Archive for the ‘Green’ Category

TerraPlaces project

by Katrina Davenport

I’d like to tell you about a project that is as much about traveling inward as it is about traveling outward. It’s called the TerraPlaces Project and it is all about re-establishing a connection with nature.

Participants in the TerraPlaces Project choose a place in nature that calls to them. It could be the deck behind their house. It might be a city park down the block or a sweeping vista at a regional, state, or national park. The only requirements are that the chosen spot is outside and that the people spend at least five minutes there during their visit.

What is the purpose?

To observe the effects of sitting with or being in an outdoor place.

What do the participants see?

One woman shared her experience on a recent walk in Oakland: “I found seven bird feathers on my route this morning; they are gray and black. Six of them appear to be Dove feathers and one is long and black. I passed two big Crows this morning also. They are always the loudest birds in the hood. It seemed as though they were talking to each other or perhaps to me. Whenever they crow, I always acknowledge them by saying, ‘I see you.’”

What do the participants experience?

This is perhaps best demonstrated by another woman who told the group about her time on a Florida beach: “The clouds in the sky got incredibly dark even though it was still very sunny… it was clear there was rain coming in from offshore. As it started approaching I could see a rainbow forming, and as the storm got closer and closer the rainbow seem to get closer as well. Suddenly there was a full rainbow in the sky, we all could see where it began and where it ended and the colors were so incredibly intense! It seemed for a moment as if time stopped. Everyone was just standing there in awe. A few minutes later it started raining. Then, all I could do was just stand there and feel the beautiful drops of rain all over me. I felt as if Mother Earth was putting up a show just for us. The rainbow got incredibly close and it truly felt like we were being blessed. At that moment I felt life couldn’t be more beautiful. I felt complete, fulfilled, and one with the Earth. When the rain passed, people started expressing what they felt. I think we all realized the interconnectedness among us. It was just absolutely amazing! This was almost a month ago and I can tell you it will live with me forever.”

Showing up in and being present with nature can be a profound experience. When we experience this level of presence in a certain, it affects us inwardly. We come into resonance with the place and learn from it in deep ways.

Based on the work of Craig Chalquist, PhD, author of Terrapsychology and Ecotherapy Heals: Healing with Nature in Mind, the Terra Places project is a way to teach people how to practice terrapsychology, the study of how the natural world and human world work in tandem to affect our relationships, our sense of self, and our culture. Each week a new lesson is introduced, guiding participants toward new ways of interacting with a place in nature. All of this is sponsored by the Powers of Place Initiative, a group dedicated to examining the value of place.

The most exciting piece of the project for me is that we’ve added dreams to the mix for the fall phase. Places can show up vividly in dreams, looking exactly as they do in waking life, or sometimes embodied in a character. For instance, while writing his Terrapsychology book, the city of San Diego showed up in Craig’s dreams as a woman. She brought him messages and acted as a guide. We are watching to see if any of our places make appearances in our dreams this fall. I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens.

People are welcome to join the project at any point and share their experiences of their places. We welcome people from all walks of life and all corners of the Earth. So it’s not too late to take your gypsy soul and wander to our web site and then wend your way toward a place (or toward several) that calls to you. And even if you don’t join the project, think about finding a special place in nature and being with it on a regular basis. It will surprise you and I can almost guarantee it will teach you things you never imagined it would.

If you are a gypsy girl willing to travel in search of that special place, the course’s website offers a list of some restful and transformational places where you can retreat and be with nature worldwide: {Places}

Katrina Martin Davenport, MA is a Renaissance woman. Currently her passions include working with dreams, reconnecting people with nature, and photography. Her writing will be featured in the upcoming anthology Rebearths: Conversations with a World Ensouled.

You can also find her at her blog and see more of her photographs at her Etsy shop.