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Environmental Expressive Therapies: Nature-Assisted Theory and Practice (2017)

Alexander Kopytin & Madeline Rugh (eds)

(see below for link to order)

Chapter 7 introduces the powerful Art of Mindful Walking in Earth-based Art Therapy – with reference to the work of Feldenkrais & others, to show how this most familiar bilateral movement, can reveal & heal deep emotional connections as we travel pathways towards, away from and between our art works.
We’d love your reviews too! and your feedback about what works for you & how you may be using these approaches.
“Inspiring highlights from the innovative, interdisciplinary work of international expressive arts therapists incorporating nature as a partner in creative/expressive arts therapy practices. Each contributor explores a particular specialization and outlines the implementation of multi-professional and multi-modal “earth-based” creative/expressive interventions that practitioners can use in their daily work with patients with various clinical needs.  A variety of practical approaches are presented for therapists to use to achieve multiple therapeutic goals, alongside promoting sustainable lifestyles for individuals, families, and communities. “
Click here to order 


Miniature houses are a world-wide, traditional image: of refuge for the lost, blessing for the contentedly wandering, sanctuary for the earnestly seeking or broken-hearted. Dedicated spaces to honour all that lives within-without.  Insect houses, mollusc shell-houses, nests, memories & memorial shrines, mini devotional prayer houses, roadside houses for travellers of all kinds. Houses to place offerings of flowers, fruits, precious gifts, representing our love, respect, reverence, remembered ones, our heart’s dreams & wishes.
Eco arts Tiny Houses (2)Facebook page: painthorse holistic eco art therapy
See events page for summer courses with places available

art & immunity:

ART HEALS – on BBC Radio 4 today, the’Thinking Allowed’ programme, just reported recent research: Expressive writing about a single emotionally distressing event from childhood, either before or after a ‘wounding’ medical intervention, led to healing 6 times!!! faster than if no such writing is done. This parallels my experience & research about art therapy / expressive art-making before painful invasive surgery & dental procedures; it can hugely reduce & transform fear & aversion towards an invasive procedure, speed up wound healing & reduce pain/suffering.

So if you are facing a serious medical procedure – you could try this for yourself, or contact your local arts therapist. Be Well!

Since my last workshops, a new book following on from GREEN STUDIO (Kopytin & Rugh, 2016, Nova Science Press) by an international team, has been in preparation :

Environmental Expressive Therapies (Routledge) with my Chapter 7 expanding on The Art of Mindful Walking in Earth-Based Art Therapy.

Workshop participants this year will be able to try these subtle, exciting & deceptively simple ways of working with the body & art works & enjoy the liberating results. Art -making, combined with slowing down this basic, bilateral activity, opens access to powerful insight into old patterns of thought & catalyses inspiration for new responses.

Courses support you to safely explore how your supremely sensitive body-mind-field system can heal itself with attuned & playful attention. We welcome your whole self, help old patterns untangle & free your deeper self to relax into life with more freedom, vitality, effortless creativity  & joy.


Creative Meditation: Embodiment, Nature & Art 

with Beverley A’Court & Margo von Greta

Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, June 17-23  2017

Today I wake up empty and frightened.                                                                                                                     Don’t go to the door of the study and read a book. Instead, take down the dulcimer,                                 let the beauty of what you love be what you do.                                                                                           There are a 100 ways to kneel & kiss the ground’ (Rumi)

 ‘100 ways to kneel & kiss the ground’                                                                                                 There are many ways to express our vulnerability or suffering, to pray, to reaffirm our connection and devotion to benevolent forces of the universe; ways to settle, relax tension, fear and judgement, soothe feelings of separation & isolation; ways to attune to our situation and natural environment, revive our gratitude for life as we recognise our intimate connection to all beings; tune into our own body-mind-spirit to listen deeply, patiently, for the call to our next best action.

These are reflected in the world’s ancient artistic cultures and spiritual traditions, in the many, highly creative forms of meditation; from silent sitting and witnessing, to the dynamic, colourful arts of calligraphy, sacred song and dance, where we discover profound stillness in motion, some of the 100s of ancestral ways to relax our small ego’s desperate activity and allow grounded intuition & wisdom to arise naturally, spontaneously from within, ways to contact our own integrity; the wholeness from which we can be more fully in the flow of life.

  • Perhaps you are excited to try to some of these ways & explore this for yourself?
  • Perhaps you find it difficult to sit in meditation and would love some gentle, friendly & highly skilled support to do this & to try a variety of natural, sensory, embodied art and and nature-based approaches to facilitate this?
  • Perhaps you seek supportive space to explore and discover your own creative personal practice?
  • Perhaps you are an experienced artist or meditator hungry to deepen your practice, face creative challenges in a ‘refresher’ experience with others?

CREATIVE MEDITATION is dedicated to these pursuits, to strengthening and nourishing your own inherent, inner sources of vitality and peace, via embodied meditations, playful and contemplative art-making and intimacy with nature, all in the beautiful surroundings & community of the Findhorn Foundation.  To read more and book go to

Our style focuses on present, here-and-now experience, and we welcome participants from all spiritual traditions or none, with no prior experience in meditation or art, as well as experienced practitioners, to add to the rich diversity of the week.

About the facilitators:

Beverley and Margo present clear meditation instruction from secular mindfulness to methods grounded in Tibetan Buddhism, alongside mindful, eco-art-making in communion with nature, to guide you into attuned states of body-mind, the basis for wholesome, non-violent action.

Beverley & Margo are both long term practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism and Findhorn Community members, regular workshop & retreat facilitators experienced in bringing creativity into spiritual practice, passionate about ways to help us enjoy the spiritual within everyday life.

Indoor & outdoor meditations, mindful,walks & other forms of communion with nature & embodied art-making.  A meditative, playful, nourishing & inspiring retreat, to explore our deep ‘nature’, experiencing how creativity, nature & spirituality weave together as we access the peace that lives in our bodies, minds & the field of which we are a part.

The mythology and archetypal symbol of the ‘Sacred Garden’ supports our creative journey; a traditional place of blessing, a source of healing and place of magical encounters & transformation, where the human, plant, animal and divine realities meet and co-create. The famous Findhorn Community gardens surround our work & provide places to rest and simply ‘be’ with yourself & nature.


Garden of the Heart: late summer creative retreat

Cortijo-Romero, Spain, August 19-25 2017

A late summer version of this course, in its 3rd year, where we reconnect & immerse ourselves in nature via mindful walks, meditations and art-making with natural, found materials.

A grounding & poetic week, re-discovering & nourishing your own deep, sensuous nature, enabling authentic, spontaneous expression with awareness. The ancient poetic & spiritual symbol of the sacred, secret garden, is our reference point, a rich source of imagery, together with personal memories & experiences of gardens from childhood and literature, where we often find a profound source of healing & creativity. What areas of your ‘inner garden’ are calling for tender attention? What is dying & what still to blossom & ripen? No formal artistic skill is needed but please bring your open, generous & adventurous mind, your love of nature & the poetic.




see Services page for details.

small summer school  4 now in august  11-15 2016  (non-res) 4 days’ immersion in nature-based, meditative & embodied, expressive art-making with found materials. This year I’m offering a safe space in which to explore archetypal & topical themes of Home and the Nomad Heart.  From forced exile to willing pilgrimage, we can explore using meditative art our relationships to self-identity, family, land and our heart’s calling.

Holistic Eco Art Therapy is grounded in our ancestral hunter-gatherer and spiritual practices & our intimate connection to nature. It brings a natural familiarity and ease of enjoyment in art-making as playful, mindful, meditative ‘non-doing’.

A creative holiday break, a chance to explore your own unique path & an opportunity to learn creative applications of eco-art for your family, home, work & community life.  Deeply relaxing, nourishing, profoundly transformative self-care. Informative & inspiring CPD for therapists, teachers, artists & medics, mindfulness practitioners & anyone working with homeless, displaced, travelling and migrant people.

£250  contact:  5 places.  Book soon to ensure local accommodation.




Workshops and studio-garden sessions available March – August for individuals and small groups, using eco art therapy processes to give space to our deep feelings, needs, longings & stories of migration, exile & home.

Playful creativity with natural and other found materials, seemingly light-hearted, child-like making involves the whole body-mind & opens us to intuition, new, wider perspectives and can reveal opportunities in our current situation.

Contact me to discuss what you would like.

walking in beauty: 2016

The GARDEN of the HEART,   CORTIJO-ROMERO, ANDALUCIA, SPACortijo Romero Courtyard GardenIN  MAY 21–28 2016

A deeply relaxing week, combining gentle, sensory & meditative processes with spontaneous art-making, much of it outdoors using found natural materials. The Cortijo gardens are a special zone amidst the Andalucian mountain landscape & enrich our week, connecting us in body & soul to the rich archetypal imagery of the sacred garden in memory & myth.
I have spent nearly 30 years developing ways to combine somatic awareness, mindfulness, walking & expressive art making to reveal how art-making can be an effortless, uncontrived experience of ‘non-doing’ akin to the ‘abiding in the natural state’ described in Buddhism. Enjoy cultivating receptivity to nature & your deep self via garden contemplations, a nourishing experience in itself, welcoming your own senses & body-mind experiences & allowing them all into your art-making.

A restorative & informative CPD week for people involved in the arts, education, health or social / caring work, but also for any avowed ‘non-artists’ who wish to dive into the uncharted territory of the body, imagination & art-making in a gentle, supportive setting.  The embodied approaches make art-making accessible to all & the week usually includes much playfulness, humour & intimate, compassionate witnessing.


Cortijo Romero garden wall

Ancient Dancing Olive tree. Cortijo Romero






Walk in Beauty is the blessing Navajo First Nations American people, the Dineh, offer the world, expressed in all aspects of their life. Psychotherapists are appreciative of the Navajo’s profound contribution to psyche somatic healing; the systemic spiritual wisdom in their traditional healing rituals combines sand painting in contact with the ‘patient’s’ body, honouring family, tribe, land & ancestry in holistic poetic ceremonies or ‘chants.’  We cannot appropriate their practices, but may learn from them, as artist-healers, & attune to our own lost forms of wisdom for ourselves. This, in part is what I consider the role of the art therapist: to help you to find your own ‘earth-based healing wisdom’.

Whether you can only take a few steps around your room or home, or you are a seasoned hiker, you can practice the art of walking as a meditative process; we can bring a state of tender, sensuous, appreciative presence to our flow of movement, our stepping on the planet, our impact on all around us that is the path.  
When combined with natural gestural & expressive art-making, miraculous unravelling can occur; insights awaken, symptoms settle & may dissolve away, anxious pacing & pains of all kinds transform. The world appears anew; with re-connection energy is restored & flows again, love reappears in new forms. New directions for living emerge, artistic friendships form.

We enter the path, walking, sitting, art making, humble witnesses to nature & our nature, one step at a time…

20151124_083318One step at a time