By Deb Matlock
“When the concept of human spirit is understood as the mode of consciousness in which the individual feels connected to the Cosmos as a whole, it becomes clear that ecological awareness is spiritual in its deepest sense.”
I was once asked why I do nature connection work as well as spiritually focused work in my business. Why didn’t I just do one or the other? Hmm. These questions stopped me in my tracks. Nature connection – being in a deep and dynamic relationship with the world around me, and spirituality – dancing with the mystery of all that is, are so deeply related in my mind that they often feel like one and the same.
The beauty of life and the mystery of how everything works together is so readily apparent to me when I spend focused time outdoors. The dead tree becomes a home for birds and wildlife. The creek bed reveals rocks sculpted by eternal forces which now provide roofs to many smaller creatures. Hummingbirds can suspend their nests with spider web strands, so they gently swing in the breeze. The list of nature amazingness goes on and on.
The miracles and marvels so ever present in the natural world bring me to my knees. I am constantly amazed and humbled to be a part of this incredible earth. And, as an ecological being myself, I cannot escape that I am indeed a part of life…all life. With every breath I take, every sip of water, or bite of food, I am entwining myself with the world around me, securing my non-negotiable place as an animal living in this wonderous web of life.
And…this is where the spiritual components come in for me. This web of life is the stage on which the dance of the larger mystery plays out. Seeing myself as part of this intricate web; as a player with not only a role, but a deep and sacred responsibility; is where I am most able to grapple with life decisions and the overall meaning and purpose of being here on earth. With this larger ecological worldview, it becomes nearly impossible to live just for myself and my own interests. Instead, when I espouse an ecological perspective, I can begin to see each action I take tied to the larger whole.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” John Muir
Also, it is when I am spending time in deep connection with the rest of nature that I most easily connect with the world of spirit, the many beings sharing this earth, and my deepest well of wisdom. I cannot even begin to count the number of times being outdoors (even just for a few minutes in the middle of a busy day) has brought me clarity, a sense of connection, and a reminder that I am just one small part of a much larger story. It is as if being in conscious connection with nature somehow allows my body and my senses to recall their wildness and sense of belonging.
The world of spirit is truly alive, well, and accessible in the world of nature and it makes sense to me that blending nature connection and spirituality results in a powerful experience for most of us regardless of our religions, beliefs, and experiences. I have seen this repeatedly. I have worked with people of differing faiths, cultures, and even comfort level in the natural world and have found that all of us are capable of seeing ourselves as part of the web of life and the web of spirt. This brings me comfort, gives me hope, and reminds me that exploring my sense of nature connection and my sense of my spiritual path will continue, intertwined, for as long as I am able to reside on this earth. The mysteries and relationships only deepen as time goes on. For this, I am eternally grateful.
Deb Matlock grew up in the mountains of Colorado and is deeply committed to nurturing the connection between people, animals, earth, and spirit. She has spent twenty-five years working as a professional environmental and humane educator and naturalist. Additionally, Deb offers shamanic-style spiritual guidance, animal communication, nature connection workshops, and retreats through her business, Wild Rhythms. She is passionate about helping people find connection and deep spiritual meaning in their lives and in the places where they live. Deb holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from Prescott College and is pursuing her doctoral degree in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
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