Catalyzing personal empowerment, societal transformation, and environmental sustainability
"We, the generation that faces the next century, can add the solemn
injunction, 'If we don't do the impossible, we shall be faced with the
Mission & Vision
Our Three Branches:
Counseling & Life Coaching
Holistic Living Institute
EcoIntegrity Center Of Bellingham
Attraction Retreat's role in Intentional Bellingham
What will it take for everyone in a community to lead healthy, fulfilling, enjoyable lives? How can we experience personal abundance while ensuring a thriving, healthy planet for ourselves and our posterity? How can we live in peace, both within ourselves and with our neighbors-across the street, and across the ocean?
The key to global transformations in the personal, social, environmental, economic, and other realms is not simply a matter of right or wrong actions. Rather, it is a matter of building right relationships-and the ultimate model of right relationships is Nature, whose attraction relationships create and sustain everything in the universe in a perfectly balanced "whole systems design."
Nature is thus the model for the structure, workings, and relationships of the EcoIntegrity Center of Bellingham. From our intentional community core throughout our myriad components and projects which reach far into the wider community, natural systems form the basis of all our actions and relationships. By demonstrating how to think and act like Nature works, we help bring humanity back into balance with our planet-the matrix of our lives.
What is ecointegrity?
Ecology is the study of systems and the interdependent relationships among all forms of life and their environment. Integrity is soundness, completeness, and an adherence to a code of values. The EcoIntegrity Center of Bellingham blends ecology and integrity by embracing and expressing the core values of the Earth Charter: respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, democracy, nonviolence, and peace. We go beyond merely philosophizing about these values and the issues they are related to by actively demonstrating how people can live healthy, fulfilling lives while creating right livelihood through an adherence to an ethic of ecointegrity.
Our vision for the EcoIntegrity Center of Bellingham is to create an intentional community that uses a process in applied ecopsychology known as the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) to build responsible relationships that-as they become embued in individuals' interactions in their realms of influence as social change agents-will support ecological integrity, right livelihood, social responsibility, personally empowering educational systems, participatory democracy, and the broader community. Our model reflects a holistic world-view that sees how all systems affect all other systems within the interconnected and interdependent nature of reality. Thus, the many components of our vision are designed to work together to ultimately achieve ecological sanity, peace, and social justice at the global level by actually doing it at the local level.
The overall mission of ECO Bellingham is to provide a thriving example of a human community that uses Nature as a model for personal, societal, and environmental health and sustainability. Founded on a combination of the philosophies behind ecopsychology, permaculture, intentional communities, and bioregionalism, our mission supports local living economies, environmental and social justice, and healthy communities consisting of responsible, healthy individuals who actively contribute to the greater good.
Attraction Retreat and the Natural Systems Thinking Process
Cutting edge science is revealing that a natural organizing intelligence, "a constant and intimate contact among the things that coexist and co-evolve in the universe - a sharing of bonds and messages that makes reality into a stupendous network of interaction and communication," is what keeps the rest of the universe in perfect balance. Attraction Retreat was established in April 2001 to enable people to experience, at the very deepest of levels, that they are an intimate part of the natural environment, and to remember how to be open and responsive to this natural organizing intelligence-how to think and act the way the rest of Nature works.
Our goals, which address the environmental crisis, human health and social issues, and the enhancement of the quality of all life, are directed toward three distinct sets of relationships: within individuals, within the community, and within the environment.
We achieve our goals by facilitating the shift in consciousness that leading-edge thinkers in the life, social and physical sciences today say is needed in order to save the Earth and the species that inhabit it. This shift readily occurs when people experience a process which reconnects their multiplicity of innate senses with Nature. Known as the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP), it was developed and has been refined by eminient ecopsychologist and environmental educator Dr. Michael J. Cohen of Project NatureConnect.
Using the NSTP, people acquire more than a merely rational understanding of life. They begin to actually sense and feel their connections to the Earth and to the Web of Life that sustains them. Because this shift includes the social senses that satisfy so many of the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs that make being human both enjoyable and fulfilling, the process we teach also results in building responsible relationships with other humans--including an impulse toward social justice and inclusiveness.
Another direct effect of this shift in consciousness is that, as people's frame of reference toward the natural world changes, their motivation to modify personal behavior to preserve the natural world greatly increases. For example, after experiencing their intimate connection with the web of life, people 'naturally' start recycling or do it more consistently-not only because they think they should, but because they actually want to. In a psychologically subtle way, not doing so becomes unconscionable.
The EcoIntegrity Center and the NSTP
A common purpose that reflects shared values is necessary for the successful creation of a lasting and sustainable intentional community. The NSTP will be taught and used to guide the daily running of the EcoIntegrity Center's Intentional Community component through a democratic methodology known as Natural Consensus, and the process will also be integrated in numerous ways into all of our outreach components (counseling, education, local politics, research center, think tank, social and environmental activism, etc.). People interested in our Center will have the oppportunity to observe the positive effects of the NSTP and, if attracted to learning the process themselves, will then be able to implement our model in their endeavors in their own neighborhoods and communities.
The structure of the EcoIntegrity Center of Bellingham is comprised of four basic elements. The intentional community model is the foundation that supports all other endeavors. The field of ecopsychology (also known as organic psychology) provides the process (NSTP) for using Nature as a model of sustainability and right livelihood, the Earth Charter provides the policy document, and the philosophies of bioregionalism and permaculture provide the methodologies for reaching out to the wider community and for rebuilding a participatory democracy encased within a healthy environment that can impart a sense of place.
Features of the intentional community, based at 1515 I Street in Bellingham, WA:
The areas we are focusing on encompass community development and social research leading to improvements in personal health and well-being, as well as an increase in the overall quality of life and the ecological integrity of the citizens of the bioregion at large.
The way we are approaching these goals is through the creation of an urban intentional community/co-housing facility that will address issues such as increasing urban density, lowering the ecological footprint of the dwellings and inhabitants, and helping sustain local living economies. Part of the goal is to present community educational forums, and create a citizen's think tank and action center as a service to the community.
Our intention is to develop funding for these projects in as integrated a way as possible. We plan to network with the city and county and as many local groups and organizations as we can so together we will serve as a working demonstration of a viable alternative that can be implemented in other communities.
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"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."
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