Catalyzing personal empowerment, societal transformation, and environmental sustainability


"Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life."
Immanuel Kant

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Holistic Systems Design Course

Principles and practices for co-creating a sustainable life and world through the design and implementation of low-impact, high-return lifestyles, dwellings, and communities

Next course offerings

   Looking for an enjoyable and inspiring way to make the world a better place? Sign up for this intimate yet powerful experiential learning opportunity!

   You can register now for any of the courses for this month, or for any of the following months.

   There are three core components to the Holistic Systems Design (HSD) course. These components can be taken individually as five day intensives for $500.00 each, or as a 14 day intensive for a 20% discounted tuition if the tuition for all three is paid at the same time and the components are taken within a one year time frame (to allow you some scheduling flexibility). Each component is five days of interactive instruction and facilitation, with one day of the Urban Permaculture component consisting of a review and feedback of a permaculture site design of your own property, holding, or an aspect of your built environment.

   The HSD curriculum is an educational and experiential introduction to:

Organic Psychology

Restoring personal, societal, and planetary health and well-being

   The attraction relationships that provide the underlying, supportive integrity of the natural world are a natural part of who we are. Unfortunately, much of modern life in the industrialized world disconnects us from this integrity--it breaks the relationships. Both personal and social health suffers as a result of this disconnection. The Natural Systems Thinking process, a methodology from applied ecopsychology, reconnects us with nature and our own inner nature for the optimum in health, wellness, and balanced relationships.

Urban Permaculture

Designing for life in partnership with Nature

   Urban Permaculture consists of methods of living more lightly on the Earth and becoming responsible for providing for more of our own needs, in part by developing stronger community relationships of sharing and cooperation. UB is more than just growing our own food, but looking at how we design and create our living environment, the resources we use, and the waste we generate. It is possible to lower our ecological footprint while also increasing our quality of life. UB allows one to live so all others may live as well.

Processes for Social Change

Building a tool kit

   Social justice is a subset of environmental justice. With this as a core definition, it can be seen that social activism, at a deep level, involves more than peace, justice, democracy, or equality. Social activism means working to ensure the very survival and continuation of the human species. If we become indifferent, we lose a vital part of who we are. Active participation in creating a just and equitable future can make us come more fully alive because it overcomes the feeling of separation from others. By facilitating our increasing level of comfort with co-creating positive common social action, our own healing and growth will be supported and amplified.

   The modules of this course, which are woven together to form a highly integrated, mutually supportive whole, are taught by experienced facilitators in ecopsychology, permaculture design, and social activism who are passionate about living what they teach and sharing their knowledge with others.

  • The HSD course is limited to 12 participants so please register early to reserve your spot.
  • Location: Attraction Retreat's EcoIntegrity Center of Bellingham (ECO Bell) project--a sustainable urban intentional community and permaculture design project which houses the Holistic Living Institute branch of Attraction Retreat.
  • Tuition: $500/component, including lunch and snacks. A $100 registration fee is required to reserve your space, which is refundable with two weeks notice or under special circumstances.
  • To increase the community experience, shared evening meals to be planned and cooked together (as well as sharing the costs) are one suggested option. There is also some limited hostel-style lodging and a few tent sites available for an additional fee at the EcoIntegrity Center. If you're planning your budget, about $5.00 for each nights meal should cover it, and $20.00/night for lodging.

   Download and print our registration form so you can mail it back to us with your registration fee, call Dave Paulsen to have a form mailed to you (360) 756-7998, or e-mail Dave with your contact information. We can also send you the registration form via e-mail, so just let us know your preferences.

   Come learn for yourself how Holistic Systems Design combines ecopsychology, urban permaculture, intentional community building, and creative social change tools for personal empowerment, environmental restoration, and systemic social change--and become the change you want to see in the world.

   The primary benefits you will receive from this course include 1.) remembering how to tap into Nature's wisdom and healing powers, 2.) experiencing the benefits of living in an urban intentional community based on natural systems, 3.) learning how to create a sustainable, productive, supportive, and fulfilling personal living environment for yourself, and 4.) discovering the 'whys and hows' of powerful tools for social change activism that concerned and caring citizens can use in their day to day lives.

   One additional benefit is that the ecopsychology (organic psychology) portions of the HSD course is an approved substitute for the Project NatureConnect Orientation Course. This component of the HSD course can thus fulfill one of the prerequisite requirements for admission into the graduate or certification programs for the Institute of Global Education, graduate department in applied ecopsychology/integrated ecology. Check with us for complete details if you're interested.

   If you're not quite convinced that registering immediately for this course is the best thing you can do for yourself this year, and if you would like more information on why this course is right for you and the way you want to be in the world, here is the design philosophy behind the course and why we have integrated these particular fields of knowledge and practice.


"Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself."
Leo Tolstoy


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