Melody Rose: Helping to save Mother Earth– one person at a time
by Mary Dufton
Melody Rose has a unique profession: she is Canada’s first certified nature connected coach. Although most of us have heard of life coaches, many do not know what a certified nature connected coach does.
Melody explains, “Nature connected coaching is ideally coaching in nature, but it can be done online or by phone because we are nature. When indoors, we can use our imagination, memory, and visualization. A big part of nature connected coaching for me is helping people to connect to their true selves, to all the parts that make up who they are. That’s when true healing and growth can happen.”
Melody was born in Oakville and now lives in Chilliwack, BC. She is a single parent to 10-year-old Jennifer. The complications from being born three months premature led to Melody developing hydrocephalus. From birth to the age of four or five, she had about seven surgeries to replace the two VP (ventriculoperitoneal) shunts.
Melody’s hydrocephalus was stable until the left shunt became brittle and broke at her neck when she was 20 years old. The right shunt broke when she was 29 years old, the result of apparent “debris” in the catheter in her brain. It was replaced about a year later when she was five months pregnant.
Melody’s family lives nearby including her brother, sister, and parents, except for one brother who still lives in Ontario. “I have small group of awesome friends that I am super grateful for. Day to day life, being a single mom and self-employed without co-workers, can feel like I am on my own sometimes. But I value my time to myself and maybe this stemmed from feeling alone with hydrocephalus. I have connected with a few others with hydrocephalus in recent years that have really impacted my life and I plan on keeping and growing those relationships.”
As a child, Melody was always outdoors with her family enjoying nature. They camped all summer. However, Melody’s mother was protective of her and concerned about hydrocephalus. “My mom was a serious helicopter parent. I remember not being allowed to take karate in grade or middle school when I wanted to. I never played contact sports. I did take kickboxing (without sparring) as an adult for five years though. I have also decided not to scuba dive or bungee jump!”
Today, Melody has a vegetable garden. She had grown plants for years for work. One of the main reasons she moved to BC was to live in a rainforest. “As a kid, I was really into the Amazon rainforest. I even did a speech on it in grade school.”
Melody believes that because we all have different life experiences and perceptions, life coaching in nature allows individuals to tap into their true selves to create the life they want, need, and deserve. Although each coaching session can be held on-line, Melody prefers that they are conducted in person and outdoors.
Each session involves the participant setting goals to help them become aware, accept, and deeply connect with all parts of their true nature toward meaning and purpose. “I often say that I’m helping save the planet one person at a time because when we have insightful, impactful, and memorable experiences in nature, we want to take better care of Mother Earth.”
Originally, Melody took a life coaching program, but felt something was missing. Her background is in nature-related studies, wildlife and forestry conservation, crop production and protection and horticulture production. When she found the nature connected coaching program online, she knew she had found the right fit with people who talked, knew, and felt the same way she did about trees, nature and the earth and their connection to it. For her, these connections were also about recognizing the healing properties of nature and that we need to do more to care for the earth.
“It took me a couple of years to sign up for the full program because I had to travel to Colorado and did not know, as a single mother, how I could do it. But one morning I woke up and just knew I was going to.” Soon after her studies began the COVID-19 pandemic hit and so she completed her courses online. She completed the program and received her certification in June 2020.
“There are many healing qualities in nature from the bacteria in the soil to the chemicals emitted from trees that are good for our immune system. Just being in nature helps regulate our nervous system, boost creativity, lower blood pressure, help us to be mindful and grateful.”
Melody and Jennifer spend a great deal of time just being outside — walking their dog, going to the forest, growing food, or simply hanging out in their yard. Jennifer knows, like her mother, that we all connect to nature in our own way and time. Melody is excited to see what that looks like as her daughter grows up. They have both been part of Fridays for Futures, which is a youth-led and organized movement to act on climate change. They have travelled to see the largest known Douglas Fir trees in the world in Port Renfrew, BC and have seen first-hand the impact of old growth logging and met the people who have been fighting to stop it.
Melody believes that no one is ever alone; learning that later in life has made an enormous difference to her. “We are all connected. I recently read somewhere that Mother Nature is and has always been there for you. That is why they call her Mother Earth and that hit hard for me. It is so true, and I think what has led me to where I am today.”
Thankfully, Melody’s hydrocephalus has remained stable since the last surgery when she was pregnant with Jennifer. But she knows that one day she may require more surgery. As she is getting older and has responsibilities as a mother, she sometimes feels nervous. For most of her life she has often felt different, separate, and alone, but has done a lot of work on herself, especially in the last decade to find a place of self-acceptance and self-love.
For anyone with spina bifida and or hydrocephalus, Melody shares the following words of wisdom: “You can live a great life. It is a choice you make every moment, every morning, and every day. Even if you must take one moment, or one day at a time, it is possible. A medical condition does not have to limit who you are.”