"I believe one of our greatest challenges to this connection with nature is the pace at which we live. Opening cannot be rushed just as an abused, abandoned animal cannot be forced to trust based on your best intentions. Tender stories and love songs whispered sitting quietly offering an open hand will be the way of healing."
Brief Bio: I serve as Chaplain and spiritual director to Oasis Outreach Opportunity Inc, offering grief work, dream listening, guided meditation, contemplative prayer, assisting with creating ritual, spiritual cleansing, energy work for individuals and groups. I am a graduate of the Anamcara Project and a student of Celtic spirituality.
I am a farmer tending 60 acres in Northeastern Ohio. Much of this land is wooded and untouched by industrialized farming practices, serving as sanctuary to migratory and native birds and woodland creatures, wildflowers and a protected wetland area. I invite others into sacred conversation with the land and the wild inhabitants of this place as I serve to support and companion them. I am an ordained minister of word and service through the Lutheran Church (ELCA) specifically called to serve as spiritual director to the Northeast Ohio Synod. I am also a herbal farmer, a shepherdess, as well as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, and sibling.
Tell us a bit about who you are and how you came to this work.
I am an ordained minister of word and service within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America specifically called to serve as a spiritual director. Currently I am serving Oasis Outreach Opportunity Inc. Akron, Ohio
I have spent most of my life companioning others. This has often been found in companionship with multiple species. I was raised and continue to live within a rural farming community in Northeastern Ohio. I have nurtured, been nurtured by and grieved with orphaned and abandoned animals, and homeless species who have been impacted by industrial large scale farming and human disregard of the bond between all beings. I came to Seminary of the Wild with a deep need to find a way to co-exist within a culture that continues to pollute and overwork the land. The anger and rage I felt threatened to consume me. Over this past year the land has helped me heal and understand that healing comes from an open heart and not a clenched fist.
I believe this is what author Martin Shaw speaks about when he points to a “Move from seeing to beholding: To see a situation is to catch the facts of the matter. To behold it is to witness the story. If you dwell entirely with statistics and data, you will be a burnt match within months. Move from just seeing the world to beholding the world. Seeing is assessment and analysis; beholding is wonder and curiosity…..To behold them is to bear witness to them. To celebrate them. That’s an infectious and noble position to take. Difficult situations require sustained beholding. They are not necessarily to be dissected or defeated but sat with. Could there be a third way that arises from fidelity of attention?”
I find this to be true of those I companion in humanity as well.
I have served as a companion to humans for the past 30 years. The majority of these relationships have been with people who populate the fringes of society. I have worked in hospitals, shelters, correctional facilities and an inner city outreach center. I am an edgewalker
My path has been influenced by witnessing the companionship of the wild throughout my life, but particularly during my father’s death. He died on our family farm. During the days prior to his death 3 ravens held vigil in an old tree outside the kitchen window as well as a buck who stood in the field outside my father’s bedroom window day and night for 3 days. My dad was a quiet man who said little to humans but he gave his heart to the wilderness of this place. Working side by side with my father and grandfather on this fruit farm over the years, I came to understand how being in nature opens the soul and gives words to the stories and the places of brokenness. While breathing in the sweet fragrance of the orchard in full blossom in the spring and the picking of fruit in the fall, these two men shared their souls without reservation and found the courage be healed. I know the fullness of taking part in the sacred mystery of this conversation infused and informed by the Wild.
I believe there are places within all of us that only the Wild knows the way to. It is here that the new story will begin to be written.
In your experience, what are some of the barriers or challenges individuals or communities face in developing a deeper connection with nature?
I believe one of our greatest challenges to this connection with nature is the pace at which we live. Opening cannot be rushed just as an abused, abandoned animal cannot be forced to trust based on your best intentions. Tender stories and love songs whispered sitting quietly offering an open hand will be the way of healing.
What are you looking forward to offering as a guide in Seminary of the Wild Earth?
I look forward to being a part of this ‘opening’ process for those who have answered this Wild Call to recognize the Sacred within the mundane and the Holy Ground beneath our feet.