We love to share stories about our Guides and how they came into this work. Humans are story-telling creatures, and we find great inspiration through sharing the stories of how people find and dive into the work of guiding others into greater connection with the nature and the forest. In this post, Guide Julie Hall interviews Brenda Spitzer, Forest Therapy Guide and Staff Writer here at the Association. Here Spitzer tells the inspiring story of her work with Forest Therapy at Morton Arboretum in Chicago, the art of Botanical Drawing, and a sweet story of how she came to discover her 'Spirit Animal'.
I'm sure for many of us in the Nature and Forest Therapy comunity, we have received the question "Why do I need a guide?". How do you go about answering such a powerful inquiry? Forest Therapy Guide Ben "Crow" Page gives us his reasons why a guide is a potent and powerful vehicle to deepen one's connection with nature and make a strong case for the use of a Forest Therapy Guide. May this piece inspire you to consider how a guide may influence your own connection with nature and the forest.
Here at ANFT we love to hear how our Guides, Guides-in-Training, and applicants came to Forest Therapy. Was it a solo walk in the woods, an experience as a child at summer camp, or a romantic getaway to a far-off land that drew them into this practice and love of nature? Forest Therapy Guide Fran Mills shares with us her passage to Forest Therapy and how the forest called her to this work. We hope this story inspires you to reflect on your own relationship with nature and the journey which lead you to this practice.
Some people may wonder, "If I don't have a Guide, how can I take myself out on a Forest Therapy walk?" As a beautiful follow-up to last week's post (check it out here), Forest Therapy Guide Nadine Mazzola gives us a glimpse of a first-hand experience of a self-guided walk. Nadine explores one of the invitations mentioned last week- 'Notice the Sparkles'- and shares a beautiful story of connecting to the Winter-beauty surrounding her. May Nadine's narrative inspire you to step outside this winter. Happy walking!
Winter time out in nature is beautiful. While the trees and plants lie dormant awaiting the warm spring sun, the land becomes draped in rain or snow. While the birds migrate and mammals cozy up for hibernation, the fungi kingdom bloom and spread their magic. Winter time brings with it a whole new sense to the land, yet many people are turned off from exploring and connecting with nature during this time. Fortunately for us, Forest Therapy Guide Brenda Spitzer shares with us three winter invitations to support your connection with nature through the season of cold, darkness and hibernation. We hope the invitations inspire you to bundle up, walk outside, and explore the winter-wonderland.
Here at ANFT Headquarters, we find ourselves heading into the middle of winter with less than 12 hours of sunlight available to us to enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding us. While we love the winter season for what it brings - turning inward, hibernation, wet and rainy (or even snowy) weather, and a sense of quietness- there are days when we long to be out in the vibrant forest, soaking up the dappled sun-rays on our warm skin. Thankfully, we have beautiful words and inspiring imagery we can turn to during our darkened days. We are honored to once again share with you a collection of Haiku written by Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Suzi Minor. Please enjoy and allow these words and images inspire you.
Every now and then we receive a story that warms our hearts and pays homage to the innate healing powers of being in connection with nature. Many people think that one must leave the city or suburbs to benefit from connecting to nature, yet there are opportunities to relate just outside our doorstep. Joan Vorderbruggen tells the tale of her neighbor Lisa, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and used Joan's backyard garden as a refuge throughout her treatment process. Joan writes about how designing gardens to mimic Earth's natural beauty provides opportunities for those who cannot take a stroll through the wild to benefit from spending time outside and in connection with the more-than-human-world.
Here at the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, we are always pleasantly surprised by the caliber of people which are drawn to this work. Their inspirations, stories, and relationships to nature continue to propel us forward as we spread the importance of connecting to the Medicine of the Forest around the globe. We now have guides throughout the United States and Canada in North America, New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere, and several countries throughout Europe. Forest Therapy Guide Julie Hall of California recently conducted an interview with Forest Therapy Guide Alex Gesse of Portugal. Here Gesse shares with us what drew him to Nature and Forest Therapy and some of his inspiring experiences as being a Guide.
The beautiful stories that touch our lives and the beautiful stories of our lives bless us every day and all we have to do is listen. Be it an open heart, an open mind, or the opening of that window to your soul that allows you to listen, every bit of growth and every understanding comes from the connections we make be it to any being or forest or aspect of this world. Listening and telling is how we heal it's how we learn and it’s how we can share in the universal ties of love. Forest Therapy Guide Robin Hancock tell us of sharing stories, of listening, of connection and of understanding through her experiences in the forest that has nurtured her and so many others.
"This is a film about forest. It is also a film about you. The path of healing lies inside you. And when you can learn to carry the forest within you, you are always home." Nitin Das is a wandering filmmaker. He tells stories of uncommon people and extraordinary places. Magical fables from enchanted lands.
See more of his work at Films that Make You Think: Http://www.bit.ly/das-nitin
Please enjoy and feel free to share!
This blog is written by ANFT Staff Writers and guest contributors. Submissions may be emailed to ANFTsubmissions@gmail.com for consideration.