'I've found peace, happiness, joy and the love of my life at the same time I said goodbye to my parents.'

If you ask me, Sari Telpner from Ashland, Oregon is one of the most inspiring masters of life I've ever known. ツ She is sharing about her transformational journey of losing both parents and finding the love of her life in a very short time span and her powerful awakening to the natural world more than 10 years ago. A truly inspiring authentic journey of encounters with wholeness.

Sari, who are you? How would you describe who or what you are right now?

My name Sari, a form of the name, Sarah. I'm a mother of two beautiful adult kids; a partner to a "woodsman"; a Reiki Energy Healer; Health Advocate; lover of nature; lover of books; cooking; wild foraged medicines; Health Educator; Forest Therapy Guide; EcoNIDRA Teacher and Dedicated Self Care Advocate.

At the present time I would call myself a transformed human being. This past 11 months has taken me to the depths; walking along side my 94 year old father during his 3.5 month journey on hospice; losing both my parents at once- my dad to heart failure and my mom to dementia, spiraled out of control- now on hospice as she is hours from her last breath. After my father's death I dropped into deep grief. I had a transformative awakening through working with a teacher named, Ana Holub and with her book, "Forgive and Be Free." Ana's book and method have set me free and brought me deep inner peace I never imagined. I moved out old stuck, painful gunk in my body that went back to childhood. Through this process, my older sister and I repaired a long-broken relationship. I've found healing; I've forgiven and asked forgiveness of others in scenarios that go back a lifetime. I've found peace, happiness, joy and the love of my life at the same time I said goodbye to my parents. I learned how to deeply rest and reset my shattered nervous system through EcoNIDRA and through a daily Sit Spot practice in the forest- everyday for months.

Do you recall the moment when you remembered how connected you are with nature? Would you like to share about it?

Though currently I am deeply connected daily with nature, I remember when I went through a powerful awakening to the natural world more than 10 years ago. I had always thought I was deeply connected with nature since I was a child growing up and living in a wooded , rural area in southwest Iowa. In 2012, I was going through a physical health crisis and in looking back I know it was also a spiritual awakening. At the time, I practiced medical qigong daily, in my back meadow, next to my creek. In doing this potent energy practice, qigong, next to the running water, something changed and I began to experience nature in a new way. I was no longer just noticing the trees, birds, water, animals, insects and sky- my senses opened up and I was feeling the world of nature as I never had before. It was alive to me in a new way and I became alive to nature; feeling no longer separate but part of a vibrant aliveness I had no idea existed other than in mental concepts which were only that, concepts. The natural world felt like a new beloved friend I had just discovered. I fell in love with nature in a new way, really for the very first time. With my physical medical condition, I was doing my best to simply survive and make it through the day. I had become so overly sensitive that I could barely manage the sounds of people, music, traffic or tolerate anything but natural lighting. Nature held me fully and soothed me and led me to finding wholeness.

What has changed since then?

I have recovered and found myself and my wholeness through immersing in nature. Just as I reach out to connect with dear friends and have relationships with them, I now have a deep reciprocal relationship with nature. I make time for myself as often as possible to take myself into nature; just me with no other humans. Nature has become a beloved part of my extended family and has been teaching me to speak a new language and to hear and understand a new language; the language of The More Than Human World. I feel it strongly when it's time to immerse and be with my nature family. I find this slow, quiet time in the natural world essential for my well being at every level.

When was the last time you realized you needed to slow down and/or rest more?

I have a self-care routine everyday which allows me to rest and slow down. My self-care practices take most of my morning and some of my afternoon. I have learned to build my work around my self-care needs. Some people think, "I should practice Yoga", "I should meditate." "I should walk." or whatever the practice may be. I practice self care for daily survival and I think there are many people in the world who are falling apart and looking for ways to survive. Our world and stress filled way of life has not given us permission to rest and take time for self care. Our frenzied lives and expectations are causing us to fall apart- physically, emotionally, energetically, mentally and spiritually. It will take a drastic shift to turn this around. A first step is to understand that rest, slowing down, nature connection and a daily self-care routine will bring us to wholeness- individually and as a society.And, it's up to each of us to find the self-care practices we are drawn to and sometimes there is help along the way.

What messages did your body or soul send to you (or is still sending you) when going through challenging times?

To step back; notice what I really need; look within; see the bigger picture of my life; slow down; rest; notice the good around me and listen carefully to my inner voice.

Did you change anything about your life, work, lifestyle, way of thinking, approach to life, relationships...?

I fell flat on my face at a job I loved because it was too intense for me. Due to severe vertigo and hearing loss, I lost all that I thought was my life and had to start over from scratch. I became an energy healer; a health coach/educator and began taking my clients into nature; sharing with them the tools that have helped me find wholeness. All of this came about from the practices that would eventually help make me whole for the first time in my life. I slowed down; I stepped back; I thought I'd lost everything but actually, I only lost what needed to go.

What tips would you like to give to those who experience similar challenging life situations, on physical, mental or emotional level?

Step back; Slow down; Re-examine your life; Get quiet in nature- even if it means looking out your window at the moon; a bird; a tree or feeling the chill of the breeze; feeling or hearing the rain. Find teachers and mentors you feel drawn to; find practices you feel drawn to; find people you feel an affinity with; hold space for yourself to tend to every aspect of your well being; be patient. Change and becoming whole takes time and much inner and outer work. Be gentle, kind and loving with yourself.

Thank you so much Sari!

If you know someone who might get inspired by Sari's words, please don't hesitate to share this interview with them.