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Advanced Training, Part 2: "Living the Natural Systems Thinking Process"

The Advanced Training, Part 2: "Living the Natural Systems Thinking Process" workshop took place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday April 12-15, 2001. From the e-mail announcement and registration form:

Advanced Training Session, 2: "Living the Natural Systems Thinking Process" or "Facing the Challenge Together."
Once we have experienced a conscious awareness of our unity and interdependence with the rest of the bio-community, how do we apply the lessons we learn from nature into our culture-bound lives?  Dr. Cohen will help us explore this topic together as he takes us into nature to discover and define for ourselves the basic elements of the NSTP--demonstrating for us all the while through word and example how we, too, can live with 'ecointegrity.'

My attraction to this session was really based on just wanting to become as steeped in the reconnecting activities as possible, and to become as comfortable with the process as possible in order to adequately explain it to the groups I was involved with. I had become fairly well read in the burgeoning field of ecopsychology, but had yet to really see it in practice, or to be exposed to any of its methodologies.

I was also very much looking for a bridge between technology and nature, and felt like these workshops just might provide that.

And wow, did they ever! :-)

I took a whole lot more pictures during this session, I think I just started to finally feel comfortable with it (actually, meaning... both the camera and its use at the sessions :-)

On Thursday, which was kind of a day off, a few of us piled into Allison's mini-van and went to check out the Intertidal area at Lime Kiln State Park and Whale Watch Point. We didn't see any whales today, but a couple of seals were hanging out on the rocks just offshore.

The intertidal areas are completely fascinating ecosystems. Mollusks, barnacles, crabs, and various species of algae. Dr. Scull explained to us that the bright green algae is an indication of fresh water and how sailors sometimes determine where to come ashore for supplies of fresh water.

Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Here's Marie caught in an attraction. Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area This is one of the areas where I was caught by the idea of Nature as sculpter. The wind and surf have carved the rocks and tree line into a gently sweeping curve that expressed a flow of unity to me.
I think if she had a camera, she'd be doing the same thing I was. Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area

One of the assignments for this session was to name an audience we would feel comfortable presenting a workshop on NSTP to, come up with a workshop title, and a summary blurb for the workshop. I decided my audience would be the groups that I hang out with the most, which are:

Audience - Technologists, Mental Health Professionals, Philosophers of Science

The workshop title would be dependent on which group I was presenting to, or which slant, either applied or theoretical, I would be presenting. So, here are the two working titles I came up with:

Applied Ecopsychology - Methods of Therapeutic Healing of the Human-Nature Disconnection

Theoretical Ecopsychology - Causes of the Human-Nature Disconnection and Why Reconnection is Curative: Discarding the Dysfunctional Dualistic Disconnection

And the topics I would cover would be concerned with presenting how NSTP was relevant to the workshop title, and could be bulleted on a workshop flyer something like this:

NSTP is:

  • An enabling and empowering tool
  • Calming and centering in its personal effects
  • "Nature instead of Prozac(tm)" (and then Mike said we couldn't word it that way, and instead should say "Nature to enhance Prozac", but that way doesn't make much sense to me.)
  • A way to build a relationship that lasts (to which Mike added that not even death is a divorce from Nature.)
  • Nature as a teacher of sustainable behavior (and Mike said the nice thing about Nature as a teacher is that there really aren't any additional programs that you have to build or develop)
On Thursday evening after dinner, we went to the dome on the Sea Shepherds' property, to listen to Mike's rural music band practice and to learn some Contra dances. The band consists of Mike, Lee, and Harry, and we were graced with a special guest appearance by Wendy (and also Kurt on drum box, Jane Anne, John, Heidi, Allison, Marie,... ) This is what the Sea Shepherds think we actually do.
Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area Lime Kiln State Park Intertidal Area
Contra Dance practice in the dome. I did actually learn one of them myself, but I was really just more attracted to taking pictures.
Contra Dance in the dome Contra Dance in the dome
Saturday morning on a mossy/grassy/rocky little knoll above the Sea Shepherd place, as I presented my rough outline for Attraction Retreat to the group.
Photo courtesy of John Scull
the grassy knoll
San Juan State Park on Saturday afternoon. This is just north of Lime Kiln on the west side of the island, and you can see Vancouver Island across the strait. This area has some intertidal areas of its own, which weren't apparent to me until I looked closer.
San Juan State Park Intertidal Area San Juan State Park Intertidal Area
Kyler in a rare quiet moment, caught in his own attractions. The youngest PNCer
San Juan State Park A spot of early spring color.
Kurt finds a tree he was really attracted to, which appears to be growing right out of the rock. And it is. San Juan State Park, Kurt's tree
San Juan State Park, Kurt's tree San Juan State Park, Kurt's tree
The final activity Sunday afternoon, which is always the hardest in these workshops... saying good-bye.
Friday Harbor Friday Harbor

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