Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

Coaching and consulting. Something's calling. It's your life.

The Best Way to Find Yourself and Other Things Your Smartphone Won’t Tell You


Our relationship has seemed a bit like Carrie and Big’s, but this summer, we’re getting back together. For good.

Nature and I have broken up numerous times.

Like the time I got systemic poison ivy on a three week camping trip. I can’t even describe the experience of head-to-toe blisters…or how many rounds of steroids it took to get that under control.

Or the time a marmot chewed the handle off my hiking pole mid-backpacking trip.

Or the time I had an allergic reaction to a yellow-jacket bite and had to be escorted around our family vacation in an “adult stroller”. Not a wheelchair. A literal, adult stroller.

And then there were the everyday-life-tasks of paying bills, raising a child, working, etc. that slowly chipped away at my relationship with Nature.

Things just kind of…drifted apart for us.


For years, my work focused on the outdoors and the environment—two masters degrees in the field, leading nature hikes, directing a nature center, working for the Park Service and Audubon. . . you get the picture. I focused my work around something I loved. I spent my days talking about the environment and all of my free time playing outdoors. It was my job.

But, it was more than that. I learned about myself and the true meaning of unconditional, deep connection.

I’m tied to the earth, dependent on it, part of it. So are you. No matter how many times I’ve forgotten or gotten distracted or don’t want to be a part of it, I am reminded that just by being a human who walks on this planet, I am connected to something much bigger than myself.

When we get into the natural world we find a rhythm that isn’t fabricated by our human timeline. Nature doesn’t give hoot what your job is, how big your house is, how much you weigh, how old you are, or when you think you need to have your to-do list completed.

Nature takes us as we are. It’s where we find connection to our deep truths, peace, and clarity. In that quiet, the online chatter fades away, the “why would you do that’s” are silenced, and even the critical voices inside us hush.

And the voice we want to listen to—our inner voice, our intuition—speaks.

When I feel physically sick, out of alignment, depressed, anxious, or I can’t figure out my next steps in life, I know I’ve lost my sense of connection – to my Self, Source, the sacred, the earth.

Humans have a primal need for deep connection and we need to experience it to heal, find joy and purpose, and remember who we truly are underneath the facade.

Without that connection we’re only scratching the surface of our life’s potential.
This is how so many of us function…but is that how you want to experience your life?

I believe in the depth and beauty in each and every one of you. I want you to experience that for yourselves. I want your loved ones, communities, and the earth to experience the you that lives beneath the surface.

This summer, I invite you to reconnect.

Start by getting into nature.

If you give this relationship a chance, you’ll be amazed at who you’ll find.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear how you connect with the earth and what it does for you.


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