roots of resilience uk: the power of nature connection

28th July to 3rd August

This is an Ecodharma training hosted at High Heathercombe in the UK. It brings nature connection, meditation and mindfulness into relationship with activism and social change. We ask: How can we draw on the power of the heart, the fire of the imagination, and the dynamism of the body to empower social change through nature connection?

Resilience is all about connection: Deeper connection with our self, deeper connections with each other, and deeper connection with nature.Today we face immense challenges – social, ecological and political. We can be daunted by the scale and extent of the problems. We can feel overwhelmed and undermined. Where can we find the resilience and strength needed to meet them? How can we stay rooted in a wider connection with nature so we stay inspired to engage passionately in these times?

Deeper nature connection can be a source of nourishment, empowerment, and wisdom. It can help us to live fully present in our times. As the Shambala Mind Training Verses say: “Remember that you are the inheritor of the strengths of thousands of generations of life.” This course will help us to remember – to regain the power and nourishment that comes from recollecting who we are and what we are part of.

At the Ecodharma Centre, we know the transformative and integrative power of immersion in non-human nature. We want to support others to re-connect with that source of nourishment, well-being, and inspiration. Our approach to Nature Based Practice and Learning integrates insights and methods from ‘nature connection’, deep ecology, and contemplative traditions.

This course will support participants to spend time out in the wilds connecting with the teachings nature offers. We use tools such as mindfulness practice and meditation in conjunction with elements of bushcraft, nature based education, systems theory and group process, as well as ecological and evolutionary learning, and solo time in wild nature.

Connection with wild nature is an important aid to developing an ecological sensibility and sense of connection with the web of life. This can support action towards a sustainable future for all. These experiences can be nourishing, enriching, and can demand that we radically re-orientate our sense of who and what we are. This course will help us to remember and refuel – to regain the power and nourishment that comes from recollecting who we are and what we are part of.

Who is it aimed at?
Anyone involved in socially engaged action addressing ecological, political and social justice issues. We embrace a broad definition of activism, including: Resistance – action preventing further damage to ecosystems and social justice; Renewal – action focused on developing and creating alternatives for healthier societies and communities; and Building Resilience – action supporting increased resilience in communities to weather the uncertain times ahead.

To support this we will be exploring and sharing a range of relevant methodologies, design principles, and specific tools. These include:

• Creating frameworks for deep reflection, analysis, and the sharing of experience.

• Learning to broaden our sphere of awareness and minimise our sphere of disturbance, so that we can learn from our natural surroundings.

• Training in techniques for observation and understanding of the natural systems we live in.

• The application of participatory and experiential learning to sustainable activism.

• Methods of opening up and holding spaces for exploring the emotional dimensions of activist experience – including strong and difficult emotion.

• Exploring group dynamics and tendencies: creating safer spaces to support deep personal learning and transformation.

• Experientially re-membering how ecological consciousness arises through relationship, as an emergent property between humans and the wider natural world.

• Explore how to read the landscape and understand its stories, revealing the deep-time processes which connect us with a vast evolutionary journey and reflecting on the human story and our own individual place in the unique times we are living though.

• Working with natural crafts such as: fire by friction, natural cordage, crafting with wood through whittling and coal burning around the fire.

• Applying mindfulness-based and reflective approaches to self-awareness and increasing emotional resilience.

• Tools which integrate embodied and somatic approaches to personal and group change.

We don’t want lack of finances to be a barrier, so some bursary places are available – please get in touch with lindsay@ecodharma.com for more information.

Due to the financial approach of the host organisation, this course is not offered as part of Ecodharma’s dana economy. For details of cost and booking see the High Heathercombe website. For an application form and more information contact us at lindsay@ecodharma.com

The Team

May MacKeith is an experienced nature facilitator, who’s been helping people to connect with nature for over 13 years with Forest School Camps (FSC) which brings large groups of children and adults together in temporary community for 2-week camps. For the past 6 years she has been involved in developing and delivering training for FSC staff to help reinvigorate their passion for nature and fuel the fire in the bellies of the camps. This work formed the foundation for Wild Time Weekends, which May and the Co-Resist team set up to bring better access to nature to adults from a range of backgrounds. More recently she co-founded the Natural Resilience Project, which builds personal resilience though connection to nature with migrant women in East London. In her free time May is a passionate campaigner and activist, and for the last decade or more has worked on a range of issues, often with an environmental emphasis. With Plane Stupid she focused on aviation, and went on to help establish Grow Heathrow, a squatted community food growing project in the path of the proposed 3rd runway. More recently her energy has been with Reclaim the Power, fighting dirty big business, and standing with communities being damaged by extractive industries.

Lindsay Alderton helped launch the Ulex Project in 2017, a pan-European training centre which supports sustainable organising for systemic change. As a facilitator, Lindsay’s work is underpinned by training in meditative and somatic practices for close to twenty years, and with a background in theatre arts and participatory education she is currently training in both Social Presencing Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed.

Her activism centres around personal, inter-personal and political transformation and she’s committed to sharing how meditation and mind-training practices can be applied in everyday life to bring greater freedom, vitality, clarity and courage.

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