Introducing Earthmind Fellowship

Kinship

The experience of connection can fluctuate between a feeling of isolation and being totally at home with friends, family, community, and the world at large. Forging kinship with people is a core value for EarthMind Fellowship, as is developing kinship and heartfelt relationships with the multitude of living things in the more-than-human world. Kinship is about RE- membering, that is to say, discovering your unique place in the shared life of the world and expressing who you really are. It is, finally, about belonging.

Exploration

The wilderness is out there: in the forests, mountains, rivers, coast, hills and plains. However, the inner landscape of our minds and emotions can also be understood as a wilderness. All wild places are at times dangerous, blissful, challenging, and uplifting. EarthMind Fellowship will help you explore both your inner and outer wildernesses, using a map of the psyche derived from the natural processes we see around us. We will also give you effective tools for the journey.

Growth

When we cast our gaze over the living wilderness, we see growth arising everywhere. In solidarity with this growth, EarthMind Fellowship aims to create safe spaces for your personal growth to occur, as well as teaching you habits that will promote positive transformations in your life. With change comes both loss and gain. EarthMind Fellowship will help to hold both of these experiences within the larger container of wild spaces--where growth, life, and death occur unflinchingly.

EarthMind Fellowship is a nature based enterprise based in three locations in the UK. We well be offering:

Self-awareness and nature-awareness training (i.e.meditation and HeartMath) to reduce stress and anxiety, build resilience and help individuals to understand themselves emotionally and psychologically.This is an opportunity to explore our emotional, mental, and behavioral patterns and to begin to recognize our obstacles and potential for growth.

Outdoor skills including woodland knowledge, shelter building, plant usage. These survival skills are intended to enhance confidence and skill-sets and to reflect on the relevance of these activities working as a community. This forms an essential part of developing kinship with our fellow travellers and a tangible experience of belonging in the wilderness.

Outdoor skills including woodland knowledge, shelter building, plant usage. These survival skills are intended to enhance confidence and skill-sets and to reflect on the relevance of these activities working as a community. This forms an essential part of developing kinship with our fellow travellers and a tangible experience of belonging in the wilderness.

Health and Wellness consultations, workshops, classes, and retreats incorporating natural and integrative approaches to healing including herbal medicine and nutrition, stress-management and resilience building (for example HeartMath and meditation) and counselling.

 

Our mission is to promote connection with and respect for nature while promoting mental and physical health and well-being. Activities focus on building self-awareness, nature-awareness, and emotional intelligence, improving communication skills, transforming stress into resilience; enhancing health and nutrition. We aim to work with individuals, charities, businesses and other social enterprises. We aim to support those struggling with stress, addiction, and mental and physical health conditions, as well as those interested in personal growth and development. Workshops are conducted using approaches from depth psychology, psychotherapy, wilderness therapy, herbal medicine, and HeartMath.

How will I benefit?

EarthMind Fellowship programs are much more than a day to two of fun in nature. We believe that the drawing together of different dimensions (kinship, exploration, growth) creates a powerful and unique vehicle for catalyzing your personal goals and aspirations. These could be:

Ultimately the responsibility lies in your hands; the more open you are to new perspectives and to change, the more intention and energy you put into the work, the more valuable your experience will be. Nature always gives back more than we give.

Origin and Vision of EarthMind

Our vision is to reconnect individuals and organizations to the beauty, joy and wonder evoked in the wild. Individuals can then remember their sense of connection and gratitude, for the life continually provided by our planet in settings both remote and wild, mundane and developed. It is oft said that nature is the greatest healer. By bringing people into contact with the natural world in a therapeutic context, we are creating an optimal environment or container for the safe exploration and healing of psychological wounds, depression, anxiety, addiction and trauma.

Nature is also a great source of inspiration. By bringing people into contact with Nature and creating an inspirational context, we are catalyzing people’s creativity, nurturing their dreams, and supporting them in achieving their highest potentials. A journey into the wilderness encompasses both the outer world and the inner world which are ultimately co-originating and inter-meshed. During this journey you may find yourself bush-whacking through psychological realms, plunging into the deep waters of your soul, or climbing to the peaks of Spirit, in an adventure that facilitates both healing and wholing.

When we created the EarthMind Fellowship journeys and programs, a number of influences, elements, skills, and modalities were brought together. Please see our individual bios for more details on our unique contributions to and perspectives about EarthMind.

What does EarthMind Fellowship mean?

The name brings together many facets of our work.

First, a correlation between our name and three foundational aspects of our philosophy:

Earth -- Nature Mind -- Culture Fellowship -- Kinship

We wish to cultivate a sense of Fellowship (kinship) between Earth (Nature) and Culture (Humanity).

Second, is the nature-based model of the human psyche. EarthMind echoes Plotkin’s concept of Wild Mind, and eco-psychologist and philosopher David Abram and his poetic invocation of how the human psyche is enmeshed and immersed in its environment. Furthermore there is value in the working assumption (acting “as if”) that the Earth has a mind, however different this may be from our own.

Thirdly, individual health can not be understood out-side of its environmental context. We and Earth are “coherently coupled” - where I leave off and my environment begins is a sometimes useful, but ultimately arbitrary distinction.

Fourth, unifies the second and third point. The mind and the body (Earth) are one. They have never been separated in Eastern psychology and medicine and are now being re-unified by the theories of Western medicine and science (as can be seen in both quantum physics and the field of mind-body medicine and the research such as that of the Institute of HeartMath).

Fifth, coherent communication and collaboration is key to health, vitality, wellness, growth and ultimately survival. We're talking about nurturing a fellowship between human beings and the more-than-human community. (In other words, our ecosystems and the plants and animals within them.) We're also talking about a fellowship between humans, as well as a fellowship between our bodies and minds, so that they can work together coherently. ("Coherence" is a term used in Heartmath to describe being calm, relaxed, happy, and connected to one's body.)

Where, who and what?

Outside. On mountain, in forest or dell, by the ocean... anywhere where Nature either reigns or wildness infiltrates through the pavement cracks. Our primary centers of operation are Kent, Moray, Scotland, and Whales but we are enthusiastic about discovering new places to run our programs.

In addition to our introductory "Connecting with Nature" workshop, we will be partnering with a diverse group of talented individuals and creating a number of workshops for specific clients. Any suggestions? We are more than happy to develop a bespoke workshop, tailored to your needs. A few examples are:

Workshops and Programs

One day workshops

In addition to our introductory Connecting with Nature workshop we will be partnering with a diversity of talented individuals and creating a number of workshops for specific clients. Any suggestions? We are more than happy to develop a custom one tailored to your needs. A few examples are:

4-5 Day Workshops

Our multi-day workshops will provide us with more time to explore the four directions of the human psyche (North, South, East, and West), to build and expand upon our skills and experience (using HeartMath, meditation, and various soulcraft activities) and to learn additional bushcraft techniques (such as tracking, foraging for wild foods, etc.). These may also be focused as in the examples above.

Longer Programs

We are developing a one-year program involving seasonally appropriate exploration of the four directions(North-Winter, East-Spring, South-Summer, West-Autumn). This will be composed of 5 multi-day workshops (4-5 days): one for each direction/season and one final session for integration. This will be focused on “healing and wholing,” personal growth and transformation, human-flourishing and exploration.

Additionally we hope to develop wilderness therapy intensives of one or two weeks duration to be conducted in remote locations.

Corporate Programs and Non-Profit Sponsorship

We help businesses give their employees a unique experience. Our corporate program focuses on stress-management skills, employee wellness, creativity and performance, communication skills, team-development, and leadership development. EarthMind workshops provide your business with a unique format that gets your employees out of the office and into the wild, where they will learn skills applicable in any work setting. This is not just another employee development workshop! Your employees will be thrilled to take a break from the conference room and venture into the forest, [where they will be provided with the appropriate gear in order to stay dry and comfortable, etc. What do you think? I'm thinking a lot of companies have people who are really "not into" camping and outdoor pursuits, and who would feel resentful if they had to come to one. It might be nice for companies to know that their employees are going to be well provided for, however you plan to do that.

Our corporate programs also provide you with an opportunity to support your community. Part of the registration fee paid for each employee is put into a special fund, which then allows us to provide our services to individuals and organizations in financial need.

Please contact us to create an employee and youth mentorship program. Alternately, you may want to sponsor an organization and its clients so that they can come to one of our workshops (entities such as a non-profit Hospice, Addiction centre, cancer-support centre, etc.). Isn't it time to enhance the difference your company makes in the world, either by giving the EarthMind Fellowship experience to your own employees or helping give it to others in need?

Earthmind Guides

Stone Fitzgerald Based: Isle of Thanet, near Canterbury on Kent. On the South-East coast about as near to France as you can get.

What I do: I am a student and staff Wellbeing Adviser and Counsellor at the University of Kent, working one-to-one and in groups with mental and emotional health issues. I also have a small private psychotherapy practice.

Knowledge:

I researched applied mysticism and transpersonal psychology at postgraduate level and have continued to learn in this field, particularly around symbolism and mythology, depth psychology, divination and cosmologies.

Inspiration:

So many to mention of course, but in no particular order; Carl Jung, James Hillman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Michael Meade, Bill Plotkin (of course), Suzuki, Kim Ki-Duk, Caroline Brazier, Lao Tse (whoever he may be), Chuang Tse, David Brazier, Leon Schlamm, I Ching, Bhagavad Gita, Dhammapada, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat Khan, Andrew Rawlinson, Ramana Maharsi, William James, Mozart85

Interests:

The wisdom traditions of the East; Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. Transpersonal and depth psychology, Buddhist psychology, Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra, cosmology & divination, and symbolism. Chinese and Korean culture, Music (xiao and guqin), mythology/story, pottery, poetry and cooking. Greek classics, philosophy, ceramics (making and looking), playing piano & guitar, kayaking, film, booksbooksbooks!

Qualifications & Experience:

  • Registered member of the BACP
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy
  • Religious Studies BA (1st)
  • Pilgrims hospice bereavement & palliative care counsellor
  • Kent Hope mental health CIC psychotherapist
  • Young adult mentor 96 South Korea
  • Ongoing work with student and staff at University

My 'Kit' Jung etc [You may need to expand this, Stone.]

Owen Okie Based: My family and I have found a niche in Burghead, a village in Scotland on a small peninsula that juts into the Moray Firth.

What I do:

Along with my role in EarthMind, I work as a herbalist, nutritionist, and HeartMath provider offering private consultations, workshops, and classes. I am also a support volunteer at CLAN for people affected by cancer, as well as a facilitator for a tinnitus support group.

Knowledge:

Herbal Medicine (both Western and Eastern), Biology, Botany, Ecology, environmental sustainability, integral theory, meditative practices and the wisdom traditions.

Inspiration:

Many herbalists, including 7song, Kevin Spelman, James Snow and Donnie Yance. Folklore scholars and theologians who inspire me include Michael Meade, Joseph Campbell, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ken Wilber, Bill Plotkin, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Father Thomas Keating.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Registered member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy, 2012.
  • Master of Science in Herbal Medicine, Tai Sophia Institute, 2011.
  • Foundation Certificate in Other-Centred Therapy, Tariki Trust, 2011. Currently studying for a diploma in Buddhist Psychotherapy with the Tariki Trust.
  • North East School of Botanical Medicine, 2004.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology (high honours), Oberlin College, 1998.
  • Licensed 1:1 HeartMath(R) Provider and Group Trainer, 2013.
  • Thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, 1999.
  • Advanced Tinnitus Management five-day course at Queen Margaret University, 2013.
  • Group facilitator: Tinnitus and Meniere's Support Group with NESS in Elgi, 2013 - present.
  • North-East Sensory Services: Sensory Awareness and Induction Volunteer Training, 2013.
  • Adult Support and Protection Module 1 with Moray Council, 2013.
  • CLAN's Level 1 and 2 Volunteer Training: 5-day COSCA-certified training in counselling skills for supporting people affected by cancer, 2013.
  • BASP First Aid at Work, June 2014.

Interests:

Martial arts, sailing, hiking, camping, canoeing, listening to and playing music (the guitar and the pipa - a Chinese lute), cooking, mythology and science fiction, and getting the kids and myself dirty while exploring the forests and coastline of Moray.

The Container We Create

As your guides, we will create a "container" for you. A container is a safe space that allows you to do your work in therapy. When the container is in place, you will know that you are cared for and that we will maintain professional confidentiality. You will be able to relax and forget about the day-to-day concerns of your life, as we create the space in nature to allow you to focus on deeper and more meaningful issues. You will know that we bring with us a certain set of professional skills (our "kit.") A wilderness therapist's kit contains many tools for guiding individuals in the wild and ultimately for teaching them how to explore safely on their own. We come with survival skills, outdoor experience, psychotherapeutic training, self-awareness skills, HeartMath and other essential gear we've gained in our own journeys. Together, we will create safe space for you, so you can learn valuable skills to put in your own kit.

The Explorer's Kit

Every explorer needs a kit full of gear necessary for survival in the natural environment. In the physical world, this kit will include warm and weather-proof clothing, tents, good shoes and socks, hiking sticks, food, first aid kit, survival skills and knowledge, a compass, and maps. For those who wish to explore or guide others in the wilderness, certain essential skills and physical tools are required -- whether that wilderness is in nature or within oneself.

What We Bring to the Table: Owen's Kit

Psychotherapy

As a herbalist, I was drawn to the study of Buddhist Psychology. This is because I was moved by the idea that the body and mind are never separated, which is a given in the medical systems of India and Tibet. Their medicine seamlessly includes the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual components of human health. I realised that my desire for better psychotherapeutic and counselling skills could readily be integrated with my work as an herbalist. Buddhist Psychology gives us another map, maybe our most detailed map. It guides us as we explore the moment-to-moment workings of the human mind. This understanding is foundational to much of the psychological work of EarthMind. Still, it will rarely surface explicitly as our focus will be on other elements, such as WildMind, HeartMath, and EarthMind's own native framework.

Heartmath

HeartMath is a scientifically-validated set of techniques, tools, and biofeedback technology for transforming stress, building resilience, and achieving high performance and enhanced creativity. HearthMath is a medium-scale map. It helps us better understand how we function from minute to minute, hour to hour, and day to day. Stress and "negative" emotions have a potential impact on our well-being and our health, including elevating cortisol and blood-pressure. Stress also suppresses our immune function and cognitive capacity and contributes to anxiety, depression, low energy, and difficulties in work and relationships. HeartMath is beneficial for those in search of greater health, well-being, vitality, business and sports performance, and improved relationships. I've personally found it to be an invaluable contribution to my personal spiritual practice.

Herbal Medicine

As a herbalist, one of my primary goals is to raise the level of self-awareness. This is true whether I'm working with individuals or with groups. An intake results in a comprehensive portrait of the you as a person -- including your medical history, physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual patterns. The portrait will place your well-being and health within an environmental and social context. Our day-to-day life is imbued with our patterns and "habits." My goal is to help you become aware of and shift detrimental patterns into healthier ones. You will move towards a state of balance, adaptability and harmony at all levels.

Outdoor Experience

In 1999, after six months and three weeks of hiking, I completed the 2172 mile Appalachian Trail (the "AT.") Starting in Georgia, the AT winds its way along the mountains of the East coast of the United States and ends upon the summit of Mt. Katahdin, Maine. This, along with other numerous shorter hiking trips, canoe and sailing trips, comprises the foundation of my wilderness experience. Sometimes I think I learned more on the AT than during all my previous years of education. But beware, If you get me started on the subject I won't stop, and you may find yourself with a pair of itchy feet...

Wildmind

Plotkin's nature-based Model of the Human Psyche and of Human Development is an integral part of EarthMind. His approach provides us with a rich, narrative framework for working with individuals in the outdoors. A large part of what we actually do in our workshops is drawn from his work. You can explore his model here (link)

Integral Theory

Integral theory is the largest scale "map" I use. I discovered integral theory towards the end of my graduate program in herbal medicine. Initially in the work of Ken Wilber, and gradually in the work of others in the integral field, I discovered a set of tools that I could use as a herbalist. These tools helped me better understand and coordinate the numerous and sometimes seemingly contradictory theories, paradigms, and modalities of medicine, health, and wellness from around the world. This has greatly contributed to my private practice, as well as to the development of EarthMind Fellowship.

What We Bring to the Table: Stone's Kit

Focus Groups

Young people - Working with those moving into adulthood, what does it mean to find ourselves?

Fathers and sons - Exploring this two-way relationship, what is the meaning in male roles?

Elders - Recognising the importance of experience and wisdom in our community, finding time to enjoy life vs responsibility. Feeling fulfillment.

Children / Forest School - Working with children in exploring the wonder of the natural world, understanding cultural values.

Teachers - Using EarthMind to engage learners and holding classes from differing aspects; why do we teach?

Counsellors & Therapists - Continuous Professional Development courses, exploring EarthMind as a tool for positive psychotherapy; flourishing as a focus.

Addiction - Support groups for those affected by damaging compulsive behaviour; working with the model to find balance and fulfilment.

Carers - Providing the opportunity for a developing community around those caring for dependents in their personal lives.

What We Bring to the Table: Christy's Kit

Having studied with both Jesuits and Quakers, Christy has a solid grounding in both liberal theology and social justice. She has facilitated spirituality and grieving workshops for many organizations, including the Baltimore Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Her experience includes writing, program planning and development, religious education, music and dance therapy, counseling, and conflict resolution. She has taught dance and music for the past twenty years and continues to bring a body-centered approach to her work. A founding member of three women's dance troupes, she has taught dance as a form of prayer at women's gatherings. She loves to create meaningful rituals for women, including those centered around rites of passage -- such as the transition from childhood to womanhood, singlehood to marriage, and even the transition from old age to death and the afterlife. Christy is especially interested in helping people move further down the spiritual path they are already on while she remains grounded in her own belief in the deep love of a divine being who cares for us all. Christy graduated from the Earlham School of Religion in 2000 with a Master's Degree in Religion (Christian Theology). As a Unitarian Universalist and a practicing Shadhilliya Sufi, Christy considers it a privilege to help create a space that is safe enough for people from all different religions to share and grow in their faith without judgement.

Owen's perspective on bringing it together in EarthMind:

Throughout my own personal journey, Nature has been the greatest healer. Helping to create Earthmind, a social enterprise for wilderness therapy, has given me the opportunity to take all the elements of my kit and Stone's kit, and bring them together. HeartMath provides me with a valuable set of tools and perspectives for enhancing well-being in the moment, and for developing self-awareness and increased emotional intelligence over time. HeartMath empowers us to stop the mental, emotional and physiological impact of stress on our bodies and lives. This synergizes beautifully with the usage of plants and supplements and nutrition in Herbal medicine for supporting our overall health, decreasing the impact of stress, and addressing medical conditions. In EarthMind, we use HeartMath as a tool for enhancing self-awareness, for becoming present in the here and now, and for opening ourselves to our natural environment and to our communities, both human and more-than-human. This awareness is foundational to all the work we do in EarthMind. As a herbalist, I go nowhere in nature without seeing plants with therapeutic value. Even an abandoned and cracking parking lot may contain a half-dozen medicinal plants. My perspective as a herbalist shapes how I understand the spectrum from disease, to health, to wholeness. The ability to shift from these small to large-scale maps allows us to work at many different levels. We can simultaneously hold a large perspective that takes into account the evolutionary context of an individual's life while focusing in on the small-scale processes of our minds as we move from moment-to-moment.

Events and Other Services

EarthMind Fellowship Events - The events listed below are the core of our work. During these workshops, we will be exploring each direction (please see the directional pages on this site using the compass to navigate). Our workshops will be designed to accommodate the specific needs of the group and will focus on one of the four directions. Introductory workshops will focus on developing tools to grow in each area of the `wholing' self. Those wishing to explore more deeply will have the chance to attend more challenging events and to look more deeply into personal issues. Individuals wishing to attend any event are asked to attend an informal one-to-one interview prior to coming along, to go over any concerns or questions about the workshops.

Programmes & Workshops event dates

List to be added...

Other Services

Counselling & Psychotherapy - Stone Fitzgerald offers counselling & Psychotherapy sessions working from the Wildmind model. He incorporates and integrates other psychotherapeutic models according to individual needs.
Life Coaching - EarthMind Fellowship offers focussed guidance on how to achieve balance in life using the directional framework as a basis. Life-coaching can be understood as exploring our choices and behaviour and what active changes can be made to improve the quality of life.
Herbal Consultations - Owen Okie offers a comprehensive approach to health using an integral model (see www.integralherbalism.wordpress. com). This service is for those needing support and advice for ongoing improvement of physical, mental and emotional health.
Spiritual Direction - Some individuals may be interested in exploring their spiritual lives in order to establish or rectify spiritual practice, or simply to have a discursive platform for looking into these matters. This is a non-sectarian, open-minded approach to the spiritual life using the four-directional model as a starting point.
Spiritual Direction - Some individuals may be interested in exploring their spiritual lives in order to establish or rectify spiritual practice, or simply to have a discursive platform for looking into these matters. This is a non-sectarian, open-minded approach to the spiritual life using the four-directional model as a starting point.
HeartMath - Owen provides one-to-one HeartMath sessions and workshops designed to reduce stress and build resilience, to support individuals with anxiety and depression, and to develop emotional intelligence, communications and interpersonal skills. HeartMath can also be used for enhancing mental and physical performance, creativity, and problem-solving within a personal or professional context.