People often ask me what Ecopsychology is. And what I generally tell them is, living life as if the whole world mattered, and remembering that everything is sacred! My workshops Earthprayers: For World Peace are about reconnecting with the earth in a way that helps to bring joy and healing, and increases our capacity to deal with the sickness of our culture. In the 15th century we separated the body, mind, spirit, and the non-human world. Hard Science (corporate) and Religion divided up the world, in ways I feel are destructive. Imagine if Descartes had said, “I love therefore I am!” What a different world we would be living in, if our science and medicine were heart and spirit based. Religion has also removed the Earth from the soul of the world, and art was relegated to pretty pictures, instead of an essential wisdom of life, as Paul Klee has said, “a way of seeing, not of reproducing”.
What playing in the mud does is put the pieces back together again, and the experience of the earth in this Earthwork heals our separation. “In the body of the Earth is a soul, they say, and you are that.” –Rumi
As Jungian psychologist James Hillman states, “Psychology, so dedicated to awakening human consciousness, needs to wake itself up to one of the most ancient truths; we cannot be studied or cured apart from the planet.”
In my workshops we work with Cob, which is the way the Celtic people built with earth. The building is done in a barn-raising model where we work in a non-hierarchical, communal, playful, and collaborative model. Mixing mud with our feet, we allow the creativity of the group to determine the content of what we make and allow the 80,000 receptive sites in each hand and each foot to be activated, and so become fully alive as human beings! In my Earthprayers for World Peace monument series, we add prayers, poems and ritual objects that mean peace to us and embed them in the sculpture, bench, or sacred object. This is an act of hope in these dark times, and is quite magical in how people feel after creating one; energized, connected to spirit earth and each other, playful and ecstatic, sensually belonging to the living earth once again. People bond to the Earth and each other in ways that are truly magical. We can also make peach-sized “Little Earth Prayers” as seeds for world peace, and I suggest people plant them somewhere on the earth and when enough are planted we will indeed have World Peace.
From a dream I had:
Working as equals, we experience healing as relationship, and blessing, and not about fixing something that is broken. The work is an experiential model of how to live in the world; cooperatively, spiritually, playfully, and lovingly, and creates an Earth-based bond that brings meaning to our lives. We practice as we work, Life as Art.
This Earth process is especially fun for young people, offering a playful, hopeful, meaningful view of the world. I practice the values of Earth-Based Playful Psychology; and act as an Environmental Artist, Poet, Writer, Teacher, Coach and consultant to businesses, schools and organizations to help bring humane, sensible, and sustainable values, so that we can all live once again as if the whole world mattered.
“the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” –e e cummings
Robert Francis “Mudman” Johnson
Five Questions with Mudman Johnson