Forest Bathing: A natural experience

@HorizonLeadership September 2019

I have to admit, I was skeptical. I have been fortunate enough to experience the exhale that nature delivers. It’s a stillness, a calmness, a clarity that I considered very personal and generally, a solo activity. Only when I’ve been in the beauty of the outdoors, alone with my thoughts and able to let go, have I been at the heart of my creativity.

So, when I was invited to share in the beauty and majesty of a forest backdrop, not just on my own, but guided by Janet Frood, with a group, I wondered if I could still dig deep into what lurks behind the layers of my busy life.

I liked that we had brief intervals and at each stop on our Forest Bath, we were offered an invitation. I liked that each person in the group brought their own experience that when shared, was deeply respected. And that you had the choice not to share. I loved that although we were a group, we could still have our own individual experience.

Let me say that I am someone who generally longs to be by water; a lake, a river, a beach, a brook. I can’t say I would have ever thought a tree would ‘speak’ to me, but she most certainly did!

I watched others take the outreached hand of nature and melt into her gentle embrace.

Along each invitation, we shared minute details we hadn’t noticed before; insects, tiny leaves, twisted branches, the breeze, the gentle sounds, the clarity. We had awakenings about things we held close.

Is Forest Bathing magical? I’d say it’s a realization, a gentle prodding to slow down and to tune in to the vibrations of a forest ecosystem. It’s an invitation to be aware, and to share. And like anything, entering with an open heart, and a sense of community, you’ll get out what you put in.

And be prepared for anything, a tree might just whisper in your ear.

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© 2019 Shauna M Rae