This series of courses has to do with sharing a means of securing both human happiness and a sustainable environment. These two laudable goals are achieved through the conversion of participants into eco-centric elders, or, more specifically, into either eartHearts or eco-centric life coaches.
Here’s the difference:
Eco-centric elders are leaders that can be either amateur eartHearts or professional eco-centric life coaches. Either way, eco-centric elders are guided by nature in their service to people and the planet.
EartHearts are sort of like environmentalists. But, instead of saving the earth one place at at time they volunteer to save the earth one person at a time.
Eco-centric life coaches go one step further. They have the same aim. But, instead of working as a volunteer, they are paid for their additional professional life coaching skills.
Either way, participants, most likely being people in their Twenties to Sixties, will, step-by-step, expand their horizons and develop a broader sense of self. The particular form of awakening offered by this series of courses means that you will both increase your happiness and improve the quality of your environment. The inseparability of these two aims will be sufficiently evident by the end of this series of courses.
Prospective participants need only have a yearning to make things better. They need not have achieved, before the onset of this course, the kind of rare spiritual enlightenment that would make them already a “sage.” Many of the activities of the course lead participants towards that goal, but only in unsustainable peak experiences, and never as a way to check out from the realities of this world.
Participants prepare themselves for a productive adulthood, productive in ways not found in the general population. And they are trained to share their new-found knowledge with others.
To be suitable for this series of courses, participants need a yearning to attain a psycho-spiritual level of development that is more “saint-like” than “sage-like.” We will be speaking not of religious canonical saints but of secular saints. Our brand of saints are very good people who still know how to have fun. We define a “saint” as a person with the following five characteristics: 1) she has a more-than-individual, ecological perspective, 2) she has the ability to see what needs to be done to secure a magnificent future, 3) she is willing to stand up against injustice, 4) she is driven without burden to help others and 5) she wants to obtain some basic life coaching skills and resources that can be used to help others become both glad (uncommonly happy) and green (living an ecological lifestyle in a healthy environment).
Beyond such characteristics, the sort of amateurs and professionals we seek to develop through this series of courses will be those who are willing to become prepared to help other people develop an eco-centric perspective––that is, a worldview of concern for others that includes the entire planet. This concern, like all concerns, is mediated by how one understands problems and by what one is willing to do about them. This concern also yields uncommon happiness.
Unless you have some divinely-given attributes, people seeking to become saint-like need to work assiduously on their own personal growth. This work often involves partaking in the kind of systematic course of activities presented in this series of courses.
For reasons that will be made clear subsequently, almost all of the activities in this series of courses will occur outside in nature. Unless attracted to do otherwise, do the activities in order and build in enough time for reflection by getting a good night’s dream-filled sleep between each activity. I call the activities of this series of courses “HumaNatureConnect Activities” because, for the most part, they serve to “connect” you––the individual “human”––with the bigger aspect of your own Greater Self––”Nature.” In doing so, the activities along the Heartwood Path will bring to you and refine for you a component of what I call “Triple A Happiness.” This component is “meaning.”
Once meaning is extracted from the activities, it is useful to remember the significance of the event. A good way to do this is to bring along with you a pen and writing journal or a electronic mobile device such as an iPhone. If you do not have any of these, now would be a good time to acquire them.
Another way to find the meaning of the activities is to dream and analyze your dreams. We shall call such analysis “Dream Tending,” a term coined by Dr. Stephen Aizenstat (2009).
To Start Off Right...
If this is not a day when you prefer to spend time in nature without an agenda, do the following activity:
Read The Text— Use your literary sense, your mind sense, and your reason sense to read your way towards happiness and sustainability but do not just be an arm-chair traveler. Use your other natural senses as you also spend healthful, fun, and productive time in nature on your way to Gladandgreen Junction.
Attractive Natural Being— With pen and journal in hand, go to a natural area and look around to find a natural being that is attractive to you.
Appreciation and Gratefulness— While admiring your chosen being, appreciate it with your inhalations and give it gratitude with your exhalations.
Consent— Once you find an aspect of nature that is attractive to you continuously for at least ten seconds, think of your continued attraction as your consent to have a connection experience that will lead to your optimal functioning.
The Natural Senses— After gaining consent to enter into a connection experience with the natural being, have available the list of Natural Senses. Mix it up by using at least one radiation sense, one feeling sense, one chemical sense, and one mental sense, to widen your perception, and add variety to your experience.
HumaNatureConnect Activity — After reading the text, finding a natural being, appreciating it, gaining its consent, and scanning the list of natural senses, use your heightened awareness and nature-induced optimal functioning to do the following activity and engage in as many follow-up components as you see fit.
Writing A Letter Of Gratitude
HumaNatureConnect Activity:Writing A Letter Of Gratitude.With pen and journal in hand, go to an attractive natural area and, in a spirit of appreciation, look around you to find something that is attractive to you.Once you find an aspect of nature that is attractive to you continuously for at least ten seconds, write a letter of gratitude to someone. Make your letter about three hundred words long. Mention specifically what the intended recipient of your letter did for you and how this person’s actions affected your life.Determine, once your letter is written, if you are also attracted to actually deliver your letter of gratitude in person. Note the affect of this letter both on yourself and, if delivered, on the recipient. In writing and delivering your letter you are already en route to“Gladandgreen Junction.”This imaginary place, as satisfying as its name implies, is the destination of the Heartwood Path. This journey’s end without an end will be described here and there as we proceed.
Record your notes for this and every HumaNatureConnect Activity in your Heartwood Path Activity Log, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
Follow-up Protocol Natural Systems Reflection Process
For best results, write down your impressions of this activity in your journal using as many of the following components as you see fit, afterwards, share your interpretations with others.
General Description — writing a general description of how you did the activity and what happened.
Freeform — writing, in freeform, what you found attractive about your natural being.
Three Qualities — writing down three qualities you found most attractive about your natural being.
Three Learnings — writing down three things you learned from this activity.
Self-esteem & Trust — writing down how, if at all, this activity changed your self-esteem or trustfulness of Nature.
Changes To Self — writing down what aspects of your self, if any, were changed by this activity.
Honor Yourself — praising yourself and your commitment to making another stop along the Heartwood Path good for yourself and the world.
I’m A Person Who . . . — writing down three different so-called “G/G Statements” using the following format: “This connection experience tells me that I am a person who__________.”
Feelings If Activity Taken — writing down a sentence about how you would feel if you lost your ability to experience this connection.
Two-Word Summary — writing down two words that summarize your response to this activity.
The Heartwood Path Exchange: Swap Your Ideas, Impressions, Photos, And News With Others
Post your impressions and photos in the Comments at the bottom of the page
Engage with others in your Heartwood Path course or salon
To see what conversations you can inspire, share your photos and impressions about anything pertaining to your journey down the Heartwood Path on your Facebook page, on Instagram, and on other social media accounts. If you like, include “#heartwoodpath” and “#waypoint(insert waypoint number here)” wherever pertinent
Your input is vital. Enjoy sharing!
The following section will be a regular part of the Heartwood Path. The axioms that you find there will be the most important gleanings from each waypoint. These axioms are encoded. The first digit refers to the Heartwood Path Part, the second digit refers to the Course, the third digit refers to the waypoint number, and the fourth digit refers to the axiom within each waypoint. Heartwood Path axioms help you remember the key points. You may want to look them over before you fall asleep each evening.
Heartwood Path Axioms: Key Assertions From Waypoint 1.2
18.104.22.168.1. By awakening to the nature of happiness that arises not within the individual as a separate being but stems from one’s unyielding and largely forgotten connection to nature one can create both uncommon happiness in the individual and beauty and sustainability in environment.
22.214.171.124.2. To find the abundant, authentic and abiding nature of happiness follow a two step process: 1) seeking out attractive natural beings, connecting with them consciously, and following a pilgrimage (such as the Heartwood Path) and 2) tending to night time reveries by making associations with dream images, amplifying them, and animating them.
126.96.36.199.3. Saving one’s impressions (from one’s daily experiences, from connecting with nature, and from dreaming) as daily entries into a chronicle that includes one’s personal diary, activity log, and dream journal is the key to all of the gates that lead to happiness and environmental quality.
188.8.131.52.4. One of the vital components of one’s chronicle is the expression of gratitude.
Nocturnal Pilgrimage 1.2: Tend To Your Dreams Before Heading To The Next Waypoint
Rather than rush down the Heartwood Path, set a slow but steady beat, and give yourself enough time for reflection. It is suggested that you sleep between each waypoint. After a good night’s rest, record your dreams in your journal. If you are creating your own paper journal (and not using the downloadable EartHeart Chronicles) then consider incorporating the same Dream Journal Template used in the EartHeart Chronicles which includes Dream Title, Date of Dream, Dream Description, Keywords (listed vertically so you can make associations to each word), Outline, People, Places, and Mood.
Concerning the Keywords, eventually you will be making associations with the words in the vertical list (freedom for flying bird, renewal for snake, for example). Once these associations are made and you progress further in this course you will be on your way to analyzing the meaning of your dreams.
Concerning the Outline, create a four-act break-down of your dream: Act 1. is the Set-up or Statement of Problem as presented in the dream. Act 2. is the Complication or Challenge. Act 3 is the Culmination or Response witnessed in the dream. And Act 4 is the Conclusion or Possible Solution.
Be Sure To Make Daily Dream Journal Entries
The benefits of keeping a dream journal include, dreaming more (by keeping a dream journal you are sending a “strong, silent message to your subconscious mind that dreaming and remembering your dreams is very important to you), remembering your dreams, and discovering repetitive dream cues. Without maintaining a journal, you will not be able to proceed well in this series of courses; and, more importantly, you will give up a chance to be transformed positively by your dreams.
Helpful tips for making your dream journal include using a pen with a light embedded in the barrel so you can jot down your first dream impressions without jolting your sleep partner or yourself (and losing your dream memory) by turning on a bright light. If you enter and store your notes about your dreams directly into a mobile device or laptop, keep it close to your bed but not close to your head. Be forewarned: keeping a cell phone in your bed may disrupt your direct experience of being in the real world, it may not be healthy, it may be a distraction if it should ring during a dream, and your typing will be loud enough to bother your sleeping partner. Follow your own attractions in this regard and consider turning off mobile devises during dreamtime or utilizing the Airplane Mode. Also consider using a tape recorder to record your dreams, if you prefer this option over pen and paper. And, importantly, make sure your entries remain confidential. Keep them securely stored during the day.
Keep these tips and the previous teaching in mind when you head for bed tonight. After you sleep and dream, tend to your dream using the template presented in the downloadable Eartheart Chronicles. When ready to proceed to the next waypoint, click on the “Next Waypoint” link to the right or the waypoint title link in the menu at left. This time, the waypoint title will be “Hume-ster,” for reasons that will be made clear as you continue reading.
EartHeart Tips: Don't forget to bookmark your current location along the Heartwood Path for easy return.