Holistic Education: What does it mean to be 'Spiritual?'
Updated: Mar 12
I am a child of nature. I grew up in the rainforests of northwestern British Columbia. I'm not sure I realized it at the time but it had a profound effect on me. I love the outdoors. I need the outdoors. I need to feel connected to something bigger than myself. I need to feel connected to the sense of wonder that nature inspires in me.
I'm also the daughter of a biology and marine science teacher. While my mother was very connected to the Anglican Church, it was time with my father outdoors that I remember most as a child. With summer sun until 11pm, I was outdoors and literally running wild for hours and hours beyond the edges of our backyard. Initially, we lived at the very edges of Prince Rupert with Mount Hays looming behind us, and bears and deer regularly roaming through our backyard and beyond. I loved it. I had no sense of danger. This was home, and while we were taught to be careful and never get between a mother bear and her cubs, it was freedom unlike anything I've ever experienced since.
My father taught at the local high school, was a city councillor, co-op member and very involved with environmental projects like increasing the number of salmon in the area, and reclaiming polluted streams. Many years before we were hearing about the danger of over fishing and the idea of the 'environmental movement,' my father was in the thick of it. He was also well connected with the local indigenous people before that was a thing as well. He also had a variety of boats, and spent his summers fishing salmon and getting fresh, 'live' crab from other fishers.
I loved being on boats and how as a family we could roam well beyond the confines of the small town in which we lived that was on Kaien Island. The island was so small that the airport was on another island, and you had to take a ferry to get back and forth between the two. The view from that ferry always reminded me of what a special place I got to grow up in. The smell of the sea, seaweed and the richness of the moisture that fostered so much growth.
I remember my mother taking us to church as well. A big old church that felt impressive and also instilled a sense of wonder in me. At the age of 11, my mother decided the fact that I was not baptized should be corrected and I should be 'confirmed' in the church. I was not interested in this. As a child of nature and science, like my father, I did not believe in God. However, my mother prevailed and I was enrolled in 'confirmation' classes. I said fine, and then promptly told the minister on my first day that I thought it best he know I was only there because of my mother and I did not believe in anything written in the bible or God.