As the first leaves begin to brighten and darken, I am noticing the places in my life that are catching my eye, and acknowledging these areas that need a little extra attention right now. Whether it be a corner of clutter that is waving at me, or a relationship that could use a bit more tending, I am inspired by the way the leaves make themselves known, announcing their transitions. I find myself in a place of inquiry with this seasonal shift, naturally taking some inventory of my life and noticing the places that may be ripe for a shift as well as the places are best left alone.
Lately I have been deeply moved by the power of sitting in circle and bearing witness. I have been reflecting and appreciating the many different kinds circles I have sat in. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to hold space for us to sit in circle as we share some of our connections with the natural world, ourselves and each other.
Join me this fall in noticing the changing leaves and fading light while we boost our immune systems and make way for a possible moment of liberation. Whether it be a half day retreat this week at the Arnold Arboretum, a multi-day retreat in mid October, a 3 week series in late fall, or a private integrative Toadstool Tarot Walk, I hope to see you this fall.
Half Day Retreats, Multi-Day Retreats, Multi-Week Series, Tarot, And More!
Last summer around this time, I had just finished my Forest Therapy Guide Training Intensive and as I began my practicum, I was spending lots of time at my sit spot, which is a natural place that I chose to visit regularly at the Arnold Arboretum. During this time I would observe the more-than-human world, noticing all kinds of dramas unfolding that I could only vaguely begin to understand as I sat by a particular tree next to a marsh.
My relationship with this spot inspired me to learn about bird language and I have finally got around to begin reading “What The Robin Knows” by Jon Young. In the introduction, Jon writes:
“As awareness grows, appreciation grows too. As appreciation grows, so does empathy.”
Join me in raising our collective awareness on a Forest Bathing Walk:
Upcoming Forest Bathing Walks, Retreats, & Series
The average American spends 93% of their life indoors.
When I read statistics like this, I wonder what and who is being considered as an “average” American. I think about choice and privilege and I consider those among us who are confined to prisons, detention centers, hospitals, schools and homes and all our various institutions and industrial complexes. I think about those among us who will not be permitted to go outside for the remainder of their natural lives. I go through the complex reasons why those of us who have the choice to spend more time outside don’t, and I consider the factors that keep us inside.
I write this during a heat wave in Boston and as I listen to the hum of nearby air conditioning units, I imagine all the air conditioning units on my street, in my neighborhood, in this city, country and globally.
My mind then goes to the cooling refuge of a shady tree and I imagine a light breeze on my skin. I imagine the sound of bird song and the cacophony of the natural world. I imagine dragonflies and butterflies and lush green offering fractal light patterns and a sense of calm. I imagine the Earth dreaming through me and dreaming through this tree that I sit with. As my mind stops thinking, I begin to embody the most basic level of aliveness.
Join me under a shady tree next week.
My July Newsletter
In Boston, there is a chain of parkways and waterways that connect many of the “jeweled” green spaces and gardens called The Emerald Necklace (ENC). From Franklin Park and the Arnold Arboretum to Jamaica Pond and Olmsted Park, along the Riverway to the Fens in Back Bay, this corridor makes it possible to bike or walk from parts of Jamaica Plain, Dorchester and Roxbury all the way to the Public Garden and Boston Common all the while in green and forested settings. I make a point of taking the long way into town whenever possible so I can meander my way along the muddy river and continue the ancient conversations with the more-than-human world which I find helps me cope with the more human-centric elements of “downtown”.
This past winter I was walking along the ENC when I found myself particularly struck by a grove of trees on the corner of Brookline Ave and the Riverway.
To give a bit of context, this area is home to many world renowned medical research facilities and institutions. Places like Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School put this area on the map as a destination for life saving cutting edge medical technology. This is a place where many lives have begun, ended, or been profoundly altered in various ways. Right on this very corner once stood Mass Mental Hospital which was once home/prison to many of Boston’s misunderstood castaways.
I was alerted by a grove of trees on this corner. There was something about the way their branches twisted and reached that caught my attention. The feeling was swirly and feral. It was impossible for me not to pause at these trees. They were loud. I looked up at the trees as if to say “What is it?!” I turned around to try and take in what they have been witnessing for many decades when it occurred to me that these trees have been rooted right here while all these hospital buildings and roads have been built, torn down, rebuilt and so on. I looked down at the roots and the soil and I imagined the interconnections of these trees and this medical industrial complex. My imaginal sense was tuning into decades worth of stories being released from these hospitals the same way that trees release chemicals. I pictured the higher branches reaching upward as if to absorb lost energy that couldn’t find its way back down into the Earth.
I’ve since formed a relationship with this grove of what I call “witness trees” and whenever I am passing thru, I always stop to pay my respects to this sacred little piece of land tucked along this strip of medical industry.
The trees along The Emerald Necklace tell many stories. They move so much slower than the human world. They not only offer a greener way to travel through the city, but they also purify the air and are home to many migrating birds. There is much to explore along the Emerald Necklace.
Join me on June 9th at Olmsted Park in witnessing the “witness trees” of The Emerald Necklace.
This walk is free and sponsored by The Emerald Necklace Conservancy.
Space is limited.
REGISTER HERE: https://www.emeraldnecklace.org/event/forest-bathing/
Every May, visitors flock to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to breathe in the fragrant lilac collection and witness the array of color. This flower has a history of medicinal use and if you have ever spent time inhaling this sweet fragrance you may have noticed a sense of calm and relaxation. Spending time connecting with nature has been scientifically proven to treat stress-related illnesses and lilacs are considered potent medicine when it comes to symptoms of anxiety. May can be a time of unwinding as we transition into a new season under a warmer and brighter sun. Whether you’ve been visiting the lilac collection for years or have yet to experience them, I invite you to unplug, de-stress and recharge on a Guided Lilac Therapy Walk.
This is a two hour therapeutic experience that combines wandering, sitting, and resting. We will cover no more than a mile, leisurely meandering through the collection as I guide us through a sequence of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our surroundings.
Experience the healing power of the Lilacs!
With the transition into spring comes lots of options for going on a Toadstool Forest Bathing Walk. With warming temps and plentiful rain, there is so much in motion in our local forested areas. Join me in slowing down to experience the buds, the birds and the unfurling prehistoric greenery during this miraculous time of new and reawakening life.
I have three walks coming up this week on Thursday April 5th, Saturday April 7th and Sunday April 8th.
Info & Registration
Announcing a new series of Forest Bathing Walks
at Moose Hill in Sharon, Massachusetts!
Discover Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary in a whole new way on this slow-paced guided therapeutic combination of leisurely walking, sitting, and observation.
This is a chance to unplug, slow down, and de-stress
through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to deepen our connection with nature.
Register for Moose Hill
Interested in a Private or Individual Walk?
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