Nature vs. Nurture

August 8, 2015
August 8, 2015
Cosmic Transition
July 31, 2017
Show all

On my most recent excursion into the mountains of central, northern New Mexico, the idea that exposure to the natural world can be a therapeutic event having the potential to put our lives in perspective, occupied my thinking. As I hiked up to the Cottage-in-the-Forest and settled into a relaxed state, the day was beginning to darken. Looking out of a large cabin window toward the West, the snow-capped Sangre-de-Cristo mountains overwhelmed me with emotion. There isn’t a time when I am enveloped by the beauty of this land, that I don’t have a heartfelt response. Literally, tears well up as I take in the incredible majesty of the forest and mountains. I ponder the animals who call this area their home, thinking of the thousands of creatures occupying the space between where I’m sitting inside the warmth of the cabin and as far as my eye takes me to the top of the furthest mountain. At the same time, all other concerns seem to melt away or take a much less than important place on my list of life issues.

“Nature vs. Nurture” is a long standing debate having implications on what effect we believe we can have to help cure our ailing planet. But before I get into discussion of our impact on environmental degradation, allow me to start with the effects “nurture” can have on our ailing psyches. It has long been known that exposure to the natural world can have very positive therapeutic results when it comes to depression, feelings of loneliness and alienation, hopelessness and other mental and emotional forms of distress such as anxiety and fear. Sometimes the solutions to our immediate problems are right outside our door. Putting a crisis in perspective goes a long way toward solving that crisis because we can then see it with a clear mind and attack it with determined resolve.

As a high school teacher for twenty-five years, I had the opportunity to see first-hand the positive effects that immersion in a social problem can have. Teaching courses where I concentrated on examining social and political change, the nature of society and the prospects for future advancements, it became clear to me that if my students were to understand the political and economic system into which they would soon be expected to function, we needed to get to the heart of what ails society. Upon examination and analysis, we would determine a set of problems and then attempt to find solutions. Our “Bookstore Project” was one such experiment.

Another experiment concerned environmental issues. Part of the awareness involved an “Eco-Retreat” where students would spend a day hiking about twelve miles in silence. Students were required to communicate only through the written word or hand signals the entire time. This immersion aided awareness of the natural world and allowed them “quiet time” to ponder the questions posed to them prior to the retreat.

Former student and Terra Advocati Advisor Tanya Keyser, had recently faced a crisis of unimaginable proportions. Her best friend Adria was brutally murdered by a classmate, a crime for which he was eventually executed. During this time of mourning, I invited her to join our “Eco-Retreat” students, a group of about fifteen others, and spend a day hiking the hill country of central Texas. She agreed after I explained to her my reasoning for inviting her. I felt that such an excursion would do her good. Exposing her to the incredible scenery, the plants and animals, the creeks and ponds, the Spring-time breezes and the wonderful fresh air, would have a definite positive effect on her dismal outlook in the face of her friend’s death.

I wouldn’t presume the effect such an excursion had on her. I save that for her to propound. Yet, I can’t help but think that exposure to the serenity of the Texas hill country, allowed her to relax, encouraged her to reflect and set her toward a process to regroup. My own experience tells me that that is what likely occurred for Tanya. It has happened exactly that way many times for me. We are the sum total of our life’s experiences – traumatic and catastrophic, as well as ecstatic and uplifting.

My very good friend and Terra Advocati Advisor, AJ Giliberto and I have done back-pack immersions into the wild. Big Bend in West Texas and the Porcupine Mountains in northern Michigan are two of the most memorable. Again, I won’t speak on AJ’s behalf, but those trips are etched into my psyche and had both immediate and long-term effects like only a handful of others in my life. I am the result of what I experienced on those cliffs and forests and waterfalls.

If you need an outsider’s view of what I am proposing, read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Lost to Found” (and/or see the Academy Award winning movie). Of course there is Thoreau’s “Walden” – a classic we are all familiar with. The discipline of Eco-psychology and the practice of Eco-therapy are becoming widely recognized as truly beneficial in addressing emotional issues as well as stress, anxiety and fear.

Our natures are fixed. What nurtures us are our experiences. If we can gain perspective and insight and, at the same time, develop a commitment to help save the giant blue-green marble we all love, we are fully self-actualized and our lives mean something more important than we ever could have imagined. I am of the belief that Terra Advocati can offer an avenue to that end and that the Cottage-in-the-Forest will be a vehicle for personal rejuvenation and long-term public activism.

We are Terra Advocati!

56 Comments

  1. vurtil opmer says:

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in web explorer, could check thisK IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a huge section of people will omit your excellent writing due to this problem.

  2. vurtil opmer says:

    We are a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to paintings on. You’ve performed a formidable job and our whole group will be thankful to you.

  3. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. Thank you ever so for you article post.

  5. These are actually great ideas in concerning blogging.

  6. acim says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100 positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  7. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing slightly evaluation on this. And he in truth purchased me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you turn into experience, would you thoughts updating your blog with more details? It’s extremely helpful for me. Massive thumb up for this weblog post!

  8. Yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a risky determination outstanding post! .

  9. acim says:

    I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog, keep it up.

  10. You actually make it seem so simple along with your presentation having said that i find this topic being really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad to me. I am just looking forward for your upcoming post, I’ll try to get the hang than it!

  11. SalNSprake says:

    Hi to all, it’s actually a good for me to visit this website, it includes important Information.

  12. You made some decent points there. I checked on the internet to find out more about the issue and discovered most people should go as well as your opinion of this site.

  13. I just want to tell you that I am beginner to blogging and site-building and actually enjoyed your web blog. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You actually have tremendous stories. With thanks for sharing with us your blog.

  14. ElissaYDufek says:

    I love whatever you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and coverage! Maintain the fantastic works guys I’ve added you guys to my own blogroll.

  15. SamuelPGabay says:

    Great info. Lucky me I discovered your internet site by mistake (stumbleupon). We have saved it for later!

  16. TyraXFaver says:

    It is actually perfect time for you to develop plans for future years and it can be time and energy to be at liberty. We have read through this post of course, if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles discussing this informative article. I would like to read much more aspects of it!

  17. NealZJanik says:

    It’s the truth is very difficult in this packed with activity life to listen news on Television, so I just use internet for your reason, and obtain the most up-to-date news.

  18. I simply want to mention I am just new to blogging and site-building and honestly savored this website. Most likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You actually come with fantastic posts. Cheers for sharing your website.

  19. CandiCTeas says:

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article as well as the rest of the website is very good.

  20. BuddyEUken says:

    It’s tricky to find knowledgeable people in this particular subject, however, you appear like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  21. RickyXRittle says:

    I much like the valuable info you supply with your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again right here frequently. I’m moderately sure I’ll learn lots of new stuff proper right here! All the best for another!

  22. SungWCecil says:

    Link exchange is nothing else except it is just placing another person’s internet site link in your page at appropriate place as well as other person will even do similar in favor of you.

  23. SibylGAkhand says:

    Hello, all the time i used to check blog posts here in the early hours in the break of day, since i love to learn more and more.

  24. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this web site is in fact pleasant.

  25. click says:

    One more issue is really that video gaming has become one of the all-time main forms of excitement for people of nearly every age. Kids have fun with video games, and also adults do, too. Your XBox 360 has become the favorite games systems for many who love to have hundreds of activities available to them, and who like to experiment with live with other folks all over the world. Thanks for sharing your thinking.

  26. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  27. there are dining sets come in wide variety and prices, i often get the lower priced ones,

  28. Do you believe past life hypnosis? Do you think past lives regression is real?

  29. Do you believe past lives? Do you think is reincarnation real?

  30. Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!

  31. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  32. Howdy! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I will send this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  33. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their web sites.

  34. bookmarked!!, I like your website.

  35. Hi there! I just want to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have got here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  36. Great info. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book marked it for later!

  37. I really like reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment.

  38. Excellent post! We are linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  39. ink labs says:

    Nice weblog right here! Additionally your website loads up very fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink for your host? I desire my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol|

  40. Aceite Vape says:

    I’m the co-founder of JustCBD label (justcbdstore.com) and I am currently planning to expand my wholesale side of business. It would be great if someone at targetdomain share some guidance 🙂 I considered that the most ideal way to do this would be to reach out to vape companies and cbd retail stores. I was hoping if anyone could recommend a reliable web-site where I can buy CBD Shops B2B Data I am currently taking a look at creativebeartech.com, theeliquidboutique.co.uk and wowitloveithaveit.com. Unsure which one would be the very best choice and would appreciate any advice on this. Or would it be simpler for me to scrape my own leads? Suggestions?

  41. Meda Krantz says:

    cbd oil for dogs

  42. jon manzi says:

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.|

  43. go x scooter says:

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to my personal blogroll.|

  44. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

  45. Howdy, I do think your web site might be having web browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic website.

  46. gox says:

    This is the right webpage for everyone who wants to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful.

  47. May I simply just say what a relief to discover somebody that genuinely understands what they are discussing online. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular because you definitely possess the gift.

  48. Jason says:

    Every weekend i used to go to see this website, because i wish for enjoyment, as this
    this web page conations actually pleasant funny information too.

  49. roof repairs says:

    Wow, fantastic weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made blogging look easy. The whole glance of your site is great, let alone the content material!