Do you long to heal your relationship with the earth?
And do you wonder, is there a way to restore a healing relationship without having to move to the country or practise permaculture?
It’s easy to lose that vital connection with the natural world. Living in cities has radically changed our connection with forests, rivers, the flight of birds and the wonders of the night sky.
And then there is the challenge of the digital world.
It’s likely that you are spending more time gazing at two-dimensional screens than you are walking on the earth.
On a deeper level, maybe you’ve withdrawn from a whispering closeness with nature ever since you realised the earth is in pain. To be that close just hurts too much.
And so you shut down.
Of course you need to protect yourself. It’s hard to bear the pain, and a natural response is to want to draw back. But you pay a price for this:
Turn away from the earth and you turn away from your own self.
Turning away may impact you on different levels:
- Physically, by affecting your health and resilience
- Emotionally, by dampening your joy and hope
- Mentally, by turning your thoughts towards pessimism, or even despair about the state of the planet.
What if a loving connection could be restored?
What if you could feel safe enough to resume this vital relationship with the earth, to reach out and start communicating with the waters, birds, plants, the seen and unseen life of the natural world? Or if you could deepen the connection you already have?
What if you formed an alliance with the earth that was so strong that energy began to flow, that green power—the vital force of nature—entered you, and you were filled with the joy and power of this reunion?
You and Nature are one. To reconnect with nature is to reconnect with your own self.
My mindfulness of my place in nature has certainly been helped through the exercises focusing on giving and receiving.
The thought of breathing in symbiosis with the plants, picking up the daily offerings of fruit from the feijoa trees and capsicum plants in my garden, the calming I feel when in the presence of the waters running through Motions Creek on the way to Meola Reef, the new discovery of the magnolia tree spilling its bright red seeds all over the lawn, the little spider neatly packaging its prize of a young preying mantis expertly caught in its magical web. All these things give me tremendous pleasure and a sense of connection I haven’t felt in a long time.
—Richard Jakob-Hoff, Manager of Conservation Science & Research, Auckland Zoo
I feel much more aware and conscious with regard to my connection to the earth now. I feel more in tune with the elements and have expanded my awareness to elements I wouldn’t have focussed so much on – like air. My passion for the planet has been re-ignited and I am interested in pursuing activities such as tree planting, caring for the waterways, etc. I know the earth wants me to love her.
—Christine Johannis, psychotherapist
When you and nature work together, healing happens.
A three-month online course
to restore your healing connection with nature
When you come into connection, the earth can nourish you and bring you joy.
When you are nourished and re-energised, your capacity for giving is liberated.
Sacred Earth will show you how to establish this partnership in safe and sustaining ways, so that the living power of nature becomes part of your daily existence. This power will be available to you in the face of many kinds of challenges and upsets, independent of whether you are out on the land or in the sanctuary of your own home.
This course has delivered far beyond my expectations. I feel much more connected to earth and, as a result, less stressed. I have re-discovered my garden and the joy I get from being in it. I have also recognised – for the first time – a pull towards water, and my life-long love of trees has been reinforced. I am much more mindful of natural events happening around me and, consequently, less absorbed in the trivia of the more mundane events that have previously been so distracting.
Sacred Earth: the online course to take you offline
You will discover
- A healing partnership with the natural world
- A sacred place to stand, beyond overwhelm or denial
- The beautiful practice of mindfulness in nature
- A place of balance between screen time and ‘green time’
- Access to the voices of nature, so you can be guided by the living earth itself
- A grounded sense of connection that is life-giving and sustainable
You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.
You may be thinking, ‘This sounds too good to be true. How is that even possible?
Can I really find a connection that is so powerful and life-giving?
Restoring the connection is the first step in the healing process.
Once you do this, here’s how you are going to see changes:
- First your body will respond. You are likely to feel more grounded, energized and settled. Your sleep will improve.
- Secondly, as you attend to self care through this health-giving connection with nature, you may experience some or all of the following: a sense of wonder, spontaneous joy, inspiration, activation of your imagination.
- Thirdly, you may begin to access spiritual guidance and open to simple, easeful ways in which you can give back to the earth — not out of guilt or fear, but out of a simple sense of gratitude.
- In addition, you will find the comfort that arises from connecting with others who are struggling with similar issues, and together embarking on this process of discovery of a larger, more vital world of awareness.
Perhaps you like the sound of this, but are still wondering if the course is a good match for you?
Maybe this will help:
The course is for you if
- You wish to heal your relationship with the earth
- You already feel connected to the earth, and hear the call to go deeper
- You are excited by the idea of forming an alliance with the regenerative power of nature
- You are open to the magic of ritual and other spiritual practices
- You find satisfaction and meaning in being able to give to the earth
The course is not for you if
- You are closed to a spiritual perspective
- You think it’s crazy to talk to plants
- You are so disconnected from nature that you’ve given up caring
- You believe if you can’t fix a problem it’s not worth doing anything
Is this making things clearer? Maybe it’s helpful also to do a quick check of any symptoms you might be experiencing.
Do any of these ring a bell?
- You are spending more and more time on computer and other screens. You realise that days or even weeks can go by without any replenishing interchange with the energies of nature. Not only is your physical health affected, but you are also aware of a sense of loss, as if a vital dimension of life has receded, leaving you feeling rather flat and uninspired.
- You feel disconnected and troubled when you go to bed at night, and have difficulty sleeping, because your connection to the earth is remote, leaving you trapped in thoughts that go round and round.
- You’ve withdrawn from a whispering closeness with nature ever since you realised the earth is in pain. To be that close just hurts too much. And so you shut down. You switch off the news, get angry with your loved ones, take refuge in eating, or seek distraction on the internet: all indicators that inner conflict and stress is undermining your pleasure in life, harming your body and your relationships.
- You look out on a beautiful view and feel numb, as if it’s just a movie set or painted scene, signalling that you may be suffering from a severed ‘green cord’ with nature.
Even if your situation is not so dire, this may still be time to listen more deeply to the call of your soul and open to new levels of healing and service.
When you enter into deep dialogue with nature, be prepared for a surprise.
(Note: The lake in the picture is one where I love to walk. However, it’s not the one in the story below, because I want to preserve the privacy of that location.)
Bulldozer meets dying lake
A friend living in a spiritual community became the project manager of a restoration project. The lake had become clogged with sediment. Its waters were murky and no longer sustained healthy life of plants or creatures. It was dying.
My friend and his team set an intention, not just to intervene with bulldozers, but also to find out all they could about the healthy ecosystem for that region; what plants, birds and aquatic life would flourish there. They aimed to restore this living system, even as they drained the lake and proceeded to carve out a large hollow in the earth.
It was late afternoon, just as the lakebed was close to the desired depth, when an excited shout rang out through the autumn air. Water was gushing out of the exposed ground. They had uncovered a spring.
Their intention was to honour nature in the best possible way, and it was as if nature responded.
Now the lake is wide and long, a haven of fresh, sparkling life, fed by the spring. Fish glide and flit through its waters. Birds alight to feed, swim, and nest in the reeds. Trees flourish all around, and in autumn the still waters reflect the rich colours of the rustling leaves.
I’ve walked the path that encircles the lake, and rested on the wooden benches that sit at intervals, inviting contemplation. Knowing about the secret spring gives me hope in this place of beauty and pilgrimage, and reminds me how those pure waters from the earth rose up in response.
Why am I doing this?
My first 14 years were spent running barefoot on the earth. Taranaki is my mountain, the Waionganaiti my river, where I spent hours sitting on a stone and watching the waters flow. To this deep connection with place my Maori teacher from Parihaka added heart connection by opening up the indigenous culture and the way of peace. (See my memoir Touching Snow for the full story)
As a student, I saved a stand of gum trees from thoughtless felling. Later, during two years in Paris, when a potted plant fell from my window sill, I felt the painful impact of living in a city with no available soil, where guards were employed to keep people from walking on the grass.
I returned to my bach (cabin) in the wilds, and took refuge in nature. A shock announcement that the Council planned to dump Auckland’s rubbish at the head of the nearby wetland left me stunned, saying ‘I’ll leave.’
But I stayed, helped form the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, and became a long-term activist, researching wetland ecology, alternative methods of waste disposal, taking a petition to Parliament and later being elected as a Director of the Q E II National Trust.
We won the rubbish tip fight and saved the wetland. Auckland eventually adopted recycling and I learned that people can make a difference. Nine years on the National Trust took me all over the country, meeting farmers who wanted to protect precious ecosystems, and working with Councils to safeguard open space. I learned the power of working with willingness, and that people do care.
I returned to university teaching, as tutor in two new Environmental Studies courses, one for engineers, the other multidisciplinary.
In the late 1980s my energies shifted into writing, with the publication of books such as Celebrating the Southern Seasons, the sequel Dancing with the Seasons, and teaching seasonal rituals throughout the land. I had also begun studying with earth-based spiritual teachers such as Jean Houston, Rupert Sheldrake, Z Budapest, Luisa Teish, Olivia Quevedo, Shaman Sandy Ingerman, Celtic Shaman Caitlin Matthews, and Druid Master Philip Carr-Gomm, all of whom visited from the USA and UK.
Forty-five years tending and restoring biodiversity on my block of coastal land show me that even in one lifetime, an ecosystem can be restored and the spirit of the land can sing again in many voices.
It’s a great joy to have found a new pathway to earth care, through spiritual practice, ritual and an ever-deepening communion with the world of nature. I’m so happy to offer that pathway to you!
There is a feeling of much more purpose running through my work. And the other lovely thing has been my new-found joy in recharging/accepting from nature… it feels as though by approaching my work as an offering I am open to receiving. So all in all, a quiet earthy miracle, really! Feeling very thankful.
—Laura McLauchlan, anthropologist
By now you are probably wondering how it all works, so here goes:
Connect to the earth through the computer? You must be joking!
I know. It sounds such a contradiction. Yet I’ve discovered, through my own learning and teaching, the surprising secret of online teaching: spiritual transmission.
This transmission of energy and inspiration occurs in a direct and clear way. Because the sessions are audio, there are no visual distractions from having to watch a screen.
We begin with online rituals and meditations to activate sacred earth connection. Then I send you outdoors with assignments such as forest bathing, finding your guardian tree, prayer walks and rituals of offering to give you a sense of engagement with the spirit of nature.
Students express excitement and delight at the unexpected intimacy and power of these practices.
‘At first I felt nervous dealing with technology. However, once that hurdle was overcome I really loved disappearing into the privacy of the sessions without having to travel in a car to go out. . . . I could still participate despite travelling to the other side of the world. Technology overcame space and distance.’—Jeni M
Participants love sharing the results of assignments through a secret Facebook group, and supporting one another in their explorations and discoveries.
‘There was such depth of connection between participants – both through the evening meetings and the Facebook group.’—Amy C
‘The assignments were a great way to embed your teachings.’—Richard J-H
‘I loved the assignments and the intimacy with Nature that came from doing them.’—Paula H
How will this happen and when?
Sacred Earth is a three month course, consisting of three ways to connect:
- Live, online audio meetings, twice a month, on Tuesdays from 7.15 to 8.45 pm NZ time.
The next course will begin on 14 February 2017.
Meeting dates will be: Feb 14, 28; March 14, 28; April 11, 25
Each session will include teaching, experiential elements, and the opportunity to share or ask questions.
You will be able to log in using your computer or phone.
If you are unable to attend a class, you may listen to the recording, which will be sent out as soon as the live session is over.
- Facebook Forums, twice a month, on Wednesday nights from 7.30 to 8.30 pm.
Facebook forum dates will be: Feb 22; March 8, 22; April 5, 19; May 3
The forums are a fun way of having a question and answer session in real time. I start a thread and you comment or ask questions using the comments boxes. Participants have reported a delightful sense of ‘group mind’ emerging during the forums. If you can’t be there ‘live’, you can still read what happened afterwards.
I loved the facebook forums. A crazy, wonderful place to share thoughts and feelings. I felt like I grew and learnt a lot from these. Very stimulating, thought provoking and memorable.
—Christine Johannis, psychotherapist
[The Forums were] surprisingly great! I didn’t see how they would work, but I ended up really loving them. A very good pairing to go with the live sessions.
—Laura McLauchlan, anthropologist
- Facebook private group Every two weeks you will be asked to post a check-in about how you’ve got on with your assignment. You may also add photos, and comment on other people’s posts. Group members have found the Facebook private group a great way to interact with one another, to share both successes and challenges.
How to pay
To register for the course, all you need to do is to make an initial deposit of NZ $70. You will find the BUY NOW button at the bottom of this page.
Your deposit will be followed by three monthly payments of $180, due at the beginning of February, March and April, made by automatic payment. (You will be sent the details)
The reason for asking you to register early is to give me time to send your free gift, and also because I really want you to send you the Summer Assignment while you have some holiday space to do it. It will be beneficial and fun!
Would you like to join me?
When you register you will be given a link to the Summer Quest.
This takes the form of an enticing treasure hunt that will take you to your sacred places in nature (If you are on holiday at this time, it will be perfect). The Summer Quest will bring you into a closer relationship with these sites, and prepare you for the course.
You will also receive a bonus gift in the mail just before the course begins. It’s a little ritual I like to do, to put together by hand a special gift to my course participants. Sending it off to you in a hand-addressed envelope gives me a feeling of connection to you right from the start. It is a way of sending you love and blessings.
If you feel excited by the prospect of this adventure, you may register for Sacred Earth by clicking the BUY NOW button below and making an initial deposit of NZ $70.
This deposit will be followed by three monthly payments of $180, due at the beginning of February, March and April, made by automatic payment.
If you are unsure, or have a query about something that has not been answered on this page, please use the form below to send me your questions.
IMPORTANT: Please note that once you have paid you will need to click the link on the Paypal page that says “Return to Juliet Batten” and then wait 10 seconds. Please fill in that form and click the submit button so that I can send your bonus gift and other information for the course. If you are not automatically redirected after 10 seconds there will be a link that you can click on the Paypal success page that will take you where you need to go. Thank you.
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