Beyond Brushstrokes

Mother Earth is a reflection of humanity’s consciousness — about ourselves and our common home. What is our consciousness about nature? How do we feel about the environment?

“The Carl Jung Circle Center (CJCC) is concerned with the person’s psyche and soul, the wholeness of who we are. In our appreciation of our deep self, we find our connection with nature,” explained Rose Marie Yenko, CJCC chair emeritus, a clinical psychologist and organizational development expert.

Thus, we focus on dimensions of caring for the earth as the Filipino’s “kapwa” (fellow-creature) and as a way of caring for one’s self at a conference on July 13 at the Ateneo Rockwell Auditorium. (To attend the conference, register at

The climate crisis is happening. There will be an expected rise in the world’s temperature of 1.5° Centigrade by 2030. This increase will have a devastating effect on life. So far, there has been an increase of 1.15° C (in 2016) above the average temperature of 1850-1900. We already feel the heat in our daily lives. We see data and pictures about the warming of the oceans, the bleaching and dying of coral reefs, the melting of the glaciers, the floods and droughts, the increase in climate-induced poverty.

A multi-disciplinary array of speakers will be at the conference, called “Earth is Our Kapwa.”

“[Kapwa] is a deep Filipino word that says that you and I are connected, that I recognize and respect you as a person, equal to my ‘human-ness,’ across differences of race, status, gender, position, faith,” said Ms. Yenko.

“Being a kapwa means that I accord you respect… Thus, ‘Earth is Our Kapwa’ wishes to convey that humanity and the earth are connected, and we treat the earth with respect,” she added.

Kathrin de Guia, in her book, Kapwa, the Self in the other, writes about Ver Enriquez’s work where “kapwa” is the Filipino’s core value of embracing a concept of a shared life where “respect and consideration for the other is extended to all beings.” These are the animals, plants, trees, springs, rocks, the living planet and the spirit worlds.

“The conference focuses on the vital connections of the Filipino to his roots, with its myriad aspects, to draw attention to the web of his nourishment and survival amid today’s challenges,” said Ms. Yenko.

There will be an overview of the climate change realities.

Briony Eales, environmental and climate law consultant tackles “Our Planet is suffering: The Climate Crisis.” “Climate change is here and it could lead to the collapse of civilizations and extinction of much of the natural world. What is causing climate change in the 21st century? And what needs to be done?”

Darwin Flores, Trek Convenor of Palanan Co Sierra Madre Trek, presents “A Great Forest in the Sierra Madre” talk on the great forest in the Sierra Madre and provides updates on advocacy work for the Marikina Watershed to help ensure water for Metro Manila in the coming decades. Mr. Flores is Smart Communications Inc. vice-president for community partnerships.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rene Samaniego, Secretary for Education and Training of the ASEAN Federation of Psychiatric Associations, will cover historical constructs, current conditions, and future directions of our country’s mental health as appreciated from the paradigm of the Filipino psyche. “As the psyche is essentially soul, the discourse will further explore the timeless link between these vital strands, generating reflection and mindful connection of our endless preoccupation with the ‘externals’ (entertainment, politics, and the weather) and how these are unconsciously played out from both our individual and collective life force,” he said.

Charo Santos-Concio, multi-awarded actress and former CEO of ABS-CBN, shares her insights on the themes on the Filipino man, woman, and family that have emerged across 28 years of the TV drama anthology Maalala Mo Kaya which she hosts. She will share life lessons learned in the field, with a unique perspective.

Acclaimed stage performer Monique Wilson’s talk is on harnessing women’s energies for change. She is executive director of the organization One Billion Rising.

Clinical psychologist and CJCC chairperson Dr. Ma. Teresa Gustilo-Villasor will talk on “Grit in the Filipino Soul.” Recent Western research has zeroed in on “grit [as being] predictive of academic, work and life successes and how the Western concept of grit is reflected in the Filipino soul,” she said.

Meanwhile, Beth Morales, a Jungian sand play therapist, presents “soul metrics.” Johanna Garcia, alternative healer, health coach, and founder of Real Girl Toy Kitchen Foods, will talk about “Starting a Conversation: On Soul Metrics.”

The finale song of the conference is from of the CJCC-produced play Halo-Halo Tayo: The Delicious and Colorfully Complex Filipino Soul. The play, directed by educator and CJCC vice-president Sonia Roco and written by Ruby Villavicencio Paurom, is anchored on the psychology framework developed by Ms. Yenko, entitled “Gifts in the Filipino Psyche.”

Sarah Queblatin, co-founder and executive director of Green Releaf Initiative, will talk on “Soil, Soul, Story,” on the experience of building regenerative communities in the field.

How can we restore wholeness in ecosystems in need of collective healing?

“Through creative tools in documenting local biodiversity and indigenous earth wisdom as living art and maps, we identify the potential for food security, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, and ecosystem restoration,” she said.

The conference will be a learning inspiring experience that should teach us to be more mindful about our behavior and the environment.


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.