"Ixazuluwa ngokuhamba. Umntu ngumntu ngabanye."
It is solved by walking. It is through our relationship with all other beings that we experience our full selves.
Ecotherapy involves cultivating a deeper connection to the larger, organic intelligence of which we humans are an extension.
If one takes a bee out of the hive its life does not have meaning and makes little sense. We have this idea that all the other bees are other humans, but this is not accurate. All the other bees are actually the many other aspects of the more-than-human world. Meaning and sense can be created, change is supported and facilitated and clarity and comfort found in reconnecting to the natural world
Who might ecotherapy be suitable for?
· like the outdoors
· have an interest in nature
· have an interest in environmental issues
· want to learn to feel more relaxed, balanced and centred
· perhaps wish to develop more awareness of their thoughts and behaviours
· need to develop trust and belief in themselves or others
· would like to learn to change how they relate to nature, themselves and others
· would like to develop their natural intuition / listen to their heart / gut instinct
· want to develop a connection with the spirit of nature (spirit in a non-religious sense)
· already feel a deep connection with the sprit of nature
· maybe follow a nature-based spiritual path
· wouldn’t normally feel comfortable visiting a counsellor
· prefer to learn by doing and being
· want to try something different
Some of the benefits reported by previous participants:
· Building trust, both in yourself and others
· Lifting mood and reducing depression
· Reduction of anxiety and stress
· Helping to deal with anger
· Enhanced motivation
· Promotion of respect for oneself, others and nature
· Improved communication skills
· Improvement in psychological and spiritual health and well-being
· Promotion of relationship-building skills
· Learning to be present
· Connecting to a sense of wonder
· Putting your life into greater perspective
· Developing independence and creativity
· Improved problem solving and life skills
· Learning that you can and do achieve things you never thought possible
· Greater sense of meaning and purposefulness
At some point in our life we find that our road map no longer works as a navigating tool. Our good efforts at managing things are no longer effective and we seem to keep stubbing our toe on the same rock. With that comes a real sense of disorientation, defeat or confusion. This is the beginning of wisdom. From here we are forced to reexamine our lives from a different perspective. We begin to ask some big questions - what is my authentic life to live? What is mine to do in this life? How do I contact the deepest source within myself? How do I sort through the messages I am getting from my inner nature (psyche/soul) from the cultural messages I am getting, and which are most aligned with who I really am?
The good news is that when we wander off our path, our inner nature protests and we call those protests symptoms. Sometimes they turn up in our relationships. Sometimes they show up in our body. Sometimes they show up in emotional storms that we have, such as depression or anxieties. And sometimes they come to us in troubling dreams. The psyche, our inner nature, is always speaking but often we have to leave the busy traffic in order to be able to hear this quieter voice of wisdom. Over time we learn a discernment process, which is confirmed by a new experience with the world in a felt reciprocity and a sense of purposefulness and meaning.
In my practice I see ecotherapy as a collective term for a variety of nature-based psychotherapies, counselling and coaching practices that work with the experiential connection with nature as the major part of the therapeutic and coaching process. While our minds and bodies are affected by this modern world, our deepest structures are still informed by, and adapted to, the animated natural world in which we have evolved for over a million years. Ecotherapy is the practice of recognising this and although it is seen as a relatively new field of therapy, it is actually very, very old.
An ever-expanding volume of scientific research clearly supports what many already intuitively know, and all nature-based cultures have never forgotten: that we are intimately a part of the world, and our health and well-being is a result of knowing our place and purpose in relationship with the wider web of life. "Care of the soul" (the real meaning of therapy) through being in nature allows us to hear the voice of our own inner nature and orientate ourself accordingly.
ECOTHERAPY AND TRADITIONAL TALKING THERAPIES
Compared to many traditional talking therapies, ecotherapy is focussed much more on experiential learning. Participants learn and change through engagement and immersing themselves in the natural world, as well as by talking about and sharing their insights and experiences. Because of this change can occur without the lengthy discussions often associated with many talking therapies.
You do not need to be fit.
We walk as slow as is necessary on a private nature reserve in the southern peninsula of Cape Town.
A session is 1 1/2hrs R870.
5% of this goes towards Ujubee - an incredible Cape Bee conservation project as a direct way of reciprocating the gift of insight and wellbeing that we get from spending time in nature.