......... .........VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2011-2012 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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Article Reviews and Phenomenology: The Contribution of Science With Attitude.
Who is qualified to evaluate, referee or critique the results of an objective search for Mother Earth?
The way that the dance of nature works on Planet Earth presents our society with a remarkable evaluation phenomenon. Ordinarily, when different kinds of social groups seek survival using a limited resource, they fiercely compete for it. Often the outcome is that the winners dominate, and while continual dissent flourishes, the losers may become a form of slave or garbage that is controlled or eliminated by the winner.
However, the way Planet Earth works is quite different.
On Earth, nature's dance has millions of vastly different forms of dancers, of life seeking survival from its limited "resources" and each life form is one of the resources. The way nature works enables these life forms to attractively organize themselves, for the common good, to produce optimums of life, optimums of diversity and optimums of cooperation, peace and balance without producing any garbage. This is accomplished in a self-correcting and pure way, without creating the excessive abusiveness, stress, isolation, madness and pollution that mark contemporary society.
Nature neither produces or suffers our destructive, seemingly unsolvable problems. To the contrary, it is phenomenal to note that when we spend quiet time in an attractive natural area, it often renews our psyche, clears our mind and brings us into a healthy, if not enchanting, balance.
In evaluating the values and challenges of educating, counseling and healing with nature, the OP/NEA Journal brings its readers to a fascinating awareness of the Earth phenomenon, to the difference between the way we learn to think and the way the dance of nature works.
OP/NEA recognizes that the functions and outcomes of our conscious natural attraction contact with the balanced ways of Mother Earth help us discover and register the essence of nature. That essence is to grow by supporting the life of nature, a fundamental found throughout the growth of our universe since its inception.
Because we are part of nature's dance, the life-supportive value and power of nature's essence is also an essence of each of us. With this phenomenology direction in mind, it is impossible for any true science or experts to seek neutral conclusions. Is it even possible for any of us to have a special evaluation expertise to critique, referee or peer review articles that describe the outcomes of us making conscious sensory contact with our essence in nature? As part of nature's dance, are we all not genetically endowed equally with nature's "bias" for "survival in balance" in this regard?
It can be argued that the phenomenology presentations in this journal are peer reviewed because they have already been considered, modified and accepted in congress by the expertise of each author and their expert field study consort.
The presentations are phenomenological evidence at its finest for the cohorts who referee consist of a wide range of caring, professional individuals from many disciplines. Are their observations from their nature-connection experiences not a strong and valid form of peer review by experts?
The scientific quest of each cohort member is to learn how to let nature help them sensibly awaken and interlace their 53 natural senses with attractions in natural areas, backyard or backcountry. The goal is to empirically discover how Mother Nature works, in and around them, and share this information.
Each cohort member seeks to learn from their experiences with natural areas, their cohort and themselves, in order to find the true nature of Nature's balanced, growth-focused perfection. Is this not, then, a self-reviewing phenomenological process, by the dance of nature itself, around and in us? The results of this critique must be accurate and valuable. Is not nature the fountainhead of authority about how its dance works? Is it not the crux of the evaluating process in the science of Natural Attraction Ecology presented in this journal?
If, in its increasingly disturbed state, the natural attractions of Planet Earth's web of life could be included in the peer review and evaluation of scientific articles, would Earth support an article's value or publication if its publication continued to produce or support the disturbing reduction of sustainability and quality of life that our deteriorating ecosystems and human populations presently suffer? After all, many cultures demonstrate that humanity is not born to be unbalanced, Industrial Society educates us into our disequilibrium. Articles are part of our education. Should this not enter any critique?
The OP/NAE Journal considers including the ways of Earth's attraction network to be essential in any review or submission. For this reason, each of its "reviewers" have a working familiarity with the values and contributions of Nine Leg Thinking, Green in Green experiences, Webstrings and their model, the role of Wranglers, the Axioms of Natural Attraction Ecology, our 53 natural senses, Peak Facts and the discipline of Applied Ecopsychology. Explanations for them are available online in the OP/NAE Glossary and through links from their OP/NAE integration at http://www.ecopsych.com/insight2005.html Reviewers should be familiar with that integration or the book Educating Counseling and Healing with Nature.
Through the sensory, natural attraction contacts described in OP/NAE process, Earth does have some input into this Journal's articles. This is important because, uncomfortably, our inherent natural sensibilities soundly reject the destructive, unbalanced, "more of everything" messages that we learn to march to in Industrial Society. This rejection strongly conveys Earth's sediments (sic).
It can also be argued that OP/NEA authors are biased in favor of their topics since the natural attraction essence of nature that they study is the source of survival and each author is strongly motivated to survive. Their evaluation task in this journal is to reasonably deal with the fact that science in Industrial Society prejudicially omits feelings and sensations as valid or sensible because they are "subjective" and from nature. Our natural senses register and express nature's passion to support itself and grow. Can this self-evidence phenomenon be peer reviewed by an expert without the bias of their own immediate or long term survival?
In striking contrast to traditional thinking, the science of Natural Attraction Ecology recognizes that feelings and sensations are facts. They are unquestionably sensory facts of life that register directly in our natural senses. For example, the sense and sensation of thirst is as much a fact as is water. This is fundamental and empirical. Can a fundamental experience be reviewed by an expert, or is it automatically factual even though it may be subjective?
WHY OP/NEA AUTHORS ARE OFTEN LISTED AS ANONYMOUS:
In most cases, contributions to this journal are published anonymously because the article's origin is, in reality, a blend of contributions from nature's essence: from natural attractions in the plant, animal and mineral communities along with the natural attractions of the authors and their shared experiences in their cohort. For this reason, contact with natural attraction can be seen as the fundamental author of each article. It is a whole-life author that is correctly identified as "anonymous" because unadulterated natural attraction is nameless.
Taking all of the above into account, if anybody wants to submit a review of an OP/NAE article that appears in the journal, you may place your review on your website or blog and link it to the article page. If it makes a reasonable contribution, in OP/NEA we will link our article to your online review of it.
The articles or paragraphs below have been considered by faculty and students globally who, in their course work and by email, have shared with each other the phenomenological experiences they describe. Should they be considered peer reviewed, refereed or reviewed when included in the OP/NEA Journal? Would a nature-disconnected person qualify to be in these roles?
1. Find a natural attraction - try to identify or imagine in the Web of Life what intelligent things this attraction is doing, or what intelligent roles it is playing. Find a way to express appreciation of this attraction.
"I was in the park with my children. They were playing happily with a group of friends and I had time to walk toward a group of Live Oak and ask permission to interact and share space. I felt the wind blow, and touch individual leaves and the all of the trees branches moving gently in response to this breath from earth. I took that as a yes. I stepped under the canopy of the shared branch space of three very old, very healthy oaks. I allowed my posture to align with the trunks, felt my arms wish to extend and touch the way the branches were in their reach toward each other. I noticed the webstring sensory intelligence of each tree standing tall on its own, boundaries of individual trunk clear and noticeable. I noticed the webstring sensory intelligence of how and where, while rooted in individual trunk integrity, branches shared air space, sunlight space, and co existed in unison. And I knew that underground there were shared root systems. And most definite tap root systems individually to each tree. For me this is a marvel of intelligence.
People's main source of conflict is in the travail of shared space. How do we ever know how to really comfortably accommodate the needs and opinions of others as gracefully as these trees share and have shared for literally a hundred years or more? Maybe in tree beingness they argue all day long about creaks, and tree farts and scratchy branches. But even if they are doing that, their very being - their visual form - is a teaching to me about sweet, good, healthy boundaries and the space that leaves for shared interface. I don't know of an intelligence of shared sensory/organic webstrings that could be more brilliant than this."
"Nature is the unseen intelligence that loved us into being" (E. Hubberd)
2. Yesterday something interesting happened to me and would like to share with you all (as you for sure understand it haha). I hadn’t taken my dog for a walk in a long time, as it is kind of stressing as he keeps pulling and wants to jump upon anything that comes our way. We don’t have dog parks in Argentina and the human parks are pretty dangerous (because of the humans in them). But I see his suffering as he really needs to spend his energy. I felt bad that because of my laziness he was getting disconnected from his true nature as well. So yesterday I decided to take him for a walk. I started as I usually did, giving him the instructions the trainer gave me and following the route I usually take but I realized I was all tense in my body. And I thought that even though I was in the city, I would apply this exercise of creating a moment that lets earth teach while walking him. I started to notice all the trees, plants, sky, water, and the attractions I felt for them. It was amazing!! I started to feel more relaxed in my body, a lot happier and for the first time in a long time, the streets became an nice place to explore and not a dangerous place to run away from.
Sharing this moment with my dog was no longer an obligation (he was really happy as now it was me the one stopping at each tree) and I suddenly realized I was walking not following the usual route I would take but the route that the attractions were leading. I discovered some beautiful gardens and fantastic trees (and I remembered you Sandra and as I too share the connection with their spirits) I couldn’t believe I had never seen such tall and big trees before!!! the sky and the clouds and the different shades and textures, the drops of rain in my skin, and many more things.
And this connection also helped me to see the beauty of other things present there too, like a fountain or the entrance of a house.
I learned much from the positive impact in my dogs behavior as I changed my connection and my thinking. Before I would walk immerse in my 5-leg thinking about all the dangers I could encounter what could happen, the problems I had, etc. etc. Yesterday, I walked in peace connected to my 4 leg thinking, looking for the attractions and sensing the strings. I am looking forward for today’s walk!!
I discovered a very odd tree that I had walked by many times before, only 4 blocks from my home. I will go back today to explore further (yesterday the home owner got kind of suspicious about my spending so much time at his sidewalk !!) Even I was not walking on clouds and there are some real dangers, how perceiving the world with my 4-leg thinking and being connected to the webstrings and aware the world became much more beautiful, friendly and a place where I want to spend time in.
3. The Mimbres design, the badge of which I proudly carry pinned to my bag at all times, is, to my mind, the ultimate in ecopsychological thinking. It is the ancient, instinctive, wordless understanding of the seamless flow, the internalising and externalising symbiotic movement between humans and the rest of nature. The Mimbres would easily see aspects of nature within themselves, within their characteristics. This to me is how I see nature connection. We connect to a part of ourselves. As shown in last week's chapter, we are drawn and love in nature what we are drawn to and love in ourselves. We are many and we are one.
And the sensation of the hot and cold was obvious but also quite bizarre! To be honest, I was quite happy to leave my hands in the hot water as I had just come in from being outside and it's still cold, hat and gloves weather, here in Amsterdam, so it felt nice to be “burning” my hands a bit! It made me think more about my personality, how sometimes in order to “wake me” or “shake me” out of something, a funk I might be in for example, or a fork in the road of my life, I need something quite extreme, like someone scaring someone out of the hiccups! Maybe my father was right in some ways to corner me like a wild animal in order to make me really open up – ooh, that felt uncomfortable saying that! No, the hot water was far more appealing!
I was fascinated not only by the differences in my hand temperatures but also in their textures - how odd was that?! Initially, under hot water my left hand felt the heat but also felt softer, while my right hand under the cold felt more rigid and strangely brittle. Then in the tepid water together, united in time and physicality, but feeling so different, like different emotions in two humans. We may look very similar but wow, aren't we all so different and how amazing is it that we all react to different environments in nature in such different but beneficial ways?! My left hand felt cold and my right hand felt hot. How obvious for a sapient adult, but how childlike was my amusement at actually living the moment, realising it, living it! It emphasised how necessary experiencing nature and NSTP is and how just reading a book, a theory and not actually living the experience serves very little in really learning, realising and absorbing the benefits and life changes.
The tepid, mild water moment unified, and, once the temperature extremes which I had initially felt in my hands adjusted, it became the only durable option, the only temperature, ambience even, in which extremes were combined and balanced out, just as the Mimbres pottery design depicted our being as combined and “identical”. We instinctively know to add cold to hot and vice versa when the temperature is extreme, in order to balance out the environment, in this case the temperatures (and for me, textures!) in order to create a natural, supportive, enduring balanced ambience. However, I think that balance is very personal and we cannot force a degree of “tepidity” on anyone else, for even the temperatures, the environements we are happiest in, differ from person to person, from nature to nature. I think of when I run myself a bath and I am far happier sitting for hours in water that would be far too hot for my husband to sit in! The importance is not the temperature itself, but the fact that we make the balance. That we do not scald or freeze ourselves. Does that make sense?! The ancient Mimbres person connected with a bird, and saw it as seamlessly identifying and being a part of him/herself. Perhaps, had I been there, I would have connected with a different animal or aspect in nature, just as we all did last week. The importance is in making that balance, in making that connection, and accepting that the feelings it incites are unique but beneficial to the individual, even if those same feelings may be uncomfortable and even feared in another. That for me is balance in nature. A Siberian husky flourishes in the cold as much as a lioness thrives in the African savannah! That is their balance. I need loud, emotional people, while my Finnish friend finds groups of vibrant, noisy people awful and stress inducing! Each of our tepid environments is slightly different. Anyway, that's what came to my mind when combining the two activities of looking at the Mimbres design and the water experiment!
I experienced a wonderful pattern of connections this week, which further enhanced the sense of flow, balance and integral bonding. The week started off with sunshine, and I was actually able to take my hat off!! Everyone's walk slowed to leisurely stroll and then Isaac and I spotted a mother duck with her four little chicks bopping along in the canal opposite our house! What a simple, inner smile-inducing, easily connecting example of natural renewel, re-birth, a wonderful continuous wheel of change. It was so uplifting and such a momentously easy start to the week's connections.
But the most wonderful pattern of connections happened on Thursday, starting first thing in the morning in Almere. Waiting at the bus stop (I'm always waiting for buses in my posts!!) I could hear the sound of a magpie behind me. It incited a dichotomy of senses in me. The sound is very recognisable to me as I used to be (well, probably still am!) quite superstitious and would always salute to a magpie to take away the “sorrow” the sight of one might bring. Poor bird to carry that testimony around with it! I am also equally fascinated by the beauty of their colours and form, and by their beauty in flight. I turned to have a look at the magpie, realising I was connecting but feeling a bit uncomfortable to be honest, wanting to stare but equally wanting to turn away. Then almost as soon as the doubt started to cross my mind, I noticed, almost simultaneously, the magpie's nest below and started to tune my ears in to the bird's call. Then I saw, soaring into the sky from the trees, two more magpies! Glorious! Its mate and another perhaps, or were they in his/her territory and was he/she warning them away from the nest?
But the greatest connection, the one that tied me the most to the feelings excited by the Mimbres design was the magpie's nest. I was drawn to the magpie's caw, its clear communication, and to its fellow magpies' flowing, beautiful flying movements through and with the air. Its nest signified protection and nurturing, comforting beauty, and a faith and trust that a nest provides to its innocent, vulnerable occupants, and I had to ask myself why, when I often talk of myself as having no real nest, no real roots, was I connecting to this of all things? Where was the symbiosis? Was it not just a need? Should I not feel envy?!
Then in my happiness, in my connection to the magpie and its nest, came the realisation that the nest was within me. I am feeling more at home in myself. I am my nest. I can nurture myself. All that I need emotionally is within me, within nature. All I need is nature's cue and I can see and find what I need. Within me. I was respirited and renewed, like the vitalising scene of the four little chicks on the canal. I am my own nest! I felt inner comfort, refuge, safety and joy. Home truly is where the heart is. Where my heart is. Where I am. As with the Mimbres design the attraction energies draw me to aspects of nature that are identical to me. It was also surprising as I don't vision myself as a nesting, nurturing, maternal type, despite being a mother! And yet even in that surprise, I realised that I do not need to always externalise to others in order to be accepted by myself, to identify myself. My identity is within me and within nature, equally flowing through each other, in and out, meandering effortlessly. The attraction is always there. I was drawn from the discomfort of the silly, superstitious association of the magpie to the comfort of its nest. As NSTP shows, all attractions take you somewhere, from scalding heat to cooling cold, to balancing tepidity.
Then as if to confirm the renewal, the beauty of rebirth as visualised by the nest within and without me ;-), later on after my bus journey, walking home through the Frankendael park wooded area, I came across the most beautiful sight. There, all alone as I was, on the leaf, shrub, bush and tree bedded floor, lay an exquisite sky blue egg shell! The colour was so beautiful. I crouched down, all alone, hearing the rain drops and the bird song, the rest of the world closed out of my mind. It was just me in the wood with this beautiful egg shell. The most beautiful sign of new life having broken through, and there remained its beautifully discarded, protective “nest”! Its beauty was not only in its colour but in its simple power lying on the wood's floor below its tree top nest. It was just mesmerising! I could feel, crouched down in the leaves, my inner child-like squeal, and thought of my own children and the wonder of it all. Of birth, of vitality. Of how darn easy and taken for granted regeneration, growth, birth and renewal is. So ignored in all its power. So interfered with by humanity.
And for the final curtain call of this scene, sat a sprig of white pansies amongst the leaf sprewn floor. Amazing in their strength, these fragile looking first spring flowers fluttered in the wind. Resilient, strong, delicate and simple and in no need for ugly industrial support!
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