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Not In My Bed – Ecopsychology in the garden

Not In My Bed – Ecopsychology in the garden

The Ecopsychology of weeding

  W hen I began searching for a place in Ireland to call    home, I was looking for magic. Magic and nature,    and a place where I could consciously practice connecting to both. A place I could learn, about the land, myself, and my purpose here. And so, with a little intention and good luck, I found Crann Og. Having my own background in Ecopsychology and nature connection, I was thrilled to find a place that was holding ReNature Retreats, Nature Therapy walks, Forest School, food foraging workshops, and more. Here was a place where the beauty of the natural world was not only celebrated, but where people could come and consciously engage with nature in order to receive healing, guidance, and wisdom. Throw in some wise teachers, horses, yoga and meditation, and sprinkle a little magic on top. I was sold.

I’ve been living here for three weeks now, and the magic and learning abounds. In fact, it started before I even moved in, when I came to visit back in March for a couple of days. While I was getting to know the place two months ago, one of my tasks was to weed a particular garden bed. We spent an entire morning close to the ground, hands in the soil, sorting through and pulling out all the eager little weeds that were determined to grow there.

Now, two months later, here I am again. Today I found myself in that same garden bed, bent over the soil, hands full of dirt, removing new weeds, in preparation for planting. And I found myself laughing a little bit to myself; for a moment it felt silly, frustrating even–to be doing the same thing over and over. What’s the point?.

The thing is, it DOES make a difference. Each time we remove the invasive weeds, we give other plants a better chance. We save nutrients in the soil for the things we have chosen to have in our bed. Each time we weed, we are making choices. This, not that. I want to grow this, not that. The weeds themselves are not bad or evil, but in this bed, in my bed, I am nurturing something else, something more intentional.

And suddenly, I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me. This is how my life is. You see, I have a practice of setting clear intentions once a month, on the New Moon (which just passed,) for the coming month. This month I set some really wonderful, inspired, life-affirming intentions…but I couldn’t help feeling a little silly, frustrated even (sound familiar?) because they were things I have intended before. They were intentions that I have probably spoken in some way many, many times. But they felt important. They were things I wanted to choose, for myself and for my life. Things I wanted to give energy to, to nurture and grow.

And in that moment, sitting in that garden bed weeding the same soil I had weeded two months earlier, I realized that this is a never-ending process. If we have fertile soil (or rich lives), and we have life-giving rain, we are going to have weeds. Life happens, that’s it’s nature. If we want to choose what grows in our beds, and in our lives, we are going to be constantly tending it, choosing this, not that. It might be the same stubborn weed that grows over, and over, and over, and it might sometimes feel frustrating to come back time and time again to pull out the same weeds. But it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with me because I keep encountering the same challenges. That’s just the nature of it.

 

In the field of Ecopsychology, we operate on an understanding that humans are not separate from nature; in fact, we are designed by nature herself, and therefore fundamentally we operate by her laws. It follows (from an ecopsychological perspective) that spending time in nature helps us to learn about ourselves; to gain a deeper understanding of the natural processes in our body and psyche, and hopefully to help ourselves flourish and grow.

And so, in this time of Spring, new life, new beginnings, new growth, I might ask you: What are you choosing to grow? Is your soil fertile, or does it need some attention? What weeds might you need to sort through and/or pull out? And (this one is the hardest for me): What are those pesky weeds in your life that always seem to take over, to thwart your good intentions?

The garden can be a great place to begin exploring the ideas behind ecopsychology or nature therapy, because it naturally weaves the human back together with nature’s processes. And, if you feel drawn to explore any of this a little more– or perhaps you’re just in need of a little magic–we’re here at Crann Og waiting for you! You can see some of the opportunities we have going on here.

To learn more about Anna and her work with ecopsychology and nature-based practice, visit her website here!

 

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Exploring Nature: Educational courses at Crann Og

Exploring Nature: Educational courses at Crann Og

Exploring the educational side of Nature

 The 24th March marked the beginning our Nature School 2018 at Crann Og. With a well attended class and a beautiful afternoon we couldn’t have asked for more. Plenty of fun was mixed with educational aspects as the children practised new skills. There was an introduction to compass reading for the older children and a hand drawn discovery map, marked with symbols, for the younger ones.

We welcomed back some familiar faces and a few new ones, too. It is fantastic to see this great interest in our own back garden! We hope to see a continued rise in interest in Forest and Nature School at home and around the world.

Ireland is home to the youngest population in the EU. With 25% aged 18 or under. Of this 25% it is estimated that 80% do not meet the Government Physical Activity Guidelines. Unchecked this will lead to serious impacts on the emotional, physical and mental well being among the youth.

Ireland has a diverse array of flora and fauna and a rich historical connection to nature. Forest School allows children to gain confidence for exploring and discovering the interconnectedness of their surroundings. Rebuilding this connection will have numerous and long lasting benefits for us as a society and also for the natural environment.

Certified Forest School Leader, Marion-Edler Burke will be hosting more classes over the year, with all dates here.

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Nature Therapy Benefits – Feel Good Factor

Nature Therapy Benefits – Feel Good Factor

Back to Nature

 

 The Connacht Tribune has run a feature on Crann Og Eco Farm promoting the importance of Nature and the positive effects it has on our daily lives.

Connecting with nature through guided Nature Therapy Walks, Nature School and ReNature Retreats helps us slow down and relax, reduces stress, strengthens our immune system and lifts our mood.

We have been talking about nature therapy benefits since 2004. Visitors and participants emerge from Crann Og reconnected, restored and relaxed. Their shoulders drop, their smiles broaden and they sleep deeper.

 

 

It was fantastic to have such a lengthy feature written about Crann Og and Marion, helping to promote the cause of getting people back to nature for well being and health, emotional and physical. Many thanks to Judy Murphy of the Connacht Tribune for such a good article!

Marion will be giving an introduction to Nature Therapy Walks at the BurrenBeo Landscape Symposium on 10th – 12th March 2017.

Get more info about our ReNature Retreats here.

Follow this link for Nature Therapy Walks.

Read the online article here.

 

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Food Forage in Ireland September 2016

Food Forage in Ireland September 2016

Food Foraging - Going Wild

 

 Wild Food Foraging in Ireland with Mary Bulfin at Crann Og Eco Farm.  A charming group of folk joined us for a very interesting and informative day out. Mary led the group from all walks of life through the farm and woods to forage for edible wild plants and fruits.

What a feast! We learned about mushrooms, big ones, tiny ones, tasty ones and poisonous ones… Looking in the hedgerows, wandering over the fields of Crann Og Eco Farm we found many weeds that turned out to be tasty and medicinal as well!

There were plenty of wild berries and plums to pick and eat, especially blackberries, so many blackberries! We also learned about the health benefits of nettle seeds, they are rich in minerals, great for skin and hair, as well as the kidneys and urinary system.

Yes, eating weeds is definitely possible and probably the most sustainable way to get rid of them – or at least use them! Eat them in salads, pestos, soups, bake them into bread and cookies or make tea out of them.  Remember…they are actually Wild Foods!

But before you go out, remember to inform yourself about edible plants in your region, read books or better – attend a course!

The next Wild Food Day in late autumn will be on October 22nd. Starts at 10am and finishes around 4pm. Mushroom hunting, making preserves and much more!

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Teens + Nature = TEENature: Nature Smart Camps

Teens + Nature = TEENature: Nature Smart Camps

One of Ireland's best Summer Camps!

 

We host TEENature Summer Camps at Crann Og Eco Farm, County Galway Ireland in July and August.

These camps were listed in The Irish Times as one of Ireland’s 50 best things to do with kids this summer!

TEENature is a natural progression for teenagers from usual outdoor experiences into a deeper connection with Nature. Teaching is done by way of the Art of Mentoring and among many other benefits, leads to enhanced self esteem and self confidence.

In this era of high rates of obesity in teenagers, attention disorders, behavioural problems and depression, Richard Louv’s research has led him to coin the term Nature Deficit Disorders in his book “Last Child In The Woods”.

By exploring wilderness through playfully challenging activities, basic survival skills and community living on a camp site.

Teamwork, problem solving, building resilience and competent risk taking while developing physical fitness and motor skills are all integral parts of living in Nature.

TEENature is tailored to inspire enthusiasm and curiosity to learn from Nature, discovering facts and mysteries. Games and exercises help to expand sensory awareness, focus the mind and enhance relaxation and intuition.

Howard Gardener, Professor of Education at Harvard University developed the theory of 7 multiple Intelligences in 1983 and recently added the 8th, ‘Naturalist Intelligence‘, which he calls “nature smart”!

The Author, Mentor and Tracker Jon Young points out that Nature Connection is the foundation of a healthy and vibrant Culture as it is really through Nature Connection that we can deeply connect to ourself and then others.

Or as Sir David Attenborough put it:

No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one cares about what they’ve never experienced”.

Click here to read the full article.

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