December is always a busy month, with the holidays spurring festive gatherings and celebrations. With all this social activity, sometimes it is easy to forget that this season also holds the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Increasingly less sunlight and the external landscape of bare trees, migrating birds, and chilly weather offers a mirror and an invitation to allow ourselves to go inward and slow down. In this week's blog, Andrea Fereshteh shares with us an invitation to slow down and allow the stillness of the winter forest to inspire us into a dreamlike state for deep reflection and internal exploration.
Have you been curious as to what exactly a forest therapy experience is all about? In this week's blog, ANFT Guide In Training Annabel O'Neill takes us on a stunning visual and sound journey with videos she has beautifully shot and edited along her 6-month practicum towards completing her Forest Therapy Guide Certification.
The term "tree hugger" has been used widely in Western culture, and often times with not the most positive connotation attached to it. Through the lens of her own deep connection to trees and nature, guest writer Liza Pullman shares how trees are intelligent and conscious beings that can bring wisdom and healing to the humans that choose to connect with them. This week's blog offers a wonderful summary of some of the most recent literature about the complex capabilities of trees. So the next time someone calls you a tree hugger, you'll be able to assuredly and confidently say thank you.
As we move into the winter months, rainy and snowy weather does not need to limit our ability to connect with nature and the More-Than-Human-World. Many days, we can put on extra gear to protect us from the cold and wet as we enjoy a forest therapy walk. However, there are certain days where the weather is so extreme that the indoors becomes a safe alternative to braving the elements. In this week blog, guest writer and ANFT Forest Therapy Guide Brenda Spitzer shares seven activities that can take place inside and still facilitate a deep connection to the healing power of nature.
Sometimes one of the most challenging experiences in life is to just let go. In this week's blog, guest writer Jessica Collins shares a childhood memory of learning how to navigate a ropes course, which ultimately unfolded into becoming her first experience with really listening to the forest and learning how to trust. By tuning into the quiet and subtle wisdom the forest provides, Jessica was able to release her fear and jump into the unknown.
We often get asked the question: Does the practice of nature and forest therapy only take place in the forest? Vicky Kyan, Mentor and Trainer with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, shares her deep connection with the healing power of water in this week's featured blog. Vicky beautifully offers us a window into her practice of nature therapy at the "beach forest" near her home along the outer edges of New Zealand. We hope this piece inspires you to discover your own "forest", in an ecosystem close to your home and close to your heart.
As the leaves change colors and the trees become bare, it is apparent that in Fall we are transitioning from the vibrant energy of Summer into a more introspective time of rest and renewal in Winter. And just as the natural world around us moves into new seasons, we humans too go through many deaths and rebirths throughout our own lifetimes. In this week's blog, guest writer Denise shares her own experience of how mirroring the cycles of change in the forest provides guidance for connecting to grief and resiliency, which allows new life and hope to emerge.
Who hasn't felt that sense of calm that washes over the body when you find yourself next to a place of water? It is as though the water in our own bodies recognizes the body of water in front of us, and a sense of coming home occurs. Perhaps this is why it is easy to get lost in watching the ocean waves, the bubbling of a brook, or the current of a river. The sense of calm and ease is inherent in being next to water. In this week's blog, guest writer David Davis explores how incorporating time next to water is not only great for overall health, but especially for the health of seniors. May this piece inspire you to get outside and find a body of water to be next to, even if only for an hour. Enjoy!
Indigenous peoples from across the world have relied on the More-than-Human-World for messages and omens. The founding of Tenochtitlan, the ancient Aztec name for what is now Mexico City, is said to have occurred when the prophecy of witnessing an eagle attacking a snake. The birth of a white buffalo calf is heralded as a highly important spiritual event by many plains Native American tribes in the United States. Throughout time, animals and birds have represented archetypal human experiences, and their symbolic powers were revered and respected. In this week's blog post, ANFT Guide in Training and Staff Member Jenny Harrow shares with us her experience of this potent healing symbolism, and invites us to notice what creatures of the More-than-Human-World appear to us in our daily lives. Perhaps they are trying to send us a message, and it is up to us to simply notice them.
Our gardens are like little sections of 'wild' in suburbia. They provide us with opportunity to tend the land, nurture plants, observe the seasons, and interact with the More Than Human World. They offer us solace from our busy lives and drop us into a way of interacting with Time that is more akin to the way of our ancestors did than modern day living. They are, in essence, sanctuaries. In this week's blog post, guest writer Sylvie Young shares with us her story of planting and tending a garden in New Jersey in the aftermath of 9/11, and how this plot of land helped her move the grief afterwards. May this piece inspire you to spend a little more time in your own garden, or to plant one of your own.
Blog pieces are written by ANFT Writers, guest contributors, and introduced by the Blog Editor. Questions can be sentto ANFTsubmissions@gmail.com.