Posts tagged “Bill Plotkin

Looking North

                                                                                                                  (photo credit – unknown)

A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive,

to stand like slow growing trees

on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its reality.

(Wendell Berry)

As an urban farming pioneer in Atlanta Georgia, one of Rashid Nouri‘s core beliefs is that if you have healthy soil filled with healthy compost, it will follow that you will have healthy plants without the need for artificial fertililzers and pesticides. Bill Plotkin’s book Wild Mind – A Field Guide to the Human Psyche, takes a similar approach. One of his core messages is that ‘the key to healing and growing whole is not to be found in suppressing symptoms but in cultivating wholeness.’  – the same analogy applies, a healthy psyche leads to a healthy life. But it is not just our own individual lives that are at stake here. As Carolyn Baker says in her review of his book,

“Throughout his work Plotkin incessantly juxtaposes ego-psychology and eco-psychology, insisting that the principal task before humanity is to move from a psychology that hermetically seals itself off from the ecosystems and the sacred in order to advance the ego’s agenda, into a psychology that recognizes the deeper Self within and around us. Without intimate and undomesticated connection with mountains, rivers, forests, animals, oceans, insects, and rocks, we cannot become whole beings who also become larger than their historical personal wounding.”

This has begun a life-long (however long that is) project and I have started the process, beginning to explore some of the exercises and disciplines Plotkin suggests in his book, beginning by looking North. It has already become a marvelous resource, and an emerging revelation. I can’t recommend it highly enough. From the website –

“Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, Plotkin describes how to cultivate the four facets of the Self and discover the gifts of our subpersonalities. The key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, or manage stress but rather to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul infused story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.”