Catalyzing personal empowerment, societal transformation, and environmental sustainability


"It makes sense to address the wholeness of a person (their life processes, sensations, feelings, and intellect) if a person is to be fully educated."
Michael J. Cohen

About Us:
   Mission & Vision

Our Three Branches:
  Counseling, Coaching, Consulting
   EcoIntegrity Center/
Natural Systems Living

   Holistic Living Institute

Event Calendar
Registration Forms
Contact Information


Holistic Living Institute

Community Learning and Information at Attraction Retreat

because it's all about RELATIONSHIPS

   The Holistic Living Institute is the educational branch of Attraction Retreat. This aspect of our organization presents classes and workshops/seminars designed to help you come into right relationship--with your inner intelligence, your family and friends, your living space, your work, your community, society at large, and the planet. By becoming aware of and improving these connections, you can improve your life--and become inspired and empowered to help create a better world and future. We see ourselves as part of the growing Community Learning and Information Center (CLIC) movment.

Our Educational Philosophy

   The foundation of our philosophy is that we come from the Earth and depend on it for our very sustenance. We require a healthy planet in order to be healthy ourselves, and vice versa. Achieving personal, societal, and planetary health is simply a matter of remembering how to think and act the way nature works. This philosophy reflects science's acceptance of the interconnected nature of reality.

   At AR's Holistic Living Institute we weave together the principles and processes of organic psychology, urban permaculture, and effective social change processes to provide a basis for bringing nature's wisdom into your daily life. This foundation, expressed in our Holistic Systems Design curriculum, will enable you to also reflect this wisdom in your home, your job, your community, and in the larger world you are an intimate and important part of.

What do we offer?

   Making a change must fit within the reality of your life as it is now, so we offer a variety of ways for you and/or your organization to benefit from our offerings. See our curriculum page for complete details, and our events calendar for dates and times for the current and coming months.

  • Natural Systems Meditations--1st Sunday of the month, 10:30 am 'til noon.
  • Processes for Social Change Modules--1 ½ hours, 1st Tuesday and 4th Thursday, 7:30 pm
  • Holistic Living Introductory Workshop--8 hours, 1st or 2nd Saturday of the month, 9 am - 5 pm
  • Holistic Systems Design courses--Organic Psychology, Urban Permaculture, and Processes for Social Change, 5 days each, 2nd and 3rd full weeks of the month
  • Continuing Education Courses for Professionals
  • Year long ecopsychology certification course
  • Natural Consensus Workshop for organizations and activist groups
  • The Living School--classes for children

How reconnecting with Nature works

   Nature, with over 15 billion years of experience in organizing and sustaining living systems, has a lot to show humans about the business of living and co-existing with others and the natural world. Nature knows what works--and what doesn't. As natural creatures, we have inherited this ability to stay in healthy and productive balance with the rest of creation--but as our looming personal, social, and environmental crises attest, we are dangerously out of touch with this inherent wisdom. It therefore makes sense to look to Nature to see what works--and to use the processes we find there for building healthy relationships in our own lives.

   At Attraction Retreat we show course participants how to learn from Nature by creating moments that let Earth teach. The simple Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) that we use helps people intellectually understand their role in natural systems, and then move beyond mere understanding to actually experiencing their connection to the natural world through their many senses. As they become personally and consciously aware of this connection, participants' increased motivation to sustain the Web of Life of which they are a part is reflected in lifestyle choices that are healthier, more fulfilling, more sustainable, and more inclusive of diversity. They begin to contribute to building healthy communities and to maintaining a healthy environment--in part by becoming and remaining healthy themselves.

   The NSTP begins by having you become consciously aware of the positive, supportive, and enjoyable feelings you receive from Nature. You are then shown ways that you can continue to receive these good feelings, and how to build these healing and empowering feelings into your daily life. As you become increasingly aware of the vital role you play in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, you also begin to feel and understand how each individual person, each individual species, and each individual ecosystem and bioregion contributes to the overall health of the planet--to the mutually supportive and self-sustaining web of life.

    Our courses, workshops, seminars, and classes are a form of applied ecopsychology which uses ecoeducation and ecotherapy through simple Reconnecting with Nature activities. Although they vary in time and focus (see descriptions below), each nature connecting activity session generally:

  • takes place outdoors, the amount of time depending on the weather and location;
  • takes about 1 1/2 hours;
  • begins with a presentation of background material on ecopsychology, systems theory, and/or the NSTP;
  • includes introductory material pertaining to the session's activity;
  • includes the reconnecting with Nature activity itself, which take about 20 minutes;
  • includes the sharing (validation) of individual participants' experiences;
  • concludes with a discussion of the effects, outcomes, or lessons received from the activities.

   The effects of our courses vary with individuals and the amount of participation in the process, but in general participants report that the NSTP helps them:

Overcome or alleviate
environmental despair, stress, depression, harmful addictions, unhealthy relationships, and feelings of isolation or the sense of being lost and without a home, and

natural support and fulfillment, inner balance, peace, joy, self-empowerment, and a sense of belonging to a greater whole.

Our core classes include:

  • Holistic Systems Design: Creating low impact, high return lifestyles - 2nd and 3rd full weeks of the month. This can be a 14 day intensive combining ecopsychology, urban permaculture, and progressive social change into a learning experience that is both academic and experiential--or, each of these components can be taken in separate five day sections. Using Nature as a model of sustainable and life supportive cooperation, discover how to regain natural health and personal empowerment, create your own low-impact and sustainable living space and organic gardens, and build effective social relationships to help co-create a more just and equitable world for all. This is the core curriculum at the Holistic Living Institute, and is offered monthly.
  • Natural Balance Ecoeducation for Children and Youth - This course, especially designed for homeschoolers who are 6-12 years old, integrates music, art, stories, journal-writing, poetry, systems science, creative movement, games, and sensory activities in nature to foster emotional growth, improve social skills, develop cognitive abilities, increase self-esteem, and enhance intuitive qualities of the mind. There are ten two-hour sessions over a period of six weeks.
  • Organic Psychology: Introduction to the Natural Systems Thinking Process - This is an on-site equivalent to Project NatureConnect's on-line Orientation Course, and is designed to be offered at locations other than the Institute or through a custom schedule. Ten two hour classes can be scheduled from five days to ten weeks, including outside assignments. Geared for small groups, individual tutoring can be made available.

Our workshops and seminars include:

  • Rational Spirituality: Self-evidence of the Web of Life - A two activity mini-course, this half-day seminar presents the scientific basis for spirituality and human belonging in the natural universe. Based on complex adaptive systems, co-creative evolution, and the NSTP. Learn how and why the Universe is friendly to life and its evolution.
  • The Basics of the Natural Systems Thinking Process - This two day and one night workshop introduces the Natural Systems Thinking Process and Webstring Science, with a mix that is light on lecture and heavy on Nature reconnecting activities. A prerequisite for most of the advanced workshops.
  • Presenting the Natural Systems Thinking Process: Motivating Sustainable Behaviors - In this full day workshop, become familiar with using sensory, global consciousness as a tool for motivating sustainable behaviors in society-the Science of Nature Connected Psychology. Biologically, psychologically, and spiritually, people are part of Nature, the intelligent, ever-balancing, ancient web of life that communicates within itself and creates through non-verbal attraction relationships. Help others learn the language of Nature and so they, too, can become constructive contributors to the web of life.
  • Natural Consensus Depending on a groups background in the consensus process, or a previous familiarity with the NSTP, this workshop can range from two hours to two days. Natural Consensus is the next step beyond the formal consensus process, and provides a powerful group decision making process that gives Nature a voice. Natural Consensus allows you to reach group decisions that mirror the integrated harmony of the Universe.
  • A Workshop on Relationships - Because peace on earth requires peace with earth, learn how to build healthy relationships... within yourself, with others, and with the environment. After all, it all boils down to relationships--from the bedroom to the Universe.
  • Special Interest Workshops and Presentations - Attraction Retreat offers workshops that have been developed to meet the specific interests and needs of several groups: educators, counselors, activist groups, healers, and business organizations. One to two hour presentations are also available for conferences, symposiums, and meetings. Please contact us at Attraction Retreat for information and availability.

   As part of Project NatureConnect and the Institute of Global Education, we have distance based home study courses and accredited graduate programs in Applied Ecopsychology/Integrated Ecology - Educating and Counseling with Nature using the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP), developed by Dr. Michael Cohen.

   For further information please contact


"The overwhelming juggernaut of established cultural trends and their financial power firmly grip each of us. Hearts and intellects protest, but our behavior too often marches to a different drummer whom we seldom recognize. Our problems remain. Education on a deeper, more active and intense level becomes necessary."
Michael J. Cohen


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