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Nathan Cooley: Offering Healing Experiences in Nature to Help People Feel Better

Nathan Cooley: Offering Healing Experiences in Nature to Help People Feel Better


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Nathan Cooley, director/lead outdoor guide at Deep Water Soul Care. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Nathan! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing at Deep Water Soul Care?

Nathan: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! In our big world playground, tough times can make people feel sad. "Hurt people hurt people." Everyone needs a safe place for love and help to release sadness. Healing is like sipping “Deep Water,” making hearts feel better, and spreading that good feeling. Imagine a world where everyone helps each other, spreading love and happiness, and bringing humanity together. As people learn to love themselves and others, they help the earth heal. Instead of just getting by, we can have the strength to give, create, and assist our earth in recovering. Deep Water Soul Care offers online sessions and outdoor adventures, using Internal Family Systems (IFS) and soul care for healing experiences in nature, helping people feel better.

Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?

Nathan: I really enjoy helping people feel better. It makes me happy to see them let go of the pain they've carried for a long time. Even when I was a kid, I could sense how others were feeling. Walking into a room, I could pick up on people's emotions. Dealing with this ability was tough when I was young. But as I got older, I learned how to use this special gift to heal my own hurts and share that healing with others.  When I help others heal, it feels like I'm doing what I'm meant to do on this earth. It comes from the very center of who I am and satisfies my desire for a sense of purpose.

Spiffy: How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?

Nathan: At Deep Water Soul Care, generous donors give money to make our services affordable for everyone. We use a sliding scale based on income, so if you don't make much money, you can pay less. Those with more pay more, helping us offer discounts to those in need. We also provide one free online session to everyone, giving a no-pressure chance to experience our healing work. Our goal is to create a safe space for people from all backgrounds—everyone is welcome and loved, no matter who you are or where you come from. We want everyone to be able to experience the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.  We offer backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing, and rock climbing.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Nathan: We are a new non-profit, and every year more people join our online healing and outdoor experiences. Our community of healed individuals helping others keeps growing. We care for people not only from Colorado but also from all around the United States.

Spiffy: Please share an experience when you faced failure and didn’t give up. What did you learn from it?

Nathan: When I was training to be an outdoor guide, I faced a tough outdoor guide school. I worked really hard and passed most of the final examination successfully. Unfortunately, I missed a few questions on one section and didn't pass the entire course. It was discouraging, and I thought about giving up. But my dream of becoming an outdoor guide was stronger than the embarrassment of failure. I studied hard, retook the failed section, and passed. My dream was starting to come true.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Nathan: I am open to offering more, but I am good for now.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Nathan—it’s been an honor!

Nathan Cooley, a certified Colorado outdoor guide and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), excels as a top rope climbing, white water raft, and backcountry guide. As the director of Deep Water Soul Care, he also practices Internal Family Systems (IFS). (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on December 11, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.