"Maintaining a practice that facilitates an ongoing spiritual connection with the earth is crucial for re-membering us with the ground of our being. This re-membering enables us to awaken to our deepest and truest identity and enables us to live in right relationship with ourselves, others, and the web of life in which we find ourselves."
Brief Bio. Presbyterian pastor, certified coach. Nature-based soul guide. Anti-racism facilitator and trainer. NoGreaterLove
Tell us a bit about who you are and how you came to this work.
I am truly passionate about working with people who yearn to take an inner, transformative journey into the realms of psyche, spirit, and soul so that they might discover what calling and genius the world needs from them in a time such as this. A core component of my work involves helping others to awaken to, and deepen into, their union with the natural world.
I came to this work over decades of being a pastor, coach, spiritual director, and nature-based human development guide. Collaborating with edge-walkers who have been envisioning a new way of living in true reciprocity with other humans and other-than-humans has sparked a creative energy and life-centered commitment to this work.
What are the lands that raised you, and how has your own connection with the natural world influenced your path?
I was raised in southern California and found myself nurtured, held, and inspired by the Pacific Ocean and coastline. I found myself feeling more alive when I was either in the ocean or sitting on the beach pondering its magnificence. I was certified as a scuba diver at age 15 and have always felt a deep kinship to all things oceanic.
As a diver, I felt invited and welcomed into another world and felt a deep affinity for all forms of life. That awakened within me a deep reverence for the natural world that has stayed with me my entire life.
Why do you believe a practice of spiritual connection with the earth is important for our time?
The word “human” comes from the Latin word “humus,” which means earth or ground. Etymologically, the name we use for our species thus points both to our origin and to the ongoing source of our life and purpose as humans. Maintaining a practice that facilitates an ongoing spiritual connection with the earth is crucial for re-membering us with the ground of our being. This re-membering enables us to awaken to our deepest and truest identity and enables us to live in right relationship with ourselves, others, and the web of life in which we find ourselves.
In your experience, what are some of the barriers or challenges individuals or communities face in developing a deeper connection with nature?
As someone who has spent his entire life in the Christ tradition, one of the biggest barriers is the legacy left by those who viewed all nature-based practices and spiritualities as pagan or demonic. Many who identify as Christian have an inherent fear of being seen or labeled by those terms. Coupled with that is a lack of understanding of how one can deepen a connection with nature. There simply are few practices that are taught within the Christian context that helps people to grow in this regard.
What practices (big or small) can help heal our disconnection from the natural world?
Encouraging people to develop a regular practice of simply wandering in the natural world can be life-changing. Providing some simple suggestions that can be incorporated into those wanders can further help people to deepen their connection with the natural world. Developing nature-based rituals and ceremonies is also a powerful way to heal our disconnection as well as creating a community of other humans where one’s experiences can be shared is profoundly helpful.
What are you looking forward to offering as a guide in Seminary of the Wild Earth?
I have many interests as a guide. Right now I am very interested in helping to envision what a process of being ordained by the natural world can look like. I fervently believe that the natural world is speaking to us and calling us to share our crucially needed gifts and treasures as humans so that the world can be healed and cared for in this time. Helping people to hear their calling and move toward embodying this call more fully and courageously is something I feel apprehended by.