Keep Your Distance, and Your Heart Open

The need for healing–planetary, societal, and individual–was urgent even before the pandemic. Now we’re increasingly aware of the importance. Since Covid19 has spread and taken root, we’ve been reflecting on the ironic timing of our forthcoming Healing Class. In some ways, this was really inopportune scheduling. Many people are understandably distracted by what’s happening in the world, and anything but procuring essentials, staying healthy and safe seems frivolous. However, the timing of this class is also perfect.

Ecopsychology’s power arises from its roots in the interconnected, ever-changing, complex and uncertain world we live in. It’s wisdom emerges from and responds to these realities. Often, this is evident in really beautiful ways–though, coronavirus has been revealing these realities in far more unsettling ways. While our class cannot provide the cure for the illness, we can provide principles and practices for the much-needed healing for our planet generally and even specific to these times. The value of nature and psychology remains as pertinent as ever. This is especially true when we come together in an online class-the perfect tool in times of social distancing- with people across the globe to share, learn and connect.

The EcoPsychology Initiative is always committed to connecting with our community in healthy and empowering ways about how we can be a part of meaningful change that helps ourselves and others. Our current pandemic does nothing to change this.

EPI’s upcoming three-part, online healing class will focus on a series of ecopsychological teachings and lessons that you can use to catalyze healing- internally and externally, psychologically and practically. Today, I want to share one of them: Open-heartedness.

Keeping our heart open is critically important regardless of whether you want to benefit your immune system, navigate uncomfortable emotions, or just foster greater love, gratitude and joy in your life. An open heart enables us to feel empathy and connection to people across the world. As opposed to getting stuck in our anxiety and upset, it allows challenging emotions to move through us in positive and constructive ways (like big storms blowing through to reveal blue sky afterward). Only by keeping the doors of our heart open, can we rest in the beauty, love and sacredness that is life.

Research shows positive emotions are also essential for counteracting stress (which impedes the immune system) and boosting antibodies that improve our body’s functioning. Now more than ever we need this.

This all requires courage. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and want to pull back or shut down. The root word of courage is ‘heart’. We must now all take heart, individually and collectively. We hope you experience this in your personal lives. And if the opportunities of ecopsychology interest you, we hope you join us for our healing class full of open-heartedness and solutions.

by Dennis Kiley

Mending The Divides: Healing for People and The Planet

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