Home Reverencing Winter’s Journey


  • Cary Gaunt, Ph.D.
    Cary Gaunt, Ph.D.

    Cary Gaunt, Ph.D. is an ecospirituality scholar, teacher, and guide who offers retreats, workshops, courses, and nature-based spiritual formation programs around the country. Her engaged spirituality informs her vocation as a highly accomplished sustainability and climate responsibility professional with over 35 years’ experience leading organizations across all sectors to develop and implement watershed management, sustainability, and/or climate action plans.

    Two great loves comprise the heart of Cary’s life and work. One is a profound connection with the earth formed by her childhood spent exploring the water resources, limestone ledges, fields, and forests of her family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Her childhood kinship with the natural world was strengthened through her spiritual and academic journeys and a lifetime of listening to the land.

    Cary’s Ph.D. and post-doctoral research explore the life paths and formative experiences of Christian and Buddhist role models of sustainable living and leading. She weaves their wisdom into the programs she offers, and her undergraduate and graduate teaching. Cary is currently working on two books that highlight the life stories of these extraordinary role models and illuminate the specific ecospirituality practices that formed them.

    Her second great love is a deep spirituality comprised of meditation, Centering Prayer and other contemplative practices, Soulcraft™, wilderness rites of passage and nature-based approaches to inner transformation and discernment. Cary offers programs in all these modalities. She has extensive training through the Animas Valley Institute, the School of Lost Borders, and Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.

    In May 2021 Cary left her position as the award-winning Director of Campus Sustainability at Keene State College to prioritize her ecospirituality work. Cary offers (1) scholarship and teaching on ecological awakening, nature-based leadership, and ecospiritual role models, (2) myriad programs on ecospiritual formation and nature-based leadership development, and (3) consulting services to faith-based organizations, churches, and retreat centers seeking to develop holistic responses to the climate crisis, including program design, goal setting and planning, and facility transformations to meet the growing global call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become free of fossil fuels.

    Cary is currently working with Genesis to help reinvigorate its legacy and commitment to ecospirituality. She also is a lead teacher and guide with the Center for Nature and Leadership. In everything she does, Cary is committed to supporting organizations and individuals in moving beyond sustainability to restoration and flourishing.

  • Colleen Mollica M.A.A.T.
    Colleen Mollica M.A.A.T.

    Colleen Mollica, M.A.A.T. is the Associate Director for Interfaith Social Justice Outreach and Student Leadership Training at the Albert and Amelia Ferst Interfaith Center at Westfield State University. She is also a Certified Mindfulness Instructor for the Mindfulness Institute for Emerging Adults (MIEA), Kripalu Certified Mindful Outdoor Guide, Interfaith Campus Minister, and Laudato Si’ Animator with over 25 years of experience facilitating spiritual, educational, and mindfulness activities. Colleen is passionate about protecting the more-than-human world and nurturing the human spirit. She believes that time in nature reduces our collective stress and anxiety, establishes our sense of well-being, and nourishes our transcendent spirit. Operating from an integrative framework of spirit, mind, and body, Colleen is dedicated to the work of inspiring others who are passionate about social and environmental justice to cultivate conscious change on a personal, communal, and global scale.


Dec 14 2024


9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Reverencing Winter’s Journey

How often do you honor nature’s winter rhythm of slowing down, getting still, and quieting body and mind to rest and prepare for spring’s emergence? We live in a time and culture antithetical to quiet reflection and rest. This season is a paradox. It is dark and cold. Many if us feel anxious, disoriented and unsettled. Yet, the holiday lights are twinkling and the solstice that signals returning light is just a few short days/weeks away. This season, we must give ourselves permission to turn inward, withdraw into silence’s loving embrace, and reflect on how we want to emerge in the spring to serve creation, others, and ourselves.

Wisdom teachers tell us that spiritual maturity is being able to honor these conflicting thoughts and feelings without trying to reconcile them. Like these teachers, we look to nature and Spirit as our guides, asking “ What does winter mean for me and Earth, our common home? How is this period of darkness and quiet stillness essential in nature and in my life? How are we adapting and embracing the season?” Using guided meditations, prayer, praise, nature exploration, silent reflection, storytelling, and ceremony we weave together practices of contemplation and action. Preparing for winter means remaining resilient in troubled times while welcoming inner stillness to nourish our spirit to prepare for new beginnings and making change for the common good.

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