Sense Walk – A Poem

This was inspired by witnessing participants of our Writing Wild gathering do what we call a sense walk, where one is blindfolded and a partner guides them through experiencing the landscape through all their other senses. It’s a beautiful thing to see, no pun intended.
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Blind from their chrysalis
they take the first delicate steps

like new walkers of the dawn
in the bright meadow of life

a late winter curiosity guides them
with a friendly hand at their back

and butterfly voices
flit across their swallowtail innocence

as sand sift through
their blackberry bramble hands

like the grains of childhood time
falling upward into their truth

they kneel for a mugwort blessing
feathered across their faces

flowing with the emergence
of spring wings

-Ryan Van Lenning

Writing Wild Along the River

IMG_8864This weekend we hosted a free gathering along the American River called Writing from the Heart of Your Wildness, and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day or more awesome participants. It doesn’t get much better than holding sacred space to write and share creatively with other earth-lovers. Our creativity is merely the microcosm of Nature’s macrocosmic on-going creativity. Thanks to everybody who came out to write wild and reconnect. And as always, Deep Gratitude to the land and river and the participants for bringing their authentic, creative selves! Truly inspirational!

Here’s what a couple participants had to say:

“I derived so much healing from being not only among nature’s calming beauty, but from having sacred space held by such exceptionally tuned-in guides as Ryan and Katie. It felt like not only were they channeling conscious, creative energy for the betterment of those in the circle, but effortlessly facilitating the opening of hearts.”

“I went to an event with Wild Nature Heart near the American River, and it was magical! Ryan and Katie were excellent guides and mirrors, and made me completely comfortable sharing my story- even personal at times. I feel more at peace, and a passion for writing has been rekindled; it also doesn’t hurt that they found a beautiful and secluded location 🙂. If you love writing, nature, community or even need a safe space to explore who you are, I highly recommend them!”

Wow! We feel honored to hear that reflected back and to be able to hold the space for these experiences.

If you wanted to attend but couldn’t IMG_8866make it this time, stay tuned because we’ll be hosting another and similar offerings later this spring. Be part of Wild Nature Heart’s Inner Circle, Subscribe to Our Newsletter, to stay in the loop.

Except, Sing! Happy World Poetry Day

It’s World Poetry Day!

It’s a day to celebrate poetry, to read poetry, and to write poetry. We’ll be sharing a few of our favorite poems and poets throughout the day on our Facebook and Instagram channels, starting with our very own Katie Baptist. Poetry is often part of our programs and core to what inspires Wild Nature Heart. We love earthy poems, love poems, sad poems, angry poems, curious poems—whatever speaks the truth.

What are some of your favorite poets? Better yet, what are your poems?

EXCEPT, SING!

Can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like musicals, where there’s a song for when
he breaks your heart and there’s a song
for when you lose your shoe or when you
get lost in the woods, or when you narrowly
escape becoming dinner for a woman eating plant

whatever happens, there’s a song because
some things just can’t be spoken
can be sung

so can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like cowboy ballads, where the stars get in your eyes
and someone guns you down but you keep singing
even when the hangman tightens up his noose
and love is lost forever you’ve still got
your horse, your boots, your voice, and your guitar

can we please do nothing ever except sing?
like hymns, a song’ll carry you to heaven
on the wings of angels in the arms of Jesus
in the harmony of saints a song is all you need
eternity is in the melody, the voice is my
salvation, please! I’m asking

Can we please do nothing ever except sing?

—Katie Baptist (For more raw, earthy poems from Katie, see her poetry site, Bleeding Key)

 

Wildlife In the Nearby Faraway

IMG_8223Happy World Wildlife Day!

It’s a day to celebrate all our relations, and to promote and protect biodiversity and wild habitat.

Wild Nature Heart believes that having a deep connection to all our relatives in this beautiful home of ours is one of the best ways to protect wildlife in the long run. It’s also the only way we will survive as well.

Today, there are a lot of pics of tigers, bears,and elephants (oh my!) on social media, all of which are facing particular challenges. This year’s World Wildlife Day theme is “Big Cats,” which are under unprecedented threats due to habitat loss, conflicts, and poaching.

IMG_0156
Bear on his morning commute in the High Sierra

Yet we also find that wild nature is always close by, right in our backyards and in the nearby faraway (to adopt and modify Rebecca Solnit’s phrase). We love the gorgeous big animals too (and we’ve had encounters with bears, lions, elephants), but we also love all the wildlife we share in our local ecosystems–how wonderful it is to slow down and connect with them.

Just in our area this week we have experienced rabbits, peregrine falcons, coyotes, foxes, 🦊, egrets, deer, owls 🦉, IMG_4610herons, snakes, toads, hummingbirds, fungi, wild herbs, finches, salamanders, hawks, pterodactyls, etc. Ok, maybe not that last one. And each one offers a wonderful opportunity for wisdom and communion, like the cormorant offering a night class on contemplative stillness.

What (who) do you connect with in your nearby faraway?

Dreaming Spring – March Update

Dear Earth Lovers,

We just sent Wild Nature Heart’s very first newsletter. We’re so excited to share our spring emergence and our new programs with our inner circle!

In the midst of a wonderful late winter rain blessing, Wild Nature Heart is dreaming spring. The new year has already gifted us with three full moons and a gorgeous lunar eclipse. And with the scent of magnolia and plum blossoms in the air and the longer days, it’s no surprise we are all dreaming spring. But it’s worth taking a sacred pause (a good idea any time), to note some of the highlights of the past year.

If nature teaches us anything, change is a constant and movement is perpetual, unfurling the next moment out of the old. 2017 was a year of transition and big growth for each of us–among other things this soul-rooted enterprise called Wild Nature Heart was born.

fern unfurlWe met a year ago as part of a small cohort of an on-the-land ecotherapy certification program with The Earthbody Institute, led by Ariana Candell. Little did we know then that the seeds were being planted for a new species wanting to unfurl and flourish. Every species, just like every individual, has its particular niche, its peculiar traits, and its special beauty. Since last spring we have both undertaken wilderness vision fasts and discovered a common calling.

We feel that a core wound of the modern world is disconnection — from wild nature, each other, and our truest selves. As a result, we live with a host of ailments, anxieties, oppressions, and a sense of alienation. Wild Nature Heart’s mission is to support men and women to reconnect with the wisdom of wild nature and their most authentic selves. We work with a variety of tools to do that, including wilderness journeys, nature connection retreats, council circle and mirroring, vision quests, and creativity workshops.

We hosted our first winter weekend retreat in the Santa Cruz redwoods. The theme was soul-rooted visioning of our dreams for the year and we couldn’t have asked for a more lovely group. We began our time together with an evening water blessing ceremony and ended with a labyrinth walk at dawn on the final day. In between we shared dreams, council circle, music, visioning with art, fire night, storytelling, and intention walks. But there’s probably no better way to get a flavor of Wild Nature Heart than by letting a few of the participants speak for themselves:

“I feel like the best version of myself. There are parts of me that I feel which haven’t shown themselves in years. On a soul level everything is very ‘lit up’ yet calm at the same time.”

“After participating in Katie and Ryan’s New Year Deep Dreaming Weekend, I started getting very excited about all the new possibilities of experiences to lead in my new context of women’s empowerment. I hadn’t felt excited and flowing like that in a long time!”

“I felt like I was in a new body with a different perspective of the world. I felt very humbled and wiser, I felt so blessed in so many ways – to connect with each of you in such a deep and authentic way, to be able to join so freely on several occasions with the watershed of that incredible forest.”

It was equally positive and powerful for both of us, an affirmation of Wild Nature Heart’s mission and why we are doing this work.

labyrinth2One of the joys of this work is to hold space for people to encounter their own soul growth in the context of nature. When done with intention and presence, wonderful things happen: people start hearing and honoring their true voices more clearly, our fragmented selves start to align in powerful ways, and healing unfolds.

We both feel deeply the sacred responsibility of the calling of holding space for this magic to happen and that is what Wild Nature Heart is all about. We are honored to be able to witness and mirror the transformations and are excited to be able to offer other opportunities in the coming months.

Read the full March Newsletter.

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