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A Kindred Spirit – Bahadur Bryson

March 16, 2015

Hi, Way of the Wild supporters!! Here is the new site of a kindred spirit that you are going to want to check out especially if you are headed to Australia or New Zealand. Bahadur Bryson is a practicing wilderness therapist who draws on ancient traditions, some of which come from her Maori heritage. There is great wisdom here for us all, so please go and enjoy!

Mary’s Interview on KGNU

October 3, 2014

HEY WOW SUPPORTERS! CHECK THIS OUT!  Listen to Mary Sweeney being  interviewed by Nancy Monson, Director and Lead Teacher for the Running River School, Boulder, Co about the importance of  unstructured time in nature for children’s development! Click here to listen!   September 29, 2014 KGNU Interview

Check out this interview of Mary by Rocky of FB Natural High On Nature and Luvlifeclimbsurf – YouTube

February 2, 2014

Check out this link.

One day Program November 11!

November 5, 2013

Please go to our program page to sign up for the one day program, Monday, November 11, 2013!

September Hunt

September 15, 2013

Hey folks. wasn’t going to share this, but have had a small voice inside saying I must so here goes….


Forgive the grammar issues. I just wanted to share this quickly with interested parties.

Hunting season is here! Bow hunting a lot right now because I’m stuck on a mountain outside Boulder (and grateful for it!!) Not many reasons to be distracted so I’m using my tag. Well, first day I’m sitting in some brush camo’ed up and quieted down, and checking in with my senses regularly, really. Just around sun up I hear a dog start barking and I figure someone let fido out to pee and he heard something moving, so he alarmed. What moves at the thin time in the forest, but wild things? Still it’s a subtle message even though it should not be. I question myself. It comes across as a “maybe.” Anyway, It’s on a neighbor’s land and no hunting there, but it’s got my “alert” up. For quite awhile I wait, but no show. It gets later. The sun gets higher and I move.
Later that morning having coffee with my other neighbor she tells me she saw “something brown” moving through the forest where I’d thought the animal had been. “Not sure if it was deer or coyote…”
No shot for me on that private land, but something was there. That was good. Take away for me? Pay attention to animals alarming out here.

That evening I get there late in the day and settle in for the sunset. All of a sudden crows start flying in from the east, making a LOT of noise. Now, crows do tend to fly in to sleep together, sometimes in huge numbers, but they were particularly noisy.  So, I figured maybe there is something up there. Think I’ll go see! I stalk up the side of the hill quietly and just as I get to a flat spot I peek over the top of a boulder. There in front of me is a bobcat so big and tawny I had to wait for the tail to come into view so I could make sure it wasn’t a young lion. I was going to stay down, but wanted a better look and decided to pop my head up and look square at the cat. He stopped , circled around a little pine tree stared back for few seconds then continued on his nightly hunt. I wasn’t hunting him and he knew it. We just acknowledged each other and went on.

That was fun, but all the activity certainly changed the concentric rings of energy in that place. Sunset was upon us and there was no time left to let things settle. So, I scouted the area to find a place for the morning. I went out into the field that was had a lot of currant bushes and a few scattered trees and lay down to rest by a dead punky log. Suddenly I noticed kitty pee. Cats will mark areas with their sent for varied reasons. I had learned from Sue Morse of Keeping Track, they like things that absorb and hold their sent like punky stuff. I looked around and thought this might be good place to sit tomorrow morning. It was a quiet but compelling thought. I was concerned about the openness, but felt their might be enough brush to cover me.

Next morning I was out there again. I got out of my truck in the dark and headed for the cat log, but my mind was full of chatter. I was nursing my irritations and resentments that morning. The screen to my intuition was full of snow and incomplete signals and I didn’t even give it much attention. My intellect told me the log was too open. I kept fighting with myself over whether to go there and finally chose a place with more cover. My brain overwhelmed my heart. About an hour and one half into my sit I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I pulled my bow with the intention of holding for awhile hoping the deer would turn my way. They didn’t. They moved away and down field. Though I could have hit one, my shot was too far to kill with certainty. To many hunters leave arrow heads in wounded deer, because their excitement overwhelms them. Instead I tired to follow them and was able to keep up for awhile till they finally moved uphill and spotted me. I tracked them for a long time, but had to give up. They moved off the property I was hunting on.

I circled back and found their early morning tracks. What do you think I thought when I noticed that the five deer had walked slowly right by the cat log? My five potential shots were all within 30 to 40 feet.

Tracking is a multi-sensory experience. If you tracked the elements of my experience then you will see that I was not paying attention to the small voice inside that knew exactly what I should do. I am hunting with a traditional bow and need to get very close to animals to be successful. My intuition gives me the edge. I was pretty mad with myself and hoped I’d get another chance.
That small voice also told me I should write about this here. I don’t now why, but I am listening this time I hope it helps. I know I need to stop questioning these things.

I’ll keep you up to date on my hunt.
Thanks for reading.

The Context of Hunting

September 2, 2013

Hunting did a lot for my understanding of who I am in the world. It was more powerful for me than anything I had done in nature up to that point, but I had  experience with hunter/gatherer skills prior to ever hunting. I had ‘played’ at it as  most people interested in these things do. No matter how much you work at it, how would anyone really know exactly what it was like for hunter/gatherers? For the majority of people alive today the world is quite different from what it was for their nomadic ancestors. But, I went into hunting with some physical skills and a world view that had shifted due to my experiences in nature. Hunting refined my skills, my  view and inspired me to get better at connecting to nature. It gave me a reason to try harder. Something serious to me was a stake- another being’s life. After that, I didn’t want to go back.

I do not like to suppose that I have any idea with certainty, what it was like to be a hunter/gatherer. I was not there. I don’t care what anthropologists say. That said, it is likely that for hunter/gatherers (our modern terms by the way and probably not their descriptors) these activities were merely ordinary, necessary activities in the context of their ordinary lives- lives in which hunting was just a part of a way of living.  For me shopping might be a modern equivalent to hunting and gathering. It is definitely ordinary, necessary and I hardly give it any thought unless I need something. It demands of me a certain set of skills and knowledge, I am familiar with. I was taught it very young and how I apply the knowledge has evolved over time.

I am deluged with messages about shopping’s essential function in preserving my survival, comfort  and cultural well being from the big story teller of our modern society, mass media. I think the requirements of meeting my basic needs has become more complex not less so, to keep up with the speed of society’s changes. While nature offers us never ending levels of complexity to know, it is arguable that  hunter/gatherers had more time to get better at some basic living skills. Likely their culture required them to learn less than we do today to maintain their lives. This does not mean they were not learning something new all the time.  My larger point though is that these activities are contextual and cannot be fully experienced outside of that context. My focus on shopping would not be for its sake, but in service to the context of my life.

I had to explore why I wanted to hunt. I decided If my desire was to hunt in a more supposedly traditional, primitive holistic way, I needed to “play at” or practice skills used by hunter/gathers. This required me  to learn a lot. I need to learn about  tracking, navigation,  basic survival skills, natural history of the animal I wanted to hunt, working with an animals remains, awareness, camouflage, low tech hunting methods such as traditional archery, making crafts, cooking, preserving etc, etc.  You do not have to do this to hunt in the context of a modern world. There are ways to hunt successfully without knowing a lot of this. Then it is hunting in a different context.

If I was to teach someone to hunt I would honor whatever context they come with (within my judgement of reasonableness and my capabilities.)  However, I can only take them where they wish to go.  For me primitive hunting implies a different context than myriad other reasons why people might hunt today, all of which are their business.

Unless something really drastic happens (which is not necessarily at all desirable) we are probably never going to go back to a hunter/gatherer world. I believe that  we can create and have experiences that give us insight about how to live better today.  I’ve been learning, practicing and teaching basic survival skills for 13 years and I have had some pretty good teachers. But, in truth, the best teacher I have had has been my own experience coupled with a good mentor. Dirt time really is the magic ingredient, but most of us need reasonable support along the way. This is what I want to offer, good experiential support.

New Fall Programs!!!

August 3, 2013

Hi Folks,

Please click on our “program” page to check out our new fall programs!!

Why forgive?

June 13, 2013

Why forgive? Most people have had experiences, some profound and terrible, in which they felt resentment, anger, sadness, hatred and various forms of painful hurt feelings. They might have felt victimized.  Others might have felt powerlessness, self loathing or even contemplated suicide in response to  awful fortune.  Perhaps some have contemplated revenge. Many have likely felt pleasure when their perceived trespasser (s) suffered in some way. In all these cases other people have been involved. Other people have done something to you that you believe made you feel a certain pain. Emotional responses, particularly grief and anger, happen when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. Just like a physical injury needs to heal, these emotions seem common in human experience. Whether they are necessary or not, I don’t know. Human beings seem ready to accept a lot of ideas that might not be true, so maybe there is another way through.

Mentors, friends and others who care about you will tell you that forgiveness is the right thing to do. They will tell you it makes you a better person. They will tell you you will be stronger for it. They will tell that this is a higher path, more holy or lofty. They will tell you it feels good, that you will feel better. They will even tell you that you came into this life agreeing to be a victim and that the people involved, who you must forgive, did this for some higher spiritual reason, some soul contract you both agreed to before birth! You may struggle with forgiveness because you would like to feel like you are the better person, but you can’t quite get there. You are somehow not satisfied or you believe you have let go, feeling peaceful. Then something happens and the  feelings return.

Have you ever noticed how energetically draining it is to think about people and situations you can’t forgive. It is exhausting! It is like a really bad song you can’t get out of your mind. The hurt and pain just keep going on and on. You desire relief, but there seems to be no good way of achieving it. You find yourself feeling lower emotions that make you tired and rob you of the energy needed to live life. All those emotional states separate you from two things—your connection to your soul, the God inside of you, and your own soul’s creative expression in this life. You are  spending all your energy on a feeling, an image, a waking living dream about someone else. Bad news is, I fear that person actually benefits from it. That’s because it weakens you!!

I think there is only one good reason to forgive. It is not a “feeling” reason. It has little to do with feeling. It is a “mental” reason and is much more neutral emotionally. The truth is-in a world made of energy it is illogical, irrational not to forgive. To hold onto anything enslaves you. You are enslaved by your beliefs! Why be a slave to an idea? If you are being harmed by your relationships, change the way you are relating, change your feelings about the relationship or simply leave. But if the events you experienced as harmful to you are not happening right now, there is only one logical choice—stop giving your energy to them. It is nonsensical to do otherwise. To do so contracts your consciousness making you vulnerable. This is a smart response not some lofty response that makes you better than others. There is no such thing as being better than others. There is such a thing as being wiser than others. Be a good steward of the energy God gives you everyday.

Remember, we are  less than a water droplet in an ocean of oceans, but what happens in the universe happens to us. Broaden your focus. Let go of everything that interferes with knowing. Everything that happens is nothing more than information. Every perceived  harshness on the path is the universe saying “not this way.” Align with sanity and others on that path. Let everyone and everything else go.

The Way of the Leader Without Followers-Does he need a Rite of Passage?

May 31, 2013

Premise: Consider this.

We are living in a world where the old way of doing things won’t work. We have come up with few new solutions, because culture begets more culture. Youth who are inspired by fantasy works involving elves, wizards, magic and the unseen ( Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and whatever the latest story is) are not moved by a need to find out who they are in their communities, nor are they tying to live a hero’s archetypal journey to discover their purpose. They are seeking to expand their consciousness, to relate to what is currently unknown or unseen. Any rite that does not account for this will
“miss the mark.” The results will not carry the person through the hard times, because they desensitize us to what else might be there.  We can’t find our own answers because we have not learned to listen. How we relate to and handle the events in our lives is the proving ground. I see little in our modern world that indicates most of us are listening or that it even crosses our mind to do so. The result is lots of angst, fear, and generally lower emotions- lots of desperate attempts to preserve our sense of selves, our egos.

Young people (even the not so young!) today are constantly seeking ways to assert themselves, figure out who they are, and determine what their purpose is. They often feel restless and unsure about their direction.

Our society consists of many people moving purposefully about, seeming to know who they are and what they are doing. The messages our society gives us are that these behaviors are normal and expected. We are not given the message to sit, be and see what happens. Nor are we given the message to clear our minds, be silent and listen. We are certainly not encouraged to simply do what needs to be done in the moment, weed the garden, clean the bathtub, do your schoolwork or go to the ordinary job while bringing your awareness to the numerous ordinary events in your life that some larger intelligence might be using to point the way. I once was going a little too fast down a highway when a large crow flew so low and close across my path I had to slow down. Around the corner was a speeding trap I glided into under speed- Yay! One time you could call a fluke, but this has happened to me too often for me to ignore it. Besides who am I to question the gift? What do I care? It has repeatedly worked!  I’m not saying I’m a favorite of the birds. I am saying there is something trying to communicate with me and, in these cases, I have been paying attention.

We are in a society that demands we have a purpose. Lots of people are trying to sell us their ability to find it. Purpose is a market! But, what if these young people are being deluded? What if they are following in the steps of others who have no better idea than they do which way to go? And what if what they are really seeking is a clear connection to reality- a reality that embraces a great consciousness. What if that consciousness consists of expanding our perceptive abilities beyond what most people, ever, are encouraged to imagine? What if we have to be purposeless to hear it?

We are marginalized in our society for our intuitive experiences, but these represent an expansion of consciousness. One must notice and attend to seemingly subtler information, comparatively and considerably less concrete than what one commonly pays attention to. It is not what we are taught to focus on. Seemingly ethereal, these experiences are difficult to prove. There is not always a direct relationship between what is perceived and some tangible result. Sometimes results are avoided! Often the lack of consistently measurable results makes these experiences of perception suspicious. And yet, a relationship with ever expanding consciousness is at the heart of all these experiences and with passages as well.

Ceremonial events cannot lead to authentic emergence of the true self without the concurrent emergence of ever expanding perceptual awareness. The perceptions require sense awareness and attention in the moment. Youth who seek to know who they are in the world and what they are supposed to be doing here need help. They need those who have a relationship with expanded consciousness and seek ever emerging, awareness of what can be subtly perceived. They need mature elders who are not afraid to notice the truth or what else is there. They need brave guides who are willing to accept the truth of their own experiences and not be crushed by a culture that aggressively undermines the legitimacy of expansive human experiences, be they subtle or loud and extreme.

Part of why this happens is because these experiences often involve receiving access to information with little or no scientific explanation. Sometimes these are prescient events.  Sometimes they are coincidental circumstances or situations for which there is no linear explanation.  Sometimes they are beyond ordinary explanation and cannot be conveyed by words.

Our culture does not support the development of expanded consciousness. Even those who try to facilitate these experiences often measure their success by how many people they serve and how much money they make. There is little direct correlation between current cultural critical indicators of success and human beings actually achieving the expanded consciousness referred to. You have to step outside of what you think you know and what you believe is real- to get here. You have to let go of your limits and rules. You have to let go of any sense of direction, just be and see what happens. And what of the youth? Perhaps they need adults willing to develop and hold an unswerving awareness of our ultimate oneness. They need adults courageous and humble enough to hold that place not knowing what is going to happen. They need adults who are listening hard enough to guide. They need adults who are willing to hold the energy of that connection for them to entrain to.  And above all you must NOT use their passage as a means of achieving what you missed. If that is your true purpose you are not ready.

Contrary to what most people believe no ceremony, community or culture is ever necessary for any of this. In fact, these things can limit the journey. All that is needed is a warrior/guide of great integrity, one with tools and knowledge of how to guide people to develop a relationship with their ability to access all the answers. But the warrior is not stereotypical. The war is inside. It is fearsome, constant, genderless and the only path to authentic freedom, peace and joy. Thankfully, all cultures have warriors like this, who are connected by awareness that supersedes cultural limitations.

Do you really want to be a leader? This is the way of the leader who seeks no followers, everyone’s real journey. What a purpose! What an identity! How courageous! How glorious! Do it.


Achieving True Freedom

May 17, 2013

One time, after returning from a nature awareness class, I was walking in a beautiful wooded area. I knew something about this place, but wanted to shift my attention and bring more alertness to my experience. I stopped to look at a bush whose flowers were quite small, but gathered in large clusters. Looking closely, I noticed the actual flowers which were numerous and intricate. Suddenly, my focus adjusted almost like the lens of an automatic camera adjusting to an image. The flowers came alive with movement! Hundreds of tiny insects of the same color as the pedals, were crawling about them! Startled, I leaned back. My sensing eyes had picked up the movement that my perceiving mind had not and adjusted so I could bring them into my conscious awareness! What else was there in my world that I regularly missed? And, why did I see the insects this time?

One of my biggest roles as the head of Way of the Wild is to help people of all ages recognize their innate unlimited potential. By that I mean, to live their lives not enslaved by limiting beliefs. My goal is that they will use limits only as an orienting tool, a way of contextualizing what is happening around them. Through this, they may not allow limitations to become their truth and thus co-opting their identity and freedom.  Limitations come out of our need to know. Ambiguity is uncomfortable for most people. Knowing somehow gives us a sense of security and sometimes superiority. We are supposed to “get it.” We have seen others be disparaged for not knowing. Unfortunately, we are sacrificing our awareness and the resultant expansion of our consciousness to our self’s need for security and appreciation in the moment. And, we are giving away our power. Is there a compromise position? Yes, remain open. Don’t be satisfied with what you think you know.  Realize that there is always more there than you have perceived and passionately seek for it to be revealed. You are likely sensing more than you are perceiving. Seek out those sensations. Form a relationship with them based in wonder, trust and appreciation. This surely is a great adventure, but one that will keep you humble, protected and is on the path to the heart of wisdom.