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The Short-and-Sweet Third Person Bio:
A member of the species homo sapiens sapiens, Rebecca Hecking resides happily on planet Earth, in the Milky Way galaxy. Her ancestors have lived here for approximately 3.5 billion years. She was born on what is now known as the North American continent, in western Pennsylvania, USA. She has traced her maternal ancestry back to ice age western Europe through mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H. Prior to that, her ancestors, like yours, ultimately emerged from Africa, the continent where the human story began.
She holds a BS in chemistry and an MA in cultural studies/equity studies. She is a writer on eco-spirituality and environmental topics in general. She gardens organically and reads voraciously. She also teaches interdisciplinary science to non-science major undergraduates at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania, USA, where she lives with her husband of over 20 years, three kids, and three feline companions.
The Longer, Deeper Autobiographical Bio:
For my entire life, I have been seeking connections between the natural and the spiritual. As a child, one of my favorite places was a chapel at a summer camp on Lake Erie, where I could see the lake through the huge stained glass window that overlooked it. I spent hours there, looking at nature (literally) through the lens of spirit, trying to understand it all.
My undergraduate years were spent immersed in the very technical and mathematical world of chemistry, and I graduated with honors in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in that field. Despite my success, I felt an unease, a cognitive dissonance that I did not fully understand. In 1990 I left a high paying job as an industrial chemist to move to my present home in northwest Pennsylvania near my husband’s place of work, not knowing what my future career path would be.
Babies arrived as babies do, and by 1997 Julia had been born. She joined her brothers Steven and Matthew, born in 1993 and 1995 respectively. Our family was complete. Shortly after her birth, I found myself struggling with the received faith of my childhood. In the course of wrestling with theology and doctrine, I found that what resonated most strongly with me were the ideas of thinkers like Matthew Fox and Hildegard of Bingen, who incorporated the natural world into their spirituality in a significant way. In the end, I found myself developing a very personal spiritual practice that was grounded in a scientific understanding of the world and had the Sacred Earth at its core.
In 2004, I traveled with renowned feminist theologian Carol Christ on a study tour of Crete. There, I discovered both an ancient and modern culture where spiritual practice is deeply connected to the land itself, where the very stones and trees are carriers of sacred story . It was a deeply profound experience that strongly connected with my own nascent natural spirituality and influenced its trajectory in coming years.
Later that same year, I embarked on a very different educational venture when I enrolled in an interdisciplinary Master’s program. In it, I studied topics as diverse as indigenous Arctic literature and sociological theories of gender. My focus was cultural studies, examining the underpinnings of Western culture, and equity studies, which focused on concepts of how societies conceptualize privilege. My final project examined the roots of contemporary consumer culture through the lens of early twentieth century gender-based advertising. In 2007, I completed the program and received my MA. In 2008, I began to teach undergraduates part-time, integrating science and broader cultural issues through a course designed for non-science majors.
I began to write professionally in 2007, and quickly found that my background and interests led me to write about environmental issues. As time passed, I found that my ever-present spirituality began to work its way into the forefront of my writing. Finally, the full range of my background and interests began to come together into a harmonious whole. I had found the cure for my undergraduate unease.
In January of 2008, I began to write “The Sustainable Soul,” an online eco-spirituality column at www.thelohasian.com which ran as a weekly feature. It was picked up by a second website, www.naturallysavvy.com in April of that year where it morphed into “Green Spirit.” I continued to write for both online and print publications about eco-spiritual topics, and began to blog on my own in 2009. In March of 2011, my first book, The Sustainable Soul: Eco-Spiritual Reflections and Practices, was released by Skinner House books.
I have come to realize that my work as a writer is to help people live mindful and meaningful lives by developing and sharing a spirituality that nurtures, heals and sustains both the individual and the planet.
Blessings on your journey.