Ecozoic Living

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?' 

Immersed ... and Emerging

after six weeks of picking up new skills and resources for CoFlourishing - we're back!
posted by Jana

CCP is a partner in delivering a program called Located! Being Onkaparingan - helping people connect to people & planet in their particular place (a  beautiful and naturally diverse region  south of Adelaide, South Australia)

CCP is a partner in delivering a program called Located! Being Onkaparingan - helping people connect to people & planet in their particular place (a beautiful and naturally diverse region south of Adelaide, South Australia)

I've just completed a 6-month practicum in nature and forest therapy guiding. What a journey! The practice is 5-star Ecozoic: it's all about learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. 

In a series of invitations, participants on a forest therapy/nature connection walk slow down, pay fresh attention with all of their senses, and engage in mindfulness practices that put the focus on reciprocity with nature. 

It's also an amazing practice for CoFlourishing of people, place, and planet ... together. In addition to invitations to experience connecting with nature, participants are invited to connect with one another. After most invitations, the group regathers in a circle to hear from each other, prompted by the simple and open-hearted question, 'What are you noticing?' To listen and be listened to, without judgement and with attention to one's authentic experience, is a not only a gift but also a conscious act of cultural repair. 

The CCP, through my involvement as a Certified Forest and Nature Therapy Guide, is participating in a number of local projects aligned with Ecozoic Living and CoFlourishing. Read more here (and subscribe to the quarterly newsletter if you'd like!) 

Meanwhile, my intention is to be more regular with blog posts now that the extra flurry of busy-ness is past (for the moment). Thanks for your patience while I was immersed in these off-line connections. 

Inspiring Earth Ethics

posting by Jana

One of the astonishing grass trees covering the Nathan campus of Griffith University in Brisbane.

One of the astonishing grass trees covering the Nathan campus of Griffith University in Brisbane.

I've just returned to Adelaide from a wonderfully provocative conference in Brisbane hosted by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance. Many of the presentations will be available on their website soon. 

One of my favourite 'take-aways' is a statement by conference speaker Sallie Gillespie, who is a Jungian psychologist and author of soon to be published Sea Change: How Engaging with Climate Change Changes Us.

 
Conversation is the alchemical task of changing consciousness.
— Sallie Gillespie
 

The Community of the Cosmic Person is a community of support for a changing consciousness: from human beings in Western industrialised culture destroying the planet to human beings everywhere learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. 

The focus of the Community is on conversation...here in the comments section, on the Facebook page, in the Facebook group, and face to face. 

Workshop in Ecozoic Living at the Inspiring Earth Ethics conference. 

Workshop in Ecozoic Living at the Inspiring Earth Ethics conference. 

At the conference I had two opportunities to generate some conversation about Ecozoic Living and being a Cosmic Person. Here are bits and pieces from the workshop and a panel presentation. 

Thomas Berry believed that the wisdom to make the necessary shift is a available to us and he drew attention to four reservoirs: indigenous cultures, women, science, and the classical tradition. 

It's fascinating to think of science as a wisdom tradition: not simply a knowledge base but also a source for learning how to live and for giving life meaning. 

 
With our empirical observations expanded by modern science, we are now realising that our universe is a single immense energy event that began as a tiny speck that has unfolded over time to become galaxies and stars, palms and pelicans, the music of Bach, and each of us alive today. The great discovery of contemporary science is that the universe is not simply a place, but a story - a story in which we are immersed, to which we belong, and out of which we arose.
— Brian Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker 'Journey of the Universe'
 

The rest of the workshop focused on three ethics that emerge out of the idea of Ecozoic Living: learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.

Learning: implies an ethic of openness
Presence: implies an ethic of participation
Mutual Benefit: implies and ethic of reciprocity

Unpacking these together with the group in conversation was fun, especially around a point raised about why the Ecozoic is phrased as 'learning to be present to the planet' instead of 'learning to be present with the planet.' One of the participants suggested that 'to be present to the planet' implied an active responsiveness, which fit well into the conversation about activating an Ecozoic ethic. 

In the panel presentation I talked about resetting the reference point in Western culture (specifically in the law, which is my area of research) away from the isolated self towards the self in context. The Cosmic Person is the person in context, aware of connection and drawn to participating in the co-flourishing of people, place, and planet. 

One of the real highlights of the conference was a forest bathing experience led by my colleague in the practice Alex Gaut of Nature & Wellbeing Australia. It was so lovely to be invited to put the Ecozoic ethic into practice in this experience of learning to be present to the planet. 

A forest bathing participant a the Inspiring Earth Ethics Conference activating Ecozoic Living by learning to be present to the planet.  

A forest bathing participant a the Inspiring Earth Ethics Conference activating Ecozoic Living by learning to be present to the planet.  

Conversation being the alchemical task of changing consciousness...please know you're invited to join the conversation by commenting here or participating in the Facebook communities mentioned above. Activating the Ecozoic is a shared enterprise as much as a personal commitment, defined by participating in the co-flourishing of people, place, and planet together. In other words, your presence in the conversation is desired/required!