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As many of our listeners know, the concept of Biophilic Design brings our contact with nature closer into our lives in the built environment, whether that’s at home, work, hospitals, schools or our cities. In our podcasts we speak to people whose life’s work has been to design and work with nature and also to understand more deeply how and why our connection with nature is so profound and why it has the positive impact it has on us. The underlying factor is our inheritance from our ancestors, how for hundreds of thousands of years we lived outside, close to nature. We are still dependent on nature for our food, air, water, life.

In this podcast we speak with Mary Reynolds Thompson, founder of Live Your Wild Soul Story, and who is an award-winning author, internationally recognized speaker, and a pioneer in the spiritual ecology movement, her focus is on the transformative power of landscape archetypes and nature metaphors to reveal our true purpose and right relationship with the planet. We discuss how the way we are living now alienates us from real life, from the living planet, from each other, and from our own authenticity. It’s not just a philosophy, it's proven that time in nature really heals you emotionally, psychologically, and physically, the effects are lasting – it has an accumulative benefit, extending into the stresses of the week. Therefore, simply put, the more connected we are to nature the happier we are.

“It’s an unfolding comfort, we feel the warmth or cold of the earth, almost like the heartbeat of the mother, security and happiness. For all human history we lived outside, it’s part of our lineage, and we don’t just cut it off. We don’t lose that desire.” Mary goes on to describe a concept, Shadow wild – this disconnection which leaves such a gaping chasm that we tend to want to fill it with whatever is at hand because we want to feel alive (Joseph Campbell, the mythologist said – more than anything humans want to feel alive, and most of us feel alive when we are outside in the natural world.

We are part of the earth's 4.5-billion-year history, everything that comprises us was there even before the big bang. There is a deep knowing that changes how we feel about ourselves, we are not inconsequential, we matter, we are matter, we have meaning. Mary takes this one step further in her practice, she helps people reconnect with themselves and this realisation is part of the beginning of this return to our passion for what we want to do. For her landscapes are archetypes, and they are inside us, we emerged out of these places.

Have a listen to the different archetypes which Mary describes. For instance if we are constantly mountain woman or man, there are times in our life when we need water, or desert. As Designers, I imagine some would find this interesting, as we go on to discuss how we could take an office and create zones, creating spaces that resonate with different elements to help users of a space work through a project. The desert is calm and allows thinking time, the forest is an imagining space where we follow threads, we allow our passion to come into its own with the ocean, we manifest on mountains and then we take to the grasslands to share and serve the community, our purpose.

Finally, we talk about the environment. Nature and what we’re doing to nature mirrors what we are doing to our own psyche and souls. Razed forest is devastating, in many ways we are felling the most fecund creative aspects within ourselves as we do it, we are cutting down diversity, creativity, and rootedness. What we are doing to the earth is not unrelated to what we are doing to our psyches and souls. We as humans have a deep kinship with all of life. We are not just hurting the planet we are hurting ourselves in very profound ways.

Did you know our NEW printed and eBook journal is out now https://journalofbiophilicdesign.com/journal-of-biophilic-design-1

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Credits: with thanks to George Harvey Audio Production for the calming biophilic soundscape that backs all our podcasts.

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