Photo by Brock Dolman


May 1 - 6, 2019

With Kerry Brady, Brian Swimme and guest faculty Brock Dolman

This program is for registered California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) students.
It is a collaboration between the PCC department of CIIS and Ecology of Awakening.

As Gregory Bateson once said, “The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think”. During the industrial era, we have been conditioned to think of nature as green wallpaper that exists as the backdrop to our human endeavors. But in the new evolutionary cosmology, nature is understood as both our primary matrix and our primary teacher. Nature is the source of existence as well as an ongoing wellspring of wisdom for what it means to be human. To come to understand and, most importantly, to live from this knowing requires a profound shift in our perception of reality, a realization that we are an inextricable part of nature, and a profound recognition that we are a mode of cosmic evolution. Nature and Eros is designed to facilitate this shift in consciousness, a shift that is the central planetary challenge of our time – moving from control over nature to mutually enhancing engagement with the enveloping Earth Community.

Photo by Kerry Brady

Photo by Kerry Brady

In order to do this essential work we come together in community for five days in close relation with the land at Bell Valley Retreat Center in Boonville, with over 600 acres of rolling grasslands, expansive views, and extensive trails amidst a rich and bio-diverse ecosystem. The primary teacher will be the vibrant ecosystem with its sensuous hills and creeks, oak and fir forests, coyotes and hawks as well as the distinct configuration of students and faculty. As we bring ourselves into a more intimate and immediate connection with the larger Earth Community around us, we invite the deep magic of place to evoke our hidden sensitivities and capacities, re-discovering and re-membering who we are as planetary beings. Throughout our time, we will consciously explore the mysterious and fertile meeting ground between our own creativity and the larger unfolding – between the personal and the cosmological – in order to gain an embodied sense of what it is to live in a fluid dance with the creative force that brought forth the Himalaya, the hummingbirds, and each one of us.

Our time will be divided between group lecture and dialogue and experiential processes such as solo time on the land, council practice, dreamwork, ceremony and perception-enhancing practices that support active engagement with nature, inside and out. We will weave between disciplines including evolutionary science, deep ecology and living systems, somatic psychology, neurobiology and nondual wisdom. Joining us is master biologist and naturalist, Brock Dolman, who will support us in skillfully bridging the macro and micro realms, deepening our connection with and understanding of nature’s brilliance. Our fabulous chef, Nora, will nourish us with local, organic meals and her beaming presence!

Photo by Brock Dolman

Photo by Brock Dolman

Learning Objectives:

  • To recognize our deepest identity as that of the universe, forever in flux, and intricately woven into the web of life.

  • To explore what it is to be fully human at this moment in the evolution of the earth and universe.

  • To deepen students' experiences of being engaged, co-active participants in the living universe.

  • To open to learning from the other-than-human world to increase our ability to think and act like an ecosystem – in relationship and in process with life.

  • To learn a set of skills and practices designed to increase our innate resiliency, strengthen our ability to navigate change and build our capacity to stay present and available, to ourselves and each other.

Dates and Location

May 1 - 6, 2019, Bell Valley Retreat Center, Boonville, CA

GRATITUDE: After 17 consecutive years of offering this course to CIIS students, we are able to continue having it as part of the PCC curriculum due to the generous support of Meihong Xu and Bill Melton for whom we are most grateful!