This simple yet profound statement captures the essence of the transformation (or collective rite of passage) our species is being challenged to navigate today. We, in the modern world, are faced with the task of moving from a perspective of separateness and competition into a place of relationship, collaboration, and communion. Recent research in social psychology by individuals, such as Prof. Cindy Frantz from Oberlin College, shows us that the best way to cultivate just and ecological behavior in people is through the tending and deepening of healthy and right relationships to oneself, to others, to community, or to the natural world.
Our primary goal at Inner Wild is to create reflective transformational containers for individuals and groups that deepen participants’ understanding of and access to relational wisdom. Core to our humanity, relational wisdom is the embodied understanding of four interdependent relationships: to ourselves, the Earth, our community, and the numinous. The numinous refers to a sense of awe, wonder, and reverence that, when activated, enhances creative imagination and breathes fresh life into our experience.
What are the effects of exploring these four primary relationships in this way? The relationally-based experiences offered at Inner Wild help to expand participants perspectives, allowing for deeper insight, creativity, and grace as one navigates the hectic ever-changing waters of modern life. They offer us the space to reflect, let go, heal, and rise again with a more complete picture of who we are and who we want to become. With such expansion of perspective comes a deeper sense of responsibility to protect, tend, and nurture, one’s relationship to the larger living systems we are all a part of such as family, community, planet and the cosmos.
As Malidoma Some points out in his book Ritual: Power, Healing and Community, where these types of experiences are absent, “the young ones are restless or violent, there are no real elders, and the grown-ups are bewildered. The future is dim.” Perhaps you too recognize with that we live in a culture and a world that has all but forgotten its roots. Inner Wild is committed to the creation of programs that support individuals of any age reclaim these ancient practices of connection in order to create a world, which fosters ever deepening relationships to self, Earth, community, and the numinous.
Weston Pew is the founder and director of Inner Wild and is also the founder of the Sacred Door Trail. Weston grew up in the mountains of Montana and has been working with youth and young adults in the wilderness since he was 18. He is an alum of the National Outdoor Leadership School’s semester-long program and has backpacked all over the world. For the past 8-years, his work and studies have focused on rites of passage, pilgrimage, and individual development through wilderness settings, which lead him to the creation of The Sacred Door Trail and Inner Wild. He holds two Masters Degrees, one in Experiential Education from Prescott College and another in Depth Psychology with a focus on Community, Liberation, Indigenous and Ecopsychology from the Pacifica Graduate Institute. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where we runs individual and group programming that supports the cultivation of relational wisdom and leadership.
Shannon Ongaro holds a Master’s Degree in History for Montana State University and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Naropa University, in addition to her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Humboldt State University. Shannon has taught professionally at the college level, and has spent summers training river guides and working as an instructor at Montana Whitewater Guide School. An avid backcountry skier and outdoor enthusiast, Shannon has traveled extensively all over the world – including Central and South America, New Zealand, Africa, and Europe. Over the past spring and fall of 2016 and 2017, Shannon worked supporting refugees in Greece through the NGO, Refuge Support Europe. She also works for the Tandana Foundation, a non-profit organization that oversees service projects in Ecuador and Mali, West Africa. Additionally, she is a co-founder of a local arts project BOOMA (Benevolent Order of Mountain Artists) through which, she organizes twice-yearly collaborative community art projects.