This whole life report is Appendix D of the book Educating, Counseling and Healing with Nature. It provides additional examples and love quotes in field reports that result from the application of an organic psychology tool. Its love of nature activities helps us recognize that love is nature's way of relating and it improves health, wellness and counseling. The activities enable our inborn thinking and feeling to find love by safely tapping into the nature's grace, balance and restorative powers. Participants benefit from and strengthen their one love of life in balance as they master alternative therapist coaching, stress release management and holistic spiritual psychology.
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Love of Nature Activity Outcome Reports from Anonymous Project NatureConnect Participants
My Subconscious Mind
Today I walked in a forested area near the stadium. The parking lot was full and I thought I should leave to find a quieter area. It was so hot I did not need my coat. Wow, we went from winter to summer in one week. The trail was thick with snow. I was challenged not far in with a muddy trail and then floodwaters flowing over the trail. I managed with my shoes to stay relatively dry by weaving around the wettest areas. Although the parking lot was full, the snow-filled trail kept people away. I turned the corner and found a lovely dry area to sit. I asked for permission and smelt that warm pine needle smell. Ahhh, that love was my welcome.
I asked the forest to help me know how much I trust thinking with nature. At this question I looked up and saw the blue sky and white wispy clouds. Ahhh, there is that sound again when I see blue sky and green trees. I was reminded of how much I listen to my gut feeling now. My old brain has a place in my life and this is thinking with nature - my inner nature. I looked at the trees across the glacier-like path and felt warm and full and so full I cried as I connected to the love I feel for being under trees. I imagined a life where I would live under them always. I asked our great mother to lead me to a place of my very own that would allow me this gift.
As I sat in the forest and lifted pine needles and dried leaves to my nose, I smelt that earth smell and felt grateful. I did feel the wrangling story that it is dirty and don't inhale something that will make you sick….but I listened again to my body and its delight at the scent. I sat then with my hands on the earth and sent gratitude. I looked up and saw how sunlight turns what it touches to white light. The spruce branch was alight with a white glow from the sun.
I turned to face what was behind me and was attracted to the coloring of the dark needles on the white snow. I closed my eyes and felt the wind and listened to the chickadees. When asked how close I can get to my attractions… well not so close as I was not attracted to getting soaking wet sitting on snow.
I realized how everything I do is following my webstring attractions and so I trust their existence and power. The latter is less tangible to me at this point so I continue to observe it. I appreciate that the material and the nonmaterial world of nature is my "subconscious mind," that the natural world consists entirely of webstrings and that, sadly, our society is at war with webstrings in and about us. I walked about looking around me feeling so grand.
I want to share it with you as well and explore it a little more because it meant so much to me to connect with the ocean this past week. The assignment asked us to guide someone through nature as if they had never seen it before, signaling them to open there eyes periodically and experience their environment as if they were seeing it for the first time. In fact, this love activity became reality for us.
My daughter's fiancÚ had never seen the ocean before, had never walked in the sand and moving water, had never discovered a seashell in the receding waters. His eyes were literally opened as he glimpsed all of these things for the first time. And, though the rest of us had been to the coast before, each shell, each cresting wave, each sunset took on the quality of being a new “eye-opening” experience. As the one who guided them there, I quietly allowed them unstructured discovery. I delighted in watching my usually high-speed teens slowing down to experience the wonder around them. They didn't seem to be at all concerned with the things that usually preoccupy their lives: friends, schoolwork, technology. They were just content to “be.”
“Look, Mom. Look at the lobster tail we found on the beach.”
“Look Mom. Look at the face John made out of shells.”
“Look Honey. Look at the way the light from sunset shines through the wave as it crests.”
We breathed the ocean in and it breathed with us. Rising and falling…rising and falling. The living earth breathed. And we knew, we too, were alive.
Upon entering the chilly waters for the first time, I was tentative. The waves broke on my legs and seemed to want to drag me under. I recognized that to be free of the harsher waves near the shore, I would need to go in deeper where the larger waves rolled.
I mustered my courage and went in further. The cold waters took my breath away. But, with my plastic air mattress under my belly, I waited for the first wave to carry or… crush me. I was carried. And then, I was carried again and again.
I discovered that if I ran toward the wave before it broke, I had a better chance of being carried rather than crushed. I thought, run toward what is looming overhead, run toward this moment, run toward life, and let life carry me. I awoke calmer, ready to run toward the day with love. I will ask my family how being at the ocean affected them. Did it strengthen their self-esteem? I also did the guiding activity with Dan in the garden.
I will place the heart-shaped clam shell that I found on the beach in my mental safe box to remind me that when I speak and do from my heart …the ocean is breathing for me.
We have all been missing the ocean since we left to come back home. It would be devastating to think that the life that is the ocean could disappear. Knowing that it is breathing even as I write- keeps me breathing. My self-esteem and trustfulness of nature were definitely enhanced. I feel much more capable of professionally organizing a wedding and getting my twins off to college than I did before the trip.
Yesterday, Mark came home for lunch. He suggested we eat in the yard. After the last bite and then tipping our faces up to the warmth of the sun, I told him I had a PNC experience to do and I needed a partner. He shook my hand and said, "howdy." I took him first. Not knowing just how to go about it, and not knowing what in the yard would show up for me, I felt l little like I had my eyes closed as well! But around we went -- a blossom, the scent of rosemary, the touch of wooly thyme, a palm full of ice from the shadows, a snapshot of pussy willows. Moving slowly, showing trust in one another, trusting that there was enough, excited for each sensory experience. We giggled, hugged with closed eyes. I just about peed my pants at one point when he led me down the garden steps and I felt the play between trust and control and it sent me into a fit of laughter. He did well to lead me and provide the "awe" and wonder in the snapshots and tactile and olfactory bursts. The little ground cover on the palms of my hands was like feeling the detail on every square inch of the flesh. I imagined that life without eyesight could be very full and a sensory awakening. When this love activity was complete, we both were amazed at how connected we felt to each other and to the earth. Felt that we had truly "been away." Wonderful. Very grateful to have had this experience. My self worth got a healthy boost, our relationship was enhanced, both with each other and with the earth. Very centering, very loving. To live with this as an ongoing place to be, for me, takes looking for nature and wonder finding myself over and over, awareness of the trust vs. control part of me. Very good stuff.
The course gave me a respect for my actions and a feeling of dignity. I aligned myself with my natural surroundings, letting the energy fill me, while remaining flexible enough to allow it to pass through me without conflict. Aligning and drawing in the energy from various elements of the natural environment increases balance and harmony. When I have feelings of anxiety, I can connect to the web of life, and it embraces me with comfort and guidance, and I get the feeling of being “one” with its power and beauty.
The love activities helped me to gain greater self-awareness. I now believe myself to be a combination of natural sensory awareness and socially conditioned reasoning in regards to what and how I have learned. I have identified stories that I attach to certain situations, and how these stories can hinder my ability to connect with the web. My growth can be measured by a greater self-appreciation, and I have placed an entire world of continual natural attractions within my psyche to become one with my human, environmental, and cosmic communities.
Frustration to Inspiration
Walking home from work, I rubbed my forehead and imaginatively dissolved all nature disconnected stories, shaking them away with my hand. It began to feel as if I were in a dream - it was very surreal. I was floating through, letting nature fill me up, and feeling more beautiful with each passing moment, especially when I passed this most magnificently blooming pink blossomed tree. To think that that beauty was filling me up…how could I not feel beautiful? The strong wind, songs of the birds, and warmth of the sun are in me…..I could feel it, and guess what - I LOVED it, and I loved me all the more. I am nature, one with nature…what a glorious, glorious feeling.
And then the people….I was on a cloud, floating home, when I encountered some people around a shopping district. The first person I encountered almost hit me with her car as she emerged from an alley. My senses fully alive I knew she was there, but her senses, most likely a bit deadened, were late on the uptake, and she waved at me apologetically. I wished in my heart that she could find time to connect with nature today. I got a nice little chuckle next when a man came by in his SUV, windows wide open, singing his heart out. Good for him…I was happy to see him loving life. Nothing was phasing me as my mind was connected to nature and no stories were stressing me. So it did not phase me when I got to a busy intersection and heard the blast of a horn from a car who was obviously upset with someone. I felt glad to have walked to work so that I could enjoy the beauty of nature, and wished that all those in their cars could find a time and place to nature connect today.
I noticed that at the end of my walk stories were popping back into my head and I had lost that “walking on clouds” feeling. Recognizing this when I got angry that a sidewalk was ending, I quickly moved away from those stories back to my oneness with nature.
This activity helped me realize that I am as beautiful as nature, because it fills me up and I am one with it while stories suck me in and destroy my connectedness to nature. I am most happy when I let myself be in the moment, when my senses come alive, because it is then I can truly love humankind, which includes most importantly, myself. I get good feelings when I soak up the pink blossoms of a tree in early spring, when I fuse with nature, when it envelops me and flows through me, when the warm sun penetrates me and I can acknowledge that I am filled with that warmth. More than any other activity, this one enhanced my self worth. Since I had just left the children's home, feeling a bit frustrated with what I do there, doing this activity helped re-inspire me to start teaching this to the kids, if I can get other people on board.
I went to a small field near where I work. It has some brown grasses, large weeds and a few small trees and some large bushes. Most people would not consider it attractive. I have recently been in significant discomfort due to some of my illnesses and when I started my activity I was uncertain if I could connect with any attraction.
I immediately received a strong and positive connection. My first attraction was to my sense of emotional place. I felt immediately as if the plants and nature in general not only gave me permission to connect but strongly wanted me to connect due to my current discomfort. I had a feeling of healing and nurturing emanating from all life forms, including a thin vine of poison ivy. I also noticed my aesthetic sense, as I noted how the weeds and grasses, struggled to grow in the fields cluttered my man made litter. How trees and bushes even after haven been hacked on and mutilated by mankind still continued to bud and flourish. These two connections strengthened my sense of survival and healing as I felt nature giving it strength into me.
When I was doing this activity, I started to shuffle my feet through the dried leaves. I suddenly realized that my pain had stopped and I concentrated on the very pleasant sound of the dried leaves under my feet. I stopped walking through the leaves and slowly the pain returned, so I started walking again and sure enough the pain resolved again. I thought, this love is nature's pain reliever.
I must start exploring the other senses, as I have only started to appreciate my nature connections as Nature's healing connections come in many forms, sometimes single sometimes grouped. Nature tries to heal all damage regardless of how it occurred. I know that I am connected to nature by the sense of belonging and being a part of the community that comes over me when I ask permission to join it. I know I am increasing and improving my nature connects because of the sensation of calmness and peacefulness that occurs with a nature connection and because the more frequent that I connect the easier that this connection becomes and the reduction of pain and anxiety that occurs when I connect with nature and how the discomfort increases when I disconnect with nature. My feelings of having more control over my life and my body increase with my continued connections to nature.
The Integrity of the Whole
As I learn about webstrings I become aware of their organic contribution to the web of life and I am beginning to understand the importance of webstrings as part of the whole support system. This is clearly explained for me in the "circle of people activity" where the string is used to represent the interconnecting relationships between things in nature and through this I can see better how the integrity of the whole is interdependent. When this integrity is broken its affects are felt not only in the individual but across the entire ecosystem. I feel sadness for sure but I also feel a strength growing inside me that with understanding and right education these cut off strings can be reunited. This activity is very powerful to me in showing me how I can do my part. It is like our class work here even though we are not physically connected we are committed to the process by email and we strengthen our interconnected relationship by doing our part. If one string were to be cut we would feel the disconnection and loss and the integrity of the whole would fall apart.
Meaning in Life
I was hiking today, in a forest along a river, with sun, warmth, melting snow, and my dog running in and out of the water along the trail. At some point I stopped to read the activity and do the homework, and was attracted to the river itself and the many rocks in the water, big and small. I walked over them, deeper into the river, and just sat there, being with the water and the rocks. I dropped my stories and got present.
I don't know if I will be able to describe it adequately, because a deep and profound shift occurred for me, and I am allowing it to percolate and do its magic behind the scenes.
At the beginning, I was with the water, and saw how it mirrors my life, its flows, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes peacefully, and sometimes dealing with a rock that gets in the way. We felt connected and flowing, playfully or mindfully. At some point, I turned my attention to a particular rock, partially in water, and spent a bit of time connecting with it.
This is when the big love aha clicked in, and I realized that I am actually the whole river, and not only one “part” of it, water, or rock, or whatever. I am everything. At times, I am flowing fast, dealing with obstacles. At other times, I am moving slow, taking my time, gathering energy, or simply moving at a casual pace. There are also times when I am standing still, allowing life to pass by and around me, and shape me in ways that are meant to be.
This was powerful for me. I see that there is a need to approach life holistically and look at the bigger and bigger picture, that I love being near water, that I enjoy contradictions and contrasts and I can experience the richness of life in a short moment - which will transform me just the same. It helped to educate the seeker in me who has been looking for the “meaning of life.”
What Life Asks
I was attracted at first to the field of flowers and noticed that while most of them had many flowers on one stem, one plant had only one yellow flower on it and I changed my direction because it attracted me. It brought to mind a situation in the past when I made a decision to take a new path, to change and let go of a situation where I was overly responsible and causing myself and others pain. I am now finding myself at a similar crossroad and yet my awareness has come very quickly and transition is very rapid. In the past I taught nursing on the Navajo reservation. I was cut off from sources of nourishment and support being 300 miles from main campus and a world view away. I experience my ancestral trauma through the trauma of my students as they/we attempted without support to span the gap of what I would now describe as 4 to 5 legged (nature-connected vs. nature-separated) thinking. I am now experiencing a cut-off of support in my practice where I suddenly do not feel safe, supported or centered. Untrained staff, reimbursement issues and chaos prevail. I keep thinking if I were more…, patient, kind, understanding, smarter, faster etc. Then I recognize this feeling- aha!! Here it is again- well -“thank you” to this field of plants and again to this process. I will not put energy toward my area of injury. Rather, I will put energy toward that which nourishes and supports me. I will, as the plant one blossom, expose the beauty of my one yellow flower-the pure and fragile essence of my true nature- only revealing this beauty to that which supports me and save further energy for continued growth and preparation as I follow alternate paths. I am grateful to the plants for the reminder to involute, to seek intelligently (through natural attraction) that which nourishes and supports me in fulfilling what life asks of me.
I have discovered a new place to sit after one path became too slippery and we took a round about way on the way back after the meetings. I just take off up another meadow and can have another sit down in the snow. This meadow is quite narrow at the top with large beautiful pines at either side. It is all natural around me except for one house at the bottom that is in view.
My view was of one of the big pine trees whose attractiveness gave me permission to be there. It was a bit windy when I did the exercise and as I opened my hands my breath sort of intermixed with the wind so I did not seem to get the full effect of my breath so I continued to sit with the exercise contemplation feeling my breath, my exhale being the food for the view. And then I felt very strongly the love feeling that I was a part of making life possible, I was part of the creativity, I was part of the making of the glory of nature. I turned to the other direction and repeated the activity. I also tried just opening my eyes very slowly with my exhaling breath. And I turned back to the other side again and repeated it again. It seemed as if nature was slowing down for me and we were enjoying the creation process together. I thought, "There is one common flow, one common breathing, all things are in sympathy."
We have a practice of watering the other person's flowers, of really realizing that we are to a good extent responsible for how the other person is by how we bring out the best in the other person. If I tell a person truthfully that what they did was kind, then that certainly helps them in that direction. Nature did this for me this time.
When I go sit down on the hillside and look up at the evergreen trees, my breath feels taken away by the beauty of the moment, when I look up at the dark green of the branches, my heart feels so glad and when I sit with the dark green of the tall pine trees, I feel so content, I could stay there forever. My sense of worth skyrockets when I am with nature.
As I walk around the parks close to the area I live, I see garbage, it's visible sometimes and other times I can just feel or smell it. In general where I live it's kept very well and yet there are many times I don't actually see it. It's there and I walk past it. Nature has not created this piece of garbage we have. When I notice it I see it's out of place, it takes from the love, beauty and serenity and yet I can overstep it. I see myself as inept in those moments, where the pain of that garbage is taking from the purity of the environment and I step over it anyway. This is also a prime example for me where my bonding with the familiar and my own brain-washing are becoming more evident. As a result of these activities I am painfully aware of my nature disconnect and am taking steps to take responsibility and pick the garbage up.
In the Moment
I noticed a wild patch of life growing and spreading under, around and onto the several variety of trees that stood next to each other. I then took my hands to my head and actively, consciously and with heart removed all new brain wrangler stories that had been stored in me. I actually felt lighter, free and vibrating once again as the area and I became energetically connected. It feels so spiritual and undeniable One. Drawn to the wild patch I sat and welcomed the power of the moment as a part of this wild system. A living breathing supportive part of this whole and how easily we lived with each other. I saw the aspects of myself in their crawling, climbing, reaching, breathing and rooted(grounded) experience. There is really so little difference, only in our specific roles. I asked permission to walk gently and touch and was invited to participate. I touched with awe and loved completely, respected and observed the various perfection of their individual places within the cycle and I'm at peace...I get good feelings when I step outside my door, say thank you for all of life and live in the moment.
These exercises have been cathartic because to stop and reflect upon the more rewarding natural encounters was not only enjoyable but reflection upon them fed me in many unimaginable ways. Since returning to the larger United States, I have systematically grown further and further from the spectacular rawness of the rain-forest. I have fought this disconnect on a daily basis but now I have a daughter who has not been raised in the same nature-oriented manner that I was. This poses a dilemma for me. Being able to consciously connect to nature's webstrings and mimic the scientific approach towards non-literate relationships is affording me personal rejuvenation, a safe method or place to share my unique background and will allow me to bridge the nature gap between my daughter's upbringing and my own.
In all the activities thus far, I have found the pure, raw sensational elements of the natural world most attractive. Even recanting the experiences from childhood brought me feelings of wholeness, comfort and a sense of belonging to the larger family of Earth. My destiny is directly influenced by my special connection to the Web Of Life and my ability to recognize when I am feeling disconnected from nature. I plan on using my conscious relationship with the natural world as a foundation for my future work with the ever-growing reality of Earth Changes. The information I have gleaned from this course is propelling me forward and teaching me to trust that my sacred bond with the larger organic world is a love gift that should not be feared but honored and that I am exactly where I need to be.
The application of the Natural Systems Thinking Process on a wide scale could have major ramifications on the future of our planet. By using the process and learning to perceive nature in a more communicative mode, the individual receives numerous gifts which include the ability to receive/hear one's own truth, to achieve a level of peace and balance and to honor the environment. These gifts if consistently appreciated and acted upon would lead to less dependency on chemical substances, less conflict, less war, less environmental desecration. The world could achieve a state of balance that is the natural rhythm found in nature.
We took a break and walked in silence to a small outdoor concrete, wire meshed parking lot, devoid of cars for this exercise. During this slow solo walk I became attracted to some low lying wild berry bushes reaching through the tall wire grey mesh fence and stopped in close proximity. I noticed the vines intelligence in how it sought the spaces in between and curved and intertwined its singular thread. In contrast to the man made fence the vine offered color, texture, movement, pure oxygen and life connection. This contemplation became an art piece to me, meditation a union between man, nature and being. The mesh fence represented my formed mind and the vine my consciousness opening.
Because of this deeply connected sensory love experience it lives inside me vividly and has contributed to my ability to experience more of the inter-connectedness of life. I was full of gratitude from the fresh air I could breathe, for the movement my body made, for my visual senses that had been opened, and blissfully connected to the all-conscious one mind.
Many of my colleagues returned from their walk discontent at the lack of nature and the limitation of space to walk around. My reasoning mind, could have agreed with them but my sensory way of knowing could not. I experienced the webstring, non-verbal awareness and natures intelligence found me. I felt more at peace, connected and open. Without addressing the questions for this exercise I would not have understood the entire connection as deeply as I do now. I have repeated it many times and it opens and softens me further when I do. I look forward to retrieving more of these experiences from the uncontaminated empty room in my mind where it will remain intact and strong for my use at will. This makes me feel very connected, happy and real.
I just walked outside, and started walking along the waterfront, connecting with various beings of nature - a person-size bush with yellow blooming flowers, a tree with bulbs that looked like they are getting ready to open, with weeds with thorns, grass, sun, air, and water. The bush was the first one I connected with, repeating "unity" in my mind. The reaction was almost immediate, and I had a sense/vision - much like the ending of The Matrix, when Neo sees everything like flowing energy, himself included. I felt very similar, in a deep and visceral way - being one with the bush. There was simply difference in our physical form, yet we were built out of the same 'thing" - pure energy. It continued with all other beings I encountered along the way back home. I had to slow down, walk slowly and mindfully, and maintain the focus on this experience.
I could feel that we are truly are all one. The underlying energy in all being is very much the same, and can be tapped into almost immediately - once the intention is present I recognize now that I get good feelings from being near water, from feeling the sun on my being, and from allowing my senses to wander around, without any specific and particular focus.
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