THE WEBSTRING NATURAL ATTRACTION MODEL
Connecting With the Grace, Balance and
Restorative Powers of the Web of Life
The Wisdom We Forget To
J. Cohen ©2000
The information in this article is edited from the
- reviewed and published 2008 doctoral dissertation at Akamai University, Hawaii
- reviewed and published article "Nature Connected Psychology:
Creating Moments that Let Earth Teach" in
JOURNAL OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1 No 1, JUNE 2000
- reviewed and published article
and Nature: a Greening of Psychotherapy" in INTERPSYCH: THE MENTAL
HEALTH NEWSLETTER VOL
2, ISSUE 4, MARCH, 1995
- reviewed and published article
it to Beavers" in THE TRUMPETER, Vol 7, No
- reviewed and published article "Integrated Ecology: The
Process of Counseling With Nature" THE HUMANISTIC
PSYCHOLOGIST. Vol. 21. No 3. 1994, American Psychological Association.
- reviewed and accredited
methods and materials of "Psychological
Elements of Global Citizenship" and "Educating and Counseling with
Nature" at PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
- reviewed and published article "Integrating Nature's
Balance." THE JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, v.22 #4, Washington,
- reviewed and published article "Earth Kinship: The Fabric of
Personal and Global Balance." JOURNAL OF EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION Volume
12, Number 1. Spring, 1989
- reviewed and published article "Counseling With Nature:
Catalyzing Sensory Moments that Let Earth Nurture." COUNSELING
PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY, Vol. 6, No. 1, Carfax Publishing, Abingdon
- reviewed and published article "The Secrets of Nature Trail and Game":
THE TRUMPETER, BC Canada, 1995
additional reviewed and published articles.
are some truths, even fundamental ones, that are apt to elude us. The
most basic truth regarding our Earth-home is that all living things, in
some manner, are related to each other. This fact carries implications
even of a spiritual nature."
1953 A.D. (10)
we try to pick out anything by itself, we find that it is bound fast by
invisible cords that cannot be broken to everything else in the
John Muir, 1869 A.D.
cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand
invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers our actions run
as causes and return to us as results."
Herman Melville 1860 A.D.
things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not
weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to
the web, he does to himself."
Chief Seattle/Ted Perry 1854 A.D.
is part of nature, the balanced, ancient, pre-human web of life on
Earth that communicates within itself through non-literate attraction
to our culture's irrational prejudice against nature, our nature
separated society socializes/trains/programs us to live, on average,
less than .000022% of our lives in conscious sensory contact with nature's dance of
streaming natural attraction filaments (webstrings)
that support, nurture and hold the web of life together .
is reasonable to recognize that we seldom improve personal or global
peace and well being because our prejudice secretly conditions us to
fight an undeclared war against
nature and its webstrings within and about us.
Webstrings dance through and rewardingly register in our consciousness as 53 natural motivating attraction senses.
These include our well known five senses plus 48 additional senses
including the senses of thirst, place and color, trust community and
reason, pain, motion, consciousness, gravity and temperature.
socialized excessive separation of our psyche from nature tears it from
its nurturing origins in the web of life. This injures and wounds our
webstring attractions. It stops their sensory flow through our awareness.
dispel the pain, our psyche removes from our awareness our hurt,
inherent 53 natural sense webstring way of knowing. We lose contact
with global life's balanced guidelines and rewards. Many of our injured
natural senses hide in our subconscious where their pain may be hooked
into consciousness so we suffer it.
reduce the sensory void, pain and sadness that our webstring injury and
disconnection creates, we crave and psychologically bond to destructive
replacement gratifications and to tranquilizers for our separation
discomforts. We feel loss and abandonment. We want beyond reason. We
become greedy, excessive, insensitive and abusive, for when we want
there is never enough. We feel excessive stress and a lack of support
that we incorrectly identify as symptoms of life's madness.
is not mad, it's the prejudice of the nature-disconnected way we learn
to think that is crazy.
researched sensory nature activities, the Webstring Model natural
attraction tool (the AVATAR Pandora Na'vi braid connection to nature) of Organic Psychology and NSTP helps us thoughtfully,
consciously, reconnect our psyche with the web of life and pleasantly
register its webstrings. This enables the grace, balance and
restorative powers of webstrings to help us transform the destructive
socialization of our thoughts that creates our disconnected reasoning.
We recycle the garbage in our thinking into constructive thinking and feeling. Responsible
personal, social and environmental relationships result that increase well
being and feel good.
what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made personal,
merely personal feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are
bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and
stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor blossom, we
plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and expected it to keep on
blooming in our civilized vase on the table."
- D. H. Lawrence 1963 A.D.
thoughtfully learning how to become conscious of 48 hidden motivating webstring
senses, we reattach our ability to love to its renewing roots in
nature. This restores love to its fullness; it helps us heal our
- Michael J. Cohen
unbalanced way we learn to think in our nature- conquering culture
produces personal, social and environmental abusiveness that includes
the insanity of war. Although we despise these evils, they don't
readily change for, subconsciously, by the age of seven, our
socialization bonds or addicts
us to some ideas and values that produce our evils. Without
appropriately transforming these destructive bonds we and Earth remain
dangerously troubled and unbalanced.
and psychologically we are part of nature and vice versa. However, due
to our seldom recognized prejudice against nature we learn to live in
physical and mental separation from nature and its balanced ways. Our
prejudice consists of unreasonable attitudes that are unusually
resistant to rational influence. Due to it, on average over 98 percent
of our time and thinking is disconnected from motivation by nature's grace balance
and restorative powers. This severe severance from the web of life's
beneficial natural fulfillments produces a void in our psyche. It
triggers the discomforts of sensory deprivation and excessive cravings
that we must gratify artificially, no matter the ruinous side effects.
artificial fulfillments often color or distort our thinking while they
provide emotional and monetary rewards that fuel our economy.
Unthoughtful development, consumerism and disorders result. Despite
excellent reasoning and evidence to the contrary, very few of us think
that we can satisfy our cravings by thoughtfully reconnecting our
thinking and feeling to nature. Such denial of a truth or fact is
typical of addiction or bigotry.
have become so bewildered (wilderness separated) that we try to resolve
our problems using the same nature disconnected stories, thinking and
processes that produce them. The good news is that a new social
technology, the Webstring Natural Attraction Ecology Model, enables us to break
this habitual vicious circle. Its NSTP helps us recognize ourselves as part
of the life of Planet Earth. Scientifically, we can see it and us act
like a single living organism.
on Vladimir Vernadsky's 1929 identification of the biosphere, Eugene Odum's Fundamentals of Ecology (1951) and John
H. Stoer's 1953 ecology classic, The Web of Life,
experts in many disciplines have accurately portrayed nature and the web of life by
gathering a group of people in a circle. Each person is asked to
represent some part of nature, a bird, soil, water, a tree, etc. A
large ball of string then demonstrates the interconnecting
relationships between things in nature. For example the bird eats
insects so the string is passed from the "bird person" to the "insect
person." That is their connection. The insect lives in a flower, so the
string is further unrolled across the circle to the "flower person."
Soon a web of string is formed interconnecting all members of the
group, including two people who represent humanity.
the string model an additional, singular red ribbon connects
the two people in the circle. The ribbon represents that in
the web of life people alone can connect with each
other using the written or spoken abstractions of literacy, of our
words and stories.
part of the global life community, from sub-atomic particles to weather
systems, is part of, and included in, this lifeweb model. Their webstring
interconnectedness produces nature's balanced integrity and prevents
the above-described activity, dramatically, people pull back, sense,
and enjoy how the fragile string that they share peacefully unites,
supports and interconnects them and all of life (Pandora). Then one strand of the
web is cut signifying the loss of a species, habitat or relationship
due to pollution or excessive exploitation. Sadly, the weakening effect
on all is noted. Another and another string is cut. Soon the web
strings' integrity, support and power disintegrates along with its
spirit. Because this reflects the reality of our lives, it triggers
feelings of hurt, despair and sadness in many activity participants. We
have long observed and objected to Earth and its people increasingly
suffering from "cut string" disintegration, yet we continue to cut the
beings relate while in contact with the whole of the web of life
through its webstrings. As part of nature, we are conceived with and by
this ability. Along with many others (13), Pulitzer-Prize winning
sociobiologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson, of Harvard, affirms that people
have an inherent biological need to be in contact with nature. He shows
that Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive,
and even spiritual satisfaction.
1988, I asked some web of life activity adult participants if they ever
went into a natural area and actually saw strings interconnecting
things there. They said no, that would be a crazy hallucination. I
responded, "If there are no strings there, what then are the actual
strands that hold the natural community together in balance and
It became very, very quiet.
Are you quiet, too?
Pay close attention to this silence. It
flags a critical missing component whose absence troubles our thinking,
perceptions and relationships. Webstrings are a vital part of survival, just
as real and important as the plants, animals and minerals that they
interconnect, including ourselves. The strings are as true as 2 + 2 =
4, facts as genuine as thirst or motion, water or sight.
part of nature we are born with the natural ability to sense and know
webstrings but we seldom learn to habitually acknowledge or exercise
this ability. Without seeing, sensing or respecting the the flow of the
strings in nature and our inner nature, we break, injure and ignore
them (1). Their disappearance produces a sensory void, an uncomfortable
emptiness in our psyche and lives that we constantly try to fill. We
want, and when we want there is never enough. We become greedy,
stressed and reckless while trying to artificially replace our lost
webstring fulfillments. We place ourselves, others and Earth at risk
for with respect to the supportive, non-polluting genius of the web of
life and its reycling ways, no substitute has yet been
invented that replaces the real thing (2). The replacements
we invent often have detrimental side effects.
the exception of humanity, as its special red ribbon in the model
signifies, no other member of the lifeweb relates, interacts or thinks
through the webstring sense of verbal or written literacy and
prejudices it may convey. Nature's web is a non-verbal, non-literate
experience consisting of natural system webstring natural
attraction sensitivities, of loves, not of words that
abstract (meaning pull apart) relationships and reality (4).
bird's attraction/love for food (hunger) is a webstring. So is the
tree's attraction to grow away from gravity and its root's attraction
toward it. The fawn's desire for its mother and vice-versa are
webstrings. Every atom and its nucleus consists of, expresses and
relates through webstring attractions as does every kind of material or
thing. All of nature, including us, consists of these attractions (14). They
are webstrings, basic natural loves we hold in common with the natural
environment and each other.
inherently experience the webstrings we need for our survival, such as
thirst, temperature and belonging. They register in us as 53 or more natural motivating senses.
As we learn to ignore or subdue them, they end up hurt and frustrated
in our subconscious mind. Stored there, we don't feel their pain until
something triggers it into our awareness. We often guide and limit our
lives around our fear of being "hurtfully triggered" or hooked (11).
seldom learn that webstrings of fear, pain or discomfort are also
natural attraction senses. They attract and motivate us to seek, benefit from and
enjoy our other natural sense attractions and they help us think and feel more sensibly, to enjoy our attraction to "surviving"
to a spider web, each webstring is connected to the whole of the web
and is attracted and sensitive to it. And, as with the spider and its web, when you
touch one string, all the strings become aware of your touch and lend
support to the touched string, giving it resilience. The spider also
registers an awareness that the web has been touched for its
sensitivities and consciousness are also webstring connections that
support the web and vice versa.
newly researched nature-reconnecting activities (the AVATAR Pandora Na'vi braid connection to nature) enable us to safely and
beautifully bring webstrings back into our lives and thinking through NSTP (3). The presence
of their self-correcting ways helps reinstate the organics of
naturally balanced personal and environmental relationships (10). Genuine webstring contacts
in natural areas enable us to sentiently and consciously reattach the
webstrings within us to their nurturing origins, their continuum in the
web of life (6). We feel, enjoy and trust this thoughtful connection
and its wisdom. It is rewarding.
connection activities also help people translate webstring attraction
feelings into verbal language and share them (through the red ribbon) (9). In this
unifying way, our sensory connections with the web feelingly express
and validate themselves in conscious thoughts and words that strengthen
our human reasoning and relationships (12). These communications enable
us to think in unity, like nature works. We enjoy nature's grace,
balance and restorative wisdom as it continually flows into our mind
and relationships. It recycles the contamination of our thinking and
feeling into supportive attractions and relationships, like nature
the power of Webstring support, unity and nurturing replaces
destructive exploitation, competition and greed, recovery occurs (7). The
natural world, backyard or backcountry, becomes a remarkable classroom,
library and therapist that we treasure (8). It helps us peacefully
co-create a future in unity with ourselves, each other and the global
life community (12).
of our troubles result from deadened
webstrings in our psyche. Project NatureConnect
activities help us help webstrings restore themselves and us. (15)"
thinking is our destiny. We unnecessarily suffer many problems because
our nature-prejudiced and nature-separated motivations and socialization prevents our
thinking from acknowledging the following:
Our body and 90 percent of our mentality are of by and from the
perfection of nature's webstring eons.
Ten percent of our mentality knows and manages the web of life through
words and stories. Through the nature-conquering bias of contemporary
society the latter are excessively disconnected from and exploitive of
the grace, balance and restorative ways of webstrings, nature and the
Learning how to make conscious sensory contact with webstrings in a
natural area, backyard or backcountry, enables us to help the strings
reestablish their regenerative dance through our psyche. This helps us improve how we think and feel.
Injured or broken webstrings are major part of each personal, social or
environmental trouble we suffer. To be reasonable and effective in
solving problems and increasing well-being, we must engage in
nature-reconnecting NSTP activities (the Pandora Na'vi braid connection to nature) that motivate
us help webstrings restore their flow and renewing ways in
and about us.
NOTE: A full Ph.D. discourse about the contents of this article is located at http://www.ecopsych.com/ksanity.html
An extended summary of the web-of-life (Pandora) model and NSTP is locted at
information: contact Michael J. Cohen, Ph.D.
Ecopsychology Journal interview with Dr. Cohen: <http://www.ecopsych.com/ecopsychologyjournal.html>
most effecient way to learn to use and teach the webstring process is
by taking a short, online Orientation
Course: The Psychological Elements of Global
references are available at our homepage
Cohen, 2000, Nature Connected Psychology:
creating moments that let Earth teach http://www.ecopsych.com/natpsych.html
Cohen, 1997, Reconnecting With Nature: Finding Wellness
through restoring your bond with the Earth, Ecopress,
Corvallis, Oregon. http://www.ecopsych.com/newbook2007.html
Cohen, 2007, The Webstring Natural Attraction Model
Cohen 1995, Counseling and Educating With Nature http://www.ecopsych.com/counseling.html
Cohen 1993, Well Mind, Well Earth, Roche Harbor,
WA, World Peace University Press
Kofalk, 1994 The Distinguished World Citizen Award
Cohen, 1996, Study and Survey of Participants and
Logan, 1995 Nature Psychology Courses and Degrees http://www.ecopsych.com/theory.html
Cohen, 1996 Psychological Elements of Global Citizenship
Storer, J, 1953 The Web of Life, New York, New
Beyond Addicted Thinking: do this
Cohen, 1995, The Global Wellness and Unity Activity
Cohen, 1998 The Hidden, Unified-Field Voice in Natural Systems
Natural System Dysfunction (NSD): the
disorder, its origins and remedy
J. Cohen, Ed.D. founded and coordinates Project NatureConnect
and the Natural Systems Thinking Process. They are continuing education
workshops, distance learning courses and degree programs of Akamai and
West Coast Universities, Portland State University and the Institute of
Global Education. Dr. Cohen chairs the Department of Applied
Ecopsychology/Integrated Ecology on San Juan Island, Washington and
initiated the 1985 National Audubon conference "Is the Earth
A Living Organism?" For 33 years, he has founded and directed
degree granting environmental outdoor education programs for the
Trailside Country School, Lesley College, and the National Audubon
Society. His many books and articles include the award winning "Connecting
With Nature: Creating Moments that let Earth Teach" which is
included in his 1997 self-guiding book "Reconnecting
With Nature" (Ecopress) and "Well Mind,
Well Earth: 97 Environmentally Sensitive Activities for Stress
Management, Spirit and Self-esteem." Dr. Cohen is the
recipient of the Distinguished World Citizen Award.
you obtain information about the Project NatureConnect graduate school
and college cooperative education program from the web site by using
the homepage, a free,
helpful 15-minute discussion by phone with a faculty
member is the most efficient way to customize the program to
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