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Wisdom Tree Collective Spotlight: Meet Instructor & Mentor Bill Campbell

Jan 17, 2024

My love of nature began when my mother kicked my brothers and me out of the house so she could get some peace and quiet. From exploring the field and woods just beyond our backyard, to hiking trails across the United States and Europe as a Boy Scout, a campus minister leading students, and as a solo hiker, nature has always welcomed me.

Water has also competed for my attention: canoeing, fishing, teaching swimming lessons, standing watch as a lifeguard, scuba diving, and swimming on a college swim team. Wet or dry, the outdoors have always beckoned. Sometimes, I carry a camera and engage in contemplative photography.

As a seven on the Enneagram, adventure pulls me out to travel in location and in mind. Some of my best times are when I’m walking in the woods with my three grandchildren. A focus of my spiritual direction practice involves hiking, forest bathing, and contemplation of nature. 

Too often we are disconnected and estranged from nature. This dislocation allows us to treat the Earth as a resource for our exclusive benefit. We have ignored our profound interdependence on all other life-forms, and the earth’s vulnerability. I seek to be a careful listener for the trees, as well as my directees. 

Much of our spiritual life is learned and practiced inside in sacred spaces. In worship and prayer, our feet and knees are often planted on human constructed surfaces. Even when we venture outside to pray, we domesticate the ground for our comfort. Much of our understanding about spirituality is about our personal relationship. As Sallie McFague wrote, “Spirituality is not about a one-on-one relationship with God, but about growing in relationship with others, including the natural world” (Blessed Are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint).

—Bill Campbell

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