On Connectedness & Reconnecting

posting by Jana

forest bathing certificate.jpg

It's been a long time between drinks, as the saying goes. My last blog post was 31 March - wow. 

What's been keeping me away from the Flourishing Point? Ecozoic Living, of course. 

I have structured my commitment to Ecozoic Living - learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner - around three areas of focus: critical thinking, daily practice, and connecting with others through the Community of the Cosmic Person. Sometimes I can strike a balance of time and energy amongst the three, but at other times one or two areas just sort of take over.

In the past few months, I have been focused on meeting certain deadlines related to my PhD and to completing the training to become a certified nature and forest guide. I have also moved house - selling one and buying another - and paid a visit to family half-way around the world. It's been a busy time. 

The PhD is back to plodding along, the houses have settled (fingers crossed...as of Monday), the family trip is a fond memory, and the guide training is complete. Finally, some space in my brain and my days has opened up for reconnecting with community. 

So let's talk! 

Connectedness, in fact, is a common thread between the critical theory and the daily practice work that's been taking up so much of my time recently. For the PhD, I've been reading new materialism, particularly the work of quantum physicist and philosopher Karen Barad. In her book, Meeting the Universe Halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning, Barad proposes that beyond everything being connected to everything else, everything brings everything 'else' into existence. There are no pre-existing entities that interact, but rather intra-action itself is the primary reality. The implication is that matter and meaning are co-emergent. Colloquially speaking, we really are 'making it up as we go along', with the 'we' being existence itself including human beings along with everything else. It's the 'along with' that counts, inviting a sense of participation or, as I like to call it, CoFlourishing. 

In terms of daily practice, the forest therapy guide training I've just completed emphasises reciprocity and relationship. Forest therapy is not a matter of going into the woods to get something out of it but rather spending time in nature connecting to self and others, including the non-human others with whom our existence is intricately interwoven. The primary practice is one of presence, invited through a simple question: what are you noticing? A daily practice of living this question sets the stage for participating in the CoFlourishing of people, place, and planet ... together. 

I invite you to 'like' the Facebook page for a nature connection collective that colleagues and I from the forest therapy training group have formed. We share resources and research about the practices of nature connection and post announcements about local forest therapy events. Meanwhile, I also invite you to live the question, 'What are you noticing?'