By Deb Matlock
When I first began offering nature connection work 25 years ago, I was incredibly excited (and incredibly nervous) to dive into leading hikes, workshops, and other programs helping people learn about the wild world. I diligently learned names of plants, geologic stories of the area, and seasonal habits of wildlife. And then, when it was time to lead the program, I would gather up all my courage and go for it…hoping the participants would all be nice and easy-going. 😊
Now, looking back on a quarter of a century of leading people in the outdoors, I wish I could go back and tell myself one specific thing. I wish I could stop myself as I was nervously waiting at that very first trailhead for my very first public hike so long ago that every single program…whether hike, stationary workshop, indoors, outdoors, in-person, or virtual…has its own personality and its own dynamic dance with wild nature and that my ability to dance with wildness was indeed one of the most important qualities I could bring to the work.
This “dancing with wildness” became easier and easier and I gained more experience, learned more skills and, generally allowed the wild earth to be my primary teacher. After all, when a gorgeous bird catches your attention or a prickly plant “tickles” your leg, it is hard to look the other way. And, I have also learned that dancing with wildness is a life-long process of learning, growing, and discovery. None of us have any idea where this journey will take us but committing to the dance and looking forward is one way to find out!
Dancing with the wildness applies to all areas of our lives…personally and professionally. Where can we each allow a bit more wildness in…however we define it…so that we may allow every organic moment with our families, friends, and clients? Where can we allow ourselves to engage with the dance more fully?
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 nature-based spiritual guidance, nature connection trainings for practitioners, 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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