Identity, fixity and attachment

This post is an article written by Katherine Walker which I found moving and supportive and wanted to share on my blog. Thanks Katherine for your generosity and willingness for me to share this you can read more of Katherine’s writing by visiting here.

A friend came for dinner last night. I find myself awake in the middle of the night with words spinning around in my head. The ones I said the ones I did not say. I find myself performing particula…

Source: Identity, fixity and attachment

Dearbhaile Bradley on Ecopsychology

Dearbhaile Bradley –  Eco-psychologist and poet

Listen to your hearts
Find the truth that’s beating there.
Open to your longing
For right living in the world.
Know that it is possible
For the point of power is now.

These are the most important things:
Hold your vision. Love with passion.
Speak your truth, and also listen.
Open to the dreams that call you
To a truer manifestation
Of the spirit of creation
And honouring of sacredness.’

The Power of Nine

The piece below is written by Dearbhaile Bradley and I include it here because she writes so well in a relatively short space.

You can find her website

At its simplest eco-psychology is the recognition that we are part of this Earth and it is part of us. Stated like this, it almost seems too obvious to be worth saying at all. But the discipline of psychology has its roots in scientific rationalism which was based on the erroneous concept that the world consisted of indivisible units and an objective knowable reality. Not only this, but the tendency to dismiss psychology as a ‘soft’ science, meant that psychologists were anxious to prove its scientific credentials and thus insisted on the appropriateness of adopting an objective, rational, ‘neutral’ stance in studying human nature. One of the consequences of this is that the locus of mental illness was (and to a great extent still is) viewed as being the individual psyche. R.D. Laing’s assertion that the environment, the system in which an individual found themselves, had a bearing on their mental health lead to his being rejected by his peers and derided as a fool.
Eco-psychology grows out of a very different view of reality than the scientific positivism that underpins classical psychology. Rather than the world being regarded as made up of separate units, it is based on an understanding of the world as interwoven. Eco-psychology is based on ‘the radical interconnectedness of all things’. Energy flows. When we say “we are part of this Earth and it is part of us” we are claiming a synergistic relationship between planetary and personal well being.
In eco-psychology we are invited to take our place in the family of All Beings relinquishing our mistaken belief in our superiority and embrace our ‘ecological self’, opening to our connection with the world around us. It asks us to recognise that the illusion of our separation from nature leads to suffering for both us as humans (alienation, despair and grief) and for the environment as we continue to abuse the world around us. Reconnecting is healing. When we make the shift from our alienated, anthropocentric errors of consciousness, we discover our true nature as Gaia and that is liberation indeed.
Such a shift profoundly affects how we live on the planet. It is not just about living sustainably although that is part of it. A ecopsychological approach include both the psychological and the environmental. Thich Nhat Hahn says that the most important thing for us to do now “is to hear within ourselves the sound of the Earth crying” and that is undoubtedly part of the awakening we are invited to at this time. Our alienation has done us all great harm. Becoming Gaia ‘healing herself’ may involve tears but there is also great joy to be found in such healing.” (Dearbhaile Bradley)

First, do no harm

“On a quest to make Ecocide a Crime. ‘First do no harm’ & from that principle we can create maximum freedom for all from a place of care, love and trust.” (@PollyHiggins) Polly Higgins is a lawyer. She says on her website “I’m rethinking law; my vision is a world that works from one simple overriding principle: ‘first do no harm.’ That is a world where people are thriving in harmony with nature. I believe in well-being for all beings and I apply permaculture principles to new law.”

You can find information about Polly Higgins work at

In my last post I said I would reflect upon Evers article in Funky Raw. This article is adapted from his Masters thesis, Symbiosis Through Autonomy in the Community of Nature (University of Utrecht, Ethics Institute, 2012) and can be found online. In this thesis, Evers is searching for a metaphor that will help us to find ways to live with each other within the living planet. He is struggling to find a story to hold us and support us to find freedom within a  respect for the interconnections of living relationships. Reading my emails today, one was from Polly Higgins updating me on her recent activities and I am struck by her words and connect to my reflections on Evers article. As it is election day tomorrow I am also moved to share with you the following endorsements for Polly’s work, including one from Caroline Lucus, MP for Brighton Pavillion and former leader of the Green party of England and Wales. The following endorsements are taken from the website eradicating

Vandana Shiva, physicist and environmental activist

The Ecocide trial is a very important step in waking us up to the violence which is the foundation of the current economy. We need another model that is non-violent, a model which makes peace with the earth. Ecocide must stop. The ideal of limitless growth is leading to limitless violations of the rights of the Earth and of the rights of nature. This is ecocide. We need to stop the destruction of the very basis of life on Earth and of human survival.

Michael Mansfield QC, leading human rights lawyer said
The problem in the past is that if you hold a company responsible [for environmental destruction], who sits in the dock? All the court can do is fine the company if it has transgressed. Who pays the fine? We do, because they pass the cost of the fine onto their customers – so it does not have very much effect, at all. But who is responsible? There are real people in the company and the object of the Ecocide act is not just aimed at companies it is aimed at individuals… individual responsibility is the only way there will be any change.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said
Establishing the law of ecocide would signal a major breakthrough in the way we deal with crimes against the natural world. Polly Higgins’ groundbreaking proposal to list ecocide as the fifth global crime against peace would go a long way towards deterring and holding to account CEOs, companies and nations which cause, in Higgins’ words, “the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory… to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished”. Ranking ecocide alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes would empower the courts to charge chief executives and members of boards of directors for environmental vandalism. Whether it’s oil drilling in the Arctic, deforestation in the Amazon, or overfishing in the Atlantic, activities which impact severely on global ecosystems would be brought under far closer scrutiny. It could also play a significant role in encouraging companies to drop the dirty, polluting industries of old, and invest in the clean technologies and renewable energy solutions of the future.

A story of some connections and another article on ethics

I thought I’d share a story about how I came across an article, “On a Natural Ethic” written by Dirk Evers in a magazine called Funky Raw. I spent a few days camping in the Lakes and then took the train to Sheffield to do some work there. I was to stay over at the home of some of my family. On the journey from the station, my host talked about her connecting with permaculture, which she knows I have an interest in, and also about her journey with raw food. I ate a delicious evening meal of raw food and shared good company. I went to bed with a fragrant and calming tea. In the morning I was offered a pint of green juiced vegetables and fruit which I found absolutely delicious and feeling fantastic, went to my work and enjoyed my day thoroughly. I felt inspired to discover more about raw food. On my return to Hebden Bridge I was mooching in a local shop while my companion chose a gift and I was attracted to the colourful cover of a magazine. Picking it up I discovered it was a magazine exploring Raw Food. Also, a member of Ink, the Independent News Collective, trade association of the radical and alternative press in the uk.  The contents include reference to permaculture and an article “On a Natural Ethic”. Having just posted about Wild Ethics, I was drawn in. What a great set of connections! In my next post I’ll reflect on this article.

Extract from the Website of The Alliance for Wild Ethics

The Alliance for Wild Ethics | David Abram | Stephan Harding | Per Espen Stoknes | Per Ingvar Haukeland

The biosphere is not a collection of inert and determinate objects, but an ongoing communion of living subjects.

– Thomas Berry

Although “ethics” is commonly equated with a set of rules or principles for right conduct, for us ethics has more to do with a simple humility toward others – an attentive openness not just toward other persons but toward the inexhaustible otherness of the manifold beings that compose this living world.

At this curious moment in our planet’s unfolding, when human violence toward other humans is matched only by our violence toward the breathing earth – with terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems rapidly collapsing under the weight of our steady assaults, and countless species tumbling into oblivion as a result of our callous disregard – it is now evident that our ownspecies must undergo a sea change if anything of beauty is to survive.

If we wish to bring humankind into a new reciprocity with the rest of the biosphere, then we will need to release ourselves from the tyranny of outmoded concepts. We’ll need to renew our felt experience of the land as a boisterous community of beings in which we are participant, and to which we are beholden.

While the rational intellect may view the world as a set of inert objects and mechanical processes, to our sensing and sentient bodies the earth presents itself less as a collection of inanimate objects than as a dynamic collective of animate subjects. Our full-bodied awareness encounters the world around us as a tangle of elemental powers – even as a complexly entwined society of beings, with each being exerting its own active influence upon those around it. Every entity – whether oak tree or thunder cloud, raven, river or rock – seems to have its own agency, its own spontaneity, its own enigmatic life. To our most direct, bodily experience, every aspect of the world is alive.

This primordial form of experience, which returns us from the pretense of disembodied detachment to our corporeal situation in the midst of the here and now, engenders a new respect and restraint in all our actions. Acknowledging the enigmatic otherness that things display when we meet them in the depths of the present moment enables an attentive and ethical comportment in all our endeavors, an empathic attunement to our surroundings and a compassionate intention to do least harm.

Such is the relational ethic that radiates from the Alliance for Wild Ethics. For too long we humans have withheld our allegiance from the sustaining earth, reserving our faith only for a transcendent mystery assumed to reside entirely beyond the sensuous. To return to our senses is to remember an older, indigenous faith that has never really been lost – our breathing body’s implicit faith in the solid ground underfoot and the renewal of light every dawn. Underneath all our abstractions there remains this simple, carnal faith in the mountains and the rivers and the cyclical return of the salmon, in the silent germination of seeds and in the unseen, imperturbable wind. It is this animal fidelity to the animate earth, so easily

overlooked, that unites us with countless other species – and it remains the ground of every lasting ethic between persons, and between peoples. A faith in the wild and shadowed goodness of the Earth.

An extract from the Alliance for Wild Ethics Website. 

To Become the Rain

Now, now we must become
the rain,
Letting our bodies sink into
the parched earth, filling
every crevice with a listening
so great that flowers
bloom where our bodies lie.

Look up at the sky and shout
prayers of thanksgiving
that cause
the heavens to join in,
raining down sweet mercy.

There is no choice anymore
but to lie still and sink in.
We must moisten the ground
of each other
with our own sweet essence,

showing the rains,
by our example,
what it is to flow down,
gathering strength and unity.

What is it to love one another?
It is to belly down and
become the rain.
That way
the Earth may remember
and so share her own heart
which beats in-sync with
our own.

Sulis Sarasvati 2011