I typically hold about 8 – 10 workshops a year.
Are other facilitators in your area? Who are they?
Yes, Molly Brown.
Do you have any upcoming events you’d like to share?
Yes, a WTR Network Webinar: How to See with Gaian Eyes on July 19 (see below), Roots of Resilience in Uncertain Times begins September 2 and Intelligence of Nature webinar. Check out this 7 minute meditation to get a feeling for my offerings, Four Elements Meditation.
Are you available for mentoring others? If so, how can people starting in their facilitating path connect with you for mentoring?
Yes! I can be reached at [email protected].
Tell us a bit about yourself, how did you become involved in the WTR and what role does it have in your life?
Jolie Elan M.S, S.D. lives in Ashland, Oregon on the land of the Takelma Tribe.
Thirty years ago, I found Joanna’s book Thinking like a Mountain and it articulated to what I knew to be true about my nature. Back then, I was an Itinerant activist drawn to Indigenous environmental campaigns honoring our living Mother as sacred and intelligent. Eventually, my innate curiosity got the best of me and I completed graduate studies in Natural Sciences. As an environmental scientist and advocate, I believed that humanity will act on behalf of life given enough information. Clearly, that’s not true. Realizing Love is a far better motivator than knowledge, I switched gears and founded Go Wild Institute with the mission to weave science, myth, and spirit to find balance in the great web of life. Acting as an educator and liaison to our sentient world, I offer teachings, practices, and ritual to restore our innate connections within the web of life. About ten years ago, I had a profound experience with the sick Tanoaks on Mount Tamalpais in the San Francisco Bay Area. While meditating, they told me that they are dying because nobody loves them anymore. They asked me to do ceremony for them. I teamed up team up with Constance Washburn, longtime facilitator of the Work that Reconnects to hold a ceremony and Council of All Beings for the oaks. It is now an annual event. The Oak trees have taught me that it’s not only possible to have intimate, reciprocal, healing relationships with more than human world, it is our birthright as earthlings.
Wanting to incorporate more WTR into my programs, I joined the first cohort of the WTR Facilitator Development program in 2017. Around this time, I also completed a Spiritual Direction Program through the Chaplaincy institute. Through Go Wild, I also mentor those who wish to connect with spirit through nature. You can learn more about Go Wild Institute at gowildinstitute.org.
What are you grateful for in the WTR world?
I love that the WTR is rooted in spiritual ecology, holding that we are part of an intelligent, sentient family of life. We can’t separate our pain from the pain of our world. We can’t separate our true power from the life force of our Mother Earth. I appreciate that the Work the Reconnects draws connections between our perceived separation from nature and ecocidal behavior. When we feel disconnected from lifeforce, we cannot tap into our true power so we attempt to get power by domination. We destroy sacred mountains for the coal within, not seeing that the true power lies within the whole of the mountain. How we source our power makes a world of difference. My favorite aspect of the WTR is caliber of the people drawn to it.
What challenges and struggles have you experienced as a facilitator of the WTR?
It’s challenging to explain what the work is about if you have never experienced it. Dealing with the pain of ecocide in our current times feels more intense in the age of Trump. The chasm of grief feels deeper than even five years ago. It feels important to dedicate more time during workshops to honoring our pain.
What has been the most difficult moment in your journey through the WTR?
It’s been challenging bring the Work online. Molly Brown and I had a weekend workshop planned for March 14th. While a handful of people still came, the majority of people canceled due to the pandemic. Since then Molly and I have worked to take the work online. As an empath, it’s easy to read the room in person and make adjustments, but it’s challenging to get a read on a zoom room. It was work to adapt the practices to virtual format. Molly and I persevered and developed an online program that has reached people all over the globe. We are headed into our fifth cohort in September.
What has emerged for you since you started facilitating the WTR?
It’s been wonderfully seamless to incorporate WTR practices and teachings into Go Wild Institute programs. At the same, I’ve added my unique gifts and knowledge about the intelligence of nature, ethnobotany, and earth wisdom into the body of the WTR. It’s been a fun fusion of ideas. For instance, check out this practice: Writing from Within the Web of Life.
What are your next steps in this Work?
Next steps are to continue growing our online WTR programs. Molly Brown and I might lead online weekend workshops allowing spacious blocks of time for nature connection and practices. We are also thinking about an advanced online program.
What would you say to someone who is new to the WTR?
This work helps you articulate what you already know in your bones to be true about your nature.
What recommendations you have for new facilitators?
Have faith in the practices and add your own special magic to the mix. Be authentic. When possible, I find it’s more productive to get info from participants rather than lecture to them. For example, instead of telling people how to “Breathe Through” the pain of the world, I like to ask people how they process the pain in their bodies. When people participate in the discussion, they feel more connected to the group and the work.
Do you have a favorite practice? Why?
7th generation is my favorite. It restores my faith that perhaps humanity will be flourishing in 200 years.
WTR Webinar: How to See with Gaian Eyes
Sunday, July 19
10am PDT (US/Canada) UTC-7
**Please make note of what time this will be in your time zone with this Time Zone Converter.**
Many of us know that that our Mama Earth is intelligent, but it’s not always clear how to tap into this earthly wisdom. Nature is constantly communicating with us. When we know how to attune to the language of nature, we can see more clearly through Gaian eyes and orient ourselves purposefully within the great web of life. This webinar combines cutting edge science on the intelligence of nature with practices to help us interpret and align with the powers of the Earth.
Join Deep Ecologist Jolie Elan as we explore the intelligence of nature and how to tap into it. This program offers brain food and practices to see through new eyes so we can source directly from our mother earth for wisdom and insight.