Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

What my students learned this semester December 6, 2015


Start paying attention

The difference between me and you (or anything, for that matter)

is the thought that creates that reality.


I need to be radical in my love, my thoughts, my actions, my acceptance and surrender – to get to the root,

the seat of life and growth, which is the seat of quintessence.

That’s where i want to be.


[What I’ve learned has been] both extremely helpful and devastating:

How unconscious most humans are, but that it can change!

I uncovered some of my own self-defenses that keep me from action.

The application of psychoanalytical theories to understand the great complexity of our environmental situation.

I developed more clarity and compassion, for myself and others

Context for the madness

A lot less anger

At once, I feel the urgency to act and the need to be patient and not act forcefully

To learn to live with and through the earth, not just on her

Gratitude that I owe to my family


Humans’ connection with nature

A sense of oneness

Enmeshment within the natural world

Being an integral part of the macro interdependent-system that feels itself, knows itself, and heals itself

Ecological identity

This has forever changed my life


I look at all that is around me a little differently now.

Knowing it is all of the earth, and perhaps more importantly that it will go back to the earth, changes the way I operate in my days.


This sense was deepened and became more embodied

An exchange in breath: as the plant was breathing out, I was breathing in

Increase my awareness and widen my perception

Eventually feeling the reciprocal awareness of nature

How incredible these realizations have been for me.


Awakening has been the most beautiful process I’ve ever endured.

Thank you Earth!

Healing source

Never ending story


These are the truths that have become my mantras from being absorbed in ecopsychological concepts.

These are incredible supports that I rely on when feeling distressed, confused, and at times, hopeless.


I will continue to live mindfully in respect to nature.

Being conscious about what I purchase, what I waste, how and what I eat etc.

“No matter how big you get, don’t forget to take out your own trash.”


So grateful to walk this path with you

and share what I can with whoever will listen.

A challenging(!), engaging, deepening, fulfilling and respectful round of studies

I’m so grateful to be receiving wisdom

Like candy for my soul.


I bow out to a transformative journey

I and the moon bow in thanks

Your wisdom and beautiful hearts


Just bloom.



These words are from first-year students’ final self-reflections on their learning in my Ecopsychology class, part of Naropa University’s M.A. program in Ecopsychology, early December 2015

collated into a poem by professor Tina Fields

I composed this as a gift back to them, a lens on what happens in this program, and a reflection for teachers to turn to when times at work get rough. To help us remember that what we do matters.

Students whose words are in here: Katie Poinier, Thompson Bishop, Melanie Gajewski, Colleen Kirkpatrick,  Karen Delahunty, Lauren Mangion, Anne Gordon, Sierra Robinson, Erika Dearen, Bekah Turner, Tessa Stuart and Jakob Ledbetter.

I am extraordinarily fortunate as a teacher, so often getting to feel awe at the depth of my students’ thoughtful engagement with their learning, their passionate desire to care for the planet, and most of all, their souls.





One Response to “What my students learned this semester”

  1. JGBergstrom Says:

    Imagine life without “sense” or the Subjective knowing that speaks to what we identify as Objective. An inability to actualize within an unaccepting Society that is unforgiving and unaware at times of it’s own collective Constitution. Sometimes even within the context of my 51 years of experience, I remain unable to grasp “gratefulness” without the pain of a conflicted past distorting my present. Yet, I remain thankful for a wild Fox that sat with me for 20 minutes while I cried, a Sun shower that poured through the most magnificent Rainbow I’ve ever seen, my Mothers constant “what if?” scenarios and my quarter horse Chic for teaching me about pain. It is significant within my experience to know that life isn’t pain at all and shouldn’t be. The Mad of the world can remain Mad, endorsing their brand of life is no solution.

    The Quarter Horse I mentioned earlier was injured as a yearling jumping through the passenger window of an abandoned car. The broken glass cut through Brachiocephalic and Tricep muscles. The animal was called “stubborn, unyielding” when in fact secondary to the injury there was an inability to Flex left, making reigning and pivoting difficult. Spurs, crops and ropes were used in training causing more confusion for an animal already injured. I felt compelled to purchase the animal, take him back to Arizona with me and work the kinks out.

    I found a trainer out at the Stable that agreed to help out using methods that didn’t require the application of pain (or tools that can cause harm). Suffice to say within weeks (flexing within the roundpen and daily flexion exercises) he began to flex around barrels. It was beautiful to watch and experience as the healing unfolded, Magnificent. For this I am forever Thankful, as I know healing can happen without the forceful application of tools that cause harm.

    Truly, I am thankful for this post and yes grateful I found this site, it has made a difference in my life.

    Thank you Tina, I actually danced a jig by myself ( my Wolfhound was present ) and smiled. There is an Album by the Bonnymen that may interest you called “Moyne Road”, check it out.

    Thank you

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