Really excited about what’s emerging! We’re launching Wild Nature Heart Academy.

It’s still early, but I couldn’t wait to announce it. In a couple months I will be Inviting JUST 8-10 PEOPLE to join the first edition of Wild Nature Heart Academy’s introductory online course: RECLAIMING YOUR WILD NATURE HEART. This is the online version of the on-the-land version of the course that I will host in Humboldt County.

The interactive course is for people who are on the path of rewilding and cultivating a deeper belonging to place, purpose, and people. For those transitioning to a deeper earth-centered and sensual life and those unfurling a meaningful livelihood sharing your unique gifts that honors our earth home and our wholeness as people. And for those exploring their inner wilderness and eager to expand their toolbox of exploration, and wanting to share with others.

Participants will not only have a transformative, nourishing, and inspiring experience, but will also be in the first cohort who will help shape the Wild Nature Heart Academy. It is also an opportunity to be part of the growing edge of the ever-expanding rewilding and nature-connection/ecotherapy movements.

More soon on details as the curriculum is developed, but for a glimpse now: there will be 8 modules (on topics ranging from Deep Belonging, Deep Listening, and Stepping into Your Power, to Joanna Macy and The Work That Reconnects, the 4 Shields of Human Nature, and The Way Of Council), weekly video meetups, Deep nature and wild soul connection Practices and activities, guest teachers, 1-on-1 earth-rooted mentoring/inner wilderness guiding sessions, Assistance designing on-the-land experiences and creating a self-ceremony, poetry, and council circle with peers doing similar work and learning.

If this sounds like you, put a pin in it or DM me (ryanvanlenning@gmail.com) with your interest. More soon! 🤠

🌱Spring Emergence and The Great Turning

Dear Wild Nature Hearts

With migrating ducks and butterflies flitting about, the scent of cherry blossoms and lilac in the air, and brighter days, spring has Wild Nature Heart saying “Yes!” to the new season.

Quite a few new and vibrant leaves are emerging from Wild Nature Heart’s rested winter soil/soul, including developing more practical skills workshops (foraging, wild-crafting, backpacking, etc), beginning to grow a team to include collaborators with different skills and passions, weaving ecological/social justice values and indigenous struggles into programs, and launching a Wild Nature Heart school on Teachable.

But among the biggest news is that Katie Baptist, co-founder of Wild Nature Heart, is stepping down from her role as co-guide. It is with love and honoring her role in co-creating this business that we say goodbye and welcome her as one of Wild Nature Heart’s key cheerleaders. While we’ll miss her, it has opened up a re-imagining of what Wild Nature Heart is and what it can be. (See her heartfelt letter below.)

Wild Nature Heart is about re-connecting and living into our full selves so we can be of service in this time of transition. If we’re paying attention, the signals that we are in the midst of a Great Turning are abundant. We know we are facing ecological and cultural challenges of almost incomprehensible magnitude. But I don’t need to catalog what we are facing here, but rather point out that one way to look at breakdown is as a type of ‘positive disintegration’. That the the flip side of breakdown of the old is the build up of the new. Like the pupa stage of a butterfly, the entire body must disintegrate, before the imaginal buds form and the new creature (psyche/soul/butterfly/culture) emerges.

So also, if we’re paying attention, we can’t help but notice the phenomenal things taking place to re-connect us to the earth and to each other. Think Greta Thunberg, the climate prodigy who helped launch and unite youth and their followers (the adults) across Europe (and deserves a Nobel Peace Prize). Think Extinction Rebellion in the UK, bringing decisive direct action to the streets to demand a new way. Think the Sunrise Movement and the New Green Deal in the United States, pushing for a new energy economy.

Think the return of species to native habitat and repatriation of land to indigenous people. In my neck of the woods (Humboldt County), several wonderful things have warmed my heart and signal a different way of relating: the return of Tuluwat (Indian) Island to the Wiyot tribe by the City of Eureka, the pending return of the condor to traditional Yurok territory in northwest California, and the removal (and slated removal) of several dams on the Eel and Klamath Rivers. These types of renewals are happening across the globe, though they don’t get the ink and airtime they deserve.

Think earth elder and teacher Joanna Macy, who marked her own great turning this week by celebrating her 90th birthday this week (See below). And think all the ‘regular’ (read: extraordinary) people stepping into their power, lending their gifts, passion, and love to the Great Turning.

The paths to re-belonging and recovery are here. We and the earth need all of us to live our most whole and alive selves during this time.

One of the joys of this work is having the privilege to hold the space for people to encounter their own soul growth and unfurling in and with wild nature. When done with heart-centered intention and presence, the most magical things happen: we start hearing and honoring our true voices more clearly, our sometimes fragmented selves start to align in powerful ways, healing and re-connection naturally unfolds, and our inherent creative impulses emerge. I feel deeply the sacred responsibility of holding space for this magic to happen and am honored to be able to witness and mirror the transformations and learnings. I am excited to be able to offer many opportunities in the coming months, ranging from 1-on-1 Inner Wilderness Coaching and custom backpacking trips to workshops on wild writing, foraging, council circle, and deep belonging. See a bit more about each below and I hope to explore with you soon!

Read the rest of the newsletter here:

In all the best and wild mysteries,


Director of Creative Earthiness

The Great Turning – Joanna is 90

Yesterday earth elder and teacher Joanna Macy turns 90.

I’ve learned a lot of things from Joanna’s teaching, courage, transparency, and passion, but among them are 1)the absolute necessity of acknowledging the difficult feelings, the sadness and anger—now sometimes called eco-grief—as essential feedback of Earth/Gaia itself, and 2)How fortunate we are to be alive right now, to experience this disruption, this awkward initiation of humanity into the next way of being and relating, and to lend our talents and our broad shoulders to the wheel of the Great Turning.

Happy birthday and Thank you Joanna!! And thank you all who are living love over fear, sharing your gifts and your hearts for the healing of us all!!

Deep Nourishment Gathering

Presence. Flow. Playfulness. Art Therapy. Holding the messiness. Music. Deep Listening. Brightness and vibrancy. Inner wilderness guiding.

These were a few of the gifts people committed to bring back to their community, planted as soul seeds in our council circle at our Deep Nourishment Gathering (co-led with Ariana Candell of The EarthBody Institute) among the redwoods yesterday.

After a relational protocol acknowledging the land and watershed that raised us, its original indigenous people, and a movement activity that had us embodying everything from the wind that teaches flow and black phoebes to resilient green grass and California poppies, we discussed the concept of cultivating Belonging.

Knowing that belonging to our gifts/powers/purpose is deeply fulfilling only when shared, which in turn cultivates belonging to community—we each articulated what we will be sharing more of in this new spring season.

Here’s a poem that emerged from one of the participants:

I’m the tree that feeds the folks
The wind that teaches flow

I’m the birdsong singing out
to let the people know

I’m the open meadow holding
space for all to spring

I’m bright and poppies growing
and every wild thing


Some are mirages,
some are mirrors,
and some are red-hot miracles
awaiting the eye of your heart.

Over the past year several people have reflected back to me that I (Ryan) have been a powerful mirror for them, through my presence & words. Enough times that it has made me really look in the mirror so to speak, to really claim it as one of my superpowers.

When I listen, I listen with all my ears—it’s like all my pores open up to absorb the information I am receiving, not just from words, but the body, symbols, & energies that are probably impossible to articulate into words. I attempt to listen deeply w/ mind, heart, soul, & body.

I take these skills into my work as a inner wilderness guide & poet. When I hold space for someone in 1-on-1 mentoring or in council circle, I have the best interest of the psyche/soul’s journey in mind. At times I see-feel someone’s sacred wound shining like a lighthouse on the shore. At other times I see-feel someone’s gifts in the form of an image or phrase.

When I am blessed enough to have poetry emerge through the soil of my psyche, it often can be like a dream, potent in expressing images & communicating messages exactly needed for the moment, whether for myself, another person, a group, or culture.

Recently, I had someone with whom I spent only three hours with tell me that a poem I wrote shortly thereafter struck to her core, & the poem saw her in ways and named things that no one else had. It helped in some way that even I don’t completely intellectually understand for her to continue deepening her soul journey.

I am of course still learning to listen. I am not always great—when I am not grounded, I am scattered. When I am not taking care of my own needs, I get hooked by my own stuff & can’t bring robust presence to others. But I trust & accept & am grateful for all the wild mysteries.

Indeed, I believe we are all mirrors for each other, & that it is necessary for our growing into wholeness. Of course we are also masters of projection, casting our own image onto others. But as clear mirrors, it helps us see ourselves, helping us reclaim abandoned parts. So here’s to claiming our powers & to really seeing each other!