A Designed Experience to Deepen Your Connection with Nature
Every walk is different. Whether it's the location, the people, the invitations, the season, the weather, every walk is different. This is a designed difference to enhance and deeper your connection to nature. A few examples include:
January: Building a Grounding Space: The Symbolic, The Sensual, The Spiritual We begin by opening our senses to the natural world around us. We’ll slow down and begin to notice what most humans, as passersby rather than witnesses, often do not.
We’ll explore the symbolic, the sensual and the spiritual in three experiential invitations.
The Symbolic is both a portal and a mirror. We see something in an object that holds a deeper meaning than the object itself. Sometimes, we see ourselves reflected back in a way that requires no words or explanation. We’ll gather, not harvest, one object that speaks or calls to us. Through a somatic invitation, we’ll see how that object both moves with us and informs our own movement. With that object as a focal point, we’ll create some forest art with more gathered, not-harvested, objects and let it inform this idea of grounding with nature. The art that you create you’ll be able to photograph, if you like. Afterwards, the ‘art’ will be returned to the forest.
The Sensual: What we are drawn to activates our senses. It may be the colors, the textures, the scents. We are drawn to pick up a rock, a leaf or touch the bark of a tree. We listen to a bird’s song, or the leaves rustling in the wind. This is a deep connection with nature that brings peace and healing. We’ll gather what truly calls to us. Each participant is invited to bring a natural woven basket, or an old wooden container to hold these gathered, not harvested, objects; something organic to hold these objects.
3. The Spiritual: Gathering treasured objects from nature honors it sacredness and the sacredness of our own lives. We recall a loved one, or an ancestor. This gathering is our own longing to reconnect with the natural world and ourselves. When we come back together, we’ll share our treasures and the meaning behind them. These are the treasures you’re welcome to take home to create a grounding space with nature in your home or garden.
We’ll end with the traditional Shinrin-Yoku (forest therapy) tea ceremony in nature (weather permitting), celebrating each other and our connections.
February: The Silence of Winter It’s said that there are very few places left on Earth that are completely silent; that noise or sound has permeated every inch of our lives, even in the forest. What we can change is the noise or sounds we create walking with nature.
We begin, as before, by opening our senses to the natural world around us. We’ll slow down and begin to notice what most humans, as passersby rather than witnesses, do not. This is part of the protocol of forest therapy; a warmup before going deeper.
After that, the walk becomes a silent experience with the exception of some brief directions and invitations from the guide. Even our sharing circles are influenced by this.
The Sounds of the Forest: Wander around or find a comfortable place to sit. Listen to the sounds of the forest. Perhaps there is a sound that is speaking to you. What does it have to say? Maybe you have something to (silently) share or offer back to the forest.
How Many Seasons? We’ll search for signs of past and future seasons. Nothing exists in a vacuum, so the forest is always in one season with memories of seasons past and promise of seasons to come.
We’ll share more invitations without using our voices: forest art or snow art, nature frames, and more …
Only at the end of the walk, the tea ceremony that is customary in forest therapy, will we vocally share our experience and what we’re noticing. You may notice that less is more, and that may inform how we return to our daily lives as well.
May: The In-Between Time We begin, as we have before, by opening our senses to the natural world around us. We’ll slow down and begin to notice all the worlds within worlds and what’s in motion. The month of May is that in-between time: no longer Spring and not quite Summer. So, we look for things that help ground us. Working with the energy of rocks can be powerful. Long Island has its Glacial Erratics; boulders that tumbled thousands of miles to be deposited here; what shaped them, what they picked up along the way; how they hold the heat of the sun creates opportunities for us to explore. We look to the ground, our foothold, our base and explore the frequencies of things that are beneath our feet. Water is another constant, so where water is present, we interact with it and its constant flow or its wisdom. May Walks may include:
Rock Energy: Big or small, we’ll use rocks to create somatic (physical) experiences. Sometimes, it’s as simple as sitting or lying on a rock and feeling its heat or finding how many ways our bodies can ‘fit’ with a rock. Other times, with small rocks, we connect with the rock’s energy as a ‘body scan’, let it move with us or us with the rock. Sometimes, we connect with rocks like we’ve connected with trees. It all depends on the location and what kind of rocks are available to us.
Water: We’ll find a comfortable place to sit beside the water to meditate or simply enjoy the sensory experience. Water sounds and vibrations calm our brains and nervous systems. Moving waters encourage going with the flow, letting go, movement, change, and creative energy. Still waters encourage self-reflection. Even if we can’t touch or feel the water, we can use it to send messages or carry thoughts.
Earthing: Taking off our shoes or putting our hands on the ground is something we rarely do in our every day lives. Here, we’ll intentionally spend time with the Earth below our feet. We’ll do some gratitude work, creating forest art with gathered, found objects (never anything picked).
Camera/Mirror: In partners, you’ll rotate being the camera and photographer, or the one looking in the mirror, depending on how you choose to play.
And more …
We’ll end with the traditional Shinrin-Yoku (forest therapy) tea ceremony in nature, celebrating each other and our connections.
This is a beautiful series to purchase for yourself or as a gift. You can begin anywhere in the series, attend one or attend all. It's up to you! To find a location near you, click here.