© Catherine Meeson 29.11.2015
Firstly, a little about why this work is important to me. I experienced what it was like to be uprooted throughout my whole childhood. From place to place, and then to a different country. I had to adapt and shift with every new location. In my life experience often the only source of deep healing I could access with unconditional holding came from the natural world. I always sought out nature to heal, I would walk and seek out what I could following the knowing of instinct without having the now proven findings of science to explain why it was good to do so. Such findings include affects on all body systems, neurochemistry, biochemistry, hormones, brain wave state, mental emotional harmonisation, spiritual kinship with the community of and foundations for life. The earth was my friend, her life forms, the plants, animals, minerals and elements, my friends, my allies. At the age of 12 I had my first conservation planting experience and from there, the love steadily grew, the commitment to be a voice for the community of life and to build bridges of understanding and empathy and relation became a core element of who I was. Earth was my teacher my instincts and intuition my guides. So I vowed to serve however I could and this is crystallising into unique arts eco therapy approaches, blending a diverse field of multi disciplinary findings and lived experience through creative methodology and transpersonal arts based research .
The great travesty of the 20th and early 21st centuries is that the collective carries wounded instincts and we are not largely allowed by our cultural models to live as natural human beings, for our created government and corporate legislations have bound us so tight we can barely breathe. People seeking to restore balance are prosecuted for daring to step outside of the control paradigm. Living off grid, walking the land; growing ones own food is not permitted in some places. Many are displaced from their ancestral homelands, the many being of all species. We are living in the era of the mobilisation of all life and the era of the anthropocene where it is penned, that humans have become as powerful, as major geological forces, leaving their imprint on the strata of future timelines.
Context aside. In term 4 my class expanded doubling in size, it is proving not just a creative outlet and nurturing space for the children, but a way to make friendships and build community as well, which is fantastic. I have penned a new sideline for Creative Therapeutic Encounters which is ‘ ‘Developing imagination and creativity whilst learning about ourselves and the world’.
Our theme this term, was Environment and pollution. My job is to guide the expression of feeling and thought and the embodiment in action by the children. We started with a site specific walk to immerse in the sense of place, of the sight sounds and the concept of an eco-system. Class room learning will only provide intellectual mental level connection, if at all. It will not inspire lifelong committed earthly citizens. So there is always an educational aspect to this work, but at a level they can understand. Eynesbury township is located fringing on an Old Greybox forest, the trees have sparse foliage and there are a few shrub type plants. Population is mostly birds, insects, and reptiles (one would guess) and maybe passing marsupials. No doubt there would have been many more species before settlement and the introduction of foxes and rabbits. The surrounding area was divided into farm land.
The children were asked to collect a gift that spoke to them from their nature walk. We used this as a starting point for reflection. We sketched out the basic concept of beginning middle and end following a stereotypical descent and rebirth sort of pattern, where the descent was the crisis and the rebirth the solution and celebration of new life. The children became the land, the animals and the river and spoke from the perspective of their new identities. It is my hope this helps to increase awareness, empathy and relation to and with the world around them.
Richard Louve is a well known figure educating about the benefits of nature and the affect that a loss of that same connection is having on our kids (If you remove life forms from the community that supports them, the community falls apart, community as in indigenous and systems thinking / ecosystem). Other prominent figures bringing much needed perspective to our western ways include Craig Chalquist, Amos Clifford and The Forest Therapy Association. There are many people in diverse fields of Eco Psychology such as Bill Plotkin, and many Indigenous practices and environmental ecological fields such as Spiritual and Deep Ecology rising up to remind us of what we so desperately need to remember, that our relation to earth goes way beyond economics, that economics really is an aberration and part of the problem of the consumptive mindset and base desires that is fast leading to the 6th great extinction. The same timeless utterances come down to us from the Ancients from practices such as Daoism, Buddhism and vanquished pagan and global shamanic practises. It is the nature of life that the timeless wisdoms have to be rearticulated in every age and culture over time. Out task is how to carry this knowledge over to the laymen and women in a language they can understand, where they can get it at the embodied level.
Now I do not discuss these former things with the children. But they do find their way into other therapeutic and educational work I have been engaged in.
Life in the Old Gum Valley- was the name of our play and it was a celebration of the life of the valley and what happens when something goes wrong. We wrote two simple songs together. I played guitar and sang and the children played percussion instruments and also sang. In our play we also had a Park Ranger, an Aboriginal man as teacher to the ranger, a Villain and a Police women; we are connecting into the archetypal nature of these characters and what they hold / represent. (What I often refer to as Archetypal Alchemy- embodying the archetypes or archetypal energies to serve intention- explore, express, heal). The valley experienced a poacher stealing all the animals and polluting the waters. We explored what this would be like in song.
These people these people
They’re polluting our Lands
These people these people
They don’t understand
These people these people
They’re polluting our lands
It’s like we are living
In a fantasy land
I helped the children articulate and craft the song and suggested a melody, the words were all theirs.
Our villain was tracked down by the ranger and the Aboriginal man and arrested, the waters were cleared up, the animals returned and life restored to balance.
Our home is happy in the Old Gum Valley
The water is pure our home is safe
Our home is happy in The Old Gum Valley
The trees are moving Our home is improving
Our home is Happy in the Old Gum Valley
We’re all together and we’re safe again
Our home is Happy in the Old Gum valley x2
At this moment I can only share with you a picture of the masks some of the children wore. I am seeking permissions to use/ access some photos.
The work was performed at the Rockbank End of Year Community Celebrations at the Rockbank Community Hall to Rockbank Primary school and other members of the Philippino and Islander Communities, Community Gardens members and other groups associated with the Neighbourhood House programs by Melton City council. We had a total of seven weeks to pull this off and we did it.
If this work interests you please enquire, I can facilitate and cater for Eco Arts programs for you or any other social justice /social welfare issues both creatively, and experientially with therapeutic and educational benefits to enhance well being.
Triple Ecology Collective Associated Inc Victoria is planning the second Triple Ecology gathering in the Yarra Valley region to explore and deepen work along these themes. I will be offering a workshop there in April. Stay tuned for details and tickets in January.
Triple Ecology- Arts Activism- Healing the tree of Life Workshop with Catherine Meeson
Experiential multi modal, guided response, media and presence. Co creating a Healing Ecology.
I will also be hosting The Open Mic at the Event and the Creative Visioning Space.
Triple Ecology Gathering- Sonic Relations How sound is the world? Blog 21st August 2015
© Catherine Meeson words and pictures
A Sharing of Deep Sacred and Healing Ecologies at Kinglake April 24-26 2015
The Triple Ecology Gathering came about by a collective dreaming and happened to manifest in direct alignment with some workshops I had been offering titled ‘Healing Persons Healing Communities Healing Planet- An Empathic Visionary Practice’. This also came close on the heals of finding the Be the Change Community and doing the Awakening the dreamer Changing the Dream Symposium leader training of Pachamama Alliance. At this time I started to see just how many others were saying the same things as I was and in what fields they were active and these fields had names. They were not just indigenous and tribal peoples, but scientists theologians, activists artists, every shade and colour of humanity one could think of. This was very heartening to me as I had felt very alone in my perspectives and work for a long time. I had been presenting workshops which deal with healing of person and planet through creative arts methods and incorporating a whole lot of spiritual wisdom and scientific perspective from an artists and healers orientation.
So the Triple Ecology Collective was dreamed into being by a small group of mostly women but a few gentleman and we began the work of event planning with a focus on the three ecologies and also linking in to the global knowledge and lore commons around the triple theme in all its incarnations. On our first dreaming day in Warburton we planted our intention by the river with the trees as witness and the waters to hear our prayers. Our children played by the river, they who are the future they for who we do this work, as well as the earth herself and the whole life communities. To summarise- we defined the ecologies as-
DEEP ECOLOGY –IS DISSOLVING THE SEPARATION BETWEEN HUMAN AND NATURE
SACRED ECOLOGY –ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE NATURAL WORLD REQUIRES REVERENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
HEALING ECOLOGY –TWO WAY EXPERIENCE OF HEALING BETWEEN HUMAN AND EARTH
Many people were invited to come camp out with us and host workshops along these themes. Our home ended up being Kinglake which was so devastatingly affected by fire in the black Saturday fires a few years back. Our site host lost his whole Wildnerness Park facilities and had to rebuild. The Trees spoke to us all weekend. The land has not fully recovered despite green shoots everywhere. The trees are amazing beings who must of screamed as their life force receded to the roots and the inner layers of their skins to hold on for dear life as the flames encircled and devoured their foliage to the very tree tops. There is a marked absence of bird life and song, even for autumn, I listened , there were a few birds but not what one would expect from a lush forest. Tragic. So we were well placed to bring healing intent here to this land where over a hundred people and no doubt thousands of animals and plants lost their lives.. Please enjoy the photos of the space.
Some camped some cabined, and we had tipis for workshops as well as the main hall and the forest. We had a magnificent caterer Sun Hyland who made absolutely divine food nourishing everyone. It was a weekend of linking head heart and hand, or the thought aspect, and the higher mind to the heart –compassion, to action and will being the tangible means of change making.
In alignment with this my offering was from a Sonic Activists perspective.
Catherine Meeson is a multi modal artist/ musician trained healer and transpersonal therapist with a passion for arts eco activism. She uses creative arts therapy methods in workshops to explore person and place relations with an experiential focus using all sensory mechanisms. She has her own record label Sonic Sanctuary – for her Ambient electro acoustic folk rock and soundscape work. She is currently developing comprehensive course material in Sound Music and Healing field.
TRIPLE ECOLOGY OFFERING
‘Exploring knowledge gleaned from a lifetime of study and life experience in the field of sound music and health, Cath will explore Sonic and power relations (acoustic ecology) and how sound affects and reflects the health in ecosystems. It’s biological, Psychological and ecological impact. This will be experiential and contemplative using sound, image, lecture and white board with process work. She is a ‘Sonics Educator and activist’ .
My presentation was educational and contemplative as I provide perspectives and then ask you to experience engage , contemplate and dialogue finding your own answers I provide the facts from a spiritual science and knowledge of the ancients perspective, also incorporating conventional science findings from the diverse sound studies field and music therapeutics. I covered the nature of sound- human and animal perception, sound levels and propagation, sonic behaviour in space, environs, Masura Emoto , Margaret Watts Hughes, Cymatics and the World Soundscape Project, Acoustic Ecology. Prayer intention, Sounds affect on matter, and sounds affect physiologically, psychologically emotionally spiritually and how it impacts behaviour and explorations of how sound mediates relations. And I posed the need for ‘a sonic ethics’, challenging things like the outdoor dance parties which take over natural spaces and bring high level sound systems in affecting all life around them. Such knowledge is the staple of my work and also getting incorporated into my Sound Music Health training, equipping you with the knowledge and information to be a voice and presence for healing, sanity and sanctuary.I assert that the world( as a larger collective entity of persons and systems) is not very sound.
The Triple Ecology Collective also had the intention to establish a community of practice by networking all interested in this work and establishing a foundation for further events knowledge dissemination and training/ workshops etc.
We are about to begin working on our 2016 gathering and the Triple Ecology Gathering is also taking root up north where persons are engaged with organising a Triple Ecology Gathering of their own up Byron Way.
If anyone is interested in my work I would be happy to come and do a presentation as a consultant or workshop facilitator and can tailor work specifically for your event. I offer half day training and weekend workshops. Please peruse my other blogs for more information about my work and visit my music website below.
Next series of blogs a belated review looking at Conference Earth Shaping the Future a two day event held last year at Deakin University. Cluster a new facebook model for Do-gooders enabling social change and mass scale networking and directly engaged philanthropy, and Exploring Eco Spirituality- Faith Ethics and Professional Life with the Australian Earth Laws Alliance plus What Counts as a Good Life for the Planet, for cities and for individuals (notice the triple theme) an event held t St Pauls Cathedral as part of National Science Week a panel of theologians and academics for senior high school students and community . Stay tuned for these.
Also visit my Youtube channel for examples of my music, performance art- sacred theatre and arts activism. I hope to branch into documentary making and video commentary later in the year as well as film making and have a third album Contemplating Buddha due for release soon as well as a three act play By the Mandate of Heaven well under way.
The first photo demonstrates a small tract of land that has been left relatively as it was according to local government. I do not know the expected life span of the Greybox species of tree ( 40-200?) or other local flora but most of the trees are small. I feel it is a place of constant renewal.
It is just down the road from a current work site in a very scenic new building by an artificial lake.
My concern whilst acknowledging the intention to protect the land for ‘future generations’ is with Generations. What does it imply? In the minds of most people it is for their use or benefit, what we call the anthropocentric view. It is essential emphasis is given to the ‘future generations’ of plants and animals protecting their right to be; the self existent matrix of life present the local eco system and the place itself. Including all the mineral ores, microbes and other such aspects that make up a whole.
We must start teaching our children that the world is not here to serve them. It is not here only for humans. We are not masters of the domain but a part of it. A co-habitant. We occupy the same space as every other species and yet our actions, our lifestyles, indulgences and appetites are wiping them out.
It is tragic to lose the beauty of life. Whether one subscribes to views such as transmigration of souls, of life forms that allows for and accepts the movement of life between kingdoms and realms, or not, and gives a space for all souls all life forms to recycle. Loss is loss and often unnecessary. The point for me is, the great beauty and diversity here now, of which we have lost so much already. The life that exists does so as part of an integrated whole. For complex systems to evolve and thrive takes the passage of long spans of geological time and the essential stability of conditions. Climate change is a constant , the tides of life on earth are always shifting, species always move, adapt mutate and settle new areas, emerging as new forms, but now we are taking over the earth there is very little space left to go that allows for this movement without a big cleanse. We have degraded our environments considerably, changing the very face of the earth ( clearing, mining, etc) and her innards (drilling, hydraulic fracturing, tapping the water tables, injecting nuclear waste and toxic chemicals for storage). New balance must be found and it will, it may not favour the human realms. Unless the human realms make reparation efforts and become mass agents of re-genesis and bio-genesis.
QUESTION What does future generations mean to you?
Me and My Body day. Expressions and identity- don't we all have an identity? The right to be and be at home in our bodies, our homes our communities of life?
I write this as I sit and ponder the future of my programs combining the arts, therapies and activism. I am working on Eco arts Education. What ever workshops I do I try to weave in relational themes, environmental themes. I am not an exert but I do care and I do what I can. With the children it is crating awareness of life, through pictures, through songs, through reflecting on what they know about their world already and what they know of their body in space. How it is all one big jigsaw puzzle. We work with imagery of forest, flower garden, birds, butterfly’s simple things which can carry stories which reveal a state of awareness (or not) of the world around them. A couple of pictures of the children’s art is included.
Spirit of place musings. Eynesbury Grey box forest.
Most of the trees are young, I would be surprised if any were over fifty years. You can see the rate of growth and regeneration. Some elder trees are present but not many. This was a land teeming with forest pre colonialism. The rate of growth does not seem to match the rate of decay. Yet there is a good presence of birds. It is dense but dispersed. It is a small pocket of land that just stands out starkly in the clear felled landscape all around it, that was originally back in the 1860’s onwards converted farm land. So what has been allowed to remain is important, a green wedge a vital sanctuary for local species, a corridor. Yet how we think that narrow spans of green life, of bio habitat are enough to ensure conservation of species is beyond me.
The place says help us to remain- help people to understand we exist too, if we are not regarded we cease to be. Life is to behold the majesty of creation, the diversity of forms- Speak for us. The same message I get from land everywhere. Speak for us, speak for me. The winds share the mystery of the cycles of time, the forest holds the memory in tis dna, know the seasons, know the tides, understand the field of life. Relate, be with us.
I include pictures which demonstrate signage in the area. Talking about concepts like Our Home- a current future estate development a few minutes down the road. A place of displacement from over a hundred years ago for other species. A place that was cleared, a place that is now to be home to humans and dogs and all their creations. Another showing bones, that speak the melody of the past, natural tree sculptures and other things.
Ask yourself What Does Conserved for Future generations really mean? What guarantees are there that people will honour their words when the bones tell us life goes in cycles, creatures come and go civilisations rise and fall. Decay is a certainty, growth a constant, yet some growth is out of control. Ponder. How might you make a difference and educate the future? What bones do you leave behind?
Years of Branching Out
I am a girl from the North who lives in the South...a Minstrel of melody, a wordsmith, creatrix extraordinaire! I Compose sonic tapestries and create visual delights, and tantalize with tales from other times! Multi modal Artist/ Creator with Words, Pictures & Sounds. Ambient Music composer & singer songwriter. Artist/ therapist/ healer.