The Sensuous Kinship of Body and Earth

 

In this article which appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Ecopsychology Journal, Sophia Reinders asks us a compelling question:

“How can we bring into being in ourselves and in our communities a consciousness that is earth-cherishing and aware of the planet as the living matrix in which all earth communities, including the human, are embedded and have their ground?”

The manner in which the author suggests that we go forward is poetically derived from her own experiences of oneness with nature as she beautifully recounts her embodiment of a coyote’s song and melding with the fragrance of the morning.  Using these examples, the author asks us to go beyond contemplation and gently invites us to act by “sensory reception” and “intuitive perception”.  She suggests that, as we re-awaken “our ancient capacity to be enchanted with the mystery that has given birth to us and surrounds us… we may begin to listen to the ancient dialogue of body and earth”.

Sophia’s full article may be found at http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/eco.2016.0035

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This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Ecopsychology Journal, which regularly features articles free of charge to the public for a limited period of time.

Acknowledgement for featured image: “Coyote Leaping” by John Nieto, 24″ x 30″ acrylic.  Available at Ventana Fine Art, 400 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Re-Humanizing Nature

Re-Humanizing Nature (PDF, 123K) by Ian Johnstone

“The meaning of things lies not in things themselves, but in our attitudes to them.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Australian Ian Johnstone’s long (24 pages), thoughtful article utilizes the language of poetry (and excerpts from the best of nature writing) in an impassioned plea for :re-humanizing” nature. Written in 2014, Johnstone’s argument is about the dehumanization that an exclusively scientific perception and language has wrought, and the many ways he sees for re-humanizing our relationship with the natural world – a topic as relevant now as it was then.

Embodying Nature

How do we quiet the monkey mind and receive our environment? And once we are in relationship with place, how do we engage and interact?

Embodying Nature Download PDF (93K), by Jamie McHugh
In this somatic and expressive approach to becoming more fully human as elemental creatures, Jamie McHugh combines the technologies of breath, vocalization, contact, movement and stillness to occupy the soma/psyche, open the portals of perception and invite in the spirit of place. He discovers how tree, rock, sky, and water reflect aspects of our being through this sensory-motor encounter.

Author Bio: Jamie McHugh is a somatic coach, dancer, and artist living on the California coast. The creator of Somatic Expression® – Body Wisdom for Modern Minds, Jamie has guided somatic-expressive encounters with the natural world for the past 25 years in Europe and the United States.

Photos of Jamie McHugh by Gregory Bartning

Home Life Could Be Simpler

Home Life Could Be Simpler:  
Perceptions of Home Among Married Couples While Staying at an Eco-lodge

Dr. Tal Litvak Hirsch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Alon Lazar, Independent scholar

Eco Lodge NegevAbstract
Individuals relate to their homes in a myriad of ways. The current study suggests that in order to expand our understanding of people’s perceptions of “home” it would be beneficial to also consider these perceptions when individuals are on vacation, and especially in locations in which living arrangements are very different from their homes. Inspection of the perceptions of married Jewish-Israeli couples who holidayed at an eco-lodge in the Israeli desert revealed that the disparity between the two abodes was generally positive and similar. The wives were more prone to point out that the stay at the eco-lodge, led them to consider the possibility of conducting their homes in a simpler manner. The results are discussed in light of social behavior , connectivity to nature and consumerism.

FOR MORE
Download a PDF of the full article – Home life could be simpler
Download a PDF of Tables – Home life could be simpler – Tables

The Biophilia Hypothesis & Mental Health

This provocative piece questioning the association between ecopsychology and biophilia was submitted by Douglas Radmore, undergraduate student of Criminology and Psychology at the University of Brighton, Sussex (England):

The concept of biophilia is a prevalent one within ecopsychology and is implicated in many theories within the school (White & Keerwagen, 2013). This article will take a brief look into the implications of biophilia and biophobia on our everyday mental wellbeing, with particular focus on disgust based biophobic reactions and their cultural implications.

Download the entire article in pdf format, here: Examination of the Biophilia Hypothesis and its implications for Mental Health.

How Ecology Informs Transpersonal Psychology

flowering_shooting_starsSan Francisco bay area psychotherapist Mark Johnson wrote a great post in his blog, Empathy and Essence: When Therapy Awakens Your Divine Nature, on “How Ecology Informs Transpersonal Psychology”.

Here’s an excerpt from Johnson’s psychologically and spiritually astute post, which quotes from a wide variety of spiritual, psychological and nature-based thinkers from Joanna Macy to Oscar Ichazo:

How we perceive the outer world and the way it works largely determines how we view our inner world and its movement and change. If we have been raised in the Western world, educated and enculturated in its scientific mindset, we will tend to see the Universe as mechanistic, random or accidental, infinitely complex but ultimately reducible to finite, material components and energies, and forever stressed between opposing and competing forces.

This prevailing view directly colors how the human psyche is perceived…

Read the rest of his post, here.

Introduction to Ecotherapy

from Beth Lapin

Because of its relative newness, many people are not aware of ecotherapy nor do they have an understanding of it. I have recently completed two outreach efforts to broaden the public’s understanding and appreciation of this emerging field. I’d welcome any feedback about either of them, available through the hotlinks below.

Continue Reading →

Solomon Benatar’s Forward to “Billy Beaver: An Environmental Allegory”

photography by Amy Lenzo

photo by Amy Lenzo

Some years ago Michael Aleksiuk submitted a pdf of his book ‘Billy Beaver: An Environmental Allegory‘ to Gatherings.  Its premise is that the human striving for status is at the psychological roots of environmental degradation. This ‘children’s story’ has been heartily endorsed by academics and scholars worldwide as a breakthrough in understanding. It is still available in the Gatherings Archives of Jan 05 – December 05.

All those years ago Solomon Benatar was invited to write a foreword to ‘Billy Beaver’ and he tracked us down so that we can include his foreword here with the original story; download and read his work here: Billy Beaver Foreword.

Recovering the Eco-Unconscious

Desert Flower

Photo by: Amy Lenzo

by Robin E. Gates

Abstract: Western culture has a history of union and subsequent separation from nature. This split between spirit and nature, psyche and soma, intellect and emotion, science, philosophy, and religion, manifests in our individual and collective consciousness creating crises that span the spectrum of human experience, from the psychological to the environmental. Since we have within our unconscious, memories of our being in union with nature, it is a matter of recovering them through what Carl Jung called the individuation process; whereby, a person develops one’s unique individuality from that which has been imposed on him or her from the environment. An expansion of consciousness and recovery of the eco-unconscious is achieved by the confrontation with and integration of unconscious material culminating in coniunctio, or union of the opposites….Read Article

A Winter Meditation on Pruning…

By Linda Buzzell-Saltzman, previously published in The Huffington Post as “The Zen of Pruning” , 1/16/12.

Winter and early spring are the seasons when many gardeners, orchardists and farmers — fancying themselves surgeons — approach their trees, shrubs and roses with knives, pruning shears and saws in hand, seemingly unaware that these plants are, as the Buddhists would say, sentient beings.

Most pruning is less a conversation between two of nature’s creatures and more an act of ruthless domination under the guise of necessity. Continue Reading →

The Permaculture-Ecotherapy Dialogues

Santa Barbara psychotherapist/ecotherapist Linda Buzzell and John F. Kennedy University ecopsychology professor Dr. Craig Chalquist,  co-editors of Sierra Club Books’ “Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind” — both graduates of the Permaculture Design Course — explore the possibilities though this very preliminary dialogue that will hopefully open a much wider conversation about whether — or even if — the ecologically-based principles of permaculture can address the remediation of devastated psychological and social ecosystems as well as abused and neglected places.

Read Article

Comments are welcome and can be sent to lbuzzell@aol.com

Reconnecting with Nature

“Mt Hood from Mt Tabor” by David Johnson

Abstract: In this article author Tatiana Casey explores her own symbiotic relationship with the earth, life, and Self through an ecopsychological lens. The definition of Ecopsychology is also explored and defined through varying perspectives which include information from research, personal interviews, and eco-therapeutic topics.
Download the full article (pdf)

Lessons from Kanab

John Lynch has been bringing outdoor leadership students to Kanab Creek Wilderness for over ten years. Each visit, however, offers the clear truth that the land is the real teacher. Kanab Creek, and presumably all wild places, have a knack for providing insight around the greater lessons of life. In this case, they are uniquely delivered to each individual through the voice of the earth as translated by the desert. The attached articles is a short reflection describing a day of communion and muse between a man and Kanab Creek: Lessons-from-Kandab

Recovering the Eco Unconscious

By Robin E. Gates

Abstract: Western culture has a history of union and subsequent separation from nature. This split between spirit and nature, psyche and soma, intellect and emotion, science, philosophy, and religion, manifests in our individual and collective consciousness creating crises that span the spectrum of human experience, from the psychological to the environmental. Since we have within our unconscious memories of our being in union with nature, it is a matter of recovering them through what Carl Jung called the individuation process; whereby, a person develops one’s unique individuality from that which has been imposed on him or her from the environment. An expansion of consciousness and recovery of the eco-unconscious is achieved by the confrontation with and integration of unconscious material culminating in coniunctio, or union of the opposites. Download the full article (pdf).