Accredited Nature-Connecting Holistic Degree Courses On Line: Natural Career Education Personal and Professional Whole Life System Alternative Training Grants, Employment, Jobs and USA Global Citizenship.
What We Can Do. How to Create Sensible Change
and Responsible Economics.
THE CHALLENGE: 150 million individuals x $20,000 per person equals $3,000,000,000,000, (three trillion dollars). That's what the present "bailout" for the recession is going to cost in the USA. However, that money is mostly being given to banks and industry.
Now, think about what life would be like if twenty thousand dollars was paid to each of 150 million folks (half the USA population) that took our Educating Counseling and Healing With Nature course online. They would each become healthier, more balanced and less wanting. They would spend that three trillion dollars in ways that wisely increased personal, social and and environmental well-being because they owned a tool that helped them accomplish this. Isn't that the goal? Isn't that the change we want?
This report describes a funded natural sensory science in action, an organic psychology tool that helps us improve health wellness and counseling by enabling our thinking and feeling to safely tap into the nature's grace, balance and restorative powers. Participants benefit from, and strengthen, their hope and inborn love of nature as part of the great turning. They master alternative therapist coaching, stress release management and holistic spiritual psychology to reduce excessiveness.
Educating Counseling and Healing With Nature
Supportive Degrees, Career Training Courses and Jobs On Line
Project NatureConnect offers nature-centered distant learning that enables you to add the benefits of nature-connecting methods and credentials to your degree program and/or your skills, interests and hobbies.
We honor your prior training and life experience by providing grants and equivalent education credit for it.
You may take accredited or professional CEU coursework and/or obtain a Nature-Connected Degree or Certificate in most disciplines or personal interests. A partial subject list is located at the bottom of this page.
Visit our Homepage for complete information
What We Can Do. How to Make Sensible Change and Benefit from its Rewards.
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
- Barack Obama
- Change is a wonderful mandate, especially if we know how to change responsibly.
- Due to greed, humanity and Earth are at risk and in need.
- There is an powerful thinking process that helps us stop greed and make environmentally sound social and economic changes.
- If you can see the relationship between the six facts below, you know what needs to be done. Section Seven describes how you can do it.
1. No matter how rich or poor they are, most people in Industrial Society say they want about 15 percent more money.
2. Who and what are we, are you? Within atoms or material or the universe, 99.999999999 percent of everything, including us, consists of space filled with natural attractions. Natural attractions hold atoms and all other things together individually and collectively. Natural attraction unifies the world, including humanity, in self-correcting balance and beauty. We are natural attraction manifesting itself as human beings.
3. We are part of nature. Important natural attractions of the world register in our psyche and thinking as at least 53 natural senses. We know these attractions as sensations like thirst, our natural attraction or love for water. Similarly, we inherit natural attraction loves for nature's air, food, temperature, trust, sight, community, place, wholeness, taste, motion, touch, consciousness, reason, balance, wellness, beauty and at least 37 more.
When our natural attraction senses are unfulfilled, hurt or weak we experience frustration and reduced sensibility.
4. We live excessively nature-disconnected lives. For over 98 percent of our existence in Industrial Society, our psyche is socialized to be separated from the naturally attractive, self-correcting, grace, spirit and restorative powers of nature's non-polluting perfection.
The profound loss of these natural attactions leaves us wanting. When we want, there is never enough and we are never enough. This is the root of our greed, stress and lack of self-worth. It spawns our excessiveness and disorders. It helps to explain why, rich or poor, we want 15 percent more money.
5. A walk in the park demonstrates that we think and feel better when we reconnect our natural senses with natural attractions in natural areas, backyard or back country.
6. In natural areas our thinking and feeling are attracted to interlace with the natural attraction genius of nature's peace, spirit and renewing ways. This helps us recycle the garbage in our psyche that contaminates our sensibilities. It enables us to transform that contamination into the sensible happiness of mutually supportive natural attraction relationships with the whole of the web of life, including humanity.
A key to the joy of living in balance: learn how to think like nature's natural attraction perfection works.
-The world, including humanity, is held together in balance and beauty by natural attractions and their self-correcting ways.
-To our loss, parts of ourselves and society have learned to disconnect vital natural attractions. This disconnection creates personal and environmental disorders.
-Project NatureConnect enables us to help separated natural attractions reunite in and around us to increase personal, social and environmental well-being.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA. USA
Nature-Connection Training Grants Offered that Help Us Stop
Learning and Teaching Detrimental Excessiveness.
Benefit from a Natural Attraction, Green Thinking and Feeling Process that Enables Us to Reduce Stress and Greed and Increase Personal, Social and Environmental Well-Being.
Promote a Change to the Rewarding Peace of Responsible Global Citizenship, Economics and Relationships
Institute of Global Education
P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
October 10, 2008, Friday Harbor, WA - Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D., director of Project NatureConnect, today announced a non-competitive grant program for individuals who have had good experiences in nature. The program helps them further green their personal and professional relationships through online training and degrees. They, in turn, help the public reverse its destructive personal, social and environmental disorders.
Cohen, author of The Web Of Life Imperative, and Reconnecting With Nature, insists that the grant program is essential because the prejudice against nature that pervades Industrial Society induces our thinking to excessively conquer and exploit nature's beneficial ways, in and around us.
* * *
Help make sensible change.
The free lapel button, below, is available. You can wear it or use it to help yourself and others benefit from nature-connecting activities associated with it.
"Thinking and Feeling With Nature"
A Mimbres culture design, circa 800 A.D., New Mexico
Participants' field reports that portray the process of natural attraction thinking and feeling in action:
"The concept of restoration through reconnection in this chapter was particularly informative to me. Connecting with nature activities enable us to reverse many of our troubles because it effectively addresses their source. Too frequently do we see people turning to false hopes in an effort to fill a void within themselves. 'If only there was more money, more hours in the day, a medication that would make me happy, and on and on.' In truth, these materialistic things only mask our real troubles, rather than addressing them. Embracing life with the courage to take each day head-on is an invaluable strength, and one that I don't believe any individual can possess until the have reached an equilibrium within themselves, and with the world around them.
In a world that is obsessed with "quick fixes," we so frequently neglect the healing power inherent within our connection to nature. Stress, chemical dependencies, peace, support, healing and wellness, and global intelligence are some examples used in The Web of Life Imperative. If more people were to recognize and connect with the healing power of nature, fewer prescriptions may be written, fewer people may spend endless years and dollars in psychotherapy, and there may just be a greater sense of peace among humanity. I strive to leave my mark on this world by striving to help others make this connection.
We continue to enhance our own knowledge and development by teaching what we know to others. "If you want to personally and globally come into balance, teach what you have read here: Thoughtful, continuing, consensually shared, sensory reconnecting activity attractions in natural areas bring into our consciousness the webstring connections with Earth that help us build balanced organic relationships." says Dr. Cohen. Through making room in our lives for sensible education, we open ourselves to further development, increased awareness, and strengthened relationships.
The most gratifying element of my sensory nature experience was the feeling of being part of something greater than myself. It served as a reminder that, although I sometimes lose track of this fact, the world does not revolve around me. The feeling of togetherness we experienced as a family served as a reminder that even though this Earth is great and vast, through loving, strong relationships, we do not need to tackle it in isolation. We watched in awe, as the sky lit up with falling stars, feeling the sensations of amazement, love, togetherness, hope, and wonder. Though the noises of the city were abound, we did not allow them to penetrate our connection. We felt small beneath the sky above us, while simultaneously seeming as if we could reach up and touch it. This natural sensory attraction was inherent inside of us. We had never read a book, taken a class, or gained another form of knowledge on the matter. This experience, though years ago, directly influenced my decision to participate in Project Nature Connect. That evening, I gained a developing yearn to feel such a connection again; a desire that I refuse to allow anybody or anything to steal from me.
The two keywords I would choose to summarize this experience are "WONDER" and "GROWTH." Through our sense of wonder, we continue to grow. In my own words, "I do not allow that which does not contribute to my understanding of myself or my world rent space in my head."
After gaining a night's sleep, I awoke feeling refreshed, empowered, and eager to continue learning and growing. I woke up and went running, noticing the sensory experiences in doing so. I ran up to the top of a large hill, looked "down" at the mountains and ocean in the distance, and felt like I was standing on the top of the world!"
I did not have to hesitate before I knew which experience to write about for this exercise. It is an experience that is so deeply rooted in my heart and soul that it has become a part of me. When I feel I need a "safe place" to retreat to, this is the memory I seek out.
When I was about 16-years-old I was living in New York City with my little brother and sister. We were having family problems, and I was caring for them for safety reasons. A meteor shower was schedule for around 8:30 p.m. one evening, and we were excited to watch it. As time passed, and it was getting later and later with no sign of a meteor shower, the kids finally went up to bed, quite disappointed. They were four and five-years-old at the time. At approximately 2:30 a.m. I was in the kitchen making the kids their lunches for school the next day when I thought I saw something in the sky. I walked out the front door to see the most incredible thing happening in the sky. It was the meteor shower!
I ran upstairs to wake the kids up so that they wouldn't miss it. During a freezing cold New York Winter, the three of us laid out on our 4X4 cement front lawn, cuddled up in a blanket, and watching the most amazing thing happening above us. It was as if the sky was pouring down on us. There was a sense of peace within us that I had deeply been longing for. In that moment, nothing mattered. It didn't matter that we were struggling just to get by. It didn't matter that we were all exhausted from my trying to work three jobs, raise two kids, and still go to high school. The circumstances that landed us in that place did not matter. All that mattered was that we were together, and we were able to more deeply feel that connection through our connection with nature.
"At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine, breathe into me. Close the language door and open the love window. The moon won't use the door, only the window." -Rumi
This quote speaks strongly to me. Prior to acknowledging my internal need to reconnect with nature, I far too frequently tried to use the door. When one door did not turn up what I was looking for, or, more frequently, what I thought I was looking for, I simply tried another. I changed homes, cities, states, relationships, jobs, etc., all in search of something "more." I could make logic of any situation, and even make sense in doing so. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the "thing" I had spent so long searching for existed within myself; I just needed to reconnect with it. Now, I use that window.
"The moment my inner attraction string for color touched the color string of this woodland, I experienced a special joy."
This statement rings true to my own experience reconnecting with nature. It was indeed a special joy. I had an amazing opportunity before me, but worried I would not be successful. It was scary, but exciting. It has been worth every moment.
I thought this was a beautiful chapter and it was nice to have something to do for each day. I am very fond of the opening quote:
"Sit down before facts like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly to wherever and whatever abyss Nature leads you, or you shall learn nothing."
- T.H. Huxley
For each of these places I asked and received happily permission to be there.
Friday. "I am attracted to sitting under the shed overhang watching the rain because I can be with the rain and green colors and all its beauty of color and sound and mist and wind and feel cozy and peaceful and quiet."
"I am attracted to myself because I can be natural and down to earth and also be cozy and peaceful and quiet."
Saturday. " I like the way the red colors touches the leaves of the trees along the tops or tips of the branches so sweetly."
"I like myself because I carry things so sweetly."
Sunday. "I appreciate the simplicity and integrity of the wild lamb's quarters herb with some rain drops on its multi branched form drooping over in the mist and sunshine."
"I appreciate my simplicity and integrity as I go about my daily progress in life with the elements."
Monday. " I see as worthwhile a little bit of blue vetch in a cluster of green grasses, the worthiness of it shone clear for me - something to do with respect for the land, recognizing the beauty of land."
"I am worthwhile because I recognize the blue vetch and the green grass are the respect and beauty of the land and myself."
Tuesday. "What is good is the air and the breathing of Earth with its resting and mindfulness."
"I am good because I have breath and awareness of breath and can rest with my breath."
Thursday. "What is right is that with the beautiful foliage, the sunshine with clouds and raindrops, the birds and this wonderful big patch of fragrant coriander, there is a sensation of contentment or happiness of everything, a gentle fullness of the mind."
"I am right because with all the elements of NIAL around me, I sense great happiness and gentle fullness of the mind."
Saturday. " I love the nameless intelligence of Nature that is aware of what needs to be done and when to rest and so much more."
" I love my nameless intelligence of Nature that is aware of what needs to be done and when to rest and so much more."
I learned that I have a tendency to underestimate myself and I underestimate myself when I don't correlate myself with Nature.
This is a wonderful exercise to expand our small selves
When I did these small searches every day, I was so happy to do each one for nature is ready made to help us with good feelings about ourselves. Nature always lends a sympathetic ear. I would be pretty desolate without these exercises. I know my confidence level has gone up like a rocket.
I sense and feel, therefore I am. I do trust my inborn senses and feelings as much as I trust 2+2=4. However, I am learning that I've not made much use of my inborn senses. I don't know much about nature. I get freaked out by a harmless fly and I couldn't tell you the difference between a maple tree and some other tree. Except for pine trees, and that's only thanks to this course! Because I've been going out of the office during breaks to sit under pine trees and look straight up at them and see their skinny tall height, the tops of some of them swaying a little in what must be a breeze up above even though I don't feel a breeze down below.
I went to a clearing on the side of a small forest trail. The highway was right beyond that but I tried not to hear the trucks. Instead I looked at the blue sky and felt the warm sun on my back and head and face. I sat on a trunk and got pine needle sap on my butt. When I tried to wipe it off (no use there!) I got it on my fingers and it was so sweet and pungent smelling! I thought, 'this is what I pay 12 bucks for when I buy essential oil in the store! Here I am getting it for free!' It smelled so good and fragrant. Even though it was almost November, I heard some crickets in the clearing. And birds. And the wonderful crunch sound of old pine needles and other organic material under my feet as I took steps. The beautiful autumn trees showed me their green, yellow and red leaves. A bee followed me for a little bit and I didn't freak out. I felt nourished in this setting. And I remembered to ask its consent.
I must have great potential to help myself and others to learn to live in greater peace! Because I do trust the sensory webstring truth that ecosystems convey to me. How could I not? It's where we came from. I understand that intellectually but I need lots and lots of experience in nature now to make use of my natural senses. I grew up without seeing grass or dirt; I fell asleep listening to busses drive past my building. But it's never too late to start. Reading about sunsets makes me think - hey, that'd be nice to do - watch a sunset. Live somewhere where I could see the sun set on the horizon and not on buildings. But I absolutely believe that my love for the sunset is as true or more true than math.
""...the authorities whose stories place meaning on the world can determine how and what you perceive." Absolutely. I have a hard time identifying Earth as a dead natural resource but I'm afraid there are others who might as well see the planet that way since they so rarely notice it. Video games, yes. A beautiful orange leaf that's fallen to the ground, no. I want to notice these things and I want my son to learn to also.
There is a nature trail near my office but I never see anybody on it. And my office park has thousands of employees! What a shame. Nature is there, willing to be shared and appreciated, but hardly anyone goes into it. Instead it's rush rush rush to the car to get lunch and then back to the compound to be indoors, where most of us have no windows and the air is recycled. Of course I was one of these people until recently! Now I go to the trail and sit under the pine trees and look up. Identifying Earth as a wisely balanced living organism makes me feel grateful to feel connected to the earth in my thoughts and senses and it makes me happy that I can turn to nature to be nourished and made calmer.
I discovered that perceptions change based on what we're told
"We often know ourselves better by our names and prejudices than by how and what we think and feel." I also learned that pine sap doesn't come out easily from clothing. I see how nature is calling me to use my senses instead of how i've been living. I can go outside into Nature and trust my inborn senses.
I can learn myself about our world by using my natural senses instead of going by what others tell me.
To begin this activity, I looked for a tree to sit under. I chose a tree that I had not been in contact before, yet had admired from a distance as I rushed from place to place, as I tend to do. It was isolated in a park, yet it's noble presence was absorbed by the surrounding environment. I asked permission to rest under the tree for a moment, and since my webstrings felt warm and connected (and the tree didn't fall down on me), I assumed my request had been granted. I sat below the tree and simply breathed; breathed the air available to me because of the very tree I was sitting under. I decided that in my own life, I would like to stand as strong and proud as this tree.
I walked around the tree for a while to get a better feel for its functioning. It was completely still, with the slight breeze touching the tips of its leaves. As I slowly circled the tree, I thought of all the things it was doing that I could not even see. At that moment, that tree was removing enough carbon dioxide out of the air and ensuring that I would have oxygen to breathe. It was gently offering a shaded place to sit, while simultaneously cooling the Earth's temperature and helping to reduce global warming. By providing a buffer between itself and the ongoing traffic noise, this very tree helps to keep that park a quiet refuge outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
How hard this tree was actually working although this could not be viewed by the external observer. This particular experience helped me to reflect on the relationship between nature and humanity. If we see somebody reading or writing in a park we might quickly assume that they have time off to relax. We might even be secretly jealous that they have "free time," while we are hurrying about to get a week's worth of tasks completed in 12 hours. What we don't know, is that this individual in the park may be writing or thinking about something brilliant and life-changing; something that will outlive us all in history. Much like the amazing capacities of nature, our brains and hearts are fully portable; they are a part of us. If we remove the distracting impurities from our bodies, spirits, and minds, we may open ourselves up to an endless flourish of knowledge, relationships and beautiful experiences.
I strayed away from the tree, trusting nature and my senses to lead me to my next connection. I paused when I saw a red jay. How delighted I was to sear its beautiful song, especially during this cold, grey time of year. I watched as the bird flew down to the small lake, grabbed an insect with its beak, and flew back up to its nest to feed its youngin'. A mother providing for and nourishing their small offspring. Can you find a more beautiful, natural scenario? I felt that the red jay had welcomed my presence from a distance as I watched him earnestly go about completing his task, but I chose to respect his space in nature, as well as his protective instincts for his young one, and not move any closer.
As I stepped back and watched the young bird happily accepting food from its mother, I reflected on an experience I had with birds while doing some extensive psychobiological research with bobwhite quail. I was measuring the effects of external visual stimuli on incubation length and hatch patterns. The majority of the research consisted of me spending 24 hour cycles in the laboratory at my university, recording the exact time each egg hatched. Fun, right?! It actually really was (well, most of the time). I remember when I heard the first egg start to hatch. It was nearly 4:00 in the morning, and I was fading. When I heard that little cracking noise, I rushed into the incubation room to see what was going on. It was my little overachiever, trying to beat the rest of the crew out of their eggs. A little bit later (and by "a little bit" I mean six or seven hours) another little bird was desperately trying to finish his hatching experience, but couldn't quite get there. I could no longer watch him suffer, so even though it was "against the rules" of my experiment, I gently picked him up, and let him sit in the warmth of my hand where he could feel another presence. With a bit more gumption, he hatched out of his shell right there in my palm. It was amazing. Wet, sticky, and amazing!
As I reflected on these two experiences, I felt a sense of loss for the birds that were part of my experiment. When I expressed this early on my professor and lab attendant assured me that "they would never know the difference," but I did not then, nor do not now agree with this. The birds were all born happy and healthy. I attended to their needs, fed them, and cared for them until they were old enough to be released outdoors. I consulted with a local nature reserve to find the location that would be most ideal for them to start their new lives in the world. They were safe in my care, happy, and healthy. However, I think of those moments of sweet innocence that were deprived from both the birds and their mothers; the natural connection, instinctual love, sense of security, and mid-afternoon mouth-fed worms.
Finally, I selected a rock that was lying along the path I was walking. I thought of how the tree I had been looking at greatly outweighed this rock in stature, and thus likely received more attention, but the distinct and individual beauty was just as present in this rock as that massive tree. I sat with the rock for a few moments before returning it to its place. As I held the rock in my hand, I closed my eyes and tried to imagine its journey. I allowed the texture of the stone to lead my story, still appreciating that its texture, too, is ever changing. I imagined where the rock had come from. Had it broken off of a huge boulder somewhere in Colorado at one point, or did it arrive here by hitching a ride on a river stream? Its path is likely far more complicated than what I imagined, but it was nice to sit with the rock and appreciate it for its presence and beauty, rather than being too distracted by the more flamboyant acts of nature to notice the small gifts. This rock possesses the knowledge and wisdom of more years that we will see in our entire lifetime.
As I contemplate these experiences, I am drawn to a lesson that my own pet taught me. Whiskers came to me as a stray kitten, only a few weeks in age. Wanting to take the best care of him possible, I remember feeling worried. "He can't talk," I thought, "How will he tell me if he needs something, or is hurt, or sad?" I was essentially pacified by those around me, and told that I was "thinking too much," but I continued to pay close attention to his needs, and remain open to any communication he would offer me. I now see that my deep thirst for natural connections has been a part of me for far longer than I ever realized. Our relationship has been all the more strengthened from this connection. Just like a mother can often tell by her baby's cry what it is that they need or want from her, I know by Whiskers' actions whether the food or water bowl need to be refilled, he wants some time in the fresh air, it's time to clean the litter box, or he just really wants some love and attention. People tell me that they are amazed at the way he comes when I call his name. They say, "only dog's do that." I believe that we can connect with any living thing on varying levels, if we show them that we will respect them and be true.
I have spent some time through the weeks of this course thus far trying to solidify several of the fragmented thoughts I have into coherent ideas on a powerful way to give back to the Earth and thank it for all it has provided. While I do have a bigger plan in the works (shhhh, it's a secret--which is really my way of saying that I'm still pretty clueless!), I have started out on a small level. I now spend the extra buck to buy biodegradable goods for around the house. I invested in a great environmentally friendly water bottle, rather than going through hundreds of those small plastic ones a week. I pick up litter on the ground, and if the culprit still appears to be present, I might even give them a quick lecture while I'm at it. I believe that many people making small steps for our environment pays off. This particular experience was exceptionally fulfilling and insightful for me. In appreciation, I would like to plant another tree in that park. This week I will research the best type of tree to use considering climatic factors, as well as when the most beneficial time of year would be to do it. That plan sounds lovely to me as I type this, and I will begin my research this weekend.
Webstring attraction is an intelligence that people in industrial society seldom learn to celebrate and too often deny or abuse. I think this is sad, yet realistic, and my hope lies in my full dedication to learning this material not only for myself, but also so that I may assist others in truly experiencing the beauty I have found.
I believe that nature is inherently intelligent and that people are part of nature and vice versa. We, as human beings living in nature, inherit nature's intelligence; it is biologically and psychologically in us. Our civilization frequently conditions us to abusively conquer nature in the environment and people, thus producing many discontents. However, throughout history, in some people our natural intelligence has survived this abuse and expressed itself. It is my genuine hope for humanity that we continue to actively connect with our webstrings, and seek to diminish the methods we may have been programmed to use to isolate ourselves from nature.
For example things I have read in postings throughout my class show how frequently over the past couple of weeks have we varied in sharing our particular moments where we felt something during the initial contact with nature (or even at the thought of knowing the contact would be made) that we weren't expecting? Sometimes we were able to work with and through this, but other times it sent us off in search of a location where we could better dedicate our full attention. I will be bold and propose that while turning away does help to get the assignment completed, and we do want to remain weary of respecting nature rights and not impose on areas where we do not seem welcome, maybe nature knows what we need at a given moment before even we do. Maybe nature wants us to take those moments to put our work aside, and take those moments by the waterfront that we need so badly to be in touch with an underlying sadness, in a safe place, where we may shed our tears right back into the great oceans. While we have been programmed to say, "I need to get my work done," nature might be gently whispering, "It's time for a break, dear" in your ear. Nature does, after all, know what is best for us at each given moment.
I chose to be outside for the entirety of this activity, as I felt the need to be as enmeshed as possible with nature. My walk through a park on a crisp Fall day was not only peaceful, but also informative and insightful. I was very fortunate in that nature provided me with ample opportunities to make connections along the path I was following. I chose to listen to my inner wisdom, as well as my attempts to access the creature's desire to interact with me, in determining which products of nature I would be spending the most time on. While there were several smaller interactions that I had along the way, I chose to write about the three most influential to me, as these experiences really enabled me to fully engage with nature, take that interaction, reflect deeply on it, and apply it to my own life and the world I live in.
When used sensibly and for good, our web of life intelligence presents us with the opportunity to take those lessons that nature is offering us, and use them to do good and carry on the messages to others.
I found that I able to connect with this activity on a level that is deeper than I have before. I felt like the world was my classroom, and nature was my teacher. In addition, I knew that my prior knowledge and senses enabled me to better communicate with nature, and this collaboration enhanced both my own self-worth, as well as my trustfulness of nature.
This activity helped me to rediscover a part of myself that I had not tuned in to for so long, it almost seemed as if it was missing. The part of me, years ago, before life really kicked in to try to bring me down, that genuinely wanted to connect with nature. I am so grateful to have found this disconnected part of my childhood through these exercises. Now I know that this is something I have always wanted. I don't want to just live in nature. I want to be a part of it.
Being near the water has been a trusting and balancing sensory experience for me for as long as I can remember. When I was eight-years-old, I lost my father to a drunk driver. Because you do not have time to prepare for something as sudden as a car accident, it seemed as if he had just left for work one day and disappeared. I spent most of my childhood wondering: "how could such a terrible thing happen to such a good person?,"Will I see him again?," and most importantly, "What will I do without him?"
I must say that I still do not have the answers to any of these questions that I have been asking throughout my life. However, thanks to the goodness of nature, I have found a way to connect with my father. I have always been drawn to the water, but didn't pay much attention to it. While working for the mayor of a water front city as an undergraduate in college, I would walk down to the lake every day for my lunch break. One day, I just could not walk away. I felt pulled closer and closer to the water. I felt my dad. I truly believe that through our mutual love of the water and natural systems, my dad and I are able to connect.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripend grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken to the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
So, I chose to "Create a moment that will let Earth teach" by the waterfront, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Living in Seattle now, I had what I consider Seattle's version of a water experience: it rained! Not exactly what I had planned, but I embraced it. I let the rain fall down on me, and really connected with the process: how it felt (cold!), how it smelled, the changing patterns and intensity of the rainfall. It made me realize how amazing nature is, and how out of control (but also in control) I am in this world. I could not stop the rain, but I was able to make the decision to embrace it, rather than walk away and try again. This experience encouraged me to not only embrace, but also trust nature to guide me in my life.
I went for a walk through one of my favorite parks. As I let my instincts lead my path, I began to collect leaves that stood out to me. I sat on a bench, and created a bouquet of sorts with the leaves I had collected. I began to imagine that each leaf took on its own scent, much like a flower, and "gave" the leaves scents that reminded me of special moments or things in my life. After some time and imagining, I was able to smell these scents within each corresponding leaf, and my mind began to stray to the memories associated.
Identifying the Earth as a "wisely balanced living organism" encourages me to incorporate its presence into my life more fully. As a living organism, I desire to care for the Earth through means such a recycling, planting trees and flowers, and picking up litter on the ground. In thinking of the Earth as a living organism much like myself, I feel a deeper connection to its presence, and strive to be more "wisely balanced" myself through this connection.
I went back to the water again. I sat on a bench (It wasn't raining at the moment!), closed my eyes, and imagined that I was floating on a raft in the middle of the water. I could feel the breeze from the wind blowing on my face as the raft rocked below me. I could taste the salt in the water, even though I wasn't sitting by salt water! I was able to live my story, so to speak, and take a temporary retreat with nature, allowing the water to take me as it wished.
The effect of repetition is something that I have noticed in my life since moving to the West Coast. I love to go running every morning. I like to go around 4:30 or 5:00 a.m., as this is my favorite time of day: not quite dark, but not light yet either. I feel at one with nature while running, especially because I am one of the few people actually awake so I feel the world is all mine! As Fall came, and thus did the rain, I noticed that I was trying to excuse myself out of my morning run quite frequently. I came up with a number of excuses, but I really didn't want to be out in the cold rain. For this exercise, I embraced the rain, and encouraged myself to go out and run despite the weather every day for the week. Knowing that I worked with nature, rather than against it, made my morning jog all the more gratifying.
I just want to say how much I am enjoying everyone's thoughts and writings. My feelings of appreciation run deep in relation to the many caring comments and responses, and the many expressions of heartfelt desire to connect -- it is amazing how much is being communicated on so many many many different levels. Our emails really speak to me about how connected we are on a deep molecular level.
There is so much information here that I find it difficult at times to put into words all I am feeling and sensing. It is a lot to digest and integrate and communicate. I am learning so much from all of you to pay attention more not only to our physical environment but to our interconnectedness to build better and healthier relationships with all living things.
My heart is opening up more and more as we continue our activities and in our readings and writings. I have been thinking too a lot about hope and mindfulness and compassion.
Clouds, Ireland, rats, squirrels, butterflies, birds are such lovely webs connecting us. I am looking forward to what other webstrings and messages we are going to discover together through the air waves.
"Do you trust your inborn senses and feelings as much as you trust mathematics or definitions?" this question struck me because my automatic answer was "no." now, i am trying to figure out how i can have more faith in commonly accepted theory and standards, than the truth of my own experiences. while i have not unraveled this discrepancy, i keep going back to it.
I watched an autumn leaf during its departure from the tree all the way to its soft landing on the ground.
i was the only human who witnessed this unique decline to earth, and had no proof to offer other than my own representation
of this experience. i trust what i saw.
"Very little, if anything, is out of balance in healthy ecosystems."
While considering this quote, i was gazing upon a very typical fall time scene of a garden past its summertime splendor:
withered plants, dry stems, and shades of brown, brown, brown. when my eyes were drawn to a beautiful red flower, off to the side. it was vibrant, healthy and bursting with color. i realized i had misjudged the whole scene, the beauty of the flower was only complemented by the contrast surrounding it.
Interpretation is so powerful and personal. true of a person, or situation, or piece of art. temporarily stuck indoors one day,
i gravitated toward a window and just watched the clouds pass. ignoring, my usual assignment of shapes and familiar animals and objects, i just let myself go, my breathing slowed, and for a moment i felt as if i was floating in weightless harmony. it was lovely.
Words really can serve to separate us from nature, and aide in our destruction of it.
In quiet observation, assuming i was alone. i suddenly became aware of all the animals around me, and it was only at their discretion i even noticed them. for the crow and the cat and squirrel had all been completely silent, and only revealed themselves to me by choosing to make enough sound to be noticed. i felt like i had been observing long enough, that maybe in that moment, they came to trust me just a little. and i felt
a fool for thinking i had been alone.
We are a part of nature, by causing harm, we hurt ourselves, which is an unhealthy cycle of behavior...
There is a particular stretch of road that i stroll this time of year, and just gasp as the rich colors and the trees. i have worn many hair colors, but none so vibrant as the reds, maroons, ambers, rusts, oranges, golds and yellows that nature has created and allows us to enjoy temporarily. a true masterpiece!
Throughout this chapter I align or resonate with the essential notion that each individual must realize through their own experience and cannot simply be told. Further this chapter consistently asks to guide the participant towards realization or awareness … again essential. "Is what we're saying true … How do you know that its true?" "If we can't trust ourselves who can we trust?" This type of guidance reminds me of the books of the Zen masters who through words and guidance can cause realization using intentional speak and open questioning that takes form as lightening within.
"It was as if nature was a vacuum cleaner" Oh sweet exchange – balance in connection – Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide dancing … so many connections that clear and balance. Just yesterday I was laying on the earth and breathing with everything and when I sat up I felt as if I had been 'vacuumed' .. conscious connections – I also feel this alchemy when connecting with 'open hearted' people and myself on either end of the alchemy – such as I have experienced in this group and courses.
I had a lunch meeting in Oxford city and decided to treat myself to walk in one of the University grounds that wildly follows the Thames … here I followed my attraction as I was due back to work. Further down the trail I saw a beautiful Romanian Gypsy an elder perhaps 8o some in wisdoms age … She sat with green around her head and upon her lap was a huge drawing of a tree … she said beautiful things and I was so attracted to her I sat beside her on the bench. She said "I talk to the trees and the trees talk to me," – that she talks to all of the natural life and she wanted to reconnect people with nature .. she had written many books that she only shared with her friends wrapped in the finest shades of silk …. She told me that the trees teach her spiritual lessons so as the essence of love .. and that she meets with trees to talk about their medicinal properties and how they release and work. She spoke and shared … but she was my heart reflecting. Of course I expressed my affinity for her … she told me I was from space at the very top of the tree … What a gift a blessing …. And I thought of everyone and how gifted we are to commune and share together … and for this course.
It was in 1980 when we uprooted from India and immigrated to Canada with a dream of having it all. Along with other Canadians, we too joined the rat race to nowhere. 20 years later the realization settled in that no matter what was achieved, gained or consumed, it will never be enough. It was in 1999 when I left my 6 figure corporate race and began searching for inner fulfillment. After many courses, meditation camps, and thousands of books, last year I came across Dr. Cohen’s website and his work has been by far the most rewarding and a life saving experience. Dr. Cohen’s work does not promise a quick get rich or a quick recovery scheme. His work opens the door to freedom from our 5 senses perceptual world we are trapped in. The activities he has developed work on each of our 53 senses slowly and surely taking us to our natural roots or rather our natural sense of self.
Based on his work, following is an activity that will bring us in touch with our natural senses.
Thankfully gain consent to visit an attractive natural area. Once you sense the natural attraction inviting you to be with the area, sit or be in close proximity and notice any shifts that occur in the way you breathe or sense. Do you feel any sensations or feelings that were not there before you entered the attractive natural area. Now close your eyes and take some deep breaths in and notice the shifts that occur.
Breathing in fully, thank the natural area for the exchange and walk around for 10 minutes with full awareness looking for different attractions in the area. After 10 minutes return to the initial attraction and redo the above activity and record your discovery.
Now visit a car dealer or your favorite store in the mall and try to create this natural connection with a car or an outfit and what do you discover?
Is our society brain washed by an overload of commercials broadcasting the unnatural ways to fulfill our senses? What can you as the citizen of Mother Nature do to correct our false perception and return our society to our natural roots?
I don’t know where to begin…
Once again I couldn’t wait to do the activity and did stop reading half ways through the chapter. I went out to my favorite bush and she immediately invited me to her space. Even before I went out, I was filled with gratitude and in my mind I was thanking every contact being made through my senses. As I stood near the bush, for the first time I was beginning a sense of connection beyond connection… hard to explain what I felt. I walked around in her presence embracing every feeling I sensed with a magnitude of gratitude and as I was about to walk back in, I noticed my dog Chester looking at me as though he saw something different. I called him and he came running to me and I took him out for a walk. We walked back in and I was thinking to myself how ego destroys our sense of being… We are nothing without the connection… Ego is an illusion that keeps us from the connection… and as these thoughts were bubbling in my mind, I picked up
where I had left off and began to read the remaining chapter… little did I know that the next sentence was about ego…. But this time around, I was not surprised at all… My intelligence is so connected that it makes the connection before I even attempt to pick the book…
And thus my learning was humbling and yet profound
Nature’s intelligence is in me and I am in Nature’s intelligence… we are one…I feel so content that my needs are dissolving… I am happy… I am… or I am not… because Nature and I are one…. We are… we are happy together… we are content together…
Last but not least, today I re-connected with my pain in a profound way…. It is beginning to dissolve as it is being acknowledged and heard.
I believe our view of nature stems from the various influences we have around us. Direct sensory experiences are the most meaningful links to our oneness with nature. Our cultural backgrounds add to the excitement and the novelty of our personal experiences with nature.
Just a couple of days ago, my daughter and I decided to take the bus downtown in order to enjoy the lakeview from the bus window. But to our disappointment, the lake was nowhere to be seen, covered with snow. In a situation like this, creative thinking makes all perceptions more interesting. Once again, it is easy to look at the lake and simply say, "It's covered with snow....sooner or later, it will melt when it gets warmer and when the sun spreads its warmth over it once again...."Yes, the explanation sounds logical and scientific, but it lacks a feeling of closeness to the Earth. If I would be given a chance to talk about the amazingly snow-covered Lake Michingan, I would say, "What a joy to see snow settle down peacefully on the lake.I imagine myself as a snowflake resting on calm water, hoping that one day, a ray of sun will shine on me...and then I would rise up to evaporate and visit my friends up above... when the right time comes, i will hug the
earth once more as a raindrop....and so the cycle goes on and on...."
More insights to come....more realizations......more creativity......
This is truly a wonderful, wonderful experience!
I wanted to add that it is very heartwarming to realize that we are not merely colleagues but a collaborative learning team. I would like to let you all to know that I appreciate your sincerity and openness in sharing your experiences and stories about yourselves (in our journey to reconnect with nature).
Thank you for your active participation in our course!
Achieve a Degree or Certificate to strengthen your professional interests, or your hobbies or pastimes, by connecting them with nature. Implement your strongest hopes as you increase personal and global well being.
Topics, subjects or leisure pursuits can include those listed below or other areas of interest:
Earth Day Activities
Dog Cat Pet Care
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