......... .........VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2011-2012 ,, Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Editor Journal of Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology (OP/NAE)
Project NatureConnect Akamai University Institute of Applied Ecopsychology
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Quietly Walking the Shore Awakens God's Heartbeat
Journal of Anonymous Participants
Project NatureConnect education, counseling and healing studies.
Don: A great spiritual experience in nature for me was that as a child I spent a perfect week at camp with new friends, new experiences in nature and with cabin mates, and no desire to go home. I felt alive, exhilarated, and sure of myself like I never had before. Grounded in truth, serenity and the infinite. I still watch for signs around me, I listen to a storm pass, to wind, waves and water ways. I hear a shell, feel trees and even rocks share insight and direction.
I go back and forth sometimes about what to listen to, but more often than not, I find my healing and strength listening with my heart through and to nature. The camp experience taught me to trust myself and others. It's mercy solidified my love for the woods water and wind. I stretched and passed into some new skin and I don’t think I ever left that nature skin behind again. I love to cooperate rather than compete with nature and find that my greatest area of concern in this program's quest into ecotherapy is going to be in quieting my “spiritual side,” primarily the theological dogma I carry, so I may see, hear and experience clearly.
Edna: I like to live in the here and now (not that I'm always particularly good at it!!) and don't like to put things on the back burner so I wanted to ask you a question, Don, as one of my online classmates - why do you think you need to quiet down your spiritual side? Could that spiritual side be your infinite inner nature, your connection, the wordless, invisible one talking to you? Of course we all have the influence of other human's attempt to define, describe and limit God-eternal, spirit and mercy, the force that guides us, but should we quiet down what we have inherently within, do you think? Should we be just a shell of the storm that is ourselves? I'd love to hear back from you regarding this!
I just said to my husband that you are already so in tune with nature. I feel that much that we read in the literature we all know deep, deep down, but that the layers of stories cover many of that inner knowledge in people such as myself so I pass it. It hasn't had the power to suffocate that wisdom so much in you Don. Have you always felt that way, or have there been times when you also felt it deeply hidden under layers of nature-disconnected stories?
Don: I have always loved and listened to nature. I find myself stymied in the posts so far because I feel like it is doing something for a "grade" pass or fail and I don't measure up in my ability to express using the "correct" language of ecotherapy.
Edna: You write from your heart, from your inner soul. How could anything you say (which personally makes me cry with its magic, its depth, its honesty, its passion) be wrong, when you are so in touch with what so many of us have hidden under layers of destructive, egocentric blindfolds? There are no grades in this course, which is why I love it. The only expectation is for you to be present! We support, encourage, love and nurture each other. You allow me to feel your passion and in turn excite and nurture my own. You put into your own beautiful words feelings that I have always known but have been unable to pass in voice, for lack of the right words, the right listening ears, or for shame of seeming childish, or too in touch with my feelings. The only time a grade is ever mentioned is at the end of the course, in the final assignment when we can "suggest" a grade for each other. In the last course we all decided that the very idea of grades, of being "better" or "worse" than someone went completely against ecopsychology and how could anyone with mercy grade connection, feelings, the joy of being and supporting!
Don: I slept on this last night and I remember dreaming about ants crawling over me. (Black ants, because they aren't as quick to pinch) I also watched the Sorcerer's Apprentice with the grand daughters as they went to bed, that might have played into my thoughts. In the eyes of so many there is something infinite and supernatural in verse "talking to the animals" or being strongly connected to nature and God. I can't separate and have always longed for deeper connection, often more even to nature than my fellow human beings. Your post about the shell and the ocean took me right back to the shore of Cancun as I visited to work on houses. My daughter was expecting her first child any day and I wanted so badly to be with her.
Edna: Cancun - wow! Your webstring was drawn so closely to her. The only thing lacking was the physical form nature, God, the Nameless one, had given you. You were there. You were with her.
Don: As I walked the shore I wrote of the feeling as I listened to the waves and my surroundings. Down this shore of sand I wander, kicking shells beneath my feet. Is it just my imagination, or the sound of God's heart beat? (in the rhythm of the waves) Embrace me, in mercy, enfold me in your love, cocoon me in creation's arms, fill my empty cup. Like a shell washed up and broken. Empty chambers of my heart, lie exposed for exploration, spirit come explore each part. Embrace me in mercy, Enfold me in your love, cocoon me in creations arms, fill my empty heart.
Edna: Magical. The idea of a cocoon is so nurturing, womb-like, primordial. The language and verse of embracing of enfolding, of permitting to be naked "exposed" is so powerful, so natural. Wow, Don you are so in touch with the essence of life, it's quite awe-inspiring. I'm learning so much...
Don: There are 2 more verses I can't think of right now, but my daughter was giving birth as I was listening and writing the song. My wife phoned me that night. The sunset that night was breath, giving and gorgeous. My daughter and I often connect at sunset. When she was in Florida and me in Montana. sunset was our "secret" connecting time. We always tried to get to a beach if possible when we were together during those Florida years.
I can't separate nature from spirituality. They have always been connected for me. The God of my understanding weeps at how we treat this planet and exploit the poor for the sake of the wealthy. Surely there are ways to supply energy that don't threaten to destroy the whole planet. Surely we don't have to go everywhere and claim everything as personally "mine" because I can afford it. Surely there is goodness and mercy for all.
Edna: Greed keeps getting in our way and blinding us to the looming catastrophe. Nations warring against nations is greed for power and privileged positioning of natural resources while stepping on human rights and common decency of humanity. It is corporate competitiveness rather than common courtesy for creation. There is no "fanfare for the common man" ringing in our ears right now, there is just the growing threat of a storm, a verse that can't be stopped because the momentum is so great.
Your passion ignites my own here. I feel we have gone so far for humankind in some respects, in the way people like Dr. Mike have given us the permission to open up, to be true to ourselves, to connect to what is inherently within us, to feel the simple and purest of joys to our brothers and sisters in humanity and nature. But it is difficult not to equally feel a sense of drowning in the continual human battle for conquest. The desperate void fillers of greed, possession, future fear and dread, and past regret, guilt and sorrow. We walk as if we have heavy lead filled boots at times, through valleys of consumerism, competition, media incensed greed, and this constant fear induced tomorrow that never comes. As a parent it is frightening. As a single individual who is made to feel that singularity is loneliness and that support never comes to the individual who demands to climb out of society's label and fear engulfed boxes it is fearful. Oh, how I am with you Don.
Don: I am an optimist to the nth degree, but my heart breaks at what I see. DEEP CALLS TO DEEP. The heart of God-eternal is calling to the heart of humanity to turn up the volume on the Fanfare for the common man and turn down the greed and the storm of self righteousness for financial stakes once and for all. I gravitate to stories that highlight the connections to nature. I was always an Indian when we played as children. I thought they were a lot more fun. I also read Ishi and other similar books that sort of "romanticized" living in nature. There is a part of me wondering if many addicts are similar in there sensitivity to nature.That they just don't want to keep on the same track (I can't believe we're on the eve of destruction) with the rest of humanity and maybe that is not a bad thing. Maybe addicts have been trying to stop the devastation but have given up because they just don't know how to get through any more so they settle into there own little world of peace while the world war rages around them.
Edna: I am an addict not of substances, but of fear. My fear is attached to the anxiety of tomorrow. The sense of responsibility to have to know, to be prepared, to fear the threat of every possible event known to man. It engulfs me. And just when I feel freed of the burden, my ego-driven victim tempts me back with the big "what if?". Substance addiction, as you say, softens the sense of the void that we all, as well-connected as we all once were, sense and deep down know is engulfing us, slowly. I sometimes wonder if people go through life always feeling the void and never ever having a single moment of release, of connection, of realizing the support, nurture, magic, spellbound wonder that nature and beautiful humankind can give us. But are we surrounded all the time with other ecozombies who themselves are so heavily laden with the masks of guilt, greed, envy and fear-ridden societal bonds, that they are unable to provide the selfless nurture, communication and freedom we all need to breathe, to respire, to re-spirit. Their own little world of peace is a moment perhaps, but in exchange for a life of destruction and cloud, unreality and opaqueness. Clarity is wordless. It is the moment when the sun's rays shine through the skies and reflect into the infinite waters below, and your soul soars, if only for a moment. And you know at that moment purity. It revives you, and all in your path. You glow, if only for a second, in God and nature's binding, unifying, embracing arms. And you are rooted, belonging, awoken. And no-one is hurt.
I want to share this with the world. But for now, I have to slow down, and just sit in my moment of tear-filled joy, knowing I have once again met and found through this email course, an eternal friend in you Don, one who our united friend Mother Earth, brought into my life.
Thank you, and thank God in Nature,
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