Journal of Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology (OP/NAE)

Project NatureConnect  Akamai University Institute of Applied Ecopsychology
VOLUME 1,  NUMBER 2011-2012                                                      Dr.  Michael J. Cohen, Editor

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Peace from Forgiveness and Kindness and Those Who Seek Natural Attractions.

- Journaled Course Response by Anonymous Participant  
Applied Ecopsychology education, counseling and healing article. 

 I was attracted to the following statements in our study group:

"We need a de-institutionalization incident to help us discover feelings we've overlooked."

I find it easy at times to overlook feelings.. it is like it slides away and then poof! snaps me back.. As I attempt to return to my natural attractions in any given moment I remember the peace that waits for me there and it does become easier.

"Institutionalization and Institutions are advanced social structures, strong, organized hidden authority and their advertising stories dictate that we tie up our natural senses to their attraction attachments."

I was attracted to the word organized.. my kids call me the warden.. because of the extreme behaviors my guys deal with.. I find they function best when the chaos is removed which requires an amazing amount of organization! I struggled a little in this sentence wondering if I NEED organization or if it is a strong nature disconnection establishment story.. I feel at peace when my world has order but does that mean I'm a victim of institutionalization? or that I have now, in some ways, become a psychological authority figure?

"THE UNIFORM captures our natural senses of camouflage, color, and design. We lose nature's wisdom as our indoctrination dictates that we respond to the establishment's institutionalization of us by things like an institute's heirarchy, its dogma and advertising, its special music, songs, colors, rituals and value symbol logo."

I was attracted to considering this foundation of institutionalization because I think it plays into how we ALL.. every last one of us.. choose to present ourself to the world. It identifies what 'group' we belong to.. even folks in PNC tell tales of our beliefs that we present to the world so people know what we stand for. I have always been fascinated by the de-institutionalization of this indoctrination phenomenon.

"Try and change yourself or anyone else that participates in an institution, if you want to see how the institutionalization process effects a person."
This reminded me of the quote "Change a man against his will, he's of the same opinion still." ~ Mary Wollstonecraft  It is a saying that always sticks with me.

I did this de-institutionalization activity on my property. Such a beautiful crisp day (it has been unseasonably cold here), I asked for consent and was granted with a fresh breeze on my face.. made my nose red.  As I look around and try to identify institutions and institutionalization I was most attracted to the fact that in nature there seems to be more forgiveness and allowing things to just be... there are no hard feelings that the leaf blew into my neighbors yard or that the mouse borrowed a hole in the earth.. there is a tree in my yard and i have no idea what happened to it but its trunk has literally grown around what appears to be wire of some kind.. It didn't die.. it didn't moan about it.. it grew around the obstacle and still remains as strong and beautiful as the other trees in the yard. I found that interesting.

I then did this activity in my home.. as stated earlier one of the first things you would notice coming into my home would be order.. nothing is out of place, it is tidy and clean. I looked back at my reading and I could see rules and regulations, hierarchy alphas and indoctrinations, even with my animals..etc, rituals (Christmas tree etc), terminology (house full of teens you notice this ha ha) paraphernalia all the little trinkets i have gathered over the years. I thought about some of the questions asked: what are the characteristics that identify these institutions and the people in them? What holds people to them?

The one thing that really stood out in my mind with respect to the establishment institution of family are the photographs.. almost any home you go into has this in common.. and they are almost always pictures of happy things, and at the very least things people don't want to forget. I believe that for the most part the thing that most pictures have in common are that they are moments of nature's essence and spirit, moments that made us feel, happy peaceful and connected. We bring them into our inside environment, frame them, and set them apart as a reminder of what we know we truly need and value.
I then went to my local grocery store and the advertising labels on products. Where the institutions were similar but twisted a little, probably because there were more people involved! I noticed order (of course) i also noticed that almost every grocery store is set up the same way.. perishables on the outside isles and the sugar junk in the middle, i also noted more people in the middle! This I found fascinating. People almost always followed the same pattern when entering the store and I reflected on my own experiences in stores.. I, too, entered and followed the same routine.  What holds us to this? Habit? Foundations? Advertising? I noticed that in Walmart the isles were full of boxes, which forced shoppers in certain directions.. you literally had to follow the maze to get out! clever... like the junk impulse stuff they hook you with at the check out!

Is it predictable that we need so intensely that we are willing to follow the food store institution like mice in a maze? I am aware that people resist change, is it this re-bonding to the dictates of institutions what motivates us to remain in institutions that really don't give us what we are truly seeking... that being the peace that comes with nature connection.

I found it interesting that the colors of the advertising were mostly greens.. lots of signs that talked about environment friendly items.. signs featuring people they were always smiling holding the product. I also noticed that the difference between standing outside and my house observing the tolerance of nature.. leaves blowing everywhere without permission to do so! even the willingness of the tree trunk to grow AROUND the wire were less visible here. People do not have this kind of tolerance for one another. They are angry and impatient, and the general attitude I found was quite self absorbed/selfish, a trait in the human spirit I have really been struggling with as of late. There was an elderly women trying to get her change out of her tiny change purse with hands bent with arthritis.. the people behind her but in front of me.. were so impatient with her it was sad to my spirit.. we are all growing old.. where is the kindness and tolerance? I helped her with her change

The things I discovered were that different places gave me different institutions or degrees of difference in the same institutions ex. family.. I liked the feelings generated from my first activity in which I was outdoors.. the peace was nice.. it did follow me into my home but not quite the same, and then less in the store.  I discovered that I am a person that gets peace from forgiveness and kindness and who seeks natural attraction because it feels wonderful.

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