Forest Bathing: A Natural Experience

This is a guest blog by Shauna Rae who participated in her first Forest Bathing walk on International Forest Bathing Day, September 7, 2019.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. I have been fortunate enough to experience the exhale that nature delivers. It’s a stillness, a calmness, a clarity that I considered very personal and generally, a solo activity. Only when I’ve been in the beauty of the outdoors, alone with my thoughts and able to let go, have I been at the heart of my creativity.

So, when I was invited to share in the beauty and majesty of a forest backdrop, not just on my own, but guided by Janet Frood, with a group, I wondered if I could still dig deep into what lurks behind the layers of my busy life.

I liked that we had brief intervals and at each stop on our Forest Bath, we were offered an invitation. I liked that each person in the group brought their own experience that when shared, was deeply respected. And that you had the choice not to share. I loved that although we were a group, we could still have our own individual experience.

Let me say that I am someone who generally longs to be by water; a lake, a river, a beach, a brook. I can’t say I would have ever thought a tree would ‘speak’ to me, but she most certainly did!

I watched others take the outreached hand of nature and melt into her gentle embrace.

Along each invitation, we shared minute details we hadn’t noticed before; insects, tiny leaves, twisted branches, the breeze, the gentle sounds, the clarity. We had awakenings about things we held close.

Is Forest Bathing magical? I’d say it’s a realization, a gentle prodding to slow down and to tune in to the vibrations of a forest ecosystem. It’s an invitation to be aware, and to share. And like anything, entering with an open heart, and a sense of community, you’ll get out what you put in. And be prepared for anything, a tree might just whisper in your ear.

Guest Blogger Bio - Shauna Rae is a freelance journalist and creative writer, public relations consultant, community builder, explorer and vulnerability student who is passionate about the quest for truth. She is interested in advocacy, and in action, in the pursuit of justice and empowerment for all.