This is a 5-class series for people ready to take a deep dive into intentionally cultivating their own wholeness, exploring their own inner wilderness and eager to expand their toolbox of exploration.
“What if our primary human need and opportunity is not to endlessly attend to our emotional wounds and the eradication of perceived psychological disorders but rather to fathom and flesh out our natural human wholeness and to embody this integral bounty as a gift to others and our world?” — Bill Plotkin, Wild Mind
We, like all wild nature, have an original wholeness and vibrancy that in the context of the Overculture too frequently gets stunted or suppressed. We can intentionally cultivate these capacities, nurturing ways to access and express these in our lives, thereby empowering us to be more authentically who we are and live our purpose into the world.
This course draws on the work of Bill Plotkin (author of Wild Mind, Nature and the Human Soul, Soulcraft), the 4-Shields Model from School of Lost Borders, Jungian psychology, and my own experience as an inner/outer wilderness guide and ecotherapist.
In particular, we explore Plotkin’s Nature-based Map of the Human Psyche, with the 4-directions of North, East, South & West, each containing various energies and aspects of nature which mirrors the cycles and aspects of our own inner nature. The Four Shields in the School of Lost Borders lineage maps our lives with the seasonal cycles and directions and incorporates all aspects of wholeness: body, psyche, mind, and spirit.
The cycle begins in the summer of innocence and physical awakening, turns into the fall of our inner depths and imagination, moves into the north of our intellect and true adulthood, and emerges in the mysteries of spring and new dawns. The Four Shields can aid in understanding the symptoms and sicknesses that arise when our cycles get interrupted or aspects become blown out of proportion or undernourished in our lives. The Four Shields can be useful tool for identifying imbalance, and a means for restoring movement toward wholeness.
This course is for you if any of the following describes you:
- You are interested in and passionate about personal growth work, human wholeness, shadow work, dreams, and nature-based soul work.
- You are exploring, or want to explore, your inner wilderness and eager to expand your toolbox of exploration.
- You are transitioning to or wanting to transition to a deeper earth-centered, sensual, and meaningful life.
- You are on the path of embodying your gifts and cultivating a deeper belonging to place, purpose, and people.
THROUGH 5 CLASSES (Meeting October 20-November 17), we’ll explore conceptually and through practice the following:
- Bill Plotkin’s Nature-based Map of the Psyche with the 4 Facets/Directions. These are our innate gifts/resources that we’re born with, but that often get covered up or forgotten about.
- The wounded or under-developed parts of our psyche that have served their purpose, but often get in the way of our authentic wholeness (subpersonalities and shadow work).
- Sense- and soul-based exercises that invite us to re-connect to inner and outer wild nature and drop deeper into our bodies, senses, and aspects of our wholeness.
In the first gathering, we’ll do introductions, a grounding exercise, and explore the basics of the Nature-based Map of the Psyche. In the following 4 classes, we will go through each of the other Facets/Directions/Seasons of human wholeness:
South/Summer: Wild One/Childhood/Physicality/Play/Raw Emotions
West/Autumn: Dark Muse Beloved/Adolescence/Soul/Memory/Depths
North/Winter: Nurturing Generative Adult/Mind/Purpose/Community
WHEN: Thursdays, October 20-November 17
COST: EARLY BIRD-$125 if you register before September 30
(Regular $150 after October 1)
WHERE: Various Outdoor locations and private land on Fickle Hill, Arcata
(Note: Class limited to 8 participants)
My name is Ryan Van Lenning, Founder of Wild Nature Heart, and I am an earth-lover with a deep desire to be of service in the work of re-connection and re-membering during this Great Turning/Great Composting. I started Wild Nature Heart to support people to re-connect with the wisdom of both inner and outer wild nature, to live their soul callings into the world, and to assist in the work of repairing broken belonging.
I am an inner/outer wilderness guide and poet (author of Re-Membering: Poems of Earth & Soul) and High-Cooing Through the Seasons: Haiku From the Forest. I am certified as an Ecotherapist through The Earthbody Institute, at which I teach the Level 1 and 3 Ecotherapy courses. I am trained as a rite-of-passage/wilderness vision fast guide through the School of Lost Borders, through which I assist wilderness ceremonies, and am a Certified Wilderness First Responder through Foster Calm. Prior to moving to California 13 years ago, I taught Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Environmental Ethics at Sinclair College in Ohio. I live among the forest and rivers in northern California, ancestral Wiyot and Yurok land.
“I find myself repeatedly touched by the depth of Ryan’s care for Earth and all her beings and by his dedication to practice and evolving new pathways of relationship and culture. I am moved by the presence that he brings to deep listening and his willingness to explore different perspectives. His ability to express through poetry and action what’s in his heart and his desire for healthy relationship among all beings is a source of inspiration for me.” —Marianne B. Rowe, MS, LMFT, Summer 2022 Level 3 Ecotherapy Training, Earthbody Institute
“Ryan was FANTASTIC. He was knowledgeable and most importantly, a great listener and guide. I greatly admired his mirroring skills, which have clearly been learned from Mother Nature herself. I have learned so much from Ryan and look forward to incorporating his techniques into my practice as well.” — Participant in Spring 2021 Earthbody Institute Ecotherapy Certificate Course
“Ryan’s well-designed course on Deep Belonging for the Great Turning was just what I needed at a stressful time in life. The facilitation, knowledge and materials shared were generous and truly a gift to enhance my nature connection and learn about myself. This course also provided support for a solo experience which was rich and rewarding. I appreciated being in a group and connecting with other like-minded people.” — Lezlie Scaliatine, Psy.D, California, Deep Belonging for the Great Turning Course Participant
“Ryan is a very thoughtful and sensitive instructor. His background in teaching and poetry, along with his ability to effectively “mirror” our stories about our journeys make him an excellent facilitator. Ryan helped us to organize our thoughts and feelings in this politically and environmentally challenging time, gave us hope, and guided us towards developing a personal plan for coping with the future of our planet.”
— Nan S., California, Deep Belonging for the Great Turning Course Participant
“Thank you again Ryan for your mentorship prior to this quest of mine. You empowered me to trust in myself, in the wild, and in the ceremony and it seemed so fitting to receive these gifts of yours just prior to a decent. I love and am sincerely grateful for your poem. It certainly helped give me courage to unflinchingly make those leaps over trees and off every known cliff and will continue to do so. I feel super motivated to continue on this path of mine and stay open to all the wild mysteries that present themselves within myself and within this more-than human world of ours. And to taking the next steps in unfurling my own gifts and presenting them to the world.”— Brady W., Wisconsin, 1-on-1 Ecotherapy Client and Course Participant
“This course is a deep-dive across 6 weeks. Ryan’s skill and generosity of spirit has guided me through a variety of themes and practices that have been both thought-provoking and empowering. I’ve valued this time immensely, and the abundant materials provided will keep me moving through this journey for a long time to come. I’ve developed a richer relationship with my Urban Wild environment in very unexpected ways, and for that I am so very grateful.” —Claire (United Kingdom)