Nature is the Best Teacher

We believe in the transformative power of spending time close to the earth. Our primary teaching tool, therefore, is simply to be in nature.

We take care of what we love, and we love what we know, so a core element of Back to Earth's approach is to develop what we call a close, personal relationship with the natural world. This kind of relationship is nourishing for us as humans, and ensures that we treat the world around us with love and respect.

"The wisdom and skill of those who studied the universe first hand, by direct knowledge and experience, for millennia, both inside and outside themselves, is what we might call the Old Ways." - Gary Snyder

We are also steeped in ways of seeing and relating to the natural world that might broadly be called "the Old Ways." Over the years, we have developed relationships with elders and mentors who have shared with us and trained us, whose teachings and ceremonies underlie much of what we do.

We are indebted to people of many indigenous cultures for sharing their ways. We endeavor to share what has been shared with us in a good way, acknowledging the origins when we can, as well as the complexities of these

Pillars of our Practice

We teach that our original instructions as people are to honor with gratitude all elements of creation, remembering that our lives come from the earth, from the elements, and from our relationships to the natural world. Gratitude is the first step to finding ourselves and mending our world. From practices of thanksgiving, to gratitudes shared around a fire, to the spontaneous outbursts of thanks let loose as we navigate over mountains, building a culture where gratitude is flowing and explicit is at the heart of all we do.

We celebrate joy as an essential expression of our healthy humanity and one of the beautiful gifts we can offer ourselves our communities and our world. We teach that there is joy in exertion, in testing our limits, in wildness; in defamiliarizing the mundane and becoming familiar with the mysterious. In service of joy we sing, we dance, we play, we swim. Cultivating joy nourishes our life force and makes us capable of being truly of benefit to others.

We make meaning in our lives by taking time to pay attention, especially to what is happening internally. A rich interior life is a birthright of all people, though it is often squandered in the busy pursuit of external validation and immediate gratification. We teach that life is enhanced immeasurably by being both aware of our emotional landscapes and being able to navigate them with skill and purpose.

We cherish honesty in all of its many forms. Honesty with one's self is the root of personal accountability. Honesty with others is the foundation of healthy relationships. When we speak our truth it nourishes our own life force and give others permission to speak theirs.

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