Personal Reflections on a World Pandemic, Nature as a Positive Source, the Solution
By Helena Gleeson
Reflections | This edition’s reflective think piece was contributed by Helena Gleeson. Helena is a IACAT-accredited Eco-Art Therapist and a valued EEAI member.
As an Eco-Art Therapist:
I believe most of our individual and collective ailments stem from our long-time dis-connection from the natural world. (Cohen 2018). Our roots are in nature.
Humanity in distress
We are consciously, feeling ‘uncertainty’ in these times, with Covid-19 virus sweeping across the Earth. We know that consciousness, as a sort of alarm system, adaptively determines which uncertainties must be prioritized in any given context and now, in 2020, it is the uncertainty facing humanity due to Covid-19 that has taken the stage.
Planet Earth in distress
Climate change, posing an even larger threat to our survival, at first was largely ignored and latterly became too overwhelming to contemplate. Earth as a self-organizing organism is out of equilibrium as large tracts of her eco-systems are destroyed and eroded, (most likely the cause of recent deadly viruses) also, large populations of people are struggling to survive. However, A ‘cry from Mother Earth’, in the guise of Covid-19 could by default, be the decisive catalyst, bringing about exactly the kind of thinking that needs to happen to avoid further desecration and destruction of our beautiful home, Planet Earth.
What can we do?
We must come home to ourselves, and this means coming to our senses, because at our roots, we are sensual, feeling beings. Earth and nature are resilient, and resourceful and ever responsive.
When, and if we decide to return home to our natural selves, our innate sensory roots, and instinctual selves, Mother Earth will welcome us lovingly, blossoming again and singing sweet melodies like the blackbirds in Springtime.
We can come home to ourselves by raising consciousness…………..
I believe a collective shift in the consciousness of humanity is possible, and necessary, and with raised consciousness, amazing things can occur, even resolving the problem of climate change and world hunger, if we act now.
We have a window of clock time!
We are deeply part of nature interdependent on her fragile, yet resilient web of life. It is necessary and possible for us to act now. The body and mind must work together, always. In like manner, we must work collaboratively with Earth. Humanity, Planet Earth and all of life and consciousness is an intertwined manifestation of one process. ‘We are all in it together’, the catch phrase of society since the arrival of Covid-19.
Inner monitoring and evolving consciousness.
In loving consort, connection, and collaboration with nature, and each other, further evolution is within reach, in our deeper consciousness. Consciousness experiences itself through us when we are in present moment awareness. The more deeply we practise this the more joyful the experience for us, and for everyone, and this state of joy and love is contagious, like a positive virus, if you will!
We access this realm of experience through the inner energy field of our bodies. In natural surroundings, this happens spontaneously, however, when we enter this sacred realm consciously, and anchor the experience, we connect our old and new brains, effecting what is termed a ‘raising of consciousness’ from which place rational, wise and insightful living occurs, for the benefit of the cosmos.
Coming to our senses
Consciously connecting to our ancient instinctual sensory roots regulates the nervous system, restores mental and physical health/balance, enhances cognition and rational thought, promotes interconnectedness at a community and global level, leading to collective collaboration to heal eco-systems and raise global consciousness.
P.S. Is this a photograph of your circularity system’s origin?
Art and Nature
Both nature and art, are like mirrors (Sweeney, 2013) ‘The same wordless intelligence that permeates outer nature innately reside within us. The natural world mirrors yourself back to you’ (Sweeney, p 15, 2013) and creating art in nature utilizes and connects all the senses, and, we have far more than five! This action creates a reflexive feedback loop. Being, creating and journaling in the presence of nature’s artistry anchors and consolidates our re-connections, whilst nature imparts its wisdom to us.
‘As the name implies, Eco-Art Therapy is a psychological discipline that combines Eco-Therapy with Art Therapy. Both Art Therapy and applied ecopsychology (thinking, feeling, and relating with Earth’s wisdom in mind are expressive modalities….’ (Sweeney, 2013).
Eco-Art Activities for all.
To illustrate the idea of consciously connecting with nature’s wisdom I have devised some Eco-art exercises which I would like to share, and which you may find useful.
The following activities are a combination of art and eco and when experienced in nature are therapeutic.
Eco Art Therapy takes place in the presence of a trained therapist and can be profoundly transformative. These activities are not ‘therapy’ in the professional sense, however they are hugely beneficial.
I believe insights begin at a sensory level and manifest in our consciousness. The only way to know for yourself, is to feel and experience it. Nature and the body don’t lie.
All that you require is a journal and some coloured pencils and a willingness to attune to nature and remain open to what insights may come.
Helena Gleeson, MA Art-Therapy. IACAT-accredited Eco-Art Therapist & Member of The EEAI.
Sources and further reading.
Bohm, D. and Nichol, L., 2003. The Essential David Bohm. London: Routledge.
Cohen, M., 2003. The Web Of Life Imperative. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford.
Cohen, M., 2018. A Nature Lover’s Path To Peace Creating Moments That Let Earth Teach. Washington.
Meade, M., 2020. Green And Eco-Friendly Trends: Reflecting On 2019. [online] Green America. Available at: <https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/green-and-eco-friendly-trends-reflecting-2019> [Accessed 6 April 2020].
Sih, A., Ferrari, M. and Harris, D., 2011. Evolution and behavioural responses to human-induced rapid environmental change. Evolutionary Applications, 4(2), pp.367-387.
Solms, M., 2019. The Hard Problem of Consciousness and the Free Energy Principle. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.
Sweeney, T., 2013. Eco-Art Therapy. San Bernardino, Calif.: Theresa Sweeney.
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