About Wild Nature Heart

As meaning-makers, knowing what story we’re in matters. It’s no secret we are living through seismic cultural and ecological shifts, a time of both vast uncertainty and radical possibilities. It has been called The Great Turning and has about it the feel of a grand Rite-of-Passage. It has also been called The Great Composting and the Great Remembering. It is a Collective Initiation calling us to deepen our belonging to the Cosmos and other-than-human world, to compost old and dying oppressive forms and ways of being, and to birth the butterfly earth that is waiting to emerge.

Wild Nature Heart believes that to cross this threshold into species maturity with a next-season guest pass we must make moves counter to desires and habits inherited from Modernity. We are being invited to fall through the inherited maps into new territories. As crises continue to invite us across thresholds of initiation, we crack open the paved highways of our hearts to allow the tributaries of our holy longings and wild purpose to flow in and out.

Wild Nature Heart supports us to connect with the wisdom of inner and outer wild nature, to embody our wholeness, and to live our wild purpose into the world in order to inhabit our particular niche in the ecosystem of healing and justice.

My name is Ryan Van Lenning and I am an inner and outer wilderness guide, ecotherapist, and writer. I am passionate about facilitating re-connections with wild nature and our most empowered selves to assist in the work of repairing broken belonging in this time of the intersecting ecological and social challenges.

I believe in cultivating human wholeness and that our world needs each of us being present to what is, including grief, rage, and ecosensuality as portals, in order to be more fiercely ourselves, offering our unique gifts back to the human and more-than-human community.

I am on an ecospiritual decolonial journey. What this means to me is anchoring into a deep ecospirituality that nourishes deep belonging in order to do the decolonial work that I believe we are called to do in this moment. It is a journey because it is a daily and life-long practice that is multi-generational and multi-species. I am practicing simultaneously being both death doula to the world that is dying and birth doula to the one being born.

Part of my calling is to help others walk that path in the way that is right for them. I offer 1-on-1 ecotherapy/earth-rooted mentoring, custom wilderness rite-of-passage ceremonies, and various Deep Belonging courses, ecospiritual workshops, and seasonal gatherings.

My first wilderness fast with the School of Lost Borders launched me on a journey that I am still unfurling to this day. I became convinced that wilderness ceremony/rite-of-passage is a powerful and needed container for the necessary conversations to occur between our vulnerable and whole selves and wild nature. I subsequently trained as a wilderness rite-of-passage guide with the School of Lost Borders (with Ruth Wharton and Larry Hobbs) and am eager to make wilderness ceremony ever-more accessible to more people and in more forms.

I am a certified Ecotherapist through The Earthbody Institute, where I teach the Level 1 Ecotherapy course for non-clinical orientations and Level 3 Advanced Ecotherapy, and a certified Wilderness First Responder through Foster Calm. I previously taught Philosophy, Comparative Religions, and Environmental Ethics in the Humanities Department at Sinclair College in Ohio.

Poetry is one of the cultural-delivery systems through which I explore ecospirituality and the themes of the Great Turning. I published my debut collections of earth poetry, Re-Membering: Poems of Earth & Soul, and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest in 2018. The 2019 Jodi Stutz Poetry Award by Toyon Literary Magazine was awarded to my poem ‘And All the Walls Between Them’ responding to current immigration policies and social injustices.

I have published articles, essays, and poetry in Earth Island Journal, Deep Time: The Journal of the Work That Reconnects, Truthout, various poetry journals, and the newly released books Behind the Mask: 40 Quarantine Poems from Humboldt County and A Walk with Nature: Poetic Encounters that Nourish the Soul. My newest collections, One Bright and Real Caress, Riverever, and Within the Cave Something Pulses, will be available in 2023.

I work primarily in Humboldt and Trinity Counties, and live among the diverse forests and rivers of so-called Humboldt County, traditional Wiyot and Yurok territory. Group wilderness programs are also in Inyo County in the Eastern Sierra region.

Contact me for how you want to reconnect or if you would like me to offer a program in your area.

I’d love to hear from you:  ryan@wildnatureheart.com

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