Encountering The Medicine Of The Forest

In my late 30’s, I became a full time caregiver while working full time as a middle school counselor, to my then husband who had broken his neck in a diving accident and lived with quadriplegia. The next 15 years were very stressful and I found myself becoming overwhelmed. With no breaks in caregiving, I was growing increasingly disconnected from myself. I put myself on autopilot and in survival mode. It was difficult to even admit to anyone, including myself, that I was having such a difficult time. After all, I was a trained counselor. But that training did not exempt me from this experience.

Over the years my attempts at self-care left me empty and wondering why they did not provide me any long-lasting relief. My spiritual needs were changing as the chasm of disconnection was growing larger within me.

When my brother gave me a copy of The Art of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama, I read it from cover to cover and noticed something awakening within me as I began practicing mindfulness meditation. Finding a renewed connection to myself gave me respite from the crazy amount of stress I was living in. Life began to look a lot different from the inside even though my external circumstances were increasingly stressful.

Fast forward to 2012, life changed as my role as caregiver suddenly ended and I had a new title…widow. This left me wandering in a cavern of deep emptiness and a need to reinvent myself. What was I going to do with my life moving forward?

Mindfulness became a new focus for my life. I got trained in deepening my meditation practice as well as teaching it to my students and staff at the school where I was counseling. This stuff worked so well for me, I felt very eager pass this along to others.

Along side this was my lifelong love of nature and being outdoors. After a deeply meaningful encounter with some giant redwood trees in 2019, I came to understand how to be in relationship with the natural world, rather than a visitor. One thing led to another and I found myself taking my meditation practice outdoors. I got more training in this practice as well.

Learning that I am part of nature began to heal some deep wounds in my being. My sense of who I was was changing toward feeling connected to something much greater than myself.

In 2020, I was introduced to the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) and was pleased to learn I could become trained in bringing mindfulness, people and the forest together. I experienced so much restoration and renewal that I knew I wanted to share this. My own on-going forest therapy practice continues to provide respite, resilience and joy while navigating the challenges and hardships this life often has to offer.

Becoming a forest therapy guide makes sharing this practice possible while allowing walk participants to create their own journey to encounter themselves without any agenda or prescribed outcomes from me as the guide. We each get to decide what we need from these experiences with nature.

So, If you are interested in having the experience of slowing down, restoring connections to yourself and the natural world, and reducing your stress, this practice could be a good fit for you. Come experience the medicine of the forest by encountering yourself in nature like never before while finding much needed respite from the race pace of life.

Reach out to me using my contact page link above.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir