Welcome to The Association of Nature and Forest Therapy blog — our storytelling space for ANFT staff, guides and community members. In this collection, you will find stories of how people and nature connect. This will include perspectives from science, spirituality, psychology, philosophy, and many more. As we say in Forest Therapy, it's all welcome here. We hope you will explore
this space and let your attention draw you towards what will serve you in your own journey to remember your place in this world.
Through my relationship to the land here in Southern California I saw and remembered my true nature. In the late fall of 2017, I went on a forest therapy walk and communicated more deeply with the non-human world than I can ever remember doing as an adult. My body was healing. I noticed that the stronger my relationship was with the land in my home of Los Angeles, the stronger my body became. I trusted my body again, and that trust allowed me to listen to my body’s relationship to the natural world.
During our graduation call, Nadine asked our group to envision our experience of becoming a guide like many droplets of water on a silver spider web, lit up by the sun. We were asked to choose one droplet to talk about but we all had So. Many. Droplets.
Some people may wonder, "If I don't have a Guide, how can I take myself out on a Forest Therapy walk?" Forest Therapy Guide Nadine Mazzola gives us a glimpse of a first-hand experience of a self-guided walk. Nadine explores the invitation - '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!
How do we reconcile the fact that in the United States, most of the wilderness we enjoy for recreation once belonged to communities of Indigenous people? This week, author Felix Blackwell considers the duality of natural landscapes as both a site of pleasure and of pain. He describes his attachment for a particular forest, and reveals what he discovered about its past.
Making art has the power to clear our minds and make room for a creative and healing process. The beautiful thing about connecting to nature this way is that there are no lines to stay inside and your expression can flow freely in harmony with the world around us. Read more as Nature and Forest Therapy Guide and artist, Brenda Spitzer, teaches us an invitation she uses on forest therapy walks.
We hold the story that the world is sentient, and that it wants to be in right relationship with humans. The poet Mary Oliver speaks of this in her deeply inspiring poem "Wild Geese:" "the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the Wild Geese, harsh and exciting, over and over announcing your place in the family of things."