Pamela Hoke’s recently published book, “Natural Self Discovery. A creative journey to sanity in an increasingly insane world”, unfolds a totally new matrix in the art of writing, for to fully appreciate its fluid and pulsating discourse, one should read in the open, breathing in and out its spontaneous magic and mind opening clarity. Ecopsychology, being termed also as organic psychology or nature therapy, is not just a hyped and freshly coined concept, but a personal epiphany, outlining the ways for plugging back to where we all belong – Mother Nature, or as Pam calls, homecoming. And by doing so, we rediscover the long forgotten rabbit holes, full of innate abilities and potentials we all are endowed with. Pamela Hoke, a talented Florida artist and a successful brand designer, chose to pursue her PhD in applied Ecopsychology at Akamai University Project Nature Connect program due to a simple reason – delving into its subject matter "felt natural and guess, it still does”, she wrote.
The book unveils the traps we fall into and the clutter we hoard as we get bogged down in imposed societal models of people pleasing, competition, economies, fueled by a devouring greed and repetitious models, where strong prey on the weak, and other manifestations of collective malaise that hurt both us and the planet we all inhabit. But here is the lucid and rewarding truth: as soon as we realize that it’s only puffed up mental constructs that separate us from nature, we break free, heal and become creative empowered individuals living the lives of our dreams rather than following the false, curbing imperatives whose name is the legion. The book inspires ‘it feels so good” rebellion against the Procrustean bed of imposed ways that suffocate both us and the environment – the very life force we depend on for survival.
Pam’s soft and all-embracing approach, gracefully poised on respect and reverence for all – an essential trait of American transcendentalism, is reminiscent of Goethe’s delicate empiricism, according to which natural objects should be sought and investigated respectfully as if they were divine beings. Regrettably, even the most advanced visionaries of the past whose thoughts are beautifully etched on the fabric of Pam’s narrative, could not even closely envision the impact a modern technology -- or what Dr. Michael Cohen calls “tropicmaking” -- has on our lives. And here is a paradox. While technology provides us amazing shortcuts for intellectual breakthroughs, it cuts a vital chord that connects the human beings with Mother Earth, leaving us prone to insanity on all levels.
The book gives a deep insight into a post-modern and almost tragic syndrome of tropicmaking, whose initial purpose to find a shelter and surviving tools, turned into "crazymaking" once an obsession with having at any cost comfortable lifestyle became an end in itself. As she noted, “Our addiction to tropicmaking denies us the freedom to relate to earth in a mutually beneficial way”. As a result, technology and nature, meant to be the allies, become mutually exclusive forces. However, establishing balance between the two is not only possible but absolutely natural, concludes the author.
Metaphorically speaking, ecopsychology is about providing Hercules’ blueprints for cleaning up the 'Augean Stables” we've been amassing for centuries by cultivating literacy, overthinking and the left brain language patterns while disparaging arrogantly the power of right brain, a non-verbal tongue of nature and that of 54 senses – and not the just five we've been pinned to since Aristotle’s theory of sense perception became a dogma. “Once you are aware and actually permit yourself to experience and validate these inborn senses on a daily basis, an empowering transformation begins. This is where that hole in your heart begins to heal”, she asserted.
As a nature artist, it’s precisely the colors of feelings and natural attractions she imparts. Pam’s models—the poignant bobcats and owls, turtles and eagles -- can be found in the wild or among the rescued animals at the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center. They epitomize the timeless wisdom and balance whose language does not need literacy for self-expression. It just drifts from their wholeness and the infinite web of life we are woven into. And that’s the perception Pam Hoke shares with her visual art students as a guest teacher at painting en plein air events, sponsored by the Arts Council of Martin County in Stuart, raising the awareness of emerging synergy and unity of all on Planet Earth.
As a book, “Natural Self Discovery” is really very special as its genre is above and beyond any definition. It’s free as a breeze and open as a seascape. And more importantly, it has no ending, for the lyrical flow has the tendency to elude any full stops. In this book, such notions as synergy, balance and harmony are no longer just the abstract nouns penned by the author but the seeds planted by the wind itself, which means that the pages that came to light by seeping through the swelling and loving heart waves will sprout . . . everywhere.