January 10, 2013 Features & Images » Feature Story

The power of nature 

Ecotherapy challenges us to explore the inner landscape of our minds through the rekindling of our connection with the earth

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"Muriel Rukeyser tells us that the universe is not made up of atoms, but of stories," explains Juric later on. "What she means is that we literally speak ourselves into the world by the stories we tell about ourselves. People often spend years in the self-created cages of stories that have long ago become too small for them. Asking participants to write about their experience of a poem or walk is an invitation to step out of this cage. It is an invitation to see and retell their story in a different, more expansive, more up-to-date way. In so doing, people get to reshape their sense of who they are in the world.  New possibilities for the future emerge."

Speaking of the future, seeing as we evidently survived the end of the world predicted by the Mayans on December 21, what lies ahead for our society of self-created eco-zombies?

American author and journalist Richard Louv makes a convincing case that through a nature-balanced existence — driven by sound economic, social, and environmental solutions — the human race can and will thrive.

"The future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need," he says.

Our society, Louv states, has developed such an over-sized faith in technology that we have yet to fully realize or even adequately study how human capacities are enhanced through the power of nature. Tapping into the restorative powers of the natural world can boost mental acuity and creativity; promote health and wellness; build smarter and more sustainable communities, and economies; and ultimately strengthen human bonds. As he says in his book, The Nature Principle, it is "about the power of living in nature — not with it, but in it.

"We are entering the most creative period in history," he states. "The twenty-first century will be the century of human restoration in the natural world."

For more on Adrian Juric's retreats, go to innerlandscapes.org and a plethora of websites on ecotherapy exist. A few notables ones are: ecopsych.com/ecopsychologyjournal.html, ecotherapy.org.uk, and ecotherapyheals.com.


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