How do we, precious natural human beings, reconnect with the living systems that restore us to health and wholeness? How can individuals and communities be empowered to take care of each other and themselves? How can we cultivate a healing ecology within the culture of medicine? What might western medicine learn from permaculture? What does it mean to “do no harm”? What healing alliances might be forged as we animate the healer archetype in this plantetary moment?

These questions breathe life into the nascent Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine at Commonweal Garden, founded and directed by Integrative Physician Anna O’Malley, MD. “Natura,” the Latin root of the word nature, invites us to consider the essential qualities, those innate attributes, which we are born into as human beings. We are invited to consider what medicine is, and how ecology inspires a deeper attunement to wholeness.

Grounded in ecological principals, Natura explores healing from the Earth up. We weave the thread of reciprocal healing through programs exploring depth integrative medicine, permaculture, ecotherapy, cultural wellness, and intergenerational vitality. In this time of turning away from systems and ways of being which are depleting and limiting, we nurture an affirming vision of well being and healing that is regenerative, restorative, and whole. We are weaving a new model of medicine that allows the space for transformative insights to arise, leverages the power of love and connection, empowers with healing technologies ancient and cutting edge, that does no harm on an ecological and planetary level, and that is attuned to nature.

Program Offerings

Art of Vitality

Aligned with the seasons, Art of Vitality is an immersive program in transformative well being, of vitality on a personal, interpersonal, and ecological level. Drawing on emerging science and the essence of that which heals, we are building community around vitality and deep nature connection. Co-taught by Anna O’Malley and James Stark.

Four Seasons Permaculture Design Course

Continuing the globally recognized Permaculture Design Course taught in the Commonweal Garden, now under the experienced guidance of Lydia Nielsen, participants will apply the principals of self-sustaining ecological systems to integrated homes and gardens, sustainable energy and water systems, healthy communities and economies, and a conscious inner landscape.

Regenerative Herbalism

Cultivating our relationship with medicinal plants empowers us to create effective, safe, nourishing medicine for ourselves and our families. Further, it reconnects us with our ancestral medicine ways and with the healing wisdom of the Earth. Co-taught by Anna O’Malley and Penny Livingston.

Community Medicine Circles

Embodying a vibrant, effective alternative model of community-based, nature-placed, wellness-oriented medicine. Ongoing groups explore the foundations of well being, the ecology of a whole, balanced human being, and a proactive approach for preventing and/or reversing chronic disease whenever possible. Directed by Anna O’Malley, in collaboration with Coastal Health Alliance.

Retreats for Healers

Growing a movement dedicated to a medicine that allows healers to be well, does not harm the Earth, and yields stronger, more resilient communities. Mentoring those in training and those seeking renewal in their practice of medicine and self-care with immersive experiences in an alternative paradigm. Emboldening healers to find their voice and their agency in speaking for cultural healing.

Cultural Wellness

Evolving day-long and weekend offerings reconnecting us to cultural wholeness. Ranging from programs in instrument making, music as medicine, intergenerational wisdom circles, and rites of passage honoring, we will reawaken our ancestral, human lineage of cultural wellbeing.