chapter one: presence

Although the idea of being raised by Gaia may sound fantastical, it is not a fairy tale. Rather, it is a way for you to remember that the earth changed the day you arrived.

Imagine for a moment your birth beyond the hospital or bedroom walls where you were born. Imagine your birth beyond the parents, doctors, midwives or nurses who were there to receive you. Expand for a moment, to imagine the land that welcomed your arrival and loved you, just as you were. Imagine the pure joy of the entire ecosystem that surrounded you, knowing you had finally arrived. Imagine the trees and grasses that swayed to welcome you and the sound of the birds who sang the song of the earth and sky into your newborn ears.

Remember, your birth was where your essence and your body met the earth for the first time. From that moment on, you were bonded in a reciprocal relationship with the planet and all of its inhabitants. Because of that bond, when you find joy in seeing a fluttering butterfly, the butterfly also finds joy in exploring you. When the beauty of an old tree takes your breath away, the old tree is happily recycling your exhale into its own body.

You have always mattered deeply to this planet simply because you exist. Without knowing it, you have been raised by other-than-human beings your whole life. You were raised by the wind that whipped through your hair as it groomed the landscape, and by the bees that joyfully pollinated your food. You were raised by beings who live deep within your body, helping digest your food, and by those who have stood tall offering you shade.


Gaia is the powerful soul of this planet, and the mother of all life on earth. Whether you refer to her as Gaia, mother nature or mother earth, she is a wild and untamable force.

She is colorful, sacred, dynamic, raw, powerful, adventurous, unstoppable, free, whole, beautiful, pure, unyielding, honest, authentic, creative, enchanting, gentle, fierce, nurturing, enlivening, trusting, breathtaking, unconditioned, bold, soft and unbreakable. She is every consistency and every paradox that lives inside of us. 

Gaia is complete presence — the impersonal, unconditional love that allows you to explore your humanness with curiosity and compassion. You have been raised by her all along.

Allow yourself to consider what it means that your true essence and your original instructions for living have never left you, and remain very alive inside of you today.

With your mind open and your body soft, allow a natural expansion, one that will connect you to who you have always been, integrated with this entire planet and its ecosystems.

Gaia is who we are, and this adventure is designed to bring that to life.


Gaia is arguably the biggest influence you will have here on earth. Her influence is bigger than that of your parents or teachers or friends. Your  intimate relationship with Gaia began the day you were born and is with you every moment, for as long as you are breathing.

The type of learning the natural world offers can be quite subtle. Its lessons are most apparent when we are fully present. And fittingly, presence may be the most potent lesson you can learn from the natural world. Gaia never veers from the present. She does not spend time lamenting the past or worrying about the future. She always moves in the direction of life.

In every moment, she offers a host of beautiful learning opportunities if we are present to notice them:

The intricate design of a flower demonstrates full expression. An endless army of ants models tenacity. Looking up at the trees, you can learn to stand tall. Watching waves crash to the shore, you see boldness. The rain can remind you how cleansing it is to express your feelings, and gentleness can always be found in a soft breeze. Fierce storms show the power of transformation, while leaves of all kinds demonstrate flexibility. You can learn about stillness by looking at a mountain and gain insights about collaboration from old growth forests. You can see resilience in a long and winding river, and learn about unrelenting focus from a soaring hawk.


Press play to watch Deborah and Naomi share behind-the-scenes stories about creating Raised by Gaia and living a Gaia life.

In this video, Naomi and Deborah share their process in coming up with their unique definition of Gaia.

To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

– Thich Nhat Hanh