Wilderness and Ecopsychology
Re-wild self & society
June 11 – 25, 2017
In this leadership training, participants are immersed in the beauty of mountains, fields, and forest to explore the deep knowing that we are not separate from nature…we are nature.
Ecopsychology suggests that our psyches are not healthy until we recognize that our lives are embedded within and integrally connected to all the systems of life. Wilderness takes on new meaning as we realize the interconnection of everything.
During this training, we will explore philosophies and practices of ecopsychology and wilderness experience. We will delve deeply into the theories behind ecopsychology, discussing how our culture has become separated from nature, as well as ways to renew this connection within our communities. Afternoons place an emphasis on sustainable practices to reconnect our daily lives to the natural world, including food provisioning, natural medicines, and more. Evenings are a time to develop tangible leadership skills in order to return to our communities empowered to lead people through reconnecting to nature.
We will also participate in a 5-day Wild Quest in the nature sanctuaries of Metta Earth and the surrounding wild lands, including the option for a 2-day solo and fast. With an ecological, systems perspective, we explore the inner landscape of body, mind, and heart in relation to the outer landscape of Earth. We use our backpack as a way to define what we really need in order to survive and thrive. We practice skills for living in the natural world in order to form an encampment, which can inform the development and design of ecologically sustainable villages.
- Program, meals, and accommodations
- Three thirty minute life/leadership coaching consults after the training to help participants sustain change.
- Financial assistance may be available to those in need.
- Credit with your university or college is usually available as independent study. We will offer assistance, as needed, for this process.
- 15 days, 150 hours, 3 credits
Meals are vegetarian and lovingly prepared with seasonal, local and organic foods, much of our food comes from our own 3⁄4 acre organic garden and farmstead. Participants assist and have the opportunity to learn about harvesting, cooking, putting food by, and other aspects of organic, local food.
Options for sleeping accommodations include shared peaceful rooms in the main Metta Earth house, shared space in one of the yurts, or space to set up your own tent.
The Metta Earth main house provides bathrooms, laundry, phones, wireless internet, library, kitchen and dining facilities, and teaching, study, and practice space.
Yoga (self guided practice)
7:00 – 7:30am
7:30 – 8:30am
Experiential Learning Activities
12:30 – 1:30pm
Lunch Community Meeting
1:30 – 2:30
Experiential Learning Activities
5:00 – 6:15pm
Metta Earth Yoga Class
6:30 – 7:30pm
7:30 – 9:30pm
- Metta Earth Yoga: Contemplative Ecological Practices for a Sustainable Future by Russell Comstock
- Quantum Community ~ The Archetype of Communion & Community, An Interdisciplinary Inquiry by Gillian Kapteyn Comstock
- Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice on and Off the Mat by Richard Faulds
- Ecovillage Living: Restoring the Earth and Her People by Hildur Jackson
- Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World by Wendy Johnson
- Moving Like a Gardener by Deb Soule
- Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel
- The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Radical Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Soul of Nature: Visions of a Living Earth by Michael Tobias
- The Way of Council by Jack Zimmerman
Finding The Wild On The Farm
Each morning after breakfast, we will begin our day with attunement to the natural rhythms and the needs of the farm. We will learn how to bring a deep ecology perspective to these daily tasks. These needs might include picking berries, harvesting wild herbs, weeding a garden bend, tending to farm animal needs, and more.
Ecopsychology Principles & Practices
Each morning program will include an Earth Contemplation Practice, allowing time for solitude, expressive arts, journaling and sharing. This is a practice of meditation in nature, which includes Sense of Place exercises to develop ecological perception and enhanced awareness with the theme of the day applied to this inquiry.
At Metta Earth, we have come up with an interdisciplinary worldview integrating theories and practices such as wilderness therapy, quantum physics, contemplative practice, deep ecology, and ecofeminism. We delve into the concepts of these principles in a highly interactive way with nature, engaging in the creative arts, contemplative practice, and other experiential processes. In this way we create a lived experience of these principles.
Wilderness & Ecopsychology Lifeways for Ecological Sustainability
Our modern cultural conveniences have created a schism between the daily practices that sustain us and the natural world. The afternoon session provides knowledge and hands-on skills to rekindle a healing daily existence with the earth, examining our relationship with food, medicine, and backcountry living.
- Natural First Aid and Plant Medicine
- Tool Sharpening and Use
- Cordage and Natural Fiber Crafting
- Knots, Tarps, & Wild Encampments
- Herbal Tea Harvest and Preparation
- Dairy, Kefir, Yogurt, & Cheese
- Bow Drill Firemaking
- Food Preservation for the Backcountry
Metta Earth Yoga
These classes integrate the daily learning of philosophies, principles, and practices with an emphasis on supporting participants in the methodology/pedagogy required to create a whole systems educational experience.
- Bonds & Boundaries
- Heart of Yoga
- Partnering with Nature
- Our Body, Earth Body
- Authentic Movement
- Meditation in Motion
- Group Flow
- Community Yoga
Wilderness & Ecopsychology Leadership Essentials
Wilderness awareness, environmental conservation, and ecological education are deeply intertwined with social justice concerns. These issues arise from the impact of our existing social, political, and economic systems on wild lands. Understanding leadership and communication processes, along with theories of oppression provide important tools in working with this complicated interface of the environment and society. In addition, forms of activism enrich the possible dimensions for the expression of change.
- Co-Listening, NVC, and Conscious Communication
- Unconscious Communication
- Power, Privilege, Oppression, & Rank
- Models of Activism
- Facilitation & Leadership Models
- Wilderness Ethics
- Community & Leader Ethics
This session will revolve around the Wild Quest as an opportunity to source authentic leadership originating from the mysteries of nature. This Wild Quest is composed of options for solitude, fasting, and silence. Participants learn about the questing theory and process. A careful focus is given to the preparation that comes before a wilderness experience, as well as to the ongoing process of integration, which gives the Wild Quest purpose and promise for further environmental and social change. After the 2-day solo experience, we will reconvene to share our experiences through art, story, and Way of Council, providing tools for an active reincorporation. As a group, we will support each other in defining the pathway from this personal journey to the practical application of leadership back in one’s own community.
- Local & Wildcrafted Food Preparation
- Creating a Wild Encampment
- Questing Theory
- Practice of Presence: Silent Night Walk
- Wild Quest Solo
- Natural Art & Earth Offerings
- Way of Council: Wild Quest Images & Stories
- Restorative Practices for Camp Closing
- Reincorporation: Bringing Your Gift to Community
“This leadership program went so far beyond my expectations. The land and the team provides so much sanctuary for participants that personal transformations arise naturally. Russell and Gillian offer two extremely powerful and unique perspectives on living and learning, complementing each other and the training group with extraordinary flow. Transparency in leadership qualities and a cornucopia of giving experiences create fertile ground to grow. They are gently and persistently pushing the boundaries to a whole new level that this planet desperately needs.” ~ Wilderness & Ecopsychology participant, 2015
“I found the Wilderness & Ecopsychology Training to be a life changing experience, shaping not only my personal values, but helping me understand what I have to contribute to the world.” ~ Wilderness & Ecopsychology participant, 2015