Introduction to Applied Eco-psychology
Applied Eco-psychology (AEP) is more than the study of humans’ relationship with nature and how that affects our health. It is the unfolding of the training and stories we’ve received that nature is dangerous and needs to tamed, that we need a ‘middle-man’ to monitor our connection, and that the only way to survive in this world is the now traditional 9 to 5 work scenario.
We are asked to look at our negative beliefs about nature and to unwind the stories to see what is real in each moment, it asks us to reconnect not only with our external environment but our internal landscape and see how the two are intricately woven. Much of our stresses today are caused from seeking fulfillment, trying to have our needs met from a story and not from what is real for us. AEP doesn’t tell us what is real for us, but rather offers techniques so that we can start to unkink, unwind and reveal what’s real for ourselves. These techniques, exercises and questions help to reintegrate nature back into our daily lives.
Slowly, it becomes apparent that these nature disconnecting stories are deeply woven in our culture; from something simple as children stories about big bad wolves to having to eat at a time determined by a set time instead of when you’re hungry. These societal stories are at the base of our individual stories about nature and affect our relationship with nature. Many people are unaware that there is a relationship with nature to be had. That we are able to relate and communicate with nature is often a blind spot; our mind kicks into to say that we can’t talk with nature. Perhaps not in English, or French, or another human language, but nature has it’s own communication process that we are born fluent in. We are trained out of it, even rewarded for turning about backs on it, and eventually we find our value in our society by not remembering how to communicate with nature. Nature doesn’t speak in words but rather in attractions and we receive that communication via our senses.
This communication can be subtle, it may not immediately change your mind, or your world. Slowly, as you become more aware and fluent in the communication, the paradigm shift is apparent; how little thoughts can be the foundation for big beliefs and even bigger actions.
Some of the core foundations of AEP are the return of the ability to use our 54 senses (not the 5 senses named around our organs), 9 legged communication (using human language to express nature communication so that our minds can open up to the understanding of the value of our connection with nature), gaining permission (we live in Earth, not on it), and nature disconnected stories (having to raise your hand to ask to go pee).
We will be covering only the very basics of AEP in this course, enough understanding to weave yoga and eco-psychology together. If you would like to explore eco-psychology in more depth, there are many courses offered online through Global Institute of education, www.projectnatureconnect.org.
None of what is offered here will make any sense or help increase your understanding unless you actually go out and do the activities. AEP isn’t about impressing theory onto, or into, you. It’s value is in you realizing for yourself what is valuable to you.