Ecopsychology Resources, by Corinna 

An Ecological Ethic

July 6, 2018

In this moment, I’m especially grateful for All My Relations who provide for me in many ways. I’m sitting at my beautiful cedar desk, made for me with love by my husband, and my belly is full of tasty food and warm tea. I feel loved and well nourished, none of which would be possible without having taken from other living things on this beautiful blue planet. My gratitude is only but a small token of my appreciation for what I receive and the understanding of my responsibility to give back. In large part, this awareness and the immense love I have for this planet and all who inhabit it, inform who I am and what happens through me.

Humans are not separate from nature. Francis Weller, in his book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief writes that the debate about sustainability is intimately connected with an evolutionary understanding of life. That if one does not recognize the interconnectedness and the fragility of life, one’s moral framework will likely lack a commitment to sustainability. There is a tangible connection between our ethical life and our felt sense of connection with the wider surround of Bear, Tree, Eagle, and River. To lose the chance for conviviality with the “beautiful and strange otherness” (a term that Paul Shepard uses) is to diminish our inner lives as well as the outer world. We die a little every time we close off the heart and shut out the living world from our attention. The wild within and the wild without are kin, the one enlivening the other in a beautiful tango.

My contemplative time in nature has changed the way I experience myself through an ever-widening process of identification. This, in turn, has resulted in the development of a personal ecological ethic – a set of principles that guide who I am and what I do; a sense of what is right for my soul. This will be different for each of us. It is our internal compass that guides us toward authenticity, regardless of external pressures. In nature, there are no straight lines. The path toward embodying a genuine and congruent ecological ethic is an ever-evolving dance, and it is one that we can navigate according to context and need.

An ecological ethic begins within each of us, in our minds, our hearts, our souls, and our bodies. Each of us has a deep and timeless kinship with all life; past, present, and future. I invite you to spend time thinking about everything this implies. When I do, I feel awe and inspiration, grief and joy, strength and humility. This is what helps me to stay awake and act from a place of consideration and respect for All My Relations. What is it that helps you to stay awake? What are the values that are at the core of your ecological ethic? How does this inform your way of being in the world?

 


 

I Go To The River To Pray

June 13, 2018

Last year, I was taught oosimch, a sacred bathing ritual, by Kauxaht (Daniel Blackstone) of the Saxoa and Mowachat/Muchalt People. Daniel generously gave me permission to teach it to others. The basic form is to go to the river, remove clothes, and submerge 4 times, once in each direction, during which prayers are made for men, for women, for our other than human relations, and for ourselves. After each dip, cedar is used as a brush off. One of things Daniel said was that there can be no wron...


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Sit Spot Blues

September 30, 2013



In contemplating what to post this week, my thoughts kept returning to a conversation I recently had with a good friend of mine. It went something like this:

Me: I went to my sit spot tree this morning. It's been a couple of days. Since then, the raccoons have turned it into their latrine and there's a dead Yellow Rumped Warbler. 6 piles of shit and a bird carcass at my sit spot... What does it mean!!!!! (LOL). I will proceed cautiously with the rest of my day (anxiously giggling), but first...


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Fall

September 16, 2013

The Maples are starting to show their colours, the geese are gathering, the air is cooler, and the daylight shorter. I smell the odour of dying leaves and damp earth, and am keenly aware of the transition in seasons; fall is here.  Life is readying itself for the long winter, turning inward, toward hibernation and self preservation.

Nature is a powerful and ancient teacher. The more we look at nature the more we see our own lives reflected back to us. In nature there are no straight lines, o...


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Bonding to Place

September 9, 2013

Bonding To Place

My recent move from Vancouver Island to Quebec has given me some interesting food for thought. As someone who is bonded to the giant trees, grey ocean mists, and wildness of the West Coast, coming home to the gentle slopes, hardwood forests, and fields of the Eastern Townships of Quebec was disorienting.  I felt lonely and missed my soul community of humans and other-than human relations. I found myself wondering deeply about my role in this new community and how to stay tru...


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Spring Equinox: Singing the Seeds Awake

March 20, 2013

It has been a long, cold, grey winter. Sometimes, it feels as if I am wading through a thick fog, unable to see the horizon. In these moments, tending the fire takes on deeper meaning. Beyond keeping me and my family physically comfortable, entering into relationship with fire reminds me that with death there is rebirth. Fire is a transformer and the spark of life. These teachings contain the wisdom that darkness is not a permanent state and the fire of my heart is rekindled.

The seasons ar...


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Waste

January 10, 2013

Last week I had the delightful experience of helping my son prepare for a science test on ecology. One of his tasks was to explain what composting is. As he shared his theory with me, he reminded me of an important lesson: There is no waste.

As I shared this thought with my son he agreed and then explained that some things though, like plastic bags, take an awful long time to compost. So, even though there is no waste, some things are harder to break down – mostly the stuff that we humans...


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Change

September 24, 2012

As part of the autumnal Equinox Vision Quest, I facilitated a discussion on the Anishinabe teachings of the 4 Gifts of the Woman. As we sat beneath Grandmother Cedar, we discussed the light and the shadow side of each gift and how the medicine that we carry is related to life and to our responsibilities toward self, families, communities, and the land. At the same time, in a different location, the men were discussing their gifts. In the end we came together and talked about the importance of...


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Science and Spirit

August 1, 2012

Yesterday I was forwarded a blog post by Hank Campbell in which he expressed concern regarding the watering down of rigorous scientific inquiry by fields like ecopsychology. The author slams ecopsychology labeling its practitioners as quacks. I hear his concerns and do not think that the world is well served by anyone claiming to deliver a cure.  As far as our psychological healing goes, I do not believe there is a cure; only a healing journey. From my perspective the difficulty with Campbell...


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The Great Turning

July 18, 2012
 

Greetings,

As I sit at my desk writing this entry I see and hear the wind in the trees. I am aware of the breeze on my skin and feel gratitude for her cleansing power. Her breathe lifts my spirits and reminds me of my strength. To the Four Winds I send my finest words of gratitude.

We are living in a time of great uncertainty. Every day we hear about environmental, social, political, and economic crises. Western civilization has created a reality where comfort, safety, and happiness are...


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Dragonfly Blog


Corinna Stevenson I have always loved nature. It's where I'm most at peace. For 10 amazing and intense years, I had the privilege of sharing my love for wild places with youth and families struggling to find their way in mainstream culture. We kayaked, hiked, spoke our truth at Council Fire, and formed uncommon bonds that to this day remain a source of inspiration. The place we did this work is called Ravenwood. It is a healing forest. In 2010, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare and incurable plasma cell cancer. I needed a stem cell transplant and a radical change of lifestyle. Along with a good medical team and a strong and loving circle of people supporting me, Ravenwood saved my life. 8 years later, I'm still here. Ravenwood is now home to my family. Although I can no longer do the physical work of a wilderness guide, it remains my calling to share the healing powers of nature. I still call myself a guide but the places I now navigate and explore are the wild terrains that live within the human soul. Nature is my co-guide. I work with the natural world to help make sense of inner emotions and life experiences. I believe that spending time in nature fosters awareness and interconnection to the world around us, providing the space for inward reflection and the potential for transformation. How we encounter and interpret the natural world creates a personal narrative that gives meaning to experiences and emotions allowing us to develop new ways of understanding ourselves and feeling fully integrated in our lives. Through connection with the natural world, we ultimately become connected to our ‘inner’ nature. Personal distress can be alleviated by developing the mutual connection between inside and outside. The process of change I foster involves restoring balance to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions, reconnecting to the Earth, and adopting life-long practices that help incorporate new behaviour and thought patterns into a congruent way of life. My work as guide is to help reveal and cultivate the health and sanity which is already there rather than manipulate or modify sick people to be better adjusted. This requires a focus on healing through a process of whole-ing (recognizing the wholeness that already exists within), rather than healing or fixing a problem by eliminating it; wholeness-centered (holistic) instead of pathology-centered I work with a range of practices including mindfulness and awareness, experiential activities, direct contact with nature, narrative therapy, environmental action, journaling, ritual, ceremony, and play. As an aboriginal woman of Métis descent, I weave cultural teachings into my work, inspiring personal growth and a love and respect for the natural world. Academically, I hold a Bachelor's in education, from McGill University and a Master’s of Arts in transpersonal psychology with a concentration in ecopsychology, from Naropa University. I have also completed masters level clinical counselling courses in counselling theory, family systems therapy, group therapy, and research methods, and have trained with the Vancouver School of Narrative Therapy. I am a recognized facilitator of Joanna Macy's Work That Reconnects and a Level 3 Reiki Usui Practitioner.

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