In her book, Wild: An Elemental Journey, Jay Griffiths writes: “We are animal in our blood and in our skin. We were not born for pavements and escalators but for thunder and mud.”
It’s true, among other things, that humans are animals. We are mammals with imagination. But a lot of us have forgotten our intimate bodily connection with earth. In a world wired to distract us from our own integral earthiness, it takes practice to remember that connection.
We partnered with Maine Master Naturalist and Registered Maine Guide, Linda Littlefield Grenfell, to guide a group of spiritual leaders* on a day of practice and play that helped us to connect with our more-than-human kin. We gathered at Wells Reserve at Laudholm for a day of imaginative encounters with what Linda calls “the real world.” We explored our environment, engaged with each other, and recalled our own deeply animal nature.
If you were not near enough to join us for this retreat or you missed it, but you are interested in earthy connection as a spiritual practice, check out our Earthbound Practices and stay tuned for future offerings of wild spirituality from The BTS Center.
*We define “spiritual leaders” broadly to include not only clergy and other faith leaders, but also dedicated laypersons, nonprofit leaders, chaplains, spiritual directors, students, university and seminary faculty, denominational executives, and others with a committed and world-engaging spiritual practice.
This in-person retreat was designed to be a fun, playful, educational, and relaxed day of connection with what Linda Littlefield Grenfell calls “the real world.”
We spent the day outdoors among the elements.
We spent time walking at a gentle pace on well-maintained paths that may, nonetheless, be mildly rugged with roots, mud, and slight inclines.
We spent time sitting on the ground (or a camp chair, if needed).
Linda (she/her) has spent her whole life fascinated by ancient ways of living with the land. She had a long career as a minister in the United Methodist Church, a grief counselor, and a college Ethics professor. After retiring she promptly began working at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, where she leads nature walks and sea kayaking tours. Linda has her Maine Guide License in Sea Kayaking and is a Maine Master Naturalist. She loves to read, write, walk in the woods (with and without dogs), bake bread, and have exciting new experiences like sleeping outside in sub-zero temperatures in natural shelters!
The Wells Reserve exists to understand, protect, and restore coastal ecosystems of the Gulf of Maine through integrated research, stewardship, environmental learning, and community partnerships. More about the Wells Reserve and Laudholm Trust partnership here: https://www.wellsreserve.org/about-us/wells-reserve-and-laudholm-trust