The graphic displayed above for the Climate Catharsis model was created in poster form (4′ x 8′) by Alejandro Anastasio for presentation at the 2014 Mind & Life Institute’s International Symposium for Contemplative Studies.  If you right-click on it and open it up in a new tab, you will be able to read it clearly.

And here is a synthesized description of the process which this model is intended to facilitate:

  • LOSS: As a consumer culture, we’ve been feeling the loss of our connection with nature, and thus our own true nature, ever since post-WWII social engineering disconnected us from the land and our food in favor of artificially created environments; e.g., suburbs, supermarkets, malls, etc.
  • SUPPRESSED GRIEF: Due to conditioning, we have been encouraged to suppress any awareness of, or grief over, this continuing loss, resulting in a collective suppression of ‘climate grief’ (climate in the broad sense of the prevailing attitudes, standards, or environmental conditions of a group, period, or place).
  • PROJECTION: At every stage of grieving, this collective suppression has resulted in associated mental health problems and increasing ecological dislocation, as we’ve become alienated from anima mundi (world soul), by which we earthlings have always been connected to our mother — Earth (like an umbilical chord for our psyche, and the psyches of all species, we are united in and by extremely subtle awareness).
  • MASS EXTINCTION: This progression through, and projection of, suppressed stages of grieving has rather quickly led us to an existential crisis in which life as we have always known it is now coming to an end, and we are being called inexorably to awaken to a new order of consciousness characterized by interpenetrating interdependence and embodied in archetypal mythos (e.g., astrology, movies, etc).
  • DISTRACTION: As a culture, we are collectively at the fourth stage of climate grief, which is a kind of natural depression over the unnatural state of earthly affairs, and we are actively suppressing this unwelcome feeling through obsessive/compulsive distraction (OCD) from our true feelings and natural relationships.
  • CATHARSIS: Through the perspective gained with simple awareness of the suppressed stages of climate grieving, together with a spiritual container for contemplative processing through the associated feelings, we are able to quickly progress to the final stage of climate grief, ACCEPTANCE, which facilitates the kind of awakening that will allow us to transform tremendous socio-ecological adversity into a culture of compassion.

(c) 2015 Zhiwa Woodbury: No reproduction of this and related pieces without express authorization from the author

For a detailed exploration of this model, please refer to this paper:

Climate Catharsis


  1. Thank you for giving language to the collective unconscious, increasing our awareness. Your work will help move the conversation from governmental debates to our own personal responses and movement toward acceptance and transformation.


    1. Exactly my intent, Alisa. There is no political solution. We are the solution. In talking through this at the symposium, a number of us agreed that the key to timely social transformation is making people food conscious, and that farmer’s markets are a really great place to start bringing people into awareness of their mostly subconscious drive to reconnect with Mother Earth through connecting with the growers of their food. I tried for years to get “environmental” groups to re-channel their resources toward empowering people through educating them on the connections between Earth, mouths, and health (and psyche, of course), versus the futility of disempowering people by encouraging them to “write their Congressperson” or march in the streets, but to no avail. So I’m determined to work on this outside of those existing, dysfunctional structures. Thanks for your encouragement…

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