This has been a busy time of Forest Bathing for me. In the past couple weeks, I have taken several groups out that have booked the experience through AutoCamp Yosemite, a high end luxury camping property. Their vision aligns with mine – to create an experience that fosters a love of and deeper appreciation for nature.
As I guide this experience for more participants, and as I continue to learn from sources like my Morning Altars class, I have adjusted and crafted and created a practice that moves people and that I am proud of.
I’ve recently incorporated much of my Morning Altars practice in to the Forest Bathing Experience and it has really enhanced the experience. During Forest Bathing, we create Nature Art from things we find on our journey. Thanks to Morning Altars training, I now invite participants to create this art around a question. For example, and appropriate to the Fall season, “What is something in your life that you want to let go of, to release?”
I knew I was on to something when I took two sisters out. One of the sisters was a non-English speaker, and I am not multi-lingual, so the other sister translated. When it came time to create the nature art, both sisters were moved to tears by the process. Both received from this practice exactly what they were meant to receive. I was reminded that nature is the teacher. I am only here to guide.
I also find that no two excursions are alike, and the experience is different for each participant. I adjust the experience to meet the group I am taking out. This last week was the first time I had solo Forest Bather. This was a whole different experience for me, and as always, I let the day inform the activities. We ended up doing a lot more talking and sharing, even when I would usually suggest quiet introspection, because that’s what the day called for. As I often do, I received the nicest thank you email that validated it was the right thing to do.
And then there was my most recent group, a brother and sister celebrating a birthday by connecting and communing with nature. I knew they were both very open to whatever gifts nature provided them, and I was able to go a little deeper into the practice. They shared that they had lost their mother 20 years ago (they were now in their 40s), and felt a “mama presence” with me, which was exactly what they needed, and maybe just what I needed as well. In her words: “You have left a such a sweet impression upon our hearts and we are forever changed by our day with you.” Sigh…
This is why I share this practice. The impact on people is often profound and, as I shared with someone lately, even when you don’t believe in it. Young, old, male, female, doesn’t matter. It’s not some airy-fairy practice. Science says nature heals, and I’ve seen it and experienced it myself.
Each person I take out touches me deeply. I am taught something by each one, as well as by nature. Every single time. Without fail. Come with me. Come see for yourself.