"The human need for nature is linked not just to the material exploitation of the environment but also to the influence of the natural world on our emotional, cognitive, aesthetic, and even spiritual development."
- Edward O. Wilson
Harvard University Pulitzer Prize Recipient (To the American Psychological Association National Convention)
We seldom live and think organically. Most of us unnecessarily suffer from Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) because we live excessively nature separated lives. Over 95 percent of our time is spent indoors. Over 99 Percent of of thinking is out of tune with the restorative workings of natural systems within and around us. Fortunately, Organic Psychology enables us to reverse this disorder
..- Michael J. Cohen
.. .Author: Web of Life Imperative
"Human behavior is rooted most deeply in nature's intentions and desire. The rhythms of nature underlie all of human interaction: religious traditions, economic systems, cultural and political organization. When these human forms betray the natural psychic pulse, people and societies get sick, nature is exploited and entire species are threatened."
"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."
"We have repressed far more than our sexuality: our very organic nature is now unconscious to most of us, most of the time, and we have become shrunken into two dimensional social or cultural beings, aware of only five of the hundreds of senses that link us to the rich biological nature that underlies and nourishes these more symbolic and recent aspects of ourselves."
...- Norman 0. Brown
"Our religion keeps reminding us that we aren't just will and thoughts. We're also sand and wind and thunder and rain and the seasons. All those things. You learn to respect everything because you are everything. If you respect yourself, you respect all things."
...- Least Heat Moon
"The environmental crisis is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit. There could be no greater misconception of its meaning than to believe it is concerned only with endangered wildlife, human-made ugliness and pollution. These are part of it, but more importantly, the crisis is concerned with the kind of creates we are and what we must become in order to survive."
...-Lynton K Caldwell
"Nurture your felt love for nature. Never deny it. That love is nature's voice, our origins in nature, the eons, the purifying intelligence, beauty and diversity of natural systems sustaining us in the spirit of their perfection and wellness."
...-from The Web of Life Imperative
"He looked upon us as sophisticated children -- smart but not wise. We knew many things, and much that is false. He knew nature, which is always true."
...-Saxton T. Pope (said of Ishi, America's ...last hunter-gather Native
"It is quite clear to me after several years in the environmental movement that all physical problems of man's impact on the environment - pollution of the air and waters, the desecration of the land, the contamination of the food chain - all start within the environment of man's mind."
Founder: the United Nations Environment Program
Co-Chair: U.N. Commission on Global Governance
"Our task must be to free ourselves from (our) prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
...- Albert Einstein
"In order to achieve more effective environmental protection and conservation, internal balance within the human being himself or herself is essential."
...- Dalai Lama
"Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace."
...- Albert Schweitzer
...Nobel Prize recipient
"Wilderness is the ultimate encyclopedia, holding answers to more questions than we have yet learned how to ask. That's the magic in you. You've got it; let it out."
...- David Brower
"Over the years, I've spent a lot of time fighting. Fighting against logging, pollution, nuclear power...as long as we fight all the time there's going to be a winner and a loser...(we must) build bridges across to the people who are fighting."
...- David Suzuki
"At root, ecology is an erotic attitude of closeness, relatedness and care. We have made it into a rational/activist project and lost sight of its heart."
...- Thomas Moore
"Sensory experience, we might say, is the way our body binds its life to the other lives that surround it, the way the earth couples itself to our thoughts and our dreams. Sensory perception is the glue that binds our separate nervous systems into the larger, encompassing ecosystem. For the senses are our most immediate access to the more-than-human natural world."
...Author, Spell of the Sensuous
"Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries."
Friends of Natural Systems: online disorder healing education for Natural System Dysfunction (NSD)
The Organic Psychology antidote in action
Project NatureConnect INSTITUTE OF GLOBAL EDUCATION
Special NGO Consultant, United Nations Economic and Social Council
Natural System Health and Wellness
Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) and Disorder Remedy Education
Project NatureConnect offers distant learning that enables you to add nature-connecting methods and credentials to your skills and interests. We honor your prior training and life experience by providing grants and equivalent credit for it.
You may take accredited coursework and/or obtain a Nature-Connected Degree or Certificate in most subjects.
- Increase your income.
- Help people connect their thoughts and feelings with the grace balance and restorative powers of nature.
- Strengthen personal social and environmental well being.
- Add the sunlight and beauty of the natural world to your life and community.
Visit our Homepage for complete information
Examples of the effects of Natural System Dysfunction (NSD) and overcoming them through Organic Psychology Activitie
"Any disorder is a condition in which there is a mental, physical, or psychological disturbance of normal functioning; one that perturbs us, makes our psyche uneasy or causes us undue distress, worry or alarm.
But, something, somewhere within each of us is hope. Hope recognizes that our thinking is our destiny. It also knows that if the unthoughtful separation of our consciousness from the ways of natural systems produces and sustains many disorders, it makes perfect sense that the genuine reconnection of our natural senses to the grace, balance and restorative powers of natural systems will powerfully help us reverse our troubles."
- M. J. Cohen
"Three exacting physiological measures were used to assess personal stress levels before and after 120 men and women were stressed and then viewed tapes of urban or natural scenes. Individuals who viewed the natural, as opposed to the urban, scenes experienced more and complete stress recovery.
- Ulrich, R.S. &Simons, R.F.
1986 Proceedings, Environmental Design Research Association
What have you been doing?" the doctor asked me as he reviewed the results of my medical tests. He couldn't imagine what would account for such dramatic improvement since my last visit! I smiled because I knew.
"I don't know how to account for this!" the optometrist said looking at the results of my eye exam. He was puzzled. "Your vision has improved by a whole diopter. That just doesn't happen." I smiled because I knew.
"I moved to the mountains," I told them. Of course, I was pleased to hear the doctors' good news, but truthfully I wasn't surprised. A year prior I had visited friends of ours who have a cabin in the Los Padres National Forest and from the moment I arrived I knew this is where I needed to be. At the time I didn't fully understand the compulsion I felt to get to those mountains. I'd always been a city girl and my husband and I still loved our city life.
What I didn't know and wouldn't know for some time was that my city life didn't love me.
We talked of moving that first weekend and even began looking at houses, but it represented a huge change. Was such a move really practical? Well, my body didn't care if it was practical or not. From that first weekend I ached to go back. I craved those mountains. I had to get back there, if only for a weekend. It felt like my life depended on it. I was compelled to do whatever I needed to do to be there and wouldn't let anything stop me. Had I gone mad? What was wrong with me?
Once we'd made the move from our Santa Monica condo, I knew there was nothing wrong with what I had been feeling. Instead there was plenty right. Nature was healing me.
I had been ill for over a year and had no idea that my lifestyle and my environment were making me sick and had been for a long time.
Only after discovering the field of organic psychology while writing my first novel, did I learn that my experience with nature's healing power is by no means unusual.
I am reminded of something beautiful that happened a couple of weeks ago. My students went on something we call "Adventure" at our school. They go for a week or so to a natural area and learn from and in nature. This time they kayaked around the Sweet Gulf in the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. When they came back, one of the students told me "you know, I feel so good now; I have been really worried about deciding what college to go to, but last night I had a dream that cleared everything for me. I had been feeling so stuck, but now everything seems a lot clearer. This student and I pondered what event might have evoked this breakthrough for him, and we talked about the possibility that maybe being in nature, where everything flows might have helped him get unstuck. We also explored the possibility that maybe the constant physical activity also helped him regain the flow he needed.
Another student suffers from severe social anxiety, and he dreads talking with his parents, especially over the phone. He had not spoken with them at all this year, but he came back from Sweet Gulf and overcame his fear, and even though he was hesistant to call, he eventually did it. He said "this is the first time this year that I have felt comfortable, not stressed out. Again I think just being in touch with the flow of nature evoked this for him.
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with the enormity of my responsibility for my present position--bringing about changes in programming,teacher practices, and student involvement required to improve the language/literacy/academic levels of our First Nations Students. The disconnect between what should be happening and what is happening often stresses me to the point of discouragement,impatience, and self-doubt.
To quell and counterattack my incessant, negative ruminations, I go into Nature. About 100 km west of where I live and work in the foothills of the Rockies,there is a valley with towering mountains on the north, south, and west. This valley is probably 3 or more km wide and 50 km long. It meanders along the headwaters of the Saskatchewan River.
Last weekend I drove out there and parked my car in the staging area of a well-known trail to some waterfalls 3 km into the southern wall of mountains. Instead of penetrating the mountains, I veered off the trail and followed a track that goes for miles along one side of the valley known as Kootenay Plains
As I drove from home, and as I walked the first few hundred metres, I was still immersed in my dark thoughts, and very aware of the tension in my eyes, forehead,chest, and stomach.Then I came to a long suspension bridge over a wide area of rocky, shallow, gathering waters which will become part of the main river downstream. The bridge swayed, and I needed to focus very deliberately on my walking on the tumbling span and on keeping my balance by using the cables on the side. As well as the rolling bridge, there was a cold, gale-force wind whipping my face. When I reached the other side I was totally out of my depressive thoughts. My whole being was alive and invigorated with excitement and joy. I looke up and around and shouted "Thank you for this wonderful creation and for allowing me to be part of it"
I carried on for about 2 hours--2 hours of a kind of meditation. I knew I was in cougar territory, but I felt a pleasant tension and awareness. I would walk through sections of low shrubs and sub-alpine firs. There were few birds, but I did hear the gentle comforting sounds of a gray jay, and I saw a few huge ravens floating high over the vast valley. I first heard and then saw some small squirrels scuttle across their well-worn paths from open areas to the protection of low-branching fir trees.
Remarkably, I didn't forget about my job concerns, but they were diminished in size and influence. I was even able to sort out some difficulties that I'd thought were insurmountable. I felt creative and positive.
The stress I had felt prior to touring a Nature Center yesterday revolves around a story that I must do everything by and for myself-to accomplish things in life. This story stems from abandonment stories experienced when quite young. Thus, coming to understand that 'others' that hold the same mission and goals in life to survive with and in nature, individually and collectively, are attractive to me.
This Nature Center comprises over 280 acres of nature's perfection here in Uvalde County. It has literally been untouched and unscathed for over many, many years. It has not been genetically altered by mankind in any way. Its pristine beauty just radiates freedom, liberty and happiness for all. The native plants, water ponds, and wetlands are not dormant at all as their fruit germinates in the rich soil and ground. I know that it is indeed winter here, although very dry and not as cold as usual. One day hopefully many students of nature will come and participate with and in nature here at this location as I have done.
Feeling quite relaxed, liberated and free after the tour, I would say that my NSD symptoms of stress were diminished by at least 85%. Protecting this nature center in the future for others learning and enjoyment is my heartfelt intention. Promoting NSTP, existing in present time, says it all for the remedy.
While the consistency with which we all felt the nature-connection benefits were surprising, it was also amazing to find that often, without our intent, we were led to heal or understand issues we have carried with us for many years. Surely everyone has some clutter in their emotional closets that could use some illumination and fresh air from nature. The beauty of nature is that it does not cost money, does not ask you about your mother, and does not prescribe potentially harmful pharmaceuticals. It just gently helps you with whatever you are ready to confront, as long as you are open. For example, I have always had a problem with the concept 'being content;" always feeling that to be content is to be stagnant or lazy. Therefore, I never felt content because I never allowed it. This adds stress to my life because shortly after each success, I am looking for the next challenge, and angry and anxious when I do not find it promptly. Through an Organic Psychology exercise I did with a maple tree in my yard, I came to a new definition of content that I am now allowing myself to experience. As I wrote:
"The fuller definition for content that I came up with was 'at peace with its current place in the universe." This doesn't mean it (the tree) will stop growing or that if some space opened up next to it, it wouldn't send out some new branches that way, or that some of its branches won't die as the sun is taken up by higher branches. It just means it is at peace with exactly how it is right now. That would be an excellent place to live my life from, while I still worked at improving myself and the lives of others around me .
Registering Natural Systems
AROUND ME: The beautiful pink colour that surrounded the Purcell mountain range gave me permission to visit this area. I loved this pink colour because of it's life, it's quiet beauty not to be missed, it's serene peaceful power. The colour signified the end of the daylight it was breathtaking and it reverberated deep within me to a place of still and acceptance. Thank you.
WITHIN ME: I like myself because of my life, my quiet beauty is not to be missed, my serene and peaceful power.
This activity stopped me in my tracks.
I quite enjoy this particular activity. It really seems to make sense to me about my place within nature and how I cannot love something that isn't in me, likewise I couldn't dislove something that wasn't in me.
I can't imagine not being able to sense myself in Nature and nature in myself. There would no way to connect.
Self Doubt and Trust
I am attracted to many natural attractions when I go outside...I am always so grateful these attractions embrace and comfort me. It is faith that keeps my wounded heart healed. Faith in nature...she is often my shawl.
She knows my heart and she also knows I love her. I know she knows and she knows I know. It is faith that keeps us together.
Today I doubted myself which gave way to my own heartache. Then I heard a faint voice whisper telling me to trust. Yes , the path I had taken gave rise for doubt to accumulate inside of my heart or I gave rise to my own doubt to accumulate. I did not trust the answer I heard in my own heart... then the sun shone through the tree boughs, and rested upon my skin (as I was sitting on a chair outside) contemplating.... the warmth from the sun on my skin was delightful. I did not realize my skin was a little cool from the northern breeze (webstrings). A faint reminder of trust...a wake up call. A wake up call to remind me that all is provided in abundance...it is natures gift...it is up to me to trust.
Coming Into and Getting Away
When our mixed group of students and adults were stressed while working on conflicts that arose, we would take a break for a day and do solos in attractive natural areas. Folks always returned from them refreshed and with increased insights and resilience. The question arose, had we, on our solos, simply recovered by getting away from our stress situation? To answer the question the next time we took a break we spent seven hours "soloing" in a shopping mall. The group came back together stressed, depressed. They expressed a huge relief from getting away from the artificial hustle and bustle of the Mall.
I crept away from work into the wooded patch behind my office. It had been a particularly stressful day, full of the complex and life-and-death problems commonly faced in the fitness business. The water heater leaking into the men's dressing room was causing the carpet there to grow mushrooms. Two members had nearly gotten into a fistfight over a song playing on the radio. The police were in front ticketing the cars of members who parked in the handicapped spaces. Just the usual problems. So it was a nice respite to step out for an hour and relax in the little wooded area.
The immediate attraction of the area was an overwhelming sense of tranquility. The area was at peace, as it should be. It had taken on the onslaught of humanity and survived. I felt embraced and welcomed, as though the area was inviting me to join in its serenity. The longer I did, the more at peace I became. I tried to allow myself to be a part of the area. The longer I tried the further "in I felt I was being allowed. It didn't take long to become a part of the area. A natural part. As though I had always been there. And it became a separate part of me. I felt sorry for the "other me, the one that would actually leave the area and go back into the chaos of the nature-disconnected story world outside. How insignificant the problems were outside of the area. How foolish it seems to go back.
I think I felt as I did because the natural sensory attractions that exist in the wooded area manifested themselves as such pleasant and honest feelings and senses that it was easy to be attracted to them. Perhaps even stronger was the effect of the contrast between the story world that constitutes the vast majority of my existence and the natural attraction honesty of the natural area. The strength of the tall trees and the permanence of the area were in stark contrast to the emotional priorities and false foundations outside of it.
Almost subliminally, like bad habit I paid little attention to, I've always felt a sense of separation, of being unaccepted or incomplete. I went to this natural area and asked my intellect to accept the wisdom of the knowledge that my ancient-natural mind started with. I also asked my ancient mind to be open to the contemporary logic that was ingrained, almost written over it by the literate-abstract part of my mind. These words don't come easy, but it was the first time that I felt that sense of separation in a concrete way, of the existence of the old senses being hidden. I felt a sense of completion and acceptance of each part.
I think so often I've fought the regimentation I lived through, that I felt, because of they way society tried to force knowledge into me....it was all of little value....even though I've always had an almost incurable thirst to know more. Some of this was to please my capturers so they'd let me go, but in reality I've always just wanted to know and understand more.
This visit to a natural area helped solve some of this internal conflict. Having the knowledge that the combined old and new logic creates a more powerful whole logic is different that sensing it at my core! So I opened up and sat in the space and felt the different aspects of the wind, the air, the beings around me, and the earth and it was good.
I took the basic internet-based Nature Connect course probably 5-6 years ago. It was tons of fun. Now, as a Certified Health Educator I still use some of the exercises I learned in Michael's books--especially the one on finding your "special place", so students can recall it for relaxation/stress reduction visualization purposes. This
weekend, when I visited the Brevard County Zoo, there were so many connections. Unfortunately most people don't understand how friendly Nature
can be...or are aware of all sensory connections surrounding us.
I took a walk at my favorite time of day. No longer day, but not quite night; twilight. There is so much variety and quick, subtle changes for the senses at this special time of day. The air was crisp and still, the sky was absolutely cloudless. The sliver of a waxing moon kept me company as I strolled, block by city block toward the park. A small bird flys quickly overhead to reach its nest before the fullness of nightfall.
I arrive at the big field crusted over with icy snow, my feet crunching beneath me with every step. The quality of light and the variety of shades of colors blending seamlessly together across the dome of sky enthrall me. Rosy hues in the west give way to violet blues, and on into the ever darkening shades and shadows of night to the east. In this glorious time betwixt and between, the magical, fading light highlights the finery of form of every tree limb and twig reaching toward the expansive sky. I notice a star twinkling within the framework of high branches, and silently give thanks for this fine moment. I feel lighthearted, joyful, both a witness and an included participant in this array of shifting light; another mysterious silhouette dancing against the changing palette of color in the space around and between everything.
My experience in nature shows me that I am a person who gets good feelings by joining in and witnessing the beauty of the changing light of day into night. I enjoy the interplay of light, shadow, colorful hues, shifting energies and the feeling of shrouding mystery in the imminent arrival of the night. On my way home, it further occurred to me that I love bearing witness to transition in many ways and on many levels in life; in myself, my surroundings, other people, seasons, etc. It always seems like such an honor to recognize, witness and in some cases, help usher along the fleeting, magical movement of transformation. Earth spoke to me in my love for twilight, and helped me better recognize my appreciation for the cycles of light and life.
"I had some stress that resulted in disorder - I called it chaos! Shortly after all children moved away to their own lives, my mother and husband passed within 18 months of each other. I had lost all the labels by which I had identified myself. So, I lost me too.
I didn't understand exactly why, but found that I felt much better outside. I started spending more time in outdoor activities, including walking to and from work - about a mile. I also started a gratitude journal then too - a way to shift my mental chaotic focus. For the first few weeks the required 5 "things I am grateful for" were exactly the same every day. Then I began to add the rabbit I saw on the way to work, the star that guided me there, the crisp smell of the fresh air, then the smiles from caring coworkers who saw how I was healing, the compliments on my smile and peaceful aura that became obvious. Soon my 5 things were varied and amazing, then they were 10 and then 15!
Those gratitude sensory nature attractions connected me to an identity that could not be labeled nor taken away - my Natural Self. Through that awareness I changed - more like 80% - as I moved 250 miles away from all that I had labeled "home" and found my home on 80 acres in a little town up North. Family and friends were sure THIS was the disorder - grief and fear causing me to run. Then they began to visit and see my joy and recognize that following attractions might not be a disorder at all. For them it's 30%, for me it's LIFE."
"A simple breath, breathed in unison between two or more people and then held to bring the sense of tension---and release to breathe/relaxation, serves as the constant tension/relaxation and conflict resolution power of nature---as it flows through us all."
As a child, I spent many hours playing in the woods and fields near my house, often alone or with our two dogs. I always felt safe and at home outside, but never thought much about it until I became an adult. As I entered my mid-twenties, I somehow became very disconnected to nature as I was focusing on working several jobs and going to college at night to earn a bachelor's degree in Accounting.
I remember one particular day while I was driving my car along a country road on the way to work, being very tired, stressed, and miserable. It was a beautiful summer day and I noticed a small trail going into the woods on the side of the road. For some reason I pulled the car over, got out, and walked down the trail without any idea where it would lead. I found that it went downhill to a beautiful, stream rushing over rocks with a cliff on the far side and lush trees and vegetation all around. The sun was streaming through the trees in bands of light that seemed mystical and divine. To me it was paradise, and I walked and took it all in, breathing the fresh air and forgetting all about my job, school, stress, and my exhaustion. I realized that I greatly missed the outdoors, was extremely out of balance without it, and that it was time to reacquaint myself with nature and her calming, healing effects.
After that day, I visited the same spot each week, and found myself looking forward to it and thinking of ways to spend more time in nature. I started backpacking in the wilderness and felt more and more of a relationship with nature. One day, while solo backpacking near an Adirondack stream, I had a strange thing happen to me. I felt that Spirit, the One that animates all life, was looking at me through waves in the water. It was a feeling I could not shake and remember fondly to this day.
Tension and Breath
"When I am amidst a tension conflict situation with another person I often catch myself holding my breath in order to withhold my own reactionary or reflex response to aggression via lashing out myself with aggressive language. However, withholding my breath often snaps my reality back to the natural which is to breathe. As I remind myself to breathe ~ in and out deep and nourishingly ~ I find that I can then "think" about what I am feeling in this moment and return to my natural senses and deal with the conflicting or difficult person in a rational and leveling or conflict reducing manner. I normally, quickly scan myself and the situation for the most natural compromise and offer another response that is not a reflex (anger lashing in retaliation) but instead a well thought out our rationally considered and calm response to the aggression I am confronting.
I have a natural built-in defense mechanism that I have been equipped with via Mother nature for conflict resolution. The blocking of my natural urge to breathe snaps my reality to the tension-release conflict within which gives my linguistic mind the opportunity to function via language with words that will protect me from and thus reduce the incoming violence. Very cool
One day I went out to nature, to visit the old wise tree. I did not feel very connected, I was trying to connect but was not feeling anything. But then I thought, well, it's not that I'm not feeling anything, but that my attraction right now is to sleep and rest. I was not in the place to give and receive anything because what I was being called to do was sleep.
The second day I thought that usually the more I stay out in nature the more I can feel the changes in me, so I did that. I walked for a while in the woods, it was raining, the first rain of the year. For a moment I stopped, and did something I enjoy doing. I pay attention to my breathing and then at the same time to something else, which is pretty complicated to me. This time I closed my eyes and paid attention to the sound of the rain drops hitting the leaves and the grass. It was a very pleasant experience, and brought a lot of peace and balance in me, which is something I need because this seems to be one of those weeks when everything is out of order, vibrating at strange frequencies.
The river has been calling me all day so I decided to get padded up and sit on her snowy bank. Asking permission is always grounding... this time granting me only a slight sense of connectedness and oneness possibly b/c we join together often and its becoming more of a constant sense. B). The 3 fish (salmon perhaps) immedietely reminded me of my family; Colin, Sophia and I... interconnected, a family of community, and yet strongly independent and separate to pursue our own life's purpose. The river unconditionally providing the life force to sustain our family, as well as providing a variety of current pathways to pursue our own unique interests and souls purpose.
The other night my husband and I experienced a confrontation together that touched on both our wounds...leaving us both feeling somewhat hopeless as this pattern resurfaces from time to time without any different endings. I managed to break free from the cycle and go outside to be alone... only to be reminded that this is the time to connect with nature. I small willow bush in front of our house shared its wisdom.... offering many visions of elbow-branches supporting small drifts of snow throughout its life. The snow reminded me of my husband... in his innocence, his light and purity at a time needing my support and nurturance. I went back into the house and offered this to him... our night ended in warmth and tears.
"We are addicted to old ways and can't change because we don't recognize our problems as addictions........an accurate way to define psychological addiction." I realize now that when I have read this before, I sort of glossed over it, thinking that it applied to other people, not me. Now I have tried labeling some of my own behavior attitudes and patterns as addictions and that feels quite different. I agree that information alone does not "change bonds" because of the feeling of lack of safety. But sometimes we can't wait for support and for the risk to be removed; we just have to jump! and then find that we can fly. And of course that's the rub, being that brave, when the disconnection process is so pervasive."
'I asked permission to enter the park and felt instantly relaxed when I received that permission. I simply walked around the pond and when I got to the woods, I started saying unity over and over again. How can I describe what happened then? I saw silver webstrings between all the trees. I actually saw them. At that sight I instantly became grounded, part of the earth I was walking on. I slowed down. I felt each step. Each movement of my legs, arms, head, was recorded, and belonged in a way that I have never felt before. It wasn't that I was a part of the scene; it's that I was the scene. I wasn't experiencing the moment, I was the moment. I know this sounds huge and expansive, but it was the opposite. What I felt was simple."
I have been observing prairie dogs for 3 days, 4 hours each day. They are just waking up so there was not a lot of acivity at first, but when the sun came out there were several pairs that came up and played! Incredible to watch how they "kiss" each other in greeting, run back and forth in a specific area, from hole to hole. There was one that came from a group across the street and got chased all the way down the field. It reminded me of "The Three Stooges" (an old television comedy) They live in families and communities. I was completely filled with awe watching their behaviors, movements and social activities. I felt privileged and longed to be a part of their community. I felt strong, grounded and full when I left the field each day.
I went back to clean some cages of a few who are going to be released to another location soon and had a wonderful time with my co-worker naming a pair "Oscar and Maria" who couldn't get enough carrots!! We felt in community with each other and with the animals in the cages as we cooed with them and asked them about their family plans, now that breeding season is almost here, etc.
We are all sentient beings: the prairie dogs, the wind, the soil, me. Community is much larger than just sharing with other humans. I am a person who feels good watching prairie dogs play like children!
As it slowly became light, the same grey light we,ve had for the last 15 days, I headed up over the dike and down toward the water. In the car on the way to my parking spot the idea of being by the river was attractive to me, but as I headed toward it, cold and still sleepy, I wasn't sure. I stopped to see what sensations were coming up, but nothing strong but cold and vulnerable. Four months ago the water would surely have drawn me. When I reached it this morning finally, and saw a submerged log near the shore, it was very clear: "Not here. I felt like I was that submerged log.
I moved inland a bit and headed west, into a "close or "cove of box elder and cottonwoods, grass hummocks and depressions. Huge windfalls submerged in moss and lichens and fallenover vegetation. Here I began to feel more comfortable, less preoccupied with cold. Deer tracks and vole tunnels; woodpecker calls and geese calling overhead were my first attractions and the patterns that felt like consent. As I stood in a bowl-shaped area ringed by gooseberries and cottonwoods my senses of trust, kinship and companionship were stimulated by the softness of the matt of vegetation underfoot. I was aware of the river nearby, and remembered clearly how cold it felt, but I was in community in my bowl, and safe. With this assurance, I read the quote, and then said the quote, two or three more times. I was drawn to the evidence of change all around in the form of seeds remaining on plants and shrubs around me, places on snow patches where they had shattered on their own, or as a result of pouncing birds.
As I moved beyond my clenching and tightening from the cold to following attractions, I felt my muscles loosen and relax, which helped me to see more. Following a deer trail out of the bottomland hollow I entered a more open area"more savannah-like. The summer jungle of waist -high grasses was a flattened matt dotted with ash, cottonwood, aspen. Being less texturally diverse, more open, coming upon this area felt like an aaaaaaaaahhhhh.. Against this background of soft space the round jewel buds of the Chinese elm drew me in like a tether of sweetness. They alone were shelter on this cold morning! "The purpose..to support.help it teach you Here it is, just light. I could have missed this while sleeping. Now it might be my sleeping music, as 13 geese fly 15 feet above me, back and forth, calling and circling back.. Were they calling to me? They were so close I could hear the whistling of their wings and the vibrational texture of their voices. Their energy inspired me to stand up straighter and relax my shoulders. Turning to follow their movement westward I see the thing that would hold me best against cold, one lone and massive spreading-armed oak.. Senses of gravity, weight and balance are resonating with the perfect mass of branch intricacy and symmetry. Piles of leaves and pine needles, mounds of soil from excavations all had been dumped around it, the "refuse of various manicuring operations elsewhere, and were like a moat that ringed this monarch of the bottomland. When I reached the trunk, I felt an immediate change in the quality of the air and realized it,s stillness and closeness. And life was supported in an active way here! Three woodpecker feathers, an entrance into a den into the side of one of the earth mounds, scat and tracks and lichens and acorns. It was like entering a home, or reaching the ship at last, or nestling into or behind the bulk of Eshwyn the Protector. The geese continue to circle and call one more time, and then land. Had I not found the pain at the river and tried the bottomland hollow and its deer track, I might never have come here. But the best was the true light of morning at 8:45 as seen from back-against-massive-plate-bark-armor. Looking out from there it was framed by the many muscled trunks of arms suspended on air substance, dancing with the very subtle wind that said, "Okay.
Anxiety, acceptance, and abandonment,
I asked the following question to a natural area (this backyard natural area where I live). Rather than saying the words outloud, I simply had the feelings and question in my mind/body and eminated these feelings to this natural area. I have experienced this many times before in connections with wildlife----an emanating of intent.
My question was: How do Webstrings (the connectors of the web of life) share intelligence and offer wisdom on how to validate natural unconditional belonging/acceptance? My eye caught the shimmering white light moving along a single spider web that was attached to the tip of a Live-Oak leaf, attached to the limb of the tree and moving in the gentle breeze. The other end of the spider web was attached to a PVC pipe used in the structure of our greenhouse organic garden.
Validation response to my question: My vision was attracted to white light (sense #1) and the motion (sense #18) of the tree limb which caused the web to stretch and change the angle of light which created a sense of movement along a the line of the web. My sense of proximity (sense #16) was important in this angle of light. The sense of form and design (sense #41) was also present in the web material and its ability to reflect light.
To summarize: Light and motion connected with a spider web, tree, and non-human plastic pipe; all gave me a sensory webstring intelligent consensus of nature's adaptability and acceptance of existence in the current moment, in order to nourish and sustain harmony.
Relieving Lack of Hope
While riding a bike into the sunset the other day with my son I suddenly realized how and why the evolutionary track of our society has come to the high tech state in which it now exists ~ totally disconnected from the
natural order of things and out of synch with natural systems. At the same time I also sensed that we are all truly connected to our natural knowledge as we honestly do value the products of human endeavor more so than those of the technology age. Hence, NSD can be combated. What is even more
enlightening is that we have the power to do just that via the very technology that has driven us away from nature ~ i.e. The Internet in conjunction with the "Friends of Natural Systems" list. Through this venue I
believe we have the power to reach and teach many members of the human race
and thus begin serving to correct the Natural System Disorder with education via the Natural System Thinking Process (NSTP).
"Friends" can and will teach the NSTP to friends via sharing nature-connected experiences on the web site in dialogic interactions of heartfelt nature-connected epiphanies and further training endeavors in our face-to-face human interactions.
We have the power to heal ourselves and our world..and through nature-connection sharing and learning we shall.
I have gained more than 30% myself through the use of the NSTP. I have enhanced both my interests and abilities to learn; reduced personal stressors; reduced much conflict and friction in my own
family's "world" of existence; and, my personal and social affect have
changed dramatically. It works for me.
There is great hope in the NSTP for correcting NSD.
Examples Continued (Part Two)
Psychological Elements of Global Citizenship: an Organic Remedy for NSD
"This is the course that every civilized person will be required to take if we are to reverse our runaway disorders."
- Raymond Sierra, Counselor
INSTITUTE OF GLOBAL EDUCATION Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council PROJECT NATURECONNECT
Online, natural system healing education that increases
immunity to Natural System Dysfunction .
P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com
ORGANIC, ACCREDITED, APPLIED ECOPSYCHOLOGY IN ACTION
The Natural Systems Thinking Process
Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director
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The Web of Life Imperative.
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