CIARÁN THORNTON

My Journey

I set up Otherworld Nature Connection because I wanted to share with people the healing and life-changing power of going deeper into connection with nature. 

Humans need connection and a place within nature. We need it to feel balanced, we need it to feel secure and we need it in order to see that we do belong here and that we do have a purpose here.

The earth, our home, needs us to remember this, needs us to remember this now more than ever.

We belong.

Ever since I was a boy I loved nature, especially animals. I used to pretend that I was different animals that I had seen on nature shows on TV, I would refuse to answer to my own name and instead only answer to the name of whatever creature I had chosen to be that day. I always understood and felt at home in the outdoors.

Somewhere along the line I lost that. At some point I stopped going outside. I lost connection. I still deeply cared about our planet and all it's inhabitants but I thought that the answers to global problems lay in man made constructions like organisations, buildings, cities and books. The passion to improve our planet never left me but more and more it was aimed in the wrong direction, I began to see problems and issues everywhere, everything seemed broken, I felt trapped, I began to feel like I was the problem, I was at fault, as if by being born on this earth as a human I had committed a cardinal sin. This feeling kept building inside of me.

One day, I broke.

I gave up. I felt as if there were ropes pulling me apart from so many different directions, so many, so tight, that they would pull me apart. So I did the only thing that I could do:


I let go.

Then, one day, something happened. I had nowhere to go, so, I went outside. I went out into the garden that I had abandoned all those years ago, and I sat, and I watched, and then I went inside. The next day, I done the same thing. Then again the next day, then again and again and again. That's when the changes started happening.

I looked at a tree, a tree that had been growing in my garden for years, but I looked at it like I had never looked at it before. I seen it for the incredibly complex, unique, beautiful being that it was.

Another day, I decided to plant some onions. I put my hands into the earth, the soil, the humus of what we are all made of and I grew my own food. I could not believe how right it felt the first time I tasted onions that I had grown myself.

That was in 2016. So much has happened since then. I've journeyed around Ireland in search of remarkable trees that I found in a book that I picked up somewhere. I cycled from my home in Wicklow, Ireland to Devon, UK when I was moving there. I done this in order to see how much energy it took to move one human being across the land.

I've walked, smelled, seen, tasted and listened to the land. The message to me has been clear, we need to re-embrace the land.

Two years ago I began an incredible program with WildWise in collaboration with Schumacher College in Totnes in Devon. The journey was called "Call of The Wild", it was a life changing course in environmental education and leadership. Two years later and I am still receiving training and mentorship with WildWise. The program I am currently enrolled in is called "Tending the Green Fire", it is the follow on to Call of The Wild, geared specifically towards facilitation of Nature Connection events. I've also trained with The Forest Therapy Institute as a Forest Bathing Guide in 2019 as well as delivering hiking and cycling tours of Ireland with Wilderness Ireland.

In what feels like a past life I received my undergraduate from NUI Galway in Geography, Sociology and Political Science.

I love history and folklore. I'm a pretty spiritual kind of guy. I love gardening, walking my dog Layla. I can strum a few chords on guitar. U2 are my favourite band in the world and I once got hit by a bus in Uruguay and walked away to tell the tale.

Now I'm based in the North West of Ireland in Sligo, a land where inspiration is not hard to find. Being in connection with people and nature is what this is all about, what Otherworld Nature Connection is all about;

remembering our place, reconnecting with the land, revisiting old ways of doing things and exploring new shapes and vision for our society to come. This is my purpose and passion in life, this is what brings me joy.

I am so incredibly grateful to all of the teachers in my life so far, human and non, I am so grateful for the connections that I have made and the experiences and friends that I have made thus far.

I look forward to making many more and continuing this beautiful learning journey with them and possibly you if you are reading this.

So I guess there's nothing else left to say except well,

I'll see ye all outside somewhere.

All the best,

Ciarán

 

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