When Thoreau retreated to Walden Pond to reflect and find his moorings in nature, he was practicing what is now known as eco-psychology. The term identifies the profound human need for connection with the natural world and the dis-ease that erupts when we are dis-connected or when the world around us is toxic. We all know the saying, Nature heals.
Because the Cuyamungue Institute is rooted deeply in the soil of our land in northern New Mexico, experiences in workshops at the Institute are inevitably eco-psychological whatever the topic might be.
For those who spend time at the Institute, the land comes alive and is perceived as a powerful force that Theodore Rozsak writes, "Ecological groundedness can be described as a dynamic state in which a person experiences a sense of confidence, belonging, pleasure and wonder as the result of a progressively deepening, whole-bodied communion with the wild and domesticated natural world. As a person cultivates an intimate sense of belonging in the natural world, there is a discovery of the seasonal turning of one's own life within this larger life: the urge to grow and mature, to ripen and leave seed to the community, and to anticipate death as the final giving back to the elements. Eco-psychology seeks to recover this sense of groundedness through traditional healing, nature mysticism as expressed in spirituality and art, and the experience of wilderness."y Gomes, and Allen Kanner.