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Appendix C: A Library of Partnership Invitations

The following list of invitations has been submitted by trainers, mentors, and guides. In reviewing them, notice the nuances of how they are offered. These nuances will help define differences in style, form, and structure that may assist new guides in finding what works best for them.

A growing catalogue of partnership invitations and recordings is on the Guide Gateway under Guiding Practice > Invitations. Check it out!

Sit Spot

“This invitation is very simple. Just wander out, let your body find a place to sit, and just sit there. Give yourself permission to do nothing. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

An alternate wording: “The Spanish have a saying, ‘Go do nothing for a while, and then relax.’ For this invitation, I’d like you to do just that. Find a place to sit and do nothing for a while, and then relax. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Texture Gathering

[invitation in 3 Parts]

Part 1: “Wander out and use your sense of touch to explore the textures of this place. Be curious. You might think you already know what something feels like until you’ve touched it. Bring back at least one texture to this circle. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 10 minutes.”

Part 2: “Let’s stand in a circle. Now, if you brought back more than one texture, choose one, and put the rest by your feet. We’ll come back to those. Now, we are all going to pass what is in our hands to the person to the left. When you receive, use all your senses to explore what you have been given. We’ll do this in silence. [After a minute or so], OK, now pass to the left again. [After a minute or so], And again…[Do this until people receive whatever they started with.]”

Part 3: “Now, pick up any other textures you brought back with you. This part of the invitation I call ‘reverse Jenga.’ Some of you might have played Jenga before. It’s a game where you take one block out of a tower at a time. This is the exact opposite. We’re going to go around the circle and add one thing at a time to the center until our hands are completely empty. There are no rules to this. Things don’t have to be touching, and they don’t have to be in a tower. We’ll start with whoever has the biggest thing.”

Following the Scents  

“Wander about and use your sense of smell to explore this place. I wonder how many smells are here? Many things become more fragrant when you touch them. Try smelling with your eyes closed. I wonder where those smells might take you? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Shhh, Listen

“Wander about and listen to music of this place. I wonder how many sounds there are here? I wonder what they all sound like together? Maybe you can try to learn the songs of this place? I wonder if you can echo them back? Maybe you have a sound of your own you’d like to add to the music of this place? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Befriending the trees

“This is fairly self-explanatory. Wander out, find a tree that is calling out to you and sit with it like it is a friend. Perhaps listen with all your senses. I wonder what the tree might have to offer you? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Water Play [For use near a creek.]

“First, find a place to sit along the creek where you can hear my voice. Then, let’s just gaze at the water. [Pause]. Now, let’s close our eyes and listen to the water. [Pause a few moments]. Now, hold your hand about an inch above the water, and very slowly let it descend until it is just resting on the surface. [Pause]. Now, let the water pull your hand in slowly. [Pause]. Now that our hands are in the water, I wonder how many sounds we might be able to make with this water? [Pause]. And I wonder if you can imagine your fingers have turned to paintbrushes, what we might be able to paint on the waters’ surface? [Pause]. Now, using your hands like a cup, hold some of this water in your hands. Notice the sensations as it returns back to the creek. [Pause]. And now, before we move on, spend some time with this water. I wonder where it comes from and where it goes? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 10 minutes.”

All the Little Things

“Wander out and use your vision to notice the littlest details you can find. I wonder what you’ll find? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

An Open-Hearted Wander

“First, let’s close our eyes and put our hands over our hearts. Can you feel your heart beating? I wonder where your heart might want to go, what direction it is pulling you in? When you’re feeling ready, open your eyes, and with your hands still over your heart, let it lead you through this forest. Perhaps it’s pulling you to something or somewhere? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Rock Postures [For use around a bunch of large rocks.]

“Wander out and meet these rocks with your body. I wonder how many different ways your body can fit amongst these rocks? I wonder how they might invite you to hold them and be held by them? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”
Cup Bearer [For use near a creek. A cup is needed for this invitation.]
“Let us all sit down by this creek. Here I have a cup, that I will give to the first person. When you have the cup, take some of this water from the creek and carry it onto the land. Offer it to whatever being is calling to you. When you come back, give the cup to the next person. When you don’t have the cup, let’s listen to the sound of this creek as it flows past us.”

Forest Breath

“Feel the air moving around you and within you as you breathe.  Spend a few moments just feeling air move within and without your being.”

Dappled Light

“Move through this area of dappled light exploring any sensations that arise as you move between light and shadow. You might hold out your hands and hold light and shadow in them. I wonder what this might feel like?  I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 10 minutes.”

Tree Mirror

“Wander and find a tree you feel drawn to.  Observe your tree and use your body to imitate shapes you see in the tree. Feel free to move from tree to tree imitating their shapes.  I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Rainfall

“Turn your head to the sky and watch the rainfall.  Can you see where the drops originate? Can you track one rain drop from clouds to earth? We will spend about 10 minutes just watching the rain.”

Rain

Notice what it’s like to wander/walk in the rain. [great to transition the group from one area to another]

Wind Messenger (on a windy or breezy day):

“Take a wander and feel the wind on your face and body.  Using your imagination, perhaps send a message with the wind to another being if you’d like.  I’ll call you back in about 10 minutes.”

Memory Rock (in an area with many rocks):

“Wander among these rocks and let your body guide you to a rock. Explore it with all of your senses. Share a memory with it if you feel called to do so.  I’ll call you back in about 15 minutes.”

Doggy Walk (great on the beach)

“Notice that on this beach, many beings have walked here before us. Find a trail and follow in their footsteps. Feel free to be distracted and follow where your instincts lead you – I wonder what you may discover along the way? I’ll call you back in about 20 minutes.”

Perfume Potions [you’ll need some cups for this invitation]

“Take a cup and wander with your ‘Nose-self’- following your senses to find your unique ingredients. Nature may offer you a tool to blend your perfume with. Take a few moments to deeply inhale your perfume - Perhaps it will offer a name to you? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.” [note: for sharing circle, instead of words, you might just pass the cups around the circle]

Contours of a Being

“Close your eyes and turn your body in a circle, noticing if you are being pulled in any direction. When you feel pulled, follow that direction and let it lead you to a being. When you find it, trace the contours of the being with your body. Perhaps allow it to trace the contours of your body as well? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Catch an Invitation

“Wander out and greet the beings who live upon this land. Let each one of them offer you an invitation, a way to connect with your senses. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Hide and Seek

“Use your body to hide yourself away. What does it feel like to be hidden in this landscape? I wonder if something will find you? Perhaps from the More-Than-Human World? Perhaps it will be something that arises from inside? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Treasure Hunt

“I’d like to invite you to imagine that this forest is holding a treasure for you that only your heart can find. Wander out with your hands on your heart and seek the treasure here. It might be something you can hold in your hands, or it might be something that arises from within. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes. If possible, bring the treasure back with you when you return.”  

Treasure Return [part 2 of Treasure Hunt]

“Now, wander back out onto the land and find a home for your treasure. Know that it will always be here for you.”

Free your Senses
"Notice which of your senses feels an impulse to explore what's around you and go with it. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes."

Listening to the Forest and the Stories it Carries

“Listen to sounds of the Forest in this moment, notice if there is a particular sound that is calling to you, follow that sound and maybe spend some time with it. Does it have any Story to tell? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Leaning into the Forest

“Wander into the Forest following your body and notice if there is any being that is calling to you. Find a way that feels good to you to lean into it, however is comfortable and with whatever part of your body you feel good to do it with. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Cloud Gazing
“Find somewhere to lay down and watch the clouds. I wonder what you’ll see? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Rock Play [for use near a lot of smaller rocks]

First, find a rock that is calling out to you and bring it back to this circle [allow everyone to find a rock and come back]. Now, let’s close our eyes. Holding our rocks, let’s use our fingers to explore its entire surface [pause]. Now, I wonder what it might feel like to rest our rocks on different parts of your body? Maybe you want to sit or lay down for this [pause for a while]. Now, holding our rocks in our hands again, let the rock move your hand. I wonder where it wants to go? [pause] And now, opening our eyes, let the rock move your entire body in the direction that the rock wants to go. Follow the rock into the Forest and listen with your body; I wonder where the rock wants to be? When you find that place, spend a little bit of time there. Perhaps before you leave, you might want to make a gesture to your rock and the place it has led you to. I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 15 minutes.”

Shell Phone

“Wander nearby and find a shell that the beach has to offer you.  Perhaps pick it up, touch it, and maybe hold it to your ear and listen.  I wonder how is this shell connected to other ocean beings? Does it have a message for you?  Do you have a message that you would like to share with the ocean?  If you feel comfortable to do so, share your message with the shell, and then toss it out to sea for the ocean to receive.

Song of the Forest

“Every forest has its own song; wander around and listen to the song of this place.  After a while find a way to add your own song. I’ll call you back with coyote call.”

Sunrise/ Sunset

“Find a place to sit and watch the sky as the sun comes up (or goes down). We’ll do this for about 30 minutes. I’ll call you back with coyote call.”
There is no Nature Relationship Without Human Relationship [great to transition the group from one area to another]
“Find a partner and share a Story of nature from your childhood. If your partner is someone you already know, perhaps share a Story they have never heard before?”
What’s in my Shadow?
“Find a partner and go find a place to stand in the sun. While one person stands, in whatever position they like, allow the other to lay twigs around their shadow. Then switch places and repeat the process. Afterwards, perhaps you want to fill the outline of your shadow with whatever treasures you can find.”

Sense Rooms

Part 1: “Perhaps we can imagine that the Forest is like a mansion with many rooms in it. There are so many different kinds of rooms in our world, with so many different uses. For this invitation, wander out and find yourself a room and use your senses to figure out what kind of room it is? I’ll call you back with coyote call in about 20 minutes.”

Part 2: “Now, find a couple of partners and take each other on a tour of your rooms.”

Treasures of the Forest

“Find a partner. One partner will sit here with their eyes closed and the other partner will go out and bring back a treasure from the Forest. When your partner returns, allow them to place the treasure in your hand and before opening your eyes, explore it with your other senses. When you’re ready open your eyes. Then, switch roles. We’ll do this for about 20 minutes. At the end, perhaps all your treasures can be arranged as a gift back to the Earth?”

Camera and Mirror [Explaining this often works best if you model it with a volunteer. *Be sure to model consent for touching!]

“This next invitation is called Camera and Mirror. Before we begin, please find a partner. (Pause until everyone has paired up). We’ll be walking slowly down the trail in pairs and we’re going to be taking turns being either the camera or the photographer. [Your volunteer’s name] is going to be the camera and I’m going to be the photographer to show you how this works. As we walk, the photographer is going to be looking for something they want to show the camera. When they see it, the photographer will tell the camera to stop and close her eyes. Asking permission first, I’m going to lead the camera by the shoulders over to where I want to position them. I might tilt the head a little and I might tell the camera to focus out a certain distance. Then, when I say, “click” the camera is going to open her eyes. (Demonstrate) Then, when the camera is ready, she is going to show me with her body what she sees and then I am going to mirror that body posture. (Demonstrate) After this, we switch roles and I’ll be the camera and she’ll be the photographer. Try to each be the camera about three times. (You might also want to do one extra demonstration where you ask the camera to close her eyes and then hold up a leaf about three inches from her face and then say “click” so that people see the range of possibility with this). I’ll coyote call you back in 20 minutes when we’re moving along to the next invitation.”

Sit Spot with Scrolls [A variation on sit spot is to send participants out with a scroll]

“Take one of these scrolls, and then wander out and find a place to sit. Relax into that space for a while, and when you’re feeling ready, open the scroll. I’ll call you back in about 30 minutes.”  

*Here are some examples of scrolls [note: scroll prompts should be worded in such a way that they also provide SOS experiences. It is outside the scope of practice for guides to offer scrolls that prompt specific psychological responses]:

  • Be here, now.
  • What are you noticing?
  • Be silent. What can you hear?
  • Perhaps everything that you see around you sees you as well.  
  • Listen to your heart. What is it saying in this moment? Now, share that with the land.
  • Look more closely. What do you see?
  • Introduce yourself to this forest in whatever way feels right. See how it might greet you in return.
  • Imagine this forest is a mirror. In looking towards it, what can you see within yourself?

Sit spot with Earth Dreaming [can be done with mugwort or any available leaf with a strong smell; in this variation, we assume that all participants have come with a partner or friend. Guides can modify this to be a solo experience as well]

[First, hand every participant a leaf] "Go find a place to sit with your friend, perhaps lean your bodies against each other. And then, crush this leaf in your hand and smell it. I wonder if, without any words, a dream might arise from the earth and move between your bodies? As you sit, try not to talk, but come back to the smell of this leaf and the sensations of sitting together upon this mountain."

Connected Group Sit Spot [great if the whole group knows each other; could be very edgy otherwise]

“Let’s all find a way to sit in a circle, facing outwards, so that our shoulders are touching each other. Now lean back and close your eyes. What is it like to be connected to each other in this way? [pause] Now, let’s open our eyes. [long pause]”