New York, New York: The Big Apple. What comes to mind when you think of this location? Concrete? Sky scrapers so tall you can't even see the top? People? Cars? I'm sure you don't think of nature or trees or flowers. When I first think of nature and New York City, the two sound like antonyms to me. But I am so wrong. New York City resident Jill Lanier is here to set the story straight- that one CAN connect to nature in downtown Manhattan; you just have to look for it. In this week's blog, Lanier takes us on a walking tour of the tiny pockets of natural goodness that can be found dead smack in the middle of the concrete jungle. We hope this piece inspires all you urban dwellers to expand your notion of nature, and to connect with the more than human world that can be found alongside and among the grandeur of the city.
To the surprise of many, Medical Doctors are listening to the call of the Forests. Park Prescription Programs are popping up around the globe, and slowly but surely the Western Medical establishment is recognizing the benefits of nature and forest therapies on the mental health and physical wellness of their patients. This, is a beautiful thing. This week's blog post is the story of one medical doctor's journey to the healing forests of Japan- the birthplace of Shinrin Yoku and Forest Bathing. It is a beautiful story of remembrance, admiration, and recognition of the simplicity of 'just being'.
The forest holds nuggets of wisdom that show us ways to live in balance and harmony in our lives. The most observed of these teachers- besides those of the plant kingdom- are the birds. Living high in the tree tops, soaring from tree to tree, and spending little time on the ground, bird are our winged allies while in nature. In forest bathing experiences, bird language brings us into the intelligence of our bodies in order to translate, and very often provide spectacles and display which sometimes mirror what we are experiencing in our own lives. Guest writer Amanda Foxcroft helps us translate some of their wisdom. She guides us into noticing how our feathered friends' lives support our own and invites us to incorporate the way of the bird into our daily experience.
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration,
caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
In Forest Therapy, we wonder a lot. We wonder what will happen if we plop a stone into a stream. We wonder what the dirt may taste like on our fingers. We wonder where in the forest is that creaking tree we hear. That is what Forest Therapy is; wondering and acting (or not acting) and then noticing. As children, we are filled with wonder- curiosity supporting our every decision- yet somewhere along the way on the journey to adulthood, we lose it. We lose that lustful sense of wonderment. However, this doesn't have to be so. In this week's blog, guest writer Rebecca Lexa provides us with five ways to incorporate more wonder into our lives with the intention of expanding our awareness to incorporate the beauty and nature surrounding us at all times. We hope this piece sparks wonder within you and guides you on a curious journey.
Credibility of nature therapies is increasing around the world. More and more health care and medical systems are coming to recognize and validate the healing potentials found in nature exposure, and are moving towards implementing these 'alternative' therapies into practice. This is especially exciting for us here at the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, whose mission is to mobilize health care networks to connect people with nature. The following article was sent to the ANFT headquarters by the Nursing @ Georgetown University Online FNP Program Team, and is an incredible resource of cited scientific articles, educational materials, and an infographic which is free to use by the public. The article describes the ways in which nurse practitioners are incorporating nature prescriptions into their practice, and offers tools for other nurse practitioners to bring more nature to their patients. This high-caliber article is testament to the growing trend of nature therapies in Western medical system, and we are honored to share it with you here.
Blog pieces are written by ANFT Writers, guest contributors, and introduced by Blog Editor Denell Nawrocki. Submissions may be emailed to Denell at ANFTsubmissions@gmail.com for consideration.