Journal of Organic Psychology /
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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Project NatureConnnect Cognitive Filtering School Application Includes Math Teachers Lessons, State Department of Education, Medicine Eagle Feather, Aspergers Syndrome and an Uplifted Wildlife Society Homeschool.
Hi Study Group,
Via Project NatureConnect (PNC), I appear to be the "golden girl" in the school district so instead of questioning my nature connectedness in school and out of school, my peers are asking questions and considering the precepts of Project NatureConnect. My new assistant principal and school counselors have now come to me admitting that what they are doing is not working with the most severe kids. They are now ready to try "the Garden." The asst superintendent agreed to allow me to pay three counselors' intro class with PNC. I am sending them PNC application forms tonight, too. I also have two principals, the special ed director and four counselors (all from different schools) hopefully coming to to explore equine therapy as an extension of Project Nature Connect. I want to use this as a jumping off point for what I am calling PNC Plus (pnc coursework plus equine therapy). I am hoping that the principals will see the value in continuing and/or expanding PNC concepts in the schools.
I was able to talk to one of the supervisors from the state department of education about project nature connect's unique value in reaching our most fragile students. Math teachers in a recent workshop I facilitated all had an "aha" moment over the fact that we are separated from the sensory wisdom and relationship of nature because we live indoors 95% of the time but are trying to become part of the lives of Native American children whose culture and heritage values life spent outdoors. So maybe feeling exhausted is going to end up worthwhile! Baby steps in many areas are being taken... time will tell which will bear fruit.
I think it is coming together. Now I know why I found a medicine eagle feather in the San Juans. I haven't needed its presence, only the memory as a reminder that to reach my goals I must be willing to soar high and far. And as I soar my friends are like the wind beneath my wings, holding me on course and making everything lighter. Thank you for being around. I will be uplifted as I read your responses and reflections to the lessons.
I went to a natural area with our Wildlife Society kid class. In this class I gave everyone an intro to their fifty-three senses. The kids loved it! They especially liked the one where we played with gravity and everybody - including the adults, fell over. The adults lit up and had all kinds of questions. It touched something in them they had long 'sensed' was there but had not had time or the social support to explore.
Trust just happened to me, I didn't actively seek it out. I don't find I can actively seek trust.
This was an experience in which sensory intake and non verbal union just got stronger than cognitive filtering and then I was able to enjoy multisensory thinking for a few minutes.
We were all standing in a dry river bed. One side was a sheer sandstone/clay wall about eight feet high. The other side was a gradual unfolding of thicket, Pine, Sycamore and Scrub Oak down to the river bed. It was gently raining, a beautiful misting, welcoming rain. So we were under a large tree to stay somewhat dry.
We were standing in a circle, after several hours shared in nature. Happy, goofy, having fun with kids, ourselves and sky and Earth. The rain became a downpour. We laughed and shared what umbrellas we had. Then one of the kids noticed a trickle coming down the more gently graded riverbank, pretty soon it was a rivulet, then a stream of water, then a rush of water. We knew this included some run-off from the drains of a nearby neighborhood. We moved the kids away from the water, because the first rain through storm drains is a flush and the water is not healthy.
But it was still beautiful. The kids were enthralled. They were pie-eyed. We were standing in a very, very dry riverbed. One that will remain empty until the height of the rainy season two months from now. They know this because they visited this same spot last year in December and it was still dry.
Yet here was water! Some of it run-off, some of it following the natural path that the first rain follows when it hits earth that is so dry it cannot be absorbed.
The water follows its natural attraction to flow down to the nearest riverbed. I went into flow, hearing laughing children, semi concerned adults, rain downpour. Feeling moisture, the sheltering riverbanks, tree branch, upholding Earth, intimacy of shelter, protection, reality of risk of a wash out - all together in real time. Then I went in deeper. I was able to sense the seven year old, eight year old, ten year old perception of this experience.
A strong flash of incredible visceral being flooded me. These children are learning the map of the landscape with their bodies. They are learning 'dry', they are learning 'wet', they saw the very moment that the rainy season entered the landscape and shaped its curves and resources.
These children will know Earth as their own bodies, as Them/Us/Earth/MotherEarth.
Thank all that is good on this planet and in us. Just like Betty's equine therapy, and our attempts on the yahoo group to accommodate change, without resorting to middle class warfare over it to a degree that we permanently damage our webstrings of community. I am learning to look at the wrangler through appreciative eyes. When I invite the wranglers (that's a math teacher for many people) and appreciate what they can become I find they want to heal too, just don't know how.
It is small, it is too small, not enough. Yet it is so real, that moment is so deep and so much more real than any fears I have. The trust of the landscape, the trust of the healing - it still means unceasing action by many, many, all of us is needed to start ten years ago at least. But it is also real, I trust the attraction to trust. I trust the attraction to trusting trust. Because children and I and other adults can still learn the landscape as we our bodies and our beings. I am highly intelligent, capable of multisensory thinking, unity with life. If I can sense trust, then it is still possible to trust. There is renewal in this.
I've discovered that sewer run off can change your life and small groups spending hours in nature can save the world. I love to trust. I am very grateful that at the ripe old age of fifty two I am having extended moments and hours of trust in my life.
The sensory integration and development of personality and cognition that I sensed is possible with the support of nature is certainly being played out in front of my eyes through this practicum. The one child who is severely Aspergers challenged in our group, finds a way to be with us that is attached and connected. The one child who has a real difficult time with impulse control in the group is learning how to allow us to tug him back in with webstrings of grounding. The kids who are just plain old growing up in our group are learning wonder, self esteem and a refinement of the cognitive process into multi sensory thinking.
I'd rather weave a tapestry than design a research project and a wider curriculum for classroom use for these considerations. But I see the value of making this type of learning more accessible to all kids, not just a few quite privileged kids(not economically as much as in having parents wise enough to sign them up for homeschool and our program).
I am soaking in trust and still leaving myself wide open to choosing something radically different or along these lines for my Ph.D. proposal. I love trust, life and myself enough to give myself a wide open choosing time.
Enjoy further information about Organic Psychology and Natural Attraction Ecology:
- Publishable Article<http://www.ecopsych.com/hallucinatearticle.html>
- Process Synopsis<http://www.ecopsych.com/transformation.html>
- Fundamentals <http://www.ecopsych.com/mjcohen22.html>
- Testimonials <http://www.ecopsych.com/testimonials.html>
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