For those of you who missed the COMCAST airing of Beth Lapin’s interview about ecotherapy, it’s up on YouTube now (please excuse the annoying ads that are included): Beth’s Interview

Just had opportunity to enjoy your presentation.  I thought you were able to cover a lot of ground ( pun intended!) and it was very thought provoking. ~GB

I thought your interview was so informative . It certainly gives people an idea on what ecotherapy is.. ~CC

I watched you on TV and you did a great job. It was very interesting. It was fun seeing “your” show! ~EH

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On Friday, August 24 at 7pm the local access channel 15 will broadcast an interview with ecotherapist Beth lapin. If you’ve wanted to know what it’s all about, take a listen to the 30 minute production.

In addition, Beth will be offering a labyrinth walk at 7pm on Friday, August 31 (Haddam, CT)  and a four-week session on ecotherapy at Middlesex Community College (Middletown, CT) starting mid-September. See details on the NEWS & EVENTS page of this site.

We are expecting thunderstorms, so I go out to gather peas and raspberries before they arrive. The peas are stubborn. I have to rip some of them from the vine. I am rushing and they don’t cooperate. The sky is getting black and I hear thunder to the west. I give up on the peas and move to the raspberries. I tug and pull and gather, filling my basket. Midway through, as the thunder grows louder and the sky gets blacker, it occurs to me to ask permission of these raspberry canes and be grateful for their yummy fruit. Then, the berries come easily into my hand, almost dropping from the plants and I see the first flash of lightning. Back inside.

The storm gathers, gusts of wind flowing through the open windows and the thunder gets louder. I suddenly see the parallel between the storm and my feelings. Two days ago I lost my nineteen year old cat. My inner clouds were dark then, gathering, tension in the air. How would his transition be, would I have to help, would it be peaceful? The process was slow and uncertain, ugly at times, dark and brew-some: I had left a message for the vet. When I got back outside, Willie was gone. Not in any of this usually hiding places. I searched for the swarm of flies that had been flowing him, listened for his rasping, wheezy breathing and I couldn’t find him. I tried to listen to my heart and decided he had intentionally left, wanting to be alone, to spare me of the actuality of it, the choice, and decisions. But I spent the afternoon in agony, crying, wandering, looking, searching, trying to find peace.

Today, with the storm almost here, I now sit upstairs on my meditation pillow and feel the surges of the storm blowing through the window and recognize it’s like the gusts of uncertainty and angst that have been with me for the past few days.

I see all the parallels, the color, the smell, the sharpness, and hugeness of it all. And I remember that it will all pass and later, the sun will be out. I ask permission of this storm to contain me in it, so I can get through and out the other side. Cleanse myself of guilt and sadness. See it as a metaphor of weathering the storm and ending at peace. For certainly Willie has passed by now. Although I have no true knowing. I haven’t felt it. Two other cats disappeared when sick and I knew. One I had a rainbow and knew it was Tara. The other, I saw a coyote and heard Miss Rose purring when she wasn’t there, even before I knew for sure she was missing. But not with Willie. Nothing.

So I ask permission of the storm. And the loudest, scariest crash of lightening strikes within yards of my house, frightening the bejesus out of me. Is that a yes or no? Good lord, I have no idea. My heart is pounding; I pet my remaining cat to reassure him/me that we are fine.

The rain falls hard, pounding into the dirt, like my tears of yesterday. Pouring, gushing, drowning plants and insects; tearing my heart apart. It is still pitch black, the rolling thunder moving along the valley and echoing with each clap. I hear the call of a blue jay, a special totem for me, meaning I am not alone, and I wait.

I love thunderstorms, I love the volley of rumbles. I can only hope that this is my transition. My cleansing of the air, knowing that Willie has passed and moved on and is at peace and I can be now also. Once the storm is over.

No words necessary….

The tide is coming in, rippling across the sandbars, as I walk across the hot sand and unload my paraphernalia. Within seconds I am settled and relaxing my muscles. Being at the shore always feels like coming home.

My eyes take in the expansive horizon, interrupted by an off-shore island. I hear osprey keening as they fish and feel their exhilaration when they snag a fish and fly off to their nestlings.

I finger the sand, letting it run through my fingers. I notice its perfect grains are interspersed with slipper shells, broken bits of phragmites, dried seaweed, and small stones. The sand is, just as we all are, pocked with distinctive imperfections that make it unique.

A group of boys nearby shout as they dig deeper and deeper in the sand, looking for China. They rough-house, they play ball, they swim, and they go home, as the afternoon passes. Their legacy in the sand will be washed away by the incoming tide, grains of sand filling in, washing away, back and forth, reminding us of the impermanence of all.

Have you ever headed out for a brisk walk when confronted with a difficult decision? Before long, you start noticing the birds calling or your neighbor’s flowers and you return home with clarity about your situation.

Or have you calmed yourself by taking a drive to the ocean or river? The sound of water rushing over rocks or washing on the shore brings a sense of exhilaration and joy that puts your problem in perspective.

Some of us have intuitively known the healing power of nature and research is proving us right. Studies show that medical patients heal faster when their views include trees; students score higher on tests, can focus, and are more cooperative and kind, when they live near green areas or participate in nature programs; our mental health issues, such as ADHD, depression, and stress, can subside when we spend time outdoors.

All of this is captured in the emerging field of ecotherapy, which promotes mutually beneficial relationships between people and nature. Ecotherapy encourages us to use our sense and heart to experience and interact with the rest of the world.

The Middletown Park and Recreation Department is offering a four-session ecotherapy program, HealingNature, to help us reconnect to nature in a personal way. Sessions will be held on Thursdays in June, from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Pre-register by May 21: send a completed general registration form (available online or call 860 343 6620) and check for $65 to Middletown Park & Recreation Department, 100 Riverview Center, #140, Middletown, CT 06457. Open to all mobility levels. Questions: Beth@HealingNatureCT.com or 860 398 4470.

Take a look: Experience Healing Power of Nature in New Class

Do you miss that peaceful feeling you get from spending time outside?  Would you like to be inspired by nature? Are you interested in advocating for nature’s creatures? Join a four-class session, HealingNature, offered through the Middletown (CT) Park & Recreation Department for an introduction to ecotherapy to help us balance ourselves through connections with nature.

Instructor Beth Lapin brings 20 years experience as a field biologist and an equal amount as a social worker — and masters degrees in both – along with decades of experience leading outdoor excursions and therapeutic groups. “Not just another hike in the woods, although that’s included, we will use our senses to strengthen our connection with the natural world,” she explained.” Anyone with questions can contact her: Beth@HealingNatureCT.com or call 860 398 4470.

Sessions will meet on Thursdays in June from 6:30 until 8:00pm at Ron McCutcheon Park at Crystal Lake in Middletown, CT. Pre-register by May 21: send a completed registration form (email for copy) and check for $65 to Middletown Park & Recreation Department, 100 Riverview Center, #140, Middletown, CT 06457. Open to all mobility levels.