By Deb Matlock


December 2023 marks the 20th year Wild Rhythms has been in business. Wow! It is hard for me to believe, as it feels like yesterday that I wrote my first business plan and embarked on this journey into the unknown world of nature connection entrepreneurship.

I was a reluctant entrepreneur, for sure. I wanted a place to offer my creative programs, speak openly about the spiritual connection between people and wild nature, explore nature and animal communication, and have the final say over what I offered. Wild Rhythms became the container that has held my offerings, amazingly challenged me, and helped me grow in my deep and sacred connection to nature. Wild Rhythms feels more like its own being than a business I run!

During my time in business, I have learned SO MUCH about nature connection work generally and the spiritual connection people often have and find in the natural world. And every new client and program teaches me something more. While the learning over the last 20 years of business has been mind-blowing, below are a few key concepts that my years working with lovely clients, deeply collaborating with wild places, and integrating spiritual guidance and insights have taught me. 20th anniversary photo

What I have learned…

*Nature connection doesn’t exist. To speak of nature connection, or the connection between people and nature, implies that humans can be separate from nature. We cannot. Every breath, sip of water, or bite of food profoundly illustrates our place as part of nature.   This universal truth makes speaking and writing about nature connection a bit tricky! 😊

*Even though we cannot be separate from nature, we can perceive that we are somehow outside the wild world, natural rhythms, and ecological truths. Addressing this perceived disconnection is where nature connection work plays an important role.

*Nature connection trends and fads will come and go, but truly connected, aware, and inspired nature connection practitioners will remain and will continue creating innovative work. I am honored to have so many colleagues who have been on this journey as long or longer than I have been.


*The way one person feels a connection to nature may be very different than another person. We each engage with the natural world in our own way, and nobody can tell us what is right or wrong.


*Wild Earth and all her inhabitants are the true teachers. As a practitioner, I facilitate experiences, create a container, and hold space. I have no idea what wild nature may want to share with each person, and I need to be sure my program agenda supports that wild exploration and does not get in the way of somebody’s authentic experience.


*The more I know about the natural world from a natural history/scientific lens, the better I can share deep nature connection work with others. Nature connection work is so much more than just a nature hike!


*My sacred connection to wild nature is a critical part of my being able to show up and offer my work authentically to others. If I neglect my nature connection journey, it shows in my work. I must keep growing and exploring what a sacred connection to wild nature means to me.


*Nature connection work must be responsive to the needs of the land, wildlife, and human participants. The world changes daily, and thus, so does the role of nature connection work. There is no place for standardizing nature connection!


*I emphasized sensory awareness in nature connection work when I started Wild Rhythms over 20 years ago. While this is still a foundational component of my programs, I now understand that focusing on our senses is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what can happen between humans and the rest of wild nature on a nature connection program, and sensory awareness is often the gateway to much deeper engagement…like communication with wild nature and deep exploration of the meaning of life.


*I have learned that no matter what the world looks like or how many challenges we face, the value of a deep and sacred connection to nature cannot be understated. This is the foundation upon which all our lives take place. I will be committed to this work in one way or another until my final breath.


That list is just a scratch on the surface of what being an entrepreneur focused on spiritual nature connection has taught me. I look forward to looking back twenty years from now, if granted that time, and seeing what other insights have come.


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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