......... .........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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Topic of Articles: Learning From Nature
Eclipse of the Moon, What Would You Like to Teach Me?
Journals of Anonymous Participants
Project NatureConnect education, counseling and healing studies.
This year, on December 20th, 2010 I asked Grandmother Moon if she would share and assist me with a Connecting With Nature Activity. I sensed her lunar agreement in the warm yellow-blue glow and I knew that I would be sharing this with millions of other humans as well as the cosmos as this was the night of a total lunar eclipse.
I asked “What message do you have for me, what lesson will you share?” I waited a long time and didn’t seem to get an answer from her glow.
Someone was flying a noisy plane around the view of the moon in Tucson getting their expensive glimpse. I was annoyed by it but it didn’t stop me.
My neck was about to break and I kept going back inside to give my neck a rest and finish up on much needed chores I share. I thought it was only going to take about 20 minutes so I kept going out every three or four minutes. After an hour or so of this, I realized that my perception of how long it was going to take for this lunar event was way off. I considered going to bed, after-all it was nearing midnight, way past my bedtime. But then I got the message, “This may not happen again for a couple more decades, so what’s a couple more hours? Stop worrying about time, be here now,” said the eclipse. So, in agreement, I committed to watching it and I really loved it.
At times, I looked up at the moon, and closed my eyes, swaying gently and letting her warm cosmos glow light up my face. I felt dizzy and giddy, kind of like when I was first in love as a young girl.
My son called me on the phone every 20 minutes or so to say… “Hey Mom. You still watching? Isn’t this incredible?” It was wonderful to answer and share it with my family in this way.
The dogs kept me company until they were barking too much at the neighbors so I took them inside. That is when I became aware of how many of my neighbors were quietly watching the eclipse too. It was way past midnight. I could hear hushed tones, quiet laughter coming from all over my neighborhood. I shared and really liked that and felt wordlessly lunar-connected and in agreement with all of my human relatives as well as the natural universe.
I sensed that I learned that I was the moon and my neighbors and the dogs. Ahhhh. Sighhhh. What an answer.
Finally, near 1 AM the eclipse was complete, I thanked Grandmother Moon for her beauty in her now shadowy orange glow. I smiled at her while thanking her silently for the lesson.
What I Learned by Seeking Consent From Nature
Today I took an expended hike with my dogs in the upper Ojai Valley, through the Los Padres National Forest. I took in the sights of the wildflowers, butterflies and tree squirrels as well as the sound of the rushing river brimming from all the water and snow we have received over the last few months. I found the exercise in asking permission, gaining consent and giving thanks to be a very profound and powerful experience. It seems to align very strongly with the way Native Americans have always interacted with their natural environment. I strongly identify with ALL things Native American because it "feels" right.
My first attraction drew me to the sound of the water coming from the river that paralleled the hiking trail. After asking permission and gaining consent, I noticed the sound being amplified as if I were in an outdoor amphitheater or movie house where someone had turned up the Dolby surround-sound. What a powerful moment! Sharing gratitude with the attraction elicited a totally different sensation - one of calm tranquility. The visual flash that occurred during the gratitude phase was that of a ring or circle being completed as I prepared to move to another attraction. I felt at peace with my surroundings.
I was then drawn to some green, oily poison oak leaves shinning in the sunlight. After asking permission and gaining consent, it was as if I had zoomed in on the leaves with a high powered camera lens. I could almost feel the oil and color of the leaves reaching out toward me - another profound moment with a sensation of increased intensity.
I completely trust what I experienced out on the trail today. The amplification of my attractions during the exercise was a strong reminder of how easily and quickly we can (re)connect with nature for balancing, grounding and/or pure pleasure. Being in the present moment is a wonderful way to slow things down and heal/repair from the stresses of daily life. Asking permission, gaining consent and giving thanks seems to provide a turbo boost to an already profound and connecting interaction with nature.
For this activity I went to a forest that is a short drive from my home. I was looking forward to being away from other people and this is a great place for that. In the early spring it can be a bit icy on the trails but I was just as happy to go off the trails a bit. I felt a very strong connection to the forest as I walked and this feeling of being welcomed by the trees I took as permission to keep walking and to be in this place. I hiked up a steep hill about three quarters of the way up and stopped. I sat down on a log and looked all around me. In every direction that I looked there were trees, all different types, really tall and hundreds of them. The strong silence of them was incredible. I lay down on the cold earth and closed my eyes. I breathed deeply and felt myself sink into the earth and thanked it for all of its support. I looked up and it was like the trees were forming a leafless canopy, beautiful and magnificent. I felt a sense of the forest thanking me for taking this time to visit it and respect it and appreciate its gift of quiet stillness.
I stood up since the ground was getting cold through my jacket. I looked around again and in this forest of trees I felt at home. I leaned against a tree and could feel its bark against my back. I said thank you out loud for the feeling of groundedness that it provides. I can take this feeling with me and when I feel out of sorts I just have to remember this feeling. I wrapped my arms around the tree as I used to do with my grandmother. I will visit again soon.
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