Animism, Creativity, and a Tree: Shifting into Nature Connection through Attention to Subtle Energies and Contemplative Art Practice

Michelle Flowers, Lisa Lipsett, M.J. Barrett

Abstract


What can happen when the “monkey mind” of habitual conceptual thought is awakened to the more-than-human through attention to subtle energies and artmaking? Drawing on autoethnographic methods, we demonstrate how one graduate student’s creative engagement with a tree brought animist theory to life. This paper illustrates how a combination of time-in-relation, the contemplative artmaking practice of Creative Nature Connection, and special attention to subtle energies—the dark matter being addressed in this paper—can enable experiencing a tree as a sentient autonomous being. We address implications for environmental education and introduce easily doable principles for shifting into connection and opening to the unseen energy that connects all life.

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Copyright © Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) ISSN 1205-5352