Forest Bathing is a sensory nature experience that invites you deeper into relationship with trees and the land; with others on the path; with yourself; and with the universal patterns of life.
I met Natasha in High Park for a guided Forest Bathing walk on a cool autumn day. As the wind picked up, we wrapped our scarfs around our chins and stepped over the threshold between the groomed park and into the scruffy wild nature space. We left behind the noisy city.
We paused to take in the pleasure of being present in this place and reconnected with our breath.
I noticed our shoulders drop in to a more relaxed state. Meandering slowly down the path we are aware of the trees waving in the wind against the contrasting bright blue sky. We turn to all the beings surrounding us to express contentment and awe as we settled into the meadow.
Sitting on the ground, I offer a quote from the book, Reclaiming the Wild Soul by Mary Reynolds Thompson. “Lame Deer, the Sioux medicine man, said, “Every man needs a stone to help him…Deep inside you there must be an awareness of the rock power. Of the spirits in them, otherwise you would not pick them up and fondle them as you do.””
With this sentiment in our hearts I sprinkle a few rocks in front of us, recently warmed for the seasonal chill and stored in a thermos.
As the rocks settled onto the ground, our intuition connects us to the rocks meant for us. We take them in our hands.
In silence, we explore our rocks. After a time, we take turns whispering what they had revealed. After more time had passed, we felt right to leave them behind in the meadow. Perhaps another passerby will enjoy the discovery!
All Forest Bathing walks concluded with a tea ceremony. It is a time to gather ourselves and close out our time together. Natasha and I set an intention to Forest Bathe again, soon.
I am aware each guided walk is slightly different due to seasons, locations and participants, yet paradoxically the same. I sense in myself and observe this in others, that Forest Bathing is a door that opens to a different way of life, a life in relationship with nature; a sustainable life. This relationship is a way of being that breaks the cycle of separation and disconnection.
Forest Bathing points to the idea that our wellness is linked to health of the land, air and trees.
I dream of a time when…
We have healed the thinking and behaviours of believing we are separate from our world. I imagine the kind of world we could dream up when we have reciprocal relationships with nature and partner with our planet.