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!

Greet Yourself Arriving At Your Own Door

“The day will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door….”

These words from the poem ‘Love After Love’ by Derek Walcott beautifully describe for me (Katie) that moment when we choose to stand fully in our own life, willing to offer the gifts that we are perfectly designed to give, with tender love for self and all that is.

I have this kid inside of me who wants to sing, climb trees, and play dress up. I believe that as adults it is critical that preserve that childlike innocence and play. Being an authentic adult is also about being willing to put on the mantle of leadership and share what you know. In that spirit then, I want to make sure that all our followers know about the Wilderness Rite-of-Passage program I’ll be co-guiding with Ryan (@ryanreturntotheearth) from June 10-20 in the Eldorado Forest, California.

If you’ve been following Wild Nature Heart and thinking, maybe-I’ll-be-ready-after…(whatever YOUR thing is), I want to tell you this—Life changes very quickly. I will show up as your guide with all my heart and soul, and do my level best to give you all I have to give. I’ll teach you what I know about embracing wholeness & showing up to your life & to the world with all the love you’ve got. I will hold space for you, sit with you in circle, listen to your story w/ the ears of my body, heart, mind, & intuition. I’ll tell you the absolute truth about what I see when I look into your eyes and gather up the shining pieces of your story.

I’m not going to try to talk anyone into going on a wilderness rite of passage program. I don’t know anything about where you are in your life journey or whether this is the time for you. What I can tell you is that wilderness rite-of-passage has been transformative in my life and believe that our culture is in dire need of ways to initiate ourselves and reconnect and live into our most authentic selves.

Throughout February, I’ll be talking to people who think a wilderness rite-of-passage program might be right for them, answering any questions that I can, listening your soul story, and taking full or partial payments to hold spots. If you think you might be someone who is meant to be on this program, I’d love to talk to you further—DM me at passageways@sbcglobal,net.

With love and wildness,
Katie Baptist

Click here for more information about the June Wilderness Vision Fast/Rite-of-Passage Program.


P.S. This photo of me was taken by my brother Clay Kasserman, who is an amazing photographer. It’s part of a photo shoot that he did with me recently to help me fuse my rock star and my nature girl sides together. 🙂

Cultivating Belonging

At yesterday’s Wild Nature Heart Humboldt Gathering we dropped into our bodies, senses, souls, and stories of belonging in the Redwoods.

We explored the ways we find and CULTIVATE belonging intentionally and also the ways we can sometimes mis-belong ourselves to the wrong homes, people, ideas, and paths. We marveled at how the HOME WITHIN can not only make us happier, but makes more available to show up in the world and for others.

We became curious about our neglected senses and the simple, but mysterious way even the scent of the soil in our area can bring alive our body wisdom of our sense of home.

And we discussed a beautiful nugget from Toko-pa Turner’s Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home:

“Most of us think of belonging as a mythical place, that if we keep diligently searching for, we might eventually find. But what if belonging isn’t a place at all, but a skill: a set of competencies that we, in modern life, have lost or forgotten?”

Why Wilderness Rite-of-Passage?

Last week, I (Ryan) continued to put Katie on the spot during our drive to the coast and asked, “If you had to summarize in a few words why wilderness rite-of-passage is important right now, what would you say?”

Katie: I think that rite-of-passage is important right now because the world needs more initiated adults, people who know themselves, who live with purpose and courage to make the world better, share their gifts, and to lead and mentor others from a heart-centered place. (See previous post, “What is an Initiated Adult?”

Ryan: We have some rituals that in a way serve as transition markers. How are wilderness rites-of-passage different than, let’s say, commencement ceremonies?

Katie: Well, part of it is you’re following an individual calling, a seed of longing inside. Whereas a commencement ceremony may sometimes have a feeling of being perfunctory. It’s a rite of passage in the sense that many people go through it, and yes, it can be consciously chosen, like many things in our culture can be—but the key is the consciousness we bring to it, the intention from within. We encounter ourselves on a deep level. Another aspect is you are being held in a circle where your heart-story is being deeply listened to and mirrored back to you, which can be very powerful.

Ryan: Why go to the mountains or the high desert?

Katie: One reason is the wildness, the natural world is always being fully itself—the trees, the plants, the animals, the weather—and that’s what we need: to be more fully ourselves. And when we come into relationship with wild nature, there’s a mirror there, an I-Thou relationship, that I think is harder to find in the urban human-made environments. It provides an opportunity to meet an Otherness, and by doing so, parts of ourselves that maybe had been dormant can come online.

Ryan: Amen