Mirrors in Nature
Section Overview

Nature can be both teacher and healer. Being immersed in nature we can observe the environment, take note of how we feel, and become aware that attributes of ourselves might be highlighted in the characteristics of plants, animals and elements, such as the hardness of rocks, the piercing eye of an eagle, or the persistence of a wombat. These metaphors then become messages for personal reflection and action. These messages are the Mirrors in Nature.

Ecopsychologist Susan Brelin-Becchio has developed a beautiful framework based on the the ever changing rotation of the seasons. The seasons become metaphors and lessons for life. The earth and its wondrous mechanisms deliver a pattern for personal enhancement rooted in the soil and the ebb and flow of the universal wisdom. She calls her practice Deep Elemental Ecology.

Anna Clabburn’s journey is quirky and intriguing. A love affair blossoms, flowers and eventually fades. The lifecycle of the flower is a metaphor or mirror for this journey of the heart. Her story is called Flowers of Men.

Kerri Halliday is bringing up her son to love nature in the same way as her own father raised her, with frequent and tender experiences in the outdoors. She weaves her personal and family nature encounters into a tapestry with indigenous spirituality. Her discussion is titled Defining the Boundaries that give rise to "the Edge" so they can be crossed, referring to the process of bridging the gap in childhood between human and nature.

Parents and grandparents are important role models for developing curiosity and awareness of the natural environment. Here Mark Boulet in A Portrait of My Mother writes about his mother with reverence and love. She encouraged his passion for adventure, for activism, and for his explorations in nature.

Animals and birds can be guides and protectors on our journey. They act as messengers bearing information or insight, and they sharpen our awareness by indicating another way of seeing and knowing. Brett Donaldson reveres the hawk and takes us on a revealing journey with this graceful raptor. It’s called The Hawk.

Sometimes discovering a mirror in nature can be both uncomfortable and revelatory. Sue Edwards explores her unexpected similarities in physicality and mentality of Wombat.

Trevor Plumridge’s poem Tadpoles in Rockpools at Kata Juta harks back to the first ecopsychology class at Monash when staff and students took a transformative field trip to central Australia, in particular to the sister rocks of Uluru. How amazing it was to see pools of water and the fertility of nature grasping its fleeting opportunity to reproduce life in the form of tadpoles in the desert.