2155 Jackson Rd. #1 ~ Ann Arbor, MI 48103
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Life in Balance
|Posted on July 9, 2013 at 9:40 PM|
Getting one's life grounded is important for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing! Our lives and our culture have often taken us far adrift. But promising new developments are charting new ways back to old territory.
Some of the distress and anxiety that underlies our lives is from recognizing on some level that we've been charting lifestyles that are unsustainable. Way back in the 70's, when the groundbreaking book "Limits to Growth" came out our fears and common sense were confirmed. The book explained how it wasn't really possible to have unchecked economic and population growth on a planet with finite resources. Makes sense doesn't it? Our economy demands endless growth, but resources most often, sadly, have limits.
Sometimes we barge ahead in life going with the program... not having time to think, inspect and analyze everything, but on some level there is an intuitive part of us that gets it, that we're barging ahead, and not on solid ground. And so our dis-ease builds...
However, new developments... all over there are people who've been recognizing that we can't wait for the politicians, government and "leaders" to decide to make programmatic changes... changes need to be made. And there are people all around the world who are making those changes and trailblazing with the good knowledge that's developed about how to live differently and more in balance with the earth, and our community. Changes that give one a sense of community, connection, balance, earthiness and richness. Isn't that a tune up?
Here in our area of Southeast Michigan, one of those organizations is called AMPY, and it celebrating the kind of security that comes with community connection and practicing from a foundation of 'first things first'. Right in concert with the rest of the local food movement, AMPY aims to gather the community in building food security by working and planning together in concert ~~ all while having fun and sharing with one another important new skills and insights.
Here's AMPY's most recent newsletter:
and a small video clip above that will help you get a sense of what its about. If you like it ~ get in touch!
AMPY is the creation of an organization founded by Jesse Tack, called Whole Culture Repair. Feel free to explore! And let's all get our lives more grounded in 'down to earth' natural lives that are respectful and supportive, as well as working with Planet Earth.
Here is a good orientation and brief primer on "why permaculture" that covers why we need to change our relationship to food, nature and our immediate environment:
|Posted on January 29, 2013 at 4:45 PM|
~ “psychology as if the whole earth mattered.”
Ecopsychology is based on the fundamental notion that some of our anxiety and ills come from living a lifestyle that has drifted away from its foundation in nature connection, and being in a culture that has lost its way no longer respectful of planet and ecology.
Connection with Earth: Core of Ecotherapy
Connection with earth and its systems are at the core of eco-therapy. Eco-therapists believe that the earth has a self-righting capacity through complex systems of integrated balance, and that
if we can harmonize ourselves with those systems, we will experience mental health. Personal well-being and planetary well-being are not separate from each other, and each must consider the needs of the other. In taking care of the earth, we care for ourselves. People’s lives are therefore seen as part of a greater system of relationship that includes both non-humans as well as human beings.
"Doherty says one of the unifying ideas in ecopsychology is its attempt to integrate a different set of questions into clinical practice. What, for example, does it mean to live as part of the web of life, but to behave as if we didn’t?" Utne Reader
An eco-therapist understands that people are part of the web of life, and approaches clients from the perspective that our psyches are not isolated or separate from our environment. Some may even consider the natural world to have its own psyche.
"According to Pulitzer-Prize winning sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, Ph.D., of Harvard, people have an inherent biological need to be in contact with the out-of-doors. He calls it "biophilia", and believes that nature may hold the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction. Wilson has found much evidence for our basic affinity for nature and its instructive and healing properties. " ~ Michael Cohen, Project Nature Connect
"Have you ever sat near a roaring brook and felt refreshed, been cheered by the vibrant song of a thrush or renewed by a sea breeze? Does a wildflower's fragrance bring you joy, a whale or snow-capped peak charge your senses?"
This is Dr. Michael Cohen's response to an interviewer's question as to how connecting with nature can heal and uplift the human psyche.
For clients who are interested, Eco-therapy and the practice of nature connection techniques can restore a sense of balance and lower tension & anxiety, as well as increase a strong sense of well being. Feel free to ask me about this type of therapy if it interests you ~
See:Ecopsychology: Whole Earth Mental Health
|Posted on January 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM|
I just wanted to make sure that anyone visiting my blog knows about this wonderful ongoing workshop by a terrific teacher that helps people develop sustainable living skills and forge deeper connections within their community ~ aspects of life that are known to increase one's sense of wellbeing.
Here's a write-up about the workshops:
An invitation from Jesse Tack, of
Whole Culture Repair,LLC
Ongoing workshop Group: "
Abundant Michigan, Permaculture Ypsilanti."
This is an ongoing Permaculture group based in Ypsilanti, ~ all are welcome. Our goal is to co-create abundance for our members in food, medicine, materials, economy and living water. We support Abundance in all Michigan Communities.
Discussions will include; permaculture design, sustainable living in Ypsilanti, food forests, mushrooms, developing new local economics and livelihood, time banking, resource shares, sustainable timber, perennial vegetables, natural building, rotational grazing, aquaculture, ...via a monthly presentation followed by discussion. Follow up experiential learning opportunities will be offered in the weeks after the presentation to get hands on experience with some of the principles taught.
Actions will include: establishing a perennial nursery, intensive use of land, sheet mulching, water catchment, grey water systems, time banking in action, timber production, mushroom production, economic creation, ...
All are welcome in these activities to collaborate, learn from experiences offered and contribute.
Come join the fun!
Jesse D. Tack MT-BC Founder, Whole Culture Repair LLChttp://wholeculturerepair.wordpress.com/ Co-founder, Aurora Design Solutions Inc.http://auroradesignsolutions.blogspot.com/
[An important note from ~ please read: We are an open discussion and action group. Everyone is welcome. Please note:
A suggested Donation of $10 equivalence is now asked for the workshop - an equivalent offer is preferred, tho money is accepted.
This group practices and offers experience in the "New Economy", developing true reciprocity and learning trade and Time Banking - so for example - if you have a bee hive and think a jar is worth $10, you could offer that for Jesse's services, or an offer of 1.5 hours of garden work on a group work project on a project of his, along with $5 in the jar. Or, let's say you keep rabbits, you could offer several bags of rabbit 'pellets' (manure) for the class worth $10, or one bag and $5 in the jar. Jesse has gone way beyond the call of duty in offering these classes for us, and to continue its really important that we keep it fair and that he receives some consideration in turn as he generally charges good solid $ fees for consulting and permaculture planning. Be thinking creatively about how you want to "pay" for the class, Jesse has been 'paying it forward' for a long time now...no one will be turned away for not being able to pay, but with Time Banking & trade, EVERYONE is capable of forming an equivalent offer for reciprocity.]
|Posted on January 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM|
We're really blessed. Yes things seem to be getting tougher in many ways. But here in Michigan we have the best of all worlds. While other parts of the world and our country even, have been beset with horrible events with calamitous weather, Michigan remains overall mild in climate and with few
problems such as the horrible fires in the west, impacts from major drought or flooding, hurricanes & mega storms. Michigan also has ample sources of fresh water being surrounded by our beautiful Great Lakes.
Its a time for gratitude, along with concern for others. Certainly our economy has been rough, however, while we may lack frills, we have all the essentials for transitioning. I suspect that when everyone figures this out, they will be trying to move here...
Meanwhile we're learning. While we aren't as severely impacted, we're certainly learning about what we can do toward mitigating climate change. Michigan has also been blessed with many innovative and creative people moving the slow food movement out in front, a growing consensus that buying local is of huge importance for all, and a long time cultivated & growing expertise in Permaculture and urban farming that offers prospect for new livelihoods and long term food security. We've always been a great farming state, but now we have increasing numbers of innovative new local and organic farmers, and year round growers are sprouting up, along with more CSA's and other forms of work meant to lower carbon miles, with new techniques that are supportive of the ecology, regenerative rather than degrading of land.
More people are certainly venturing out on their own, rather than waiting, to 'boldly go' where others have not before, and launching new and exciting enterprises that are the seeds of a new, more resilient and durable economy; ~ one intended to weather the changes on our horizon.
I am excited about this and love working with those who would trail-blaze new, promising directions out of their own inner promptings. Sometimes this takes courage and a good and solid sounding board, that helps us stay connected with inner sources of guidance and wisdom. I love listening to clients and supporting them as they sort through those inner yearnings to find their path ahead. In psychotherapy & counseling ~ this is a therapist's work at its finest ~ helping a client find their way in breaking new ground ~ deepening in trusting their evolving self.
I love that I'm now able to not only work with clients locally in my office setting, but also anywhere in the world. Working with online therapy via skype and video calls (which are very easy to set up - I can advise and guide you on this), comfortable in your own setting, we're freed of burning carbon miles to connect, and we can connect no matter where you are ~ any where in the world.
Its a New Year - yes! And this is our new adventure - breaking free of old limitations and pioneering ourselves into a new landscape of green, life respecting enterprises as we move toward a steady state economy more rich and interpersonally connected in community; embedded in year round garden life, re-foresting, nature derived renewably grown and harvested resources and finding common happiness in lowering our footprints!
Here's an inspiring piece of a Marge Piercy poem that captures, I think, what most people I see have yearned for, and seek in their own way. It's a passage from "To be of use". Below it is a short video where I've read this to you ~ so that, if interested, you can see just how I would come across while working via skype session:
"...the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real."
*photograph above by Irene Kightley Bergerac, Francehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/
|Posted on November 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM|
With all of the news and ongoing life changes for all of us that are covered and coming, it's important to look more to lifestyle choices for ways to reduce stress, enjoy life more fully, get exercise and nature connection, and live healthfully. Living a lifestyle that matches your understanding of what is important in the areas of lowering your carbon footprint, eating healthy foods and making your life habits and pastimes fit with your values for a more sustainable, and vital community can only be beneficial to your sense of wellbeing and setting an example for your family.
We haven't fully recovered from recent events such as the huge storm, Sandy, that recently hit the east coast and that we felt even here in the midwest.
To stay psychologically healthy ~ such sweeping & significant events affect our sense of security, either consciously or unconsciously, calling for clear action, and empowered responses to our sense of the interconnectedness of life on our planet and how our way of living has an impact. There is nothing more inspiring and spirited than enacting these new insights more fully in your own personal life and in empowered fashion!
Nowadays, we all hear about local foods, organic gardening and learning new skills for fun and enjoyment close to home. Many of us feel depressed, anxious and powerless at times in our work settings, or in hearing the news and taking action to integrate these new patterns in our lives gives a sense of empowerment and control, as well as giving you the benefits of new relationships in your neighborhood and nearby community as well as nature connection ~ such an important and often long neglected necessary ingredient to healthy living.
Here's a fun picture of the way we 'used to do it' ~ from 1895 a 'yarden' in Wisconsin ~ this is now the yard of the future, and what fun! Yes! If they could do it - we can do it! A garden like this provides exercise, healthy food rather than highly processed or gmo food from the store, unlimited outlets for your creativity as well as fun and opportunities for learning for your children; a good excuse to spend more time out of doors and to meet neighbors, slow down.
Now here in the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and surrounding county we are most blessed to have great growing resources to help you in such an adventure with Project Grow, in Ann Arbor, Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, City Farm started in Ypsilanti, and Jesse Tack, of Abundant Michigan & Aurora Design Solutions who offers regular monthly classes and mentorship in Ypsilanti on city permaculture. Yes, these are all
relevant to your and my 'mental health' and being connected with the world and planet, very important facets of your 'growth edge' as you nurture your self growth personally today.
Here's just one example of resources available to you in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area:
Sustainable Michigan sponsors:
Subject: You're invited to a Permaculture Site visit and analysis
You recently received a notice on a monthly Permaculture workshop ~ scheduled for the first Monday in December. Meanwhile, this month we have an experiential learning session at the home of a small urban farm family, the Yoder's of Pollywog urban farm in Ypsilanti.
Jesse, as a presenter/facilitator, is warm, funny and engaging, and has kept us laughing and learning. In addition to ourregular monthly event on first Monday of the month nights at Growing Hope, We will continue to work with site analysis of a few Homesteads as well as do occasional work/experience parties between monthly meetings - stay tuned!
You're welcome to
join us if this interests you - and so I'm forwarding Jesse Tack's note (below) about this event:
We will be meeting for a permaculture gathering, a-la the one we just did this past Monday. We will do asector analysis, zone analysis, calculate rooftop rainwater collection, do observation and pathway discussions.
Please consider joining us at:
Pollywog Urban farm
303 Forest Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI at Grace Yoders and Briannon English's homestead in the heart of Ypsilanti.We will meet from 5-7, ending after at the nearby Corner Brewery to have some discussion of the site,mapping, sector analysis, etc.
Please share and join us if you are so inclined.
RSVP, or with questions ~
Jesse D. Tack
Co-founder, Aurora Design Solutions Inc.
|Posted on May 26, 2012 at 9:10 AM|
While we go about our busy lives, living like busy bees, concerned with managing our livelihoods, nurturing family and friends, participating in our community, paying our bills and working toward a good future, all of which feel more challenging these days ~ We find the added challenge of living in a time when all of us, one way or another, are exposed to messages that suggest that from many angles our world is in jeopardy. Without much discussion or support, we're left to cope with and absorb the obvious emotional and psychological impacts of this understanding. Sarah Edwards has called this "eco-anxiety"(link) Its no wonder that many of us feel unsettled, anxious or distressed.
While carrying these fears, concerns and worries that we hesitate to "share" with our loved ones, after all, how can we burden them? We also find that in the busy-ness of daily life and managing commitments, who has time to research new directions and possible solutions for our modern dilemmas? We're left often feeling alone, and pushing important, unspoken concerns out of our awareness to 'carry on'. After all, who, in our busy lives, has time for getting counseling,
finding a good therapist, or researching how to find or create an earth supportive, sustainable livelihood?
There are some promising directions however, and pathways that are known, by those who have been able to take time to look squarely at these issues and to imagine and forge new pathways.
There has long been an entirely new direction in psychology and "treatment" for much of our life anxiety and background stress called eco-psychology or eco-therapy. But in our current lives, the first step is often a simple one... simply taking time to bring more nature connection into our lives is one of those steps. And one, interestingly, that seems to, because of its effects on us, give us more time than what we thought we had when we began, and when we once felt hurried or short for time. This is a process that can be used to center oneself, learn, and to find direction, relief, and to experience a sense of feeling restored, re-energized. It can be explored on one's own, or in the context of supportive therapy with someone who works with this primary relationship (nature connectedness) skillfully.
Meanwhile here is a wonderfully interesting article (article link) on the dilemmas we sense, that may have been remaining inchoate for many of us, and thus a source of background anxiety. For often anxiety simply comes from new knowledge that has not been digested, voiced or fully understood in ways that make it meaningful and offer positive direction. I love this key quote: " sustainability is about creating high-quality, equitable lifestyles that have low ecological impacts. It is about living “well” and “lightly” together — as communities, as nations, and as one species, among many, on this planet." While the article is created, in part, to market a wonderful, creative educational program called "Living Routes", (link)the succinctly summarized information and direction given, are useful for us all, as we move to integrate in our lives, the knowledge that we now know we live on a 'small planet', and that our well-being is intertwined deeply both with the planet and all of its varied and fascinating life, as well as one another around the globe.
Its wonderful to find an article that moves our shared anxiety, from where it's languished unhelpfully, into its new and proper place - a felt excitement that facing important and formative challenges will also light a sure pathway for healing our dis-ease. Blended with a sense of possibility, and grounded in a newly understood, meaningful and readily available connection ~ We find here a deep, enduring source for our daily mustering of courage for the journey.
|Posted on September 16, 2011 at 12:42 PM|
Finding a good support group is a great way to become more focused and centered as the amount of quality support you have in your life greatly affects your balance and happiness. Support groups are an inexpensive way of making more connections and learning; also a great way to work on becoming your best self, getting some relief from feeling disconnected, and the symptoms this bring ~ and yet much less expensive than individual therapy.
Here are some of the support groups I'm currently offering. Feel free to call me if you have any questions about them!
Women's Support Group
Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
First Sunday at 12pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Support group for Women wanting a safe place to share around issues of loss/grief, relationships, life changes and transitions. We use psycho-educational material at times to offer valuable relevant information and to enrich the discussion.
Self Esteem: A Family Affair
Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Second Sunday at 12pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Using easily accessible material from the book Self Esteem: A Family Affair, we will look at messages we got growing up; and affirmations we are missing as well as how to give and receive them for ourselves and in nurturing other family members. We’ll use psycho-educational material at times for valuable information and to enrich the
Intimacy ~ ‘Stage 2’ Relationships
The Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Third Sunday at 12 pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Anger signals us about unmet needs, limits and boundaries and helps us "find our voice" with the people who matter the most.
It informs us when we need to "set things right" and shows us where we have painful disconnections.
Using material excerpted from the books The Dance of Anger, and the Dance of Intimacy: ‘Courageous acts of change in Key relationships’, we'll look at what we want in our relationships, the process of changing our patterns in relationships, what anger represents and how we expand our relationships to allow for more movement and fulfillment. We will use psycho-educational material at times to enrich the discussion.
Re-establishing Nature Connection to De-stress:
The Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fourth Sunday at 12 pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
"Interaction with Nature is critically important to human well-being and development, but sadly has become compromised and diminished in modern times. Through deliberate design, this connection can be repaired and restored." Kellert
Modern life has truly disconnected many of us from Nature. So it makes sense that from 75 to 90% of all doctor's visits are physical illnesses related to stress and that the number of stress-related disability claims by American employees has doubled. We’ll learn how to be more aware of our relationship with Nature, and explore the use of some simple tools for consciously making use of that connection to de-stress and increase our sense of well being.
|Posted on September 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM|
"Interaction with Nature is critically important to human well-being and development, but sadly has become compromised and diminished in modern times. Through deliberate design, this connection can be repaired and restored." Kellert in Building for Life
Modern life has truly disconnected many of us from Nature. So it makes sense that the number of stress-related disability claims by American employees has doubled according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association in Arlington, Virginia.
Some professionals along with the American Institute of Stress would say that from 75 to 90% of all doctor's visits are physical illnesses related to stress....and, according to the American Institute of Stress, the cost to industry has been estimated at $200 billion-$300 billion a year..
Some stress related health problems that are commonly reported include:
But one simple stress reducer is spending more time outside particularly in nature rich areas. So, go for a walk at your local park, or go bicycling there. Tree hugging has a positive effect on your stress level and on your psychological and physical well being. Better yet, taking a vacation to some place where nature is clearly in abundance and you get to play in the great outdoors can revive you emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Even if you're stuck indoors we know that plants have a positive effect on your wellbeing. So do pets. Walking the dog in a tree lined neighborhood might be even better. ~ Meanwhile, be sure to say hi to the neighbors!
Watch this wonderful video of Jon Young talking about the importance of Nature Connection