More and more people are discovering the healing properties of nature and, as you might guess, I couldn’t be happier. What sometimes surprises me is the lessons I continue to learn from the forest.
I recently took a family out for their first Forest Bathing Experience. Dad, Mom and two young adult children were traveling from Southern California to celebrate Dad’s 60th trip around the sun. They came up the back way, following the Eastern Sierra and making some great stops along the way (Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, yes!) before crossing over at Tioga Pass. It’s a beautiful drive, albeit long, and they took in as much as they could in the time they had.
I was honored to be a part of his birthday celebration and wanted to give them a memorable experience, as I do with all my groups. I find that after two and a half hours together we all get pretty comfortable with each other. By the closing Forest Tea Ceremony, we’re sharing more than just tea and goodies.
I always find healing in these mountains I love so much and it became apparent that this outing would yield more of that than I expected. For this experience, I included what I call Forest Art or Forest Mandala, which is a collaborative art piece using the gifts of the forest.
As we gathered around the finished work and shared our thoughts about the experience, I was reminded of a tree of life. This brought up some unexpected emotions for me, around the loss of my son. There’s a tree of life from a friend hanging in Jason’s Garden that has special meaning to me. And Jason loved the outdoors, so it’s understandable that I’m reminded of him at times like this.
Moving on to our Forest Tea Ceremony, I was a little surprised to find that I wasn’t done with the emotions that were stirred up. Through some tears I shared with this sweet family about my loss. They were thankful that I shared and even asked some questions about my son – favorite memories, that sort of thing. I could have been embarrassed, but I wasn’t. They made me feel comfortable, and I also felt that it was a testament to what the experience brings.
So if you’re in need of healing, and who isn’t, give forest bathing a try. I’d be honored to guide you and your group through ways to help you connect with nature.