One who can harm can also heal.
When I was young, I did not know this. I surveyed environmental destruction caused by humans wondered, “Are we cancer upon the earth?” I was studying to be a medical doctor and wondered how to be a doctor in this situation? Western medicine did not offer a path of healing that I perceived was necessary. The rapid decline of earth’s living systems is our greatest health threat AND we are the cause of this decline. What does it mean to be a healer in the context of this situation?
Paralyzed by ecological shame, I was stuck and in despair. I needed an ecopsychologist!
Over many years, I have become the doctor that I needed.
Wilderness, prison, travel, parenting, and years of study and self-reflection have taught me the true power of being human. One who can harm can also heal, yes. But this transformation is hard-won, requires clear intent, and real work. Our deepest nature is wild, wholesome, and medicinal but this deep inner nature is vulnerable to being mined, exploited, and compromised by the same economic and social traumas that wreak havoc on the other living systems of the earth. Wild wisdom and internally rooted ethics are as endangered as any natural system–and as resilient. This is why I am an environmental activist with an inner focus. The living system I protect and serve is the deep inner nature human beings. Ecopsychology is ecologically oriented and soul-focused.
The initiatory development of the ecological Self is underway. Environmental crises invite–insist–that humans become integral, vital, and creative expressions within a thriving living planet. As my teacher Steven Foster taught me, we are human nature. Inner alignment with the sacred laws of Life is powerful. This power is both our birthright and our responsibility. As Jeshua (Jesus) taught, “Blessed are those who soften the emotional rigidity of their hearts, for they shall have all the power of nature.”
Healing in the context of our times requires becoming a post-modern indigenous person and one’s unique medicine–both. A shift in identity and one’s cultural role entails initiation. For this reason, initiation is the territory where I work, explore, and hang out. Whatever stands in the way of development and evolution–shame, trauma, fear, habit, addiction–are relentless teachers, inviting descent into the divine depths of human nature. In these depths, much is revealed. Revealing unfetters. Unfettered, we shine.
Years ago, people asked me, “So what do you do? Counsel wild animals?” Back then, I laughed lightly, and evaded. Now I would respond directly. “That’s right! I counsel wild animals like you!”
Is realigning with the power of nature psychological? Yes, because how we think, what we value, and our level of maturation are psychological issues. They are internal and shape our lives and the lives of those we influence.
Our inner life matters because our influence is vast. Humans have become a force of nature—altering the climate of our planet, determining what species thrive or perish, and directing the course of existence for countless living things. Whether a tree anywhere on the planet is left standing to grow tall and strong rests upon human decisions.
For the sake of life, my work reframes environmental crises as an initiatory rite of passage for individuals and collectives. Reframing crises and trauma as an initiation transforms ruptures in life as invitations: What are we invited to become? Reframed and engaged as an initiation, environmental crises are not happening to us, but for us. Difficulties are essential and necessary. What blocks our way is integral to this journey.
Knowing this, we face the storms ahead with courage and, I suggest, with good company.
Working with me entails five crucial elements:
• Restoring the dignity of shame—as victims, bystanders, and perpetrators (more)
• Cultivating ecological identity—a resourced, networked, inclusive sense of Self. (more)
• Experiencing the power of accountability. (more)
• Tending collective trauma within individuals and cultures.
• Aligning purpose with the power of nature—for individuals and groups. (learn more)
I work with individuals, small groups, and organizations.
I am available to do presentations on any of these topics.
My work is malleable and can be tailored to any setting.
I am as at home in prison as I am in wilderness settings.
To schedule a free 20 minute consultation, CLICK HERE
BA in German Literature and pre-medical studies Sonoma State University (SSU)
MA in Wilderness Psychology Sonoma State University
PhD in Ecopsychology from Meridian University
Trainings & Specializations
Organic Farming & Native Habitat Restoration 1984 – 2003
Wilderness Guiding and Eco-Philosophy with Robert Greenway 1986 – 1993
Vision Quest Guiding at the School of Lost Borders 1993 – 1998
Deep Ecology Training with Joanna Macy 1991 – present
Yoga Praxis (theory and practice) and Training 1979 – present
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) 2004 – present.
NVC trainer in San Quentin 2006 – present
Contemporary Mysticism and Healing Collective Trauma with Thomas Hübl 2013 – present