A journey to share my wild love for the world

A journey to share my wild love for the world

In just a couple of days, I will set out on a month of travel for the calling I’ve been been working so hard to manifest in the world. Now the seeds I’ve planted are blooming in spectacular color and I get to share my wild love for the world with a lot of curious and creative folx.

My journey of spirituality is one most aptly described as rewilding. Some people call the journey of evolving faith “deconstruction” or even being lost in the wilderness. I am not lost in the wilderness. I am found in the wilderness. What I found, or what found me, is a transcendent acceptance in the forest, where my heart and mind have flourished in ways I would have never anticipated. My faith is most alive when I am experiencing awe and delight in a vast meadow, or deep peace in the cool tranquility of a forest, or quiet refreshment by a gentle stream, and connection to the wheel of the year that celebrates the earth’s natural cycles. Anyone, especially LGBTQIA+ individuals like myself, can find solace and acceptance in the natural world, fostering resilience and deep spiritual renewal.

I am so excited, happy and yes, even a little worried about some of the travel, mostly the travel that will take me back to the United States where it feels like (from our view way across the pond), things are not exactly safe or sane.

And of course I will miss my person from whom I have not been apart from for more than a couple of weeks since we began this wild ride nearly a decade ago.

But, these things I have put in motion are exactly where I want and need to be so, for the next 4 weeks or so, I get to be in:

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
attending the 5th International Congress Forests and Its Potential for Health (ICFPH) with the ANFT leadership with the leadership of my certifying body, the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) guides and programming.
I have the immense privilege to join the team in their travels to harvest and share stories from the sojourn with esteemed practitioners of nature-connected human health and flourishing.

Jacksonville, Florida
Thanks to my dearest friends, the Kerr family, and pastor Susan Rogers, I received an invitation to hold sacred space with The Well at Springfield for their Church in the Wild Sunday. This will be my first time back to share my work in ecospirituality on the land currently known as America. On the autumnal equinox, we will gather on land formerly cared for by the Chatat and Muskogee peoples, and seek to reconnect with our place in the family of creation.

Hallowell, Maine
I will then head up to Maine for the The BTS Center’s Convocation to share two days of immersions in nature to contribute to their theme of Kinship: Re-Weaving the Great Web of Belonging. Many thanks to Rev. Nicole Diroff, Rev. Ash Temin, and Rev. Dr. Allen Ewing-Merrill for inviting me into the good and sacred work you are doing to heal our Climate Changed World on land sacred to the Wabanaki (Dawnland Confederacy).

Little Rock, Arkansas
Oh, and then my friends, a dream with many, many months of work is coming true when I head to Little Rock to co-host with Rachel Pinto, Our Sacred Nature Retreat with and for queer folx in the American south.

Over the course of the weekend, on land originally the home of the Osage Nation, we will engage in gentle outdoor activities such as forest bathing, labyrinth walks, yoga, and sound baths to nourish deep kinship with our innermost truth, other humans, and the more-than-human world. While we will weave spirituality into the practices, we are wide open as to what that means for everyone and welcome a multiplicity of understandings, traditions, and paths. It is our hope that the connections we make will breathe new life into our individual and shared human experiences and how we embrace our sacred nature. 

Atlanta, Georgia
I will return to Muskogee land to wrap up my time in the States in Atlanta to refill my bucket of delight visiting the jewel of my heart, my daughter, Farmer Z. I will also get to hug the necks of friends who have been and still are essential to who I am in this weird and wonderful world. Susannah, Kate, Leah – I’m looking at y’all!


If you’d like to see photos from the journey, you can follow the shenanigans as they unfold on Instagram @seekingsophia, @qsacrednature and @natureandforesttherapy.

And for real…

Embracing the Sacred Earth: A Guide to Observing the Liturgical Season of Creation

Embracing the Sacred Earth: A Guide to Observing the Liturgical Season of Creation

“The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things.”

Pope Francis
Laudato Si

In our individual creatureliness, we operate as if we are separate from one another. I from the buttercup, you from the lamb, she from the man and they from us.

But we are all in and of one another, bound by a shimmering strand of life that connects us not only to other humans but to every living being on earth. 

In the increasingly demanding and depleting world we inhabit, many of us have lost our connection to the natural world and the divine presence that permeates all of creation. This is where the Liturgical Season of Creation offers us a profound opportunity to rekindle our relationship with the Earth and our Creator. As a Wild Church and nature therapy guide, this season hold for me special significance as my spirituality thrives in celebrating my creatureliness in communion with nature. 

Understanding the Liturgical Season of Creation

The Liturgical Season of Creation is a relatively recent addition to the Christian liturgical calendar. It spans from September 1st to October 4th, with each Sunday dedicated to a specific theme, such as Earth, Humanity, Sky, and Water. This season invites us to shift our focus from traditional liturgical themes to a profound reflection on the wonder and beauty of creation itself. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with the Earth as a sacred text and to deepen our appreciation for the natural world as a manifestation of God’s glory.

For those us called to church outside the walls and outside of institutions, this season provides a unique platform to share our journey of spiritual exploration and ecological stewardship with folx who are worshipping and growing in congregations around the world. 

Here are some ideas for how you can bring the Season of Creation to your family of faith this season and all year round.

1. Outdoor Services: Embrace the spirit of the wild by conducting your worship services outdoors. Whether it’s in a forest glade, a riverside clearing, or a mountain summit, these settings will amplify the connection between your congregation and the natural world.

2. Sacred Sylvan Saunters: Organize nature walks where participants can immerse themselves in the wonders of the environment. Encourage reflection on the intricate web of life, and how it mirrors the divine plan.

3. Communion with Creation: Incorporate elements from the natural world into sacred moments of your services. Use local wildflowers, river stones, or even river water for baptisms to symbolize the interconnectedness of all life.

4. Earth-Centered Liturgy: Adapt traditional liturgical elements to align with the themes of creation. Use nature-inspired hymns, scripture readings, and rituals that resonate with the season’s focus.

5. Eco-Spiritual Education: Host workshops and discussions centered around eco-theology. Delve into the theological implications of caring for the Earth and nurturing a sense of responsibility among your congregation.

6. Nature Retreats: Organize weekend retreats in nature reserves or sanctuaries where participants can immerse themselves in a deeper contemplation of creation. These retreats can include meditation, nature-based liturgy, and silent reflection.

7. Environmental Action: Encourage your congregation to become eco-steward. Organize community clean-up drives, tree-planting initiatives, and other projects that actively contribute to the well-being of the Earth.

8. Nature Art and Expression: Nurture creativity through nature-inspired art and expression. Encourage your community to create art, poetry, or music that celebrates the Earth and its beauty.

Observing the Liturgical Season of Creation as a community of faith is a profound and enriching experience. It allows you to deepen your congregation’s connection to the divine through the lens of nature and encourages them to become stewards of the Earth. By embracing the outdoors, aligning your worship with the themes of creation, and fostering eco-spirituality, you can help your community embark on a transformative journey that nurtures the soul and rekindles the sacred bond between humanity, the Earth, and the Creator. It’s a season of spiritual awakening, ecological renewal, and a deepened appreciation for the sacredness of our natural world.

If you would like to work with Wildwood Wisdom to discern how your church might live into the Season of Creation, you can schedule a call with Kimberly right here.

Our Sacred Nature Retreat

Our Sacred Nature Retreat

At the end of the 1960s, a willful child was born into a Southern Baptist family. This child was raised on vacation bible school, Wednesday night suppers and twice-on-Sundays back-pew sitting. This girl child would grow up to get married to a nice man like she was supposed to, have a beautiful daughter of her own, begin to understand her own humanity enough to come out as a lesbian, graduate from seminary, marry a woman, move to The Netherlands, and became a certified nature therapy guide.

This gal – me – is now living into her fiercely tender calling to share immersions in the natural world which has, again and again, offered a sacred balm on a wild and sometimes woeful journey toward wholeness.

I am so excited for an opportunity, with the partnership of my friend Rachel Pinto, to briefly return to the States – the South nonetheless – to invite queer folx (and our trusted allies) to Our Sacred Nature Retreat this coming October 6-8, 2023.

Why a sacred nature retreat?

For me, nature has unfolded as a sanctuary, a sacred space where I have learned to discard the masks society often demands we wear. In verdant European forests and sun-drenched Dutch polders, the relentless pressures of conformity have yielded to an expansiveness where authenticity flourishes.

For Queer folx who are navigating a world that all too often dismisses, marginalizes or violently abhors our identities, nature offers unconditional welcome, emboldening our hearts to rewild our spirits in a way that defies the limitations imposed by the domesticated world.

The forest is a sanctuary where the Ultimate whispers their truth through the rustling leaves and the dance of sunlight upon still waters. In this sacred space, the boundaries of gender and identity dissolve into the boundless expanse of the natural world, inviting us to embrace our authentic selves.

Queer spiritualities are a luminous tapestry, its colors radiant and diverse and harmonizing with the vibrant mosaic of life. It calls upon us to honor the interconnectivity of all beings, to celebrate the myriad expressions of love and desire, and to find solace in the understanding that our existence is an inseparable part of the intricate web of creation. Within this sacred intersection of queerness and ecology, we find a profound communion with the Earth, nurturing our souls and guiding us towards a compassionate coexistence with our planet.

At Our Sacred Nature, we will engage in gentle outdoor activities such as forest bathing, outdoor labyrinth walks, silent simplicity saunters, yoga, and sound baths to encounter deep kinship with our innermost truth, other humans, and the more-than-human world. These connections can breathe life into the hearts of folx who have felt the sting of isolation or the weight of marginalization, fostering a sense of belonging, empathy, and unwavering support.

I hope you will be able to join us in October. Perhaps someone you know and love needs a just such a retreat where their presence, full and unqualified, is honored and cherished by the natural world of which we are all part.

In the Reverie of the Forest: Guided Forest Bathing for Mental Health Month

In the Reverie of the Forest: Guided Forest Bathing for Mental Health Month

“Forests reduce our stress, boost our immune system and help us to live longer, better and happier lives. Our health and the health of the forest go hand in hand. When trees die, we die. If our forests are unhealthy, then so are we. You can’t have a healthy population without healthy forests.”

Dr. Qing Li
Forest Bathing

In the quiet embrace of the forest, a journey awaits. As an international resident living far from kith and kin back in the United States, and as a certified nature therapy guide, trained with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides, I am keenly aware of paths in the natural world that lead us to healing and restoration. Amidst the myriad of approaches available, guided forest bathing stands tall as a transformative experience, melding the power of nature with the guiding wisdom of a compassionate companion.

Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And I am brimming with gratitude for the gift of spending my days sharing the embrace of the natural world with all who seek her healing.

Guided forest bathing is an invitation to slow down, to breathe deeply, and to surrender to the subtle rhythms of the forest. By doing so, we unlock a host of mental health benefits, nurturing our souls and finding solace in the serenity of nature.

The forest is our healer, the guide opens the doors
Rooted in ancient traditions and drawing inspiration from the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, guided forest bathing takes the concept of immersing oneself in nature to new depths. It involves embarking on a mindful and bodyful journey through the forest, led by an experienced guide (like me!) who facilitates the exploration of the senses, encourages deep connection with the natural world (of which we are a part), and provides insightful reflections along the way.

The presence of a guide is what sets guided forest bathing apart, elevating the experience from a mere walk in the woods to a profound therapeutic encounter. The guide, well-versed in the nuances of the forest, acts as a facilitator, gently leading participants into a state of deep relaxation and connection. They weave a tapestry of sensory invitations, inviting participants to engage with the forest using all their senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and even tasting.

Guided forest bathing offers a respite from the cacophony of modern life, providing a sanctuary for those seeking refuge from the relentless demands of work, digital dependency, and the myriad distractions that bombard our minds. Through the careful curation of sensory experiences, the guide creates an environment conducive to relaxation, offering participants the opportunity to let go of stress, worries, and mental clutter.

Nature as a Stress Reliever
In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, stress has become an all-too-familiar companion. Nature serves as a powerful antidote, offering a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. Spending time in natural environments, whether it be forests, parks, or by the sea, has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature have a calming effect on our nervous system, reducing cortisol levels and promoting a sense of peace and tranquility. The rhythmic sounds of waves crashing against the shore or the gentle rustling of leaves in the forest can lull us into a state of deep relaxation, allowing our minds to unwind and our bodies to heal.

Our modern lifestyles often inundate us with information overload, leading to mental fatigue and decreased focus. Nature provides a much-needed respite from this cognitive overload. When we immerse ourselves in natural surroundings, our attention shifts from the constant stimulation of screens and notifications to the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. This shift allows our minds to rest and reset, enhancing our ability to concentrate and think clearly. Studies have shown that spending time in nature improves cognitive function, memory retention, and problem-solving skills. Whether it’s taking a walk in a local park or sitting under a tree, nature offers a valuable space for reflection and mental clarity.

One of the most significant benefits of guided forest bathing is its ability to reduce anxiety and promote mental well-being. Research has shown that spending time in nature lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health. Guided forest bathing, with its intentional focus on mindfulness and sensory immersion, magnifies these effects, allowing participants to experience a profound sense of calm and inner peace. As anxiety dissipates and stress subsides, a space opens up for clarity of thought, self-reflection, and renewed perspective.

In the presence of a guide, participants are gently encouraged to engage with the forest in a way that awakens their curiosity and wonder. By slowing down and paying attention to the smallest details—a dewdrop glistening on a leaf, the intricate patterns of a spider’s web, the whisper of wind through the trees—they become attuned to the beauty and interconnectedness of the natural world. This heightened sense of connection fosters a deep appreciation for life’s simple pleasures and a renewed understanding of our place within the web of existence.

With simple, open, sensory invitations, a guide provides a gentle container for exploration and self-discovery. As participants experience the forest with their guide, they often find space to explore their own inner landscape, to understand their human experience, emotions, and aspirations. In the presence of a skilled guide, and with trust in the forest as our partner, the natural world often becomes a mirror, reflecting back to us the wisdom and truth that lie dormant within.

Nature as a Mood Booster
Nature has an astonishing ability to uplift our mood and enhance our emotional well-being. The serene beauty of natural landscapes has a profound impact on our emotions, evoking feelings of joy, awe, and gratitude. Exposure to natural sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood. This increase in serotonin levels helps alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, spending time in green spaces has been linked to a decrease in symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and improved overall mental health. Nature acts as a natural antidepressant, providing us with a sense of purpose, connectedness, and inner peace.

Additionally, guided forest bathing can foster a sense of community and connection. The shared experience of traversing the forest with fellow participants and a knowledgeable guide creates a bond, a collective appreciation for the beauty and power of nature. In a world where loneliness and disconnection have become all too prevalent, the shared experience of guided forest bathing reminds us of our interconnectedness and the inherent value of human connection.

Guided forest bathing also holds the potential to ignite the spark of creativity within us. As we surrender to the rhythms of the forest, our minds are freed from the constraints of everyday life. The guide may invite participants to engage in creative practices, such as nature journaling, sketching, or photography, encouraging them to capture the essence of the forest in their own unique way. This creative expression serves as a channel for self-discovery, allowing participants to tap into their innate creativity, expand their perspectives, and find inspiration in the natural world.

Guided forest bathing offers a transformative experience for those seeking solace, restoration, and self-discovery. The presence of a knowledgeable guide amplifies the therapeutic benefits of immersing oneself in nature, providing a container for relaxation, reflection, and sensory immersion. In the quiet embrace of the forest, guided by an experienced companion, we find respite from the pressures of modern life and discover a profound connection with ourselves, each other, and the natural world. Through this gentle communion with nature, we nurture our mental well-being, ignite our creativity, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

I hope we can share a forest bathing walk soon.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

5 Ways to Welcome Spring

5 Ways to Welcome Spring

“Come with me into the woods. Where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.” —Mary Oliver

In the northern hemisphere, the Earth is beginning to awaken from her winter slumber. As we approach the threshold of spring, we are reminded of the cyclical nature of life and the importance of honoring the changing seasons. Here are five invitations to honor this time of renewal and growth.

Spend time in nature: The spring equinox marks a time of rebirth and renewal, and there’s no better way to connect with this energy than by spending time in nature. Take a walk in the woods, visit a local park, or simply sit outside and breathe in the fresh air. Give yourself the gift of full presence to the moment and beings around you. Perhaps journal about what you are noticing.

Cleanse your space: Spring cleaning isn’t just a chore – it’s a powerful way to clear out old energy and make space for new beginnings. Take some time to declutter the space you call home. As you do so, visualize releasing any stagnant energy and inviting fresh, vibrant energy to flow in.

Plant seeds: Spring is the perfect time to start a garden, whether it’s a small container garden on your balcony or a full-blown vegetable patch in your backyard. Planting seeds is a beautiful act of faith and hope, as you trust that these tiny seeds will grow into beautiful, bountiful plants. As you plant your seeds, set an intention for the growth and abundance you wish to cultivate in your own life.

Create a spring altar: An altar is a sacred space where you can connect with the divine and honor the changing seasons. For the spring equinox, consider creating an altar that reflects the themes of renewal and growth. You might include fresh flowers, crystals, candles, and other items that resonate with you. Spend time at your altar each day, setting intentions and connecting with the energy of the season.

Celebrate with loved ones: Finally, the spring equinox is a time to come together with friends and family and celebrate the start of a new season. Consider hosting a spring equinox gathering, where you can share food, stories, and rituals that honor the energy of the season. As you connect with others, you’ll amplify the energy of renewal and growth and feel more connected to the natural world around you.

Friends, the spring equinox is a powerful time to honor the cyclical nature of life and tap into the energy of renewal and growth. Spending time in nature, cleansing your space, planting seeds, creating an altar, and celebrating with loved ones, are just a few ways you can connect with this energy and welcome the new season with open arms.

I wonder what other ways you might invite us to welcome spring.