It is not a matter of whether or not you are caught in a web. We are all en-webbed. It is a matter of knowing which webs you are in, of knowing which webs you want to be and don’t want to be in. It is a matter of what gossamer threads you are casting and to where and with whom. The cosmos is sticky, choose well. What and who do you want to eat? By what and by whom do you want to be eaten?

October Full Moon Update

Greetings from the Full Moon! 

The moon is pinkish-red above the horizon and my body is shaking with energy snaking through.

Like you perhaps, I wish we could talk merely of harvests and river play, of moon dances and fall frolics. It gives us no pleasure to name that we are in a moment of open fascist ascendency and ecological crises. 

We understand the strategies of flight. This week I and many people I know had to flee their homes due to fires and air thick with smoke. We were exposed to what passes for leadership at the “presidential debate” and are still reeling from the gross and embarrassing display of ugliness and silliness. We were exposed to the disgrace of the grand jury’s decision in Breonna Taylor’s case. And we are exposed to Covid, which has us laboring to breathe behind masks. 

“I can’t breathe.” These were the last words of George Floyd and Eric Garner. It is a plea for Life. Toxic air. Toxic politics. Toxic masculinity. Toxic policing and toxic injustice system. Toxic economy. Increasingly, it becomes difficult to catch our breath. 

I can’t help but draw the connections between all these types of toxicities and it has me reflecting on resiliency and what breath might mean as transformative agent. 

Flight as a mode, while understandable, is not only not useful, it is ultimately not possible. We are here. Our breath is the moment. If there is no escape, if the very air we live in and lives in us is toxic, what can we do? 

One response: we can metabolize the ash of what is burning in our bodies and hearts and over-culture and alchemize it into new forms. We can breathe fresh air into bold images in exchange for earth’s outbreath. We circulate our vitality as rent for Life. This is a contract worth entering into.

I want to offer a different image of resiliency for us to reclaim our bodies and wild nature hearts as vehicles of co-liberation: The Trampoline.

It often feels like we are walking a tightrope. On a tightrope, our concentration is fierce, sweat is on our brow, our muscles and hearts are tight, anxiety fills us because we feel constantly on the verge of falling to our doom. 

But what if instead of walking a tightrope, we are jumping on a trampoline? 

Merriam-Webster defines a trampoline as ‘a resilient sheet or web supported by springs in a metal frame and used as a springboard and landing area in tumbling.”

Instead of a rope strung tautly from one end to another, a trampoline is stretched between a solid frame, attached by many springs. We can take a breath with each spring and feel each of them as portal of power, as inner and outer resources. The more springs we have the more buoyancy we have. 

Being with the pregnant moon is a spring. Honoring the fullness of our feelings is a spring. Beauty is a spring. Rest and healthy food is a spring. Friendship is a spring. Feet in the creek is a spring. Honoring our truth is a spring. Playfulness is a spring. Embodying our purpose is a spring. Taking meaningful action is a spring.

We are relational creatures in a relational universe. The more springs we have, the more we return to relational presence. And the more relational presence we cultivate, the more acrobatic. We have more moves.  And we’re going to need every move we can imagine.

I also like this image because it is circular, like Life, not linear, like a tightrope:

We attach our springs and we jump in the circle. We pour our unique acrobatic panoramic breath and body into the world. We become webs of resiliency with each other. This is called fierce love. This is the wisdom of no escape. 

May our doings and being be not only exhales of fresh air from our deepest well, but jumping prayers of sacred breath for all. This is the revolution of the new breathing and it is calling us. 

Director of Creative Earthiness

Writing from my trampoline in ancestral Wiyot territories and the Baduwat River watershed, Northern California

May the sun behind veils and grief behind masks be invitations to new intimacies and wild remembrances

Many of us on the West Coast woke up this week to eerie orange skies and layers of ash. It felt like the day the sun refused to rise. Some compared it to eclipses or the day the dinosaurs roamed confusedly after the comet crashed. The birds seemed to be behaving differently, quieter and more pensive. The Canadian geese still honked boisterously, but with a curiosity on their beaks.

Perhaps the sun itself is quarantining? Perhaps Fire is an Elder asking us to be broken open by our own consequences?

We’ve had to learn a new word, pyrocumulonimbus. You can look up the science, but the poetic translation is “fire-breathing dragon of clouds.”

Meanwhile, my home state of Iowa recently sustained millions of acres of damage from the fury of devastatingly high winds, those in the south and east enduring hurricanes, others unseasonable snow, floods or record heat. Wherever you are, it seems the era of escape is over, old strategies of fleeing are failing–the era of compost is here.

Something stubborn in me feels that inserting a typical story about climate emergency is too banal, and we all deserve a more creative story to match the root of things, worthy of our heart’s longings.

Yesterday was Mary Oliver’s birthday. Many of you know and adore her poetry and the gift of presence she brought to daily life and shared with the world. Recall her lines from Wild Geese: “You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

And right now my soft animal body wants to heave with grief on my knees. It seems to want to experiment with frenzied yelps as I gulp the ashed air of our shared inheritance, “Hey lover earth, I’m fucking alive and listening!!” and “Elder Fire, I’m dying and being reborn with everything you destroy!!”

Anybody else?

As we apprentice ourselves to new levels of loss, I am walking with these questions:

Could we weave our grief, unknowingness, sacred rage, and delicate unthwartable longings into previously undared and shared possibilities?

What if we are imaginal buds in the caterpillar’s dissolving body (our current crumbling patho-adolescent system) as it shapeshifts into the dawn of wingéd newness?

What if we embraced the moment and felt it all, re-imagined Seed-paths of Belonging seeking the sun through the cracked concrete of these discrete disruptions?

I invite you to join me in the halls of these questions too. Because we know that community is core to these transformative times. Silent suffering is one of the cruel myths of modernity. Yes, there is a time for solo journey through the underworld–parts of the journey where only we can face and embrace ourselves; yet, community is an essential container for knowing and being known, for navigating upheavals, for deep belonging.

Aside from the Deep Belonging courses and 1:1 soulwork, I am in the process of creating a platform, with regular Wild Nature Heart Circles, where we can explore the challenges of the the Great Unraveling and the seeds of new culture together.

Mary’s poem is a ultimately a poem about belonging. It ends,

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

So may the sun behind veils and grief behind masks be invitations to new intimacies and wild remembrances. May we smuggle in contraband questions under cover of haze.

Take care of yourselves, be gracious with your own and other’s journeys, let curiosity spring from your beaks, lend your tears to the watershed, and tend to your heart and wild dreams,

With arms outstretched to assist in this Great Turning,

Director of Creative Earthiness
Writing from ancestral Wiyot and Yurok territories, Northern California

The Purpose of Going Out is Coming Back

I recently returned from three rich days facilitating a wilderness ceremony/rite-of-passage for a young man. I had been working with him for a few months and he heard the call to go deeper.

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/with/as wild nature.

After a few rounds in circle by the river telling his story and helping him refine his intentions, he crossed the threshold to take his sacred spot to fast and listen deeply to his inner voices and the whsipers from the land and other-than-human kin.

But as we say, the purpose of going out is to come back—to return more aligned to community with one’s unique gifts and love as medicine for your people.

As I awaited his return to Circle the final morning, hummingbirds whirred among the red wildflowers and river otters played on their commute upriver. What a blessing!

He emerged across the threshold visibly more grounded and alive. He had conducted several ceremonies severing some self-sabatoging stories and ways of relating, and fiercely embraced some very important malnourished aspects of his Whole Self. And rekindled his relationship with his Muse as well.

We held Incorporation council. He was facing the next stage of Return with clear eyes. He was under no illusion that this experience was somehow the be-all-end-all, yet he felt empowered and inspired.

The real work, the work of embodying his learnings and gifts in service, was entering a new level.

It is such an honor and joy to be able to help provide a powerful container for Whole Self exploration and witness the journey as people come into deeper belonging to themselves and nature and embrace that next stage of unfurling clarity, self-trust, and wild purpose.



I had been fragmenting myself. And I cannot conspire to do it anymore.

When I started PLAYing attention, I realized that if Wild Nature Heart was to continue authentically and respons-ably, it would have to be a full expression and embodiment of who I am.

I could no longer sever parts of my self from each other, allowing some parts out over here, others over there: Ryan the Activist vs. Ryan the Poet vs. Ryan the Wilderness and Soul Guide vs. Ryan the EcoSensualist, the Educator, the Playful Trickster, the Musician, the Ecotherapist.

Wild Nature Heart must integrate the somatic, the spiritual, the sensual; it must honor the artsy, the activist, and animist; it must cultivate the spaciousness to hold the grief, joy, and anger, the shadow and the light. And hold space for others to do the same.

Which means I must integrate all that, through constant digging and weaving, ever-widening conversations with the world, and a rounding out of my wholeness.

Only then can Wild Nature Heart fulfill its wild purpose of helping to hold the holy wholing during this Great Turning/Great Unraveling/Great Re-membering.

Furthermore, it is clear that Anti-racist and decolonial work IS healing work IS ecotherapeutic work IS sacred grief work IS rewilding work.

These are not and cannot be seperate if we are to dream ourselves into regenerative, co-liberatory, revelatory, and earth-honoring habits of being and doing.

We’re Hunting Wholeness and Wild Purpose.
We’re Stalking Shadows and Deep Belongings.

What ways have you fragmented yourself and what ways are you embracing your wholeness?

Ancestral Tsenungwe land 📍_____________________________________________________________________________________

Scheduling now for summer and fall:

🦋CUSTOM WILDERNESS CEREMONIES/RITES-OF-PASSAGE (for individuals or small groups up to 4)