Okay, I know I waver between Spring and Fall, but I’ve made a decision (for now at least). SPRING is my favorite season! And yesterday was one of the best reasons I can think of. You see, yesterday was the return of Forest Bathing.
This is not to say that Forest Bathing can’t take place year round, but let’s face it, walking mindfully through the forest is a little more challenging when there’s snow on the ground, or during a heavy rain, or when the temperature dips below freezing. In fact, the last one I had scheduled had to be cancelled because it was the day the “Big Storm of 2023” began. So realistically, there is a Forest Bathing season.
I have never had a bad day Forest Bathing. Yesterday was a reminder to me to make it a regular practice, everyday, and not just when I’m taking groups out. I had been in a bit of a funk over the prior few days, and there’s nothing like Forest Bathing to get me out of a funk, so this one was especially enjoyable.
Over the past several months, I have been searching for new locations for the practice, and was very mindful to put aside my expectations for what it had to look like (look for more on expectations next week). I have a few criteria, logistically speaking, but other than that, I’m open. I’ve often said that you can do Forest Bathing anywhere you have access to nature, so it was time to listen up.
While I was very familiar with yesterday’s spot, as I’ve walked there many times, I’ve only used it once for Forest Bathing groups. For whatever reason, and I’m not even sure what that reason is, it had come up short for me. But with my regular spot still buried in snow, this is where I chose, and it did not disappoint.
Of course it didn’t hurt any that the weather was perfect – bright blue sky, temps near 70, nice cool breeze. The grass was a verdant green, and the songbirds were out in force. Add to that the folks who joined me – a brother and sister, young adults, who were thoughtful and open and a delight to be around. Really, ages beyond where I was then. And with the winter we had, the creek that runs through that particular spot was flowing quite nicely. I couldn’t think of any place else I’d have rather been.
Forest Bathing, as a whole, is a delightful experience. And while I’d rather be doing that than just about anything else, there are parts of it I especially like. Without giving away too much, I want to share those with you now:
Impermanent Nature Art: You wouldn’t think that creating art from nature would be that big a deal. It is. I always include an invitation to bring something to mind when creating this art, and I’m always surprised at some of the things that come up for me, oftentimes very unexpected. Yesterday, I found that I wanted to bring more softness into my life. All that from laying out a bunch of sticks and leaves and rocks and flowers. Go figure. And, by the reactions of other participants, the same is true for everyone.
Forest Tea and Goodies: At the end of the practice, we share a bit of tea and some homemade treats. Sure, no one can resist my peanut butter bites, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with what we’re consuming. The sharing that happens during this time has always been the highlight for me. We’ve spent a couple hours together and are at a place of trust and contemplation and we open up. It’s unique and real and true, in a world that those traits are often hard to come by.
If you have not experienced a guided Forest Bathing Experience yet, it’s time. There are Forest Bathing Guides around the world just waiting to take you. If you’re in the Yosemite area, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-760-0732. I’d love to introduce you.
That’s all for now, I hear nature calling!