsating, attraction energy and its beauty only exists and operates in the immediate moment, the "Now" of life. Like a flowing river, the next moment, the attraction relationships are different, they have changed and grown into additional attraction relationships.

Since we are part of nature's conscious and dancing flow of attraction power, the Now includes our stories about the past and future. We can only change these stories and our consciousness of them in the Now.  The stories, however, are not nature. Stories that omit the Now of nature help produce the negative effects of dualism.

Nature consists of a conscious, self-organized and flowing attraction dance, a river of self-correcting connections that produce life-supportive, balanced relationships. These "attraction acts" are not stories, they are the pulse of mutually supportive, Now, attachment relationships.

The second N reminds me that nature is "Non-literate" and "Nameless." It does not know itself, communicate or organize itself with words and stories, as does humanity. It consciously organizes and operates via the pulse of natural attractions that, in the Now, are consciously seeking fulfillment and attractively finding satisfaction by creating flowing into being additional attractive, mutually rewarding relationships and attachments. 
The I in NNIAAL reminds me that nature is "Intelligent," that its self-organizing, homeostatic wisdom enables it to wordlessly create balanced attractive optimums of life, cooperation and diversity without producing any garbage. "I" reminds me that, Intelligently, nature seldom displays or causes the abusiveness, disorders or isolation that we suffer. The latter are not attractive. They are mostly the effects of Industrial Society's dualistic, nature-disconnected and conquering stories about the natural world.

"I" signifies that each thing in nature has the intelligence to be that thing in purity and balance and to transform into other things when so attracted.

The fact that through the eons nature's-consciousness has been able to peacefully actualize and sustain its attractive natural perfection on local and global levels demonstrates monumental Intelligence.

The A helps me sense that instead of using stories, from day one, nature continually has consciously grown and manifested itself through energetic natural Attractions and that they, moment by moment, become pulsating attachment relationships and new Attractions. In the "Now", the unpredictable life of nature's unfolding friendly "natural essence" is an upwelling, a flowing, bursting variable stream of living strong and weak Attractions that balance out and manifest themselves to be every aspect of the plant, animal and mineral web-of-life community and its energies, including us and our psyche.

The second A helps me be Aware (conscious) and sense that natural attraction is a fundamental essence of Aliveness and its spirit.

Our desire to survive is the attractive heartbeat and rhythm of aliveness, the natural Attraction consciousness in us to continue living as ourselves in support of nature's survival.  This vital desire consists of a congress of 52 additional fluctuating natural sensory Attractions that seek equilibrium.  One of them is our Attraction to be literate, the rest are felt senses and sensibility awakenings that beg us to become literate about them so we may more consciously think and feel with their supportive grace. This is an antidote for the destructive aspects of dualism. 

"A" includes that Attraction is the self-conscious, homeostatic, dancing pulse of Authentic, Ancient, Alive, Awareness in Action from moment one throughout the eons.

The L in NNIAAL reminds me that what we experience as Love is the pulse of natural attraction in action. Our story world can attach our inherent natural Love to the attractive nature of the natural world, including ourselves and others, or we can attach and bond it to story-constructed technologies, blueprints and beliefs, or we can do both.

Stories are a literacy that is usually dualistic, disconnected from, and a substitute for the ecointelligence of our inborn attraction to nature and its lasting rewards. Again, nature is an active relationship-building aliveness, not a story, the real thing, not an inferior substitute. 

Most of our nature-disconnected stories produce destructive side effects for they separate our consciousness from nature. Detached from nature's life, the dualism in these stories become a form of death. They are prejudiced against holistic essence of nature because they are separate from and do not contain the Intelligence of nature's attractive purifying and restorative ways. We have yet no story, or other substitute, for our innate and conscious love of the universal Earth wisdom of authentic nature."

INTERVIEWER: That's impressive. And when I apply it to my good experience in nature, I can sense that experience, even now, as NNIAAL in action. If anybody can learn activities they can do in a natural area that attract their thinking to register and know themselves and the area as NNIAAL, those activities enable that person to let NNIAAL restorative powers help them reduce disorders in how they think and feel. This is especially true of disorders that result from that person's estrangement from nature's ways.  I appreciate that NNIAAL is like experiencing nature's consciousness and how it is an important addition to meditation and activism. I see why, in his Ecopsychology Journal interview, Dr. Doherty says your work "Brings people together on a basic level, potentially across cultures and socioeconomic barriers."  How long do you find that it takes to learn how to benefit from NNIAAL?

COHEN: You don't learn it, you already know it inherently, as is demonstrated by your experience with the geese and the sun.....or by a quiet walk in a natural area.  Each of my AE activity exercises, reinforces and supports NNIAAL so that NNIAAL enters and guides our story-world conscious thinking and feeling with greater strength and frequency.  NNIAAL provides "Earth Citizenship" information in our psyche when we seek it, and sometimes even when we don't seek it.  Over time, as 
we strengthen it in our consciousness, NNIAAL becomes a welcome, purifying attribute to how we think and feel, one that we can safely trust. If you want to experience this, read and then apply it to your goose experience, or go to a natural area that attracts you to visit it and encourages you to find examples there of what you read on that insight2005.html web page.  Or apply NNIAAL to or to Project NatureConnect's online nature trail at

You will find that NNIAAL helps us bring the wholeness of life into our psyche at any given moment.  NNIAAL moments unify dichotomies like macro or micro, close or distant, now
or then, I or others, literate or sensory and nature-connected or disconnected.  NNIAAL helps us know and love our true nature in the moment, its like us or the lilac discovering the true color and integrity of the lilac. This occurs because nature as us is our true color and integrity, not a manipulative anthropocentric story.

INTERVIEWER: If a person does not want to discover NNIAAL, hands-on, what would be the best thing for them to read?

COHEN: Since most of us are NNIAAL, but we are jailed and buried alive under a twisted industrial story, that person might benefit from knowing themselves as such as story and/or the science of how to let NNIAAL help them remedy this predicament.  To this end, and are helpful.

INTERVIEWER: I can see how your, and other's, NNIAAL experiences empirically demonstrate their effects and help you to create your nature-connected, attraction centered, application of Ecopsychology.  They provide first-hand, ecocentric evidence for the value of your education, counseling and healing with nature process (ECHN).

COHEN: Yes, and its been my experience that any community that re-organizes itself by learning to think and feel with ECHN will improve its health and well-being at every level of endeavor. It will increasingly be able to think and relate organically, like nature's perfection works because, unblocked, nature's self-correcting powers will flow through the community's collective psyche, as it does throughout the global life community.  NNIAAL helps us not only recognize that everything has a purpose, but that the purpose is the same purpose as that of our living planet, or of life itself, universally.  That purpose is to fulfill our felt sense attraction to survive in this moment by supporting life in balance. Each time we overlook that purpose, our troubles begin. We are presently at risky standstills because, disconnected from NNIAAL, our psyche is contaminated. For example, we may think that we are not part of, or in communication with, nature, or that death exists in nature, yet neither is true. Perhaps our petition is helpful in reducing our mind pollution. However, the best and most powerful way to begin is to take our Orientation Course, for you can also teach it to others and help them benefit from contact with NNIAAL.

The interview with Dr. Cohen continues by discussing how to deal with the lies and distortions that mislead our thinking and create our dilemmas.


DOCUMENTATION: Emails of journaled results from Project NatureConnect NNIAAL contact activities in natural areas, backyard or backcountry.

"Finally today I had some quiet time with my daughter (7 yrs) and so I asked her to come outside with me for helping me with my homework. She decided she would bring her homework. I asked her to choose which attractive place we should sit today. We worked on her math a little bit. Finally I asked her what she was attracted to out here in nature.  She answered that it was green there was so much green. So I asked her how it made her feel to look at so much green. She answered that it made her feel happy.  So I asked, where in her body she felt happy as you feel it? ( was there any one place)  No she said it was just her whole body all over.  So I asked if she felt a happiness as warm or cold. "Both," was her simple reply.  I asked if there was anything else she was attracted to. She said that she liked hearing the crickets and cicada.  I asked her how that made her feel. She answered that it made her feel like a small bug that was part of nature. As we walked inside I thanked nature out loud and then asked my daughter to also thank nature.   After she was done I asked her how thanking nature made her feel.  She said it made her feel good."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"I parked near the cattle gate.  I felt I gained consent because I stayed attracted to the trees and hillside where I parked. Not far into the hike I felt in balance with nature from munching on handfuls of blackberries and transferring a white caterpillar climbing up my calf to a poplar tree that it quickly started to climb.  I thanked the caterpillar and the blackberry bushes.  I thanked the vistas that held the Blue Ridge to the south and the Smoky Mountains to the northwest.  I thanked the wide and cloudy sky.  I felt additional natural attractions with lichen and moss covered rocks, a small wildflower with two navy blue petals, the many red-bodied Daddy-long-legs spiders that scurried along the trail, several other caterpillars I discovered hanging eye-level from a thread, swaying in the breeze, and the dogs as they cooled themselves in a hillside bathtub the cattle drink from; I thanked these attractions and reminded myself how grateful I was for having them.
At the top of the mountain I faced south and read Gary Snyder’s Prayer for the Great Family from Turtle Island.  I had never done a reading in this way before, but the transition felt right. It was an enchanting hike."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"This orientation course has the attractive value of teaching myself and others to reconnect with, and think in connection with nature. I personally experienced healing of physical pain, emotional pain and distress, anxiety and stress relief, a conscious awareness of global problems, and enjoyable attractive connections with others. I learned my inner nature is connected with all of nature. I have observed through my participation with my course mates that they also are experiencing benefits from learning to reconnect. The course provides valuable skills to help us cope with contemporary life by learning to let nature teach us. I trust the insights and genuine experiences I have had in nature, doing the activities in the book the Web of life Imperative. The way I perceive myself, other people, and all of nature is changed."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant


I usually have the Mimbres button suspended over my computer monitor to remind me to step away and step back into Nature ( periodically throughout my working hours so that I am not sucked into and overwhelmed by the very technological thinking that financially supports me at the moment. Today, I pin the button just over my heart!  I think, "I would really like to have this symbol of BEing printed on a few shirts...and decide to create a few transfers and make them...and life is Good as I go on about my day.

My sense of reason is attracted to showing this symbol to all I meet along my way. I think all of my senses were activated in this journey. I didn't just observe, I became...and I felt all of life as each attraction feels it. I have no words to truly describe the experience, it can only be understood experientally - without words.  I was welcomed with an overall consciousness of "Ask and You Shall Receive".  I was only aware of the expansiveness...of being at one with all around me.  I was in this space of consciousness, individual thoughts were not present, it was simply an expanded consciousness of BEing."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"I can't seem to find the right words to convey this awesomely beautiful experience. Everything was more intensely interactive, sounds clearer, colors more brillant, Beyond that even, I could hear the colors, I could taste the sounds, I could smell the movements...again, how does one explain what can only be understood experientially? No science of mind language as we know it, yet there is a communication that  runs between all...a harmony, a resonance beyond our simple language skills! I am humbled and I am in awe! I consciously send the energy of this experience out to you so that you will know and simple words fail to convey even a small part of the totality of this experience."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"Am I sensing the reality of this natural area with my subconscious mind? Are they the same?"  

"The traditional Freudian meaning of the term referred to those thoughts and feelings screened out from our wakeful awareness, but operating secretly underneath.  In this sense, you are not experiencing with your subconscious mind, but rather experiencing sensually through senses other than reason and language; and perhaps you are sensing without reflecting, staying in sensing mode and opting out of stepping back to observe and reflect on what you just sensed.  This direct sensing seems to be more of what Eckhart Tolle is talking about in The Power of Now, and Ram Dass in Be Here Now, and Mike Cohen in the "Now and the Nameless Ns" of NNIAAL.  Candice Pert also writes about the body as the subconscious mind, in that the hormonal activities which perform a constant, complex and dynamic interplay throughout the body are now understood to be the same neurotransmitters which we previously believed to be operating only in the brain, where all thought was believed to occur.  Now we know that nameless thought is happening constantly everywhere in the body; thought and feeling, too.  This is why we feel emotions in our body, she says, and why we can get in touch with uncomfortable and important unconscious thoughts, feelings and needs by listening to the emotions we feel in our bodies.  So, my thought about what you experienced was maybe that you were simply sensing these body thoughts and feelings through myriad senses, without reflecting cognitively.  Wisdom happens this way in an ingenious way, as you describe.  So it's the Old Brain you're thinking with in these moments, rather than the Subconscious.  That's what it seems to me.  I'll look forward to seeing what the rest of you said a week ago!
I believe that when we are just sensing and feeling we can absorb much more input.  Words slow the process of sensing down considerably. I'm impressed frequently by how awkward and inadequate words really are. I wish I could paint! We must relfect back on a sensation to recover part of what we needed to put aside so that words can come into play. That reflective process is often like a slow leak, as the sensation drains; or maybe a better analogy would be that the word-based translation is never as dynamic as the original, wordless experience."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"There are different ways to get to the same place. Yoga is my path. However, the webstring NNIAAL model is not something that I see different from it. It is not something new to me. It is something that is true, I know this from my heart. Everything comes together, everything connects. PNC has become a part of my yoga. I was looking for a way to integrate philosophy, body practices, meditation, and daily life together with our role in relationships, concerns about the world around us, and the desire to take action in a world out of balance."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant


"I am truly at peace! This experience has forever changed how I will interact with life as it unfolds. My harmony and resonance has changed...all who come into my "space" will feel it with their BEing and it will move them toward attraction to that resonance in their own 53 natural attraction senses...and thus it will guide them to harmonious awareness and change. The entire experience has expanded my awareness and has forever changed how I interact with all around me.  The awareness remains and continues to awaken my sleeping senses

I am well and truly blessed to be taking this class with all of you. Each experience you share opens me to deeper levels of understanding. Hand to Heart, THANK YOU!"

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"This week I recognized how mental health care practitioners (maybe not all - just the ones I know - this week) keep the patients’ destructive stories which lives inside their minds in their patients’ consciousness. Keeping the patient stuck in their destructive stories and keeping them feeling bad about themselves, nature, and others, causing Stage I, II, and III adrenal fatigue! I find they are keeping patients in their patients’ story for years.”

"I agree with you. It is not necessary. Mostly in Holland 'subsidies' (money from the government is involved). Also I call people 'clients' instead of 'patients', the word 'patient' give already a connection to illness. Clients is a word what give people space to be involved in their own healing process. I noticed how strong the difference is when I had a client who told me she was a patient before and it didn't help her by 'health care practitioners'. She was amazed how fast her 'illness' changed for her in 'possibilities and choices'. People need motivation and be invited to, before they can help themselves. That is a part of my work as a counselor and coach, to help people to find ways to help themselves. And Nature is helping and supporting me and them with it in positive ways!"
"Thank you so much to be a part on my path in my life!"

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"It means that unconditional love is accessible to everyone, everywhere. We need only to turn to a blade of grass, or know to look past our own or others' words and defenses to see the natural beauty within."

"So true. I believe I came closer to myself by senses through an other language, because I had to use other words than my own language and didn't had to defense myself to 'words' which where conditioned to me by Dutch words."

"I believe that the group, in connecting to their natural attractions, was attracted to connect to their natural selves. I believe this because there was such an incredibly nurturing, genuine, interested and mutually supportive space created by this group of people."

"I believe that too! To be connected through Internet is also a safe way of communication. It invites people to be open and honest. I expierenced that to with my clients in nature, too. Nature also invites us to be pure. Like you said: "First, communication is invited, and not assumed"

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"For this activity the experience was to  share moments in nature  that let Earth's regenerative qualities sensuously touch us and teach us its peace, equilibrium, and cohesiveness.  With this in mind  I was on my back porch and became attracted to a basket of rocks that I have there. These are rocks that I have picked up and brought home with me every once in a while from a hike, or some other outdoor adventure. There were about 20 of them all together. I took them out of the basket one by one and arranged them on a tabletop in front of me... and them asked  them for permission to do this exercise with them. Immediately I sensed a deepening connection, like an opening, I sensed what seemed like a welcoming,or a gathering in , like  arms being put around me and drawing me in.

This quote helped to add meaning to the experience for me..."You are biologically built to naturally  connect with the  Earth community through cohesive sensations. They are natural sense attraction loves that feel good."

The deteriorated state of the Earth's natural environment and people infers that we educate ourselves to separate from, or injure Earth's community.  Each thing in nature somehow gains consent to survive in its form by establishing mutually supportive attractive relationships with its surroundings.  It is equally important and beneficial to  gain consent when interacting with people as well .

If these NNIAAL attractions were taken away, I would feel very lonely. The activity reaffirmed my trustfulness in nature.  A part of me that this activity helped me to identify and name is an openness, or being open to register and receive balancing input from the natural environment. Although I never set out on a hike thinking..." I need to find a rock today to address an imbalance I am experiencing "   I am open to recognizing when one (rock) is "calling" to me.

Nature connecting lets the natural world teach us to revere nature in ourselves, others and the environment and we naturally refrain from hurting that which we hold sacred. My inner nature requires non verbal, intimate enjoyment of nature to validate and fulfill its needs, otherwise by overlooking, or rejecting it, I experience anxiety, anger stress.

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"I was attracted to two large brown birds on the waters edge it seemed that they were watching me as I was watching them. I think they were the great blue herons. The birds interested me and looked like a perfect picture, that you would see in a scenic magazine or something. I had never noticed how the clouds reflected on the water before even though I've been on the water many times and many places. When I saw this my mind began to make an attraction connection. I thought about how the cloud is dependent on the water to fill it with moisture and I thought about how the water is dependent upon the clouds to return the moisture. It struck me that they always work in harmony even though no one has to give a thought about it. I tried to talk to my husband about it but his mind was somewhere else so I will just share it with you all.

I learned that even though I've always been drawn to water that the reason I am drawn is because water is cleansing it removes the negativities of life for me, it calms and refreshes me. It helps clear my mind and helps me to connect to nature supportively.

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"The river is fairly broad there, with gentle waves rolling up the the shore and a wooded shoreline on the other side.

I felt thrilled and fortunate to be there.  The soft pebbled sand and brackish water of the boggy side called to me.  I stood and noticed the attractive sand, the quiet, shady waters, and the old log slowly rotting under the sheltering trees.  I felt my gratitude and asked permission to interact with this area.  In response, the leaves danced to a breeze that blew through, and a scent of woody wetness wafted up to me.  The pleasure I felt at these led me to take these to be a "Yes", and I proceeded along the edge of the water, under the trees, to a small sandy area bordered by small trees, the rotting log, and the edge of the brackish water."

"I sat down and realized that I needed to relieve myself, and so I did so (the place was entirely sheltered and private).  I had a moment of thought about how my waste products were like the nutrient-rich brackish water nearby.  I was aware that because I've improved my diet during the past few years, my waste products would not contain the dangerous chemicals and perhaps other noxious unnatural elements (or fewer, at least) that it did previously.  Four years ago I would have felt guilty relieving myself in a natural area for this reason.  I felt proud of myself for having become a safer, more responsible citizen over time.  I wondered how it would be used.  I thought about how the sand would help to filter and refine it."

"I sat down facing inward to the trees, away from the water's edge, because this afforded me an entirely natural view.  I cupped my hands over my eyes, breathed in, and exhaled, opening my hands just a bit.  I felt my breath feeding the whole area.  I saw the leaves of the small trees in front of me, and bits of the river beyond them, with water and rocky edge.  I breathed again, and yet again, each time opening my view a bit more, and feeling my breath feed the area, breathing it open.  The idea that my breath and my appreciation was welcomed, was feeding the area, produced the most glorious feeling of happiness within me.  With each broadening of my view, my happiness grew.  After 10 or so breaths, I sat marveling at this feeling.  I then thought of a moment only an hour ago when I had expressed a feeling of great appreciation for a colleague and friend, and had given him several specific complements.  His smile seemed to contain the same feeling of happiness.  I was able to really feel how I fed his happiness, and how I was also fed by my feeding of his happiness in this way."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"I went to a park in front of my parent-in-laws’ home and was immediately attracted to the beautiful song of a pair blackbirds singing in unison. While I have enjoyed their song before I never realized the extent to which they could project their beautiful voices so that it resonated around the entire neighbourhood.  Repeating the word “attraction” I gently moved closer, silently requesting to be in their presence. I couldn’t believe the behaviour that accompanied their song: the bouncing, perky movements, the plumping of feathers, and beaks and throats raised to the skies.  By looking skyward as they did, I became aware of so much movement and life in the tops of the trees and from other birds. It made me aware that even as a nature lover my gaze is frequently set on the ground or at eye level. I closed my eyes and became aware of the fluttering and movement of different birds (some sounded larger than others) in motion moving from tree to tree combined with the subtle differences in the sounds of the rustlings of distinct species of trees as their leaves moved in the light breeze. Different wings, different leaves. With my eyes opened I may not have appreciated the range of sounds.

As I repeated the word “attraction” and voiced “sensation” and conveyed my gratitude to the birds, 3 lemon-yellow finches came to rest on a nearby bush. I couldn’t believe my luck to witness the diversity of birds in this park. I wanted to run back to the house and tell everyone what I had seen.  I bumped into my father in law and asked him if he had ever seen these birds and then a beautiful Vermillion Fly-catcher with a bright scarlet crest alighted on the tree beside us.

The special natural attraction that occurred and will always be important to me was that this Vermillion Fly-Catcher accompanied me in the park, moving from bush to bush wherever I walked as I repeated the words “thank you” “webstring” and “connection”. I sat silently in one place appreciating its presence and generosity and it’s mate came and joined us. I thanked them both for giving me such a calmness and sense of companionship.  Every time I got up to leave the park the pair both followed me (I would like to stress I was not near their nest and this was a big park!). Later when I returned to walk my parent-in -laws’ dog I was thinking about how thankful I was for connecting with this particular pair of birds and at the precise second I thought that very idea the Vermillion fly catcher flew right across my path a couple of feet away. Again it followed me back to the house and sat outside the front door on a pole. What a delightful feeling of connection with another creature of nature. This time I wasn’t forcing the issue thinking, “what wisdom is this bird trying to teach me?”… just silently and gratefully conveying my gratitude for its presence and enjoying the moment.

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"My experience suggested that on a daily basis even if I consider myself a devotee of nature (loving the tiniest insect/fungi to the biggest mountain range,) I barely see a tiny proportion of the natural wonders that are all around me on a daily basis and that I don’t necessarily have to go to the wilderness to see an abundance of species and plants. There are always new ways of seeing nature and appreciating it on a greater level.

The most important way that I felt Earth speak to me was undoubtedly ABUNDANCE and COMPANIONSHIP.  There is such abundance is the world. In that natural area there were more beautiful birds than one could possible imagine. The word “abundance” kept resonating with me during and afterwards.  There is abundance for all. There is companionship for all. All of these things are generously offered to everyone by nature and by caring communities but this natural healthy way of life can be exploited and perverted for personal or financial gain.

I was aware on a personal level that if I approach life with fears of being deprived or being insecure then “scarcity” and “loneliness” the polar opposite of what I mentioned above about Earth speaking to me, is what I will feel. My exercise in Chapter 3 has re-addressed the balance. It is particularly relevant because this week I had all my financial savings for my move to a different part of Peru where I hope to practice Ecotherapy in the future, stolen fraudulently and it is doubtful that the bank with replace them. My father has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is so ill that I have been feeling desperately worried for him and bereft as he is in so much pain we can no longer communicate by phone and are close companions. I was becoming fearful of the future and losing hope. Yet I see that the Earth spoke to me today of abundance and companionship. That there is a way and I should trust and not be fearful. If I had been trying to hard to obtain “meaning” from my activities I would have missed this beautiful lesson and insight. I tried to keep things purely sensory this time

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"After gaining permission. I immediately became attracted to a giant Maple tree covering my roof and deck, as well as a Mountain Ash that reaches half way into my backyard.

During this exercise I felt drawn to keep my hands more closely together…rather than far apart. I felt the wonder of my connection to the trees and their leaves. I felt I was resident in all that is infinite and divine.

I learned that my mind thinks and through thinking road blocks may be placed before me. However if I step outside the realms of thinking and training within my mind, I am the experience.

My experiences in Nature always provide new insights and
break down old wiring as they help me to understand oneness.

The authority that is re-educated inside of me is the one that keeps me from being me and what defines me."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

"When my client returned the following week, after learning and practicing how to obtain consent from a natural area to visit it, surprisingly she had decided to venture into the woods, back behind her home.  The same woods that the week before she said she was afraid to enter.  As she ventured in she was at first fearful and timid.  At the same time she was attracted to going into these woods.  she said  she always wanted to go, but feared it.  We had talked in the previous weeks about taking, precautions in nature, paying attention to your surroundings, not pushing yourself to go anywhere that did not feel safe.  She said she decided to go into the woods because this is where the foxes lived, that came to visit her daily. She loves these foxes and felt like when she stood at the threshold and ask for permission to enter, it was her love and attraction to the foxes that drew her in and helped her to feel like it was safe to enter “their home”. So she carefully walked deeper into the woods and it became wet and marshy.  After a while she came upon massive trees that had been uprooted and there she stood with these massive root systems exposed and the tree trunk lying on its side.  We had talked about how the work she was doing to address her depression was like a journey down into the mud and muck up under the earth.  Here she stood with evidence of her life before her.  She had been uprooted just like this tree, through death and her job loss.  But she could see the vast root system of the tree and she saw how strong it was and she surmised that even the strongest of  trees “beings” could be uprooted and so maybe she should not carry shame and debasement about her own uprooting. She saw beautiful green moss growing on the tree and saw it as a sign of new growth and life coming from the fallen tree.  She felt strong and empowered that the land had nurtured her and cared for her on this walk. She  felt a new strength in the knowing that perhaps there was nothing to fear in these dark woods.  As with her own life journey she could see where perhaps uncovering what had become unconscious to her (past abuse) was the darkness  she had been avoiding through unrecognized denial and fear.  She saw this attraction into this dark forest as a symbol that she did not need to fear the unfolding of these new memories and the darkness her body was feeling.  After she crossed the threshold and came back into her backyard, an eagle flew right over her just above her head.  I guided her in what she saw in the presence of an eagle and she shared that an eagle was a symbol of ultimate power and strength. She began to let go of her critical statements of herself as being a pathetic loser.  She began to see that she was on the right track of moving into knowing herself more."

- Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participant

For the few of us who have developed an immunity to our detrimental hallucinations about Mother Earth, the hidden source of them and an Applied Ecopsychology online program remedy for them are available in the article 
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