Greetings! My name is Josie Strick, and I’m a recent graduate of the Rising Earth Immersion program. I’m so excited to see that you’re interested in being a part of this beautiful community and learning experience. I remember when I was also a prospective participant last Spring. I felt something in my gut and heart that led me to taking the leap and applying, which I’m sure you’re experiencing; too. My advice for you is to follow that feeling because it will lead you to an immensely transformative experience. It’s okay and normal to feel anxious or unsure, and that’s why I’d like to share with you a little about my experience in the Rising Earth Immersion program.
Before attending this program, I felt lost as a recent college graduate navigating the world of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being surrounded by environmental and social catastrophes, I struggled to find ways to process the injustices that were occurring in a meaningful way. I knew in my gut that I wanted to figure out what my role was in working toward justice and healing. This calling led me to this program, even though I wasn’t 100% sure in what ways it would transform my life, spirituality, and purpose. However, after only a few weeks at the Eco-Institute, I felt a shift happening inside me. Living and growing with a community isn’t easy. We had to work through our individual and collective struggles in order to grow together, and in order to grow an unconditional love for each other. I genuinely had never felt a love so deep for a group of humans before, even though we all came from different places, backgrounds, identities, and more.
The connection that we grew with each other, and to the land we were on, led me to the most important realization of my life: that we are all interconnected, and that Earth is alive. I was re-awakened to this truth, and learned to see the sacredness in everyday life. I learned that sacredness can show up in so many different ways such as waking up and going to sleep every day in a forest with my yome mate, planting seeds and tending the garden together, taking long drives with my cohort, sleeping under the stars together in the garden and gazebo, learning and unlearning together, and being challenged as a community. All of this ultimately made us stronger and more connected. I discovered the power of collective hope, faith, and love within this program, which have allowed me to understand my role and purpose within the fight for social and environmental justice and healing. I now understand that we can only get through that fight and succeed through the power and love of community.
Being a part of the Rising Earth Immersion program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If it has come into your life or caught your attention, I think you should follow that instinct and go for it!