A Walk in Nature
Wash your spirit clean with mindful moments in nature.
Stress and stress related diseases have become prevalent in modern society stealing away the health and well being of millions. Increasingly, attention is being turned towards the natural world, towards forests, as a way for us to reconnect with our home, our roots, our earthly foundation. Natural therapy is seen as a way to lower our stress levels, improve our quality of life by lifting our mood, soothing our nerves and allowing us time to just breathe and be. Forest bathing in Japan is known as ‘shinrin- yoku’, while an ancient practice, the term, shinrin yoku was only coined in 1982 by Tomohide Akiyama though to be fair going into nature for healing has a long tradition in many if not most of our cultures.
Say goodbye to destination walking for as we know all the joy is in the journey.
As a child, I had the good fortune to grow up in New Zealand in a small suburb that allowed me to hop on my bike and ride through the forest. I spent hours unsupervised with my friends wandering the woods, climbing trees, rolling in grass, making huts, and just being outdoors. Sure, it wasn’t a vast wilderness, yet it gave me my first taste of being still and silent, of being in awe with the beauty and grandeur of nature, perhaps even my first taste of meditation. One of my favourite place to be as a child was up the macrocarpa pine tree where my father had built a simple flat platform, and all the branches had grown around it creating a natural tree house up in the sky. I would spend hours daydreaming, watching clouds, reading books, drawing and generally avoiding my brothers. The sticky gum on my hands was heaven, and the aroma of pine leaves would be the last thing I would smell before I fell asleep.
Intuitively, I believe, we know that time spent outdoors in nature makes us feel relaxed and can act as preventative medicine. The idea behind this resurgence of forest healing practice involves the simple act of being present with yourself in a natural setting.
The earth invites us in and she supports us in so many ways. When we walk in nature we are held between heaven and earth through gravity. We embrace and can feel the energy and rebound each step takes. It is almost as if you can feel those unhealthy energies discharge into the ground. Earth invitations ask us to cultivate and cherish a connection to the physical earthly realm where our lives unfold.
Give your full attention to the experience – notice your surroundings, notice your bodily sensations and notice how our senses bring us into a deep primordial conversation with the forest. We can do this walking slowly; standing in one spot; sitting quietly.
Engage Your Senses
Walk slowly, walk silently and notice the movement in the forest – a cobweb drifting, a feather fluttering in a nook of a tree, the sunlight sifting through the leaves, the leaves moving, the sound and movement of water. Notice the scents, perfumes of the forest – the smell of the grass, the leaves, the flowers. Reach out and touch the textures of the bark, the leaves of the trees, feel the soil drift through your fingers.
The Joy of Tiny Things
Paying attention, I mean really paying attention to tiny detail – the colour of a leaf, the lines on a flower petal, the softness of lichen, the tiny cups of fungi. Now this may mean you need to get down on your hands and knees or lean in really close or going of the path and exploring whatever has caught your eye.