Guest Blog: EcoSoul’s Eco Trauma and the Gulf Oil Spill

I am grateful that I am getting know the person behind EcoSoul on FB. EcoSoul is doing important work in health and spirituality: “EcoSoul is a healing arts practice based in Oakland, CA dedicated to raising awareness of the health benefits of Mindfulness and connecting to the natural world. Join us the 3rd Saturday of every month for Bay Area Nature Strolls for People of Color.” (EcoSoul FB)  

Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2004

I was moved by EcoSoul’s musings on the Gulf Oil Spill:

I find myself near tears every time I see images of the disaster caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve resorted to not reading everything that is posted on FB nor watching much television but as I spend time in South Texas with my family I am reminded of the intimate connection I have had with the Gulf. It is the first natural body of water I ever swam in, and it is the body of water that gave me the taste of my first shrimp. It is the place I spent time with my mother as a child; just she and I walking along the beach enjoying each others company. I am grateful for the Gulf and as a spiritual person who is an Oricha priest I recognize the natural spirit of Yemaya as a deity of nurturance and family and abundance and the home of the millions of ancestors that did not survive the Middle Passage. I weep for all that humans have done to desecrate the earth, sky and sea. We have become alienated against nature, due to a variety of reasons but now we have the opportunity to reconnect, to wake up and recognize that we are not separate from nature and all of it is sacred. This is a revolutionary idea for some; the belief and understanding that nature is sacred, that there are messages of healing and hope found in the bosom of the earth if only we would make ourselves available to listen. So as we take in the trauma of seeing millions of gallons of oil in the gulf and the many animal and plant life that have been destroyed honor the trauma that you feel–it means you are ALIVE and a feeling sentinent being; you are not strange, or too sensitive you are a human being that recognizes and feels your connection to all beings not just the two legged.

Pier on Grand Isle, Louisiana, 2004

An Ecotherapy blog post by Linda Buzzel states that psychology is gaining a better understanding of the impact of second hand trauma on the human psyche. And because of the ubiquity of the environmental and human disasters we now face, most of us suffer from it. According to the psychologist Peter Levine the author of “Waking the Tiger: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences” animals deal with trauma by literally shaking it off and going on with life, and not getting themselves stuck in the fight, flight freeze syndrome that keeps humans in a constant state of stress.

The new field of ecotherapy suggests we develop strategies to learn how to deal with this type of trauma. Reconnecting with nature through ritual, joining a local conservation group, advocating for environmental justice, and reducing our consumption of oil are some strategies for healing the trauma and pain we may feel.

May we all find our way back home to our true nature, may our prayers of healing extend to our nonhuman allies and may we shake off this trauma so that we can be awake and grounded to make sure that it never happens again.

PHOTOS BY DIANNE GLAVE

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