“On this Path we learn to drink beauty. We are quenched by the sun and the moon.” Do you know how to breathe, eat and drink beauty? Do you know how to savor and let it infuse your insides from head to toe? Do you know how to feel your own inner life force being fed by the radiance of the world?
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
From a very young age I was a seeker needing answers to the big questions of LIFE. I needed to know, “what is it all about?” Life has to mean something, suffering must have a purpose. Otherwise how is it worth living? Yet in the face of the grandeur and beauty of the Living Universe something within me knew all is significant and purposeful. Something big is going on here; a great mystery that calls me to penetrate it. I found the Pathwork when I was 34. For 30 years now it has been my guiding light, helping me get the most out of every life experience I encounter and answering the burning questions in my soul. More than just a philosophy, the Pathwork* was a process that helped me learn to find the answers within myself through direct experience.
Winter is the time of resting in being and waiting. All nature knows this blessed state, even human nature, but in our modern culture we are lost in a great imbalance, idealizing and over-emphasizing the active, doing orientation in life. We have lost touch with receptivity and being. The initiating active principle is of course a necessary power and principle, but if it is not balanced by the receptivity of simply being, if our doing doesn’t arise out of our deeper being, then all our doing and giving and pressured activity drains us. The more we struggle against life’s storms and currents, the more we exhaust ourselves. .
Forest Therapy increases our intake of Vitamin N for Modern Nature Deficit Disorder and Stress related illness. Nature or Forest Immersion experiences are a form of recreational therapy that have a vast array of benefits for human health and wellbeing. Also known as Shinrin Yoku, or “taking in the atmosphere of the forest”, this proves to be the perfect antidote for our stressful modern life styles. 30 years of research in Japan has shown the beneficial effects on all our modern stress indicators; high blood pressure, pulse rate, cortisol levels, immune system balance, creativity and mental focus are all benefited. It is becoming a popular organizational luncheon workshop.
I had to laugh. This is what I have been offering here for years calling it Natural Communion. Now I know it is Shinrin Yoku: The Art of Forest Bathing….. Forest Medicine. The Japanese have the medical studies and results to help us understand its full benefits. It is hard for us to take time out when we think it is frivolous but here it is. The best thing to do for yourself and the planet. Discover to the true healing potentials of nature emersion. Read more about it at this great website and then if you are in the Mid-Atlantic come and visit the Earthwalk Retreat! http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html There are many among us that already deeply value such experiences and seek them out. As you find ways to bring forest bathing into your life, you will discover for yourselves the profound well being effects this simple practice can have.
“The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth…In the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration. It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself…We must feel that we are supported by that same power that brought the Earth into being, that power that spun the galaxies into space, that tilt the sun and brought the moon into its orbit.” Thomas Berry