I am 16 years old, the last few years of my life have been tumultuous, and in this moment I am sitting on the windy ridge of a mountain. The sun is well on its way to the West, as I reflect upon the pristine landscape. I listen to Moon who is ready to rise and shine upon the darkness. She is beaming light onto my gifts, reflecting to me the ability to shine through the darkness. It is during this moment that I receive a mountain name: Moonbeam. I have never felt so connected. Mother Earth is nurturing me, the gusty air is fuelling me, water from the snowmelt is gifting me life, and the fiery sun energizes me. I feel blessed to be alive and curious about all the wonders of this planet. I am inspired and ready to take my gifts, from the mountains, to my people.
This is one of my first intentional deep nature connecting experiences. I will always remember that moment and the mentors who facilitated it at Educo Adventure School- an amazing organization that provides transformative experiences through nature and community connection. Since then, I have had many more of these mind-blowing moments of connecting to nature in such a profound way. There is something intensely special about these intentional experiences and has been an integral part of my growth.
How do I define such ethereal, and SO real, experiences? They are the ones where Trembling Aspen shows me how to be strong within my vulnerability; where Spider builds her web in my habitat, so I learn to live with her AND admire her; where I ceremonially pick tomatoes from the vine and actually feel their juices nourish my cells; where a glacier-fed river washes over my skin, cleansing negative thoughts, so I can stand in my power; where the owl hoots “be here right now,” as I see her fly from the tree above me…and I realize I’m at home no matter where I soar to. I am so grateful to have had the container to connect strongly with nature, so that the list of these brilliant moments can continue on for eternity!
There is something unique about deep-nature connection. I believe it differs from un-facilitated outdoor recreation or scientific observation of ecosystems. Perhaps it stems from innate awareness, digging beyond the built-up layers, sensing we are not separate from nature. The book Coyotes Guide : to Connecting with Nature (by Young, Haas and McGown), talks about how our modern culture has lost its focus on nature awareness. These authors state that “until recently, humans’ brain patterns were bases on keen daily awareness of the expansive world of nature…[which] is an essential nutrient to the health of each human.” It is essential to connect, be part of our ecological systems, and to interact with our communities (both human and non-human). The walls have been hiding these systems from us, separating us and sterilizing the pro-biotic (for-life) processes that sustain us.
Now we need to take down the walls, and mentor each other, to reestablish our natural connection with our true nature. In my last post I talked about what it means to be one of these mentors (Coyotes) who bring us to the edges so we can find our instinctual desire to be out-of-doors. In my next post, I will begin to ponder what the key ingredients are to creating deep-mentoring experiences. In the meantime, happy connecting….in the most profound of ways!