After a long time…..

It has been a long time that I have been writing on this blog. By no means this is caused by lack of motivation or that nothing has happened. On the contrary, a lot has happened as well on my personal circumstances as on the development of my research.

Let me start by explaining my personal circumstances. At the beginning of this year, in January, I visited the University Medical Center in Utrecht for a routine examination of my eyes. They established heightened eyeball pressure in my left eye. This can cause glaucoma, which can permanently damage vision in the affected eye and lead to blindness if left untreated. So I got medical treatment by eye drops and had to return in a couple of weeks. When I came back the situation appeared not to be any better and it was concluded to do surgery called trabeculectomy. Trabeculectomy is a surgical procedure used in the treatment of glaucoma to relieve intraocular pressure by removing part of the eye's trabecular meshwork and adjacent structures. Two years ago I was successfully treated for the same on my right eye. The pressure has since then be stable between the right brackets. So, on March 5th I went in a good mood to the hospital. However, the surgery lasted for more than two hours, much longer than with my right eye, due to complications. I got bleedings behind my retina and the next morning it appeared that I lost my sight in that eye. After a lot of pain and two more surgeries in the months thereafter the result was that I have to live further with one eye. In itself, that is doable, there are more people living quite well with only one eye, but it was not what I expected at the start of all this. Since then I experience that my brains are working very hard to get used to the new situation. Apparently, my visual cortex has to adjust itself to receiving only information from my right eye and it has to learn how to see depth now. This requires a lot of energy, which I noticed by having trouble to keep my concentration ability at an acceptable level. For example, after reading an article for a quarter of an hour or so I found myself fading away from the meaning of the sentences. This lasted until about September, then I realized that I started to get used to the new situation. I could read much longer and understand what was written.

Since then I picked up my research again, although from time to time I had coded trail reports in the previous months.

The current situation is that I am writing my first article on the basis of the qualitative content analysis of more than 100 trail reports.

The participants have written trail reports at the end of their wilderness journeys, guided by four main questions: a) What have been your purpose or goals in participating this journey? Why did you go on this trail? What was your quest? b) What have you experienced during the trail? What happened with you? c) What insights were wanting to be born? Which were the flashes of insight that you saw? d) Which intentions did you formulate on a personal level, a private level and a professional level?

I found some interesting themes, which I will elicit in this article.

The bases of the participants’ new insights are personal experiences of being in nature as well as of sharing thoughts and feelings with their co-participants. Experiences are first-person perceived, and thereby subjective, qualitative, psychological realities. In that scope experience is the sensing of meaningful or formative activity at the contact boundary between organism and environment (Ecopsychology, 2012, p.93). Phenomenologically, the participant’s description of what he or she perceives is a result of intentionally, conscious awareness of his or her explicate and implicate environment. This experience of physical nature is not only the perception of their spatiotemporal structure, but it is widely spread accepted in the world of physics that the physical could also have an intrinsic nature or aspect that corresponds to subjective qualitative experience. In my article I will hold forth on these processes.

Boy van Droffelaar 2012