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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-Journal entries of nature interaction participantsAlice: When I look back to my youth I always recall a time when I have the most vivid memory of my first real communication with nature, that paradox switch on, that bond, that alertness to the way nature inspired and attracted me. And that was to the sea. I like the alertness! It is as a common theme in the New Testament as Jesus spoke. "listen you who have ears to hear". I am being alerted to a whole host of organic revolution connections to Ecotherapy and Jesus being connected to nature in ways that I never really considered before.
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I remember heading down to the beach close to my family home, perhaps after one of many heated arguments with my parents, in the dark of a winter's evening. I don't recall the argument or the reason for my escape into the night's darkness, which shows how unnecessary it is to dwell. I think humanity often unfairly, takes this focus. It dwells on events and substance in the past, where blame, shame and regret fight to take center stage in our egocentric emotional covers. I often use the statement "honor the past, live in the present with an eye to the future." It seems to negate pretenses and help me focus on the here and now. What I do remember is my anger, my frustration and my need to be away from other people. I recall the desire to escape into the open arms of the sea, rather than the closed suffocation of inland. I remember the strong desire to sit, focus, calm down and empty my mind, with the unrelenting, guaranteed strength of the sea as company. I can vividly recall my awakened senses, and can even see the strength of the sea mirrored in my own facial expression, the determination to encounter a release away from human arrogance and retribution.
Group Member: Perhaps the sea was mirroring your strength? maybe by "escaping"you fortified yourself in natural ways with out knowing it at the time. The paradox is that we sometimes retreat to advance with a better perspective after reflecting.
Alice: That organic moment of revolution remains with me, hypnotically drawing me back, like a past life experience. I had no mirror with me, yet I can sense the contours of my face, the piercing of my eyes, my body huddled for warmth on a bench as I gazed out to the waves crashing against the invisible shore.
I love how the sea is such a strong companion that you were drawn to.
Alice: It was very close to a pure 4-legged moment of focus (although I did used to smoke). The combination of the motion and touch of the unpredictable wind in my hair, the smell of cold air, sea spray, the movements and dynamics of sound, the blue, black night tinted sea and white spray, all accompanying my teenage angst and became a host for inner turmoil. Unlike many of my experiences in nature which have been guided by the protective hands of parents, a friend or teacher, by a book or film, the substance of this experience was personal, pure, all mine. The guide was the dynamic of my inner nature, distraught for a reason long forgotten in the annals of time, with that of combined with the draw of the tempestuous sea.
I think this paradox is my favorite part of the it all- its focus was personal, pure, all mine. It’s a powerful ownership of a moment in nature that was a direct connection between just the two of you. With all the talk about God- its almost in my mind like you were able to speak directly with God, not through a 3rd party. This is as raw and as true an organic revolution as I think it gets. No one can take its substance away from you. And I think its something worth wanting to claim- however even though its yours, you still decided to share it with us. I’m honored, thank you.
The noise, the motion, the push of the waves as they crashed on the shore and then pulled back in rhythmic momentum, mirrored my own in and out breath, reflected my own organic need to respire in order to awaken and feed my senses. The sea's motion and sound nurtured my feelings, mirroring my inner nature. The pull back of the waves followed by the tumultuous push must have reflected the push and pull on my teenage frustrations and misunderstood emotions.
Group Member: Its almost as if you and the sea became one and in doing so it was able to share your burden..
Group Member: The wave and sea mirrors my emotions regularly. Teenagers are always reminded that their ways are unruly, uncontrollable, tempestuous, confrontational – and all of these I could equally use to describe the sea.
Alice: The sea would mirror my angst, inspire awe, nourish and even relax, but each wave would also host a warning of the power of nature, and my own unpredictable inner self. There is also a magnificence and release in this host, the sea's sense of infinitum, its almost fear-inducing, neverending-ness. A healthy, weightless, marvellous, respect-building fear. No yesterdays or tomorrows. Pure presence.This is so rare for many people, to be totally in the present but so needed.
I valued then, and even more so now, its monumental force, our invisible connection. It is spiritual, grounding, passionate, emotional, but also calming. Most of all the sea, as with all of nature, is always responsive, always present. There was and always will be an unconditional evocation of senses as webstrings, “instincts, needs, drives...” are awoken, enlivened and re-spirited.
Group Member: I shared a similar love of the sea with you Alice and I am fine with that being shared with everyone now. You abated my fears and concerns in your response to what I shared with you earlier. I apologize to the others in the group, I sought some clarification and direction from Alice and received it beautifully
Group Member: This is just beautiful and makes me feel... at peace
Alice: “Attraction is the law of nature”. The realization of the power of our interwoven attraction energies on our personal, on our community's and on the rest of nature's mental and physical healing, and the nurturing and infinite flourishing these webstring attractions offer.
Group Member: This co-creation, the inter-joining of all of life “bonded by the timeless eternal spirit of that which has always been and is”, is a wave at the core of all the unconditional healing, nurture, sense of belonging and support on Earth. By disconnecting and refuting the attraction energies, senselessly cutting the webstrings that bind us, we feed the void within and around us and fail to realise that it is this cutting of the strings, this disconnecting, that is the very cause of our fear and worry, greed and conquest possessed lives. And then as we sit back and wonder why it all went wrong, why we feel so unfulfilled, story, substance and future fear addicted“ecozombies” that we have become, we can't but recall D. H. Lawrence when he acknowledged how we are “bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the Earth and sun and stars”.
Group Member: Our language can help us mutually share our senses, our feelings, it can guide and teach but it can also disconnect and addict us to “nature-disconnecting” stories. It is paradoxical I used the term Juxtaposed in my response to Wendy's . I wonder if words and nature experiences compliment each other when used wisely? I understand what you are saying about the danger though, Alice.
Alice: Eureka I think I’ve got the paradox figured out!- our 4 legged knowing of nature's touch and essence enables us to use our 5 legged mind to illustrate and share our memories with others- However we aren’t really fighting ourselves and/or being counterproductive- Its the 4 legged knowing that enables us to have an experience through another's written work/stories.
Group Member: When you talk about the sea spray, and cold air- I can visualize in my mind and have such an intense feeling toward it similar to a memory and because I have a real 4 legged memory based having been to the sea and feeling the cool air and mist on my skin. Having had many arguments with my parents during teenage years I also can connect with some of those feelings of anger and frustration. It’s because of these webstrings of being connected through our own memories that we don’t need to fear disconnect as long as we don’t replace them with the "real thing" or limit our exposure. The memory of feeling the warm sun on your face can not compare to going outside and feeling it. But your 5 legged self can read a story about the bright sun shining down warmly on your face and have that trigger a memory or sensation of the real thing. Dave I think maybe this is something you seemed to be struggling with. I was making a light hearted comment about the wanderlust. Both of your writings inspire and draw me to the places you describe. It is meant as high praise for both of you and poor me, I can't get to the places you describe so I must simply get there by your telling me about them.
Group Member: I concur. Alice's writing gives me wanderlust too, Now you dared to do the same thing. What an I supposed to do? I guess I have to learn to appreciate the 5 legged opportunity to experience nature through language while I strive to have the 4 legged experience natural things part of me grow. It is something I have known for some time now that when I have a choice between 2 things, there is a middle ground that finds the truth in both. I believe that will be 9 legged thinking. I am so happy to be learning this with you all. My emotions rise up every time I think of what WE are experiencing together.
Group Member: The middle ground is having experienced something personally that you can relate it to (to an extent of course. I am in no way trying to say I KNOW your memory, plus people can remember the same things so differently) But it’s easier to fall deeply into a story and feel part of it when memories from your own past experience can used to fill in the pieces- like the smell of the salty air and the way the wind twists your hair into what you know will be one heck of a knot to untangle. But this makes it all so much more important to go out and experience more of nature. Like I wouldn’t really understand a story (no matter how eloquently written) about a volcano- I’ve never been around one, I’ve never sensed its energy, smelled its smoke/fumes. I have little or no 4 legged value of the topic or experience so therefore can’t really even appreciate to the same degree at all by hearing about it from a 5 legged aspect. Its just not there.
Yes? No? Maybe? Or am I just way off in left field and missed the ball completely?
Group Member: Sometimes the very stories that we think are guiding us can actually be separating us, in particular from our instinctive sense of the force around us, from God, from the essence of the spiritual, as described by PNC as webstrings. I think this is particularly true regarding the language of faith and of religions. We use language often for religious purposes with the final solution of controlling and dividing, rather than for uniting and embracing our differences. By reconnecting we sense the invisible bond around us, which both spiritually and scientifically is proved – between every atom there is an invisible uniting force that keeps us together, that intends to guide, nurture and support us, and that runs between each of us, between every life, between every aspect of nature, between “ancestors, spirits, humans, animals and the natural universe”. Rarely do we see this in the way religions guide us towards God. “To know God while bypassing nature creates disorders”. I often think many religions disrespect of the natural world in its attempt to convert the masses, destroying natural areas for concrete worship grounds, is a bit like going to a good friend's (God) house (Earth) but trashing their carpet and stealing food from their fridge.
Alice: I too sometimes find it to seem awful hypocritical. It sometimes seems to be missing the real point.
Group Member: “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”. We “consensually” share in a community of friends, in a community of organic, nature focused relationships – the sea for me was and is a dependable friend who offers unquestioning, wordless support, without the fear of judgment or refusal. This happens in local communities, such as among our interact group, where we offer unconditional support and respect. We reflect, mirror even, each of our experiences, learn, grow and nurture each other. We unconditionally love nature and each other once we reconnect. We don't expect or demand. Once we “plucked” love and our own inner natures selfishly from their instinctive abodes, and attempted to alter and rehouse them to suit our egocentric needs, expecting them to “keep blooming in our civilized vase on the table.” However, once we reconnect our webstrings in nature, we learn to leave nature, people's inner selves included, where it truly belongs, as part of our united ecosystem, embracing and accepting all individual differences. And in turn we mutually grow and flourish, together.
Alice: The activity enhanced my sense of self-worth as the sea did not judge or criticize my unruly emotions, but in mirroring them in its own tempestousness, it allowed me to release without the hurtful anger or rage that words would have encouraged. The sea does not ask me to explain myself as it already fully knows and accepts me.
The activity taught me once again that nature accepts me as I am, and all the flaws that society or humankind judge, are embraced as beauty.
I'm looking forward to responding and hearing your additional responses this week. It emboldens, strengthens and grounds us, building an unbreakable bond. The summary statement confirmed the incredible value of tuning into and embracing our instinctive feelings and our senses.
One glimpse of the joy of nature and the empty man made chains of fear, conquest and senseless desire are cut, and the delicate, comforting strings of nature unite, comfort, liberate and embrace us, as we truly are.
We are human beings not human doings.
Group Member: I often have very vivid dreams which affect my moods for a day, even days following. I can't remember my dreams so much this week, though I have to admit there were some fear-filled moments for me on waking. A walk in my local park cleanses a lot of those unexpected emotional strains from my inner self.
Alice: I speak a lot with my husband and even more with friends. At first I used to want to "shout it out loud" (I have to laugh as my little boy Isaac has a t-shirt with that on it!!) but despite my yearning to rejoice at volume, I also have to respect and sense the feelings of others, and realize that they themselves need to gently sense and feel a desire to change, that I can't always enforce but can discuss or set an example!
In the trustable, uncontaminated space I have created in my mind for this course, I have put an infinitely inspiring, comforting vision of the sea and a sense of the eternity of our inner nature's bond on Earth.
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