Humans progress through many stages of development in their lives. Each stage has a core learning experience that successfully navigated and integrated will support human growth and expansion.
Being mature is so much more than inhabiting a grown, adult body.
It means growth has expanded beyond the beginning stages of taking, beyond the stage of self absorption. A mature being has an awareness of how their life impacts others and an awareness of how others influence and support them. A mature being knows their connection to and responsibility to all others who make their life possible. A mature being knows the importance of developing deep and lasting relationships within this support system, and comes to recognize and nurture an inner urge to give back to this system in a reciprocal relationship.
From our very first breath to our last,
Nature gives us everything we need to support our life. We may rarely think of it, but through all the stages of our life, Nature is the ever present connecting thread. When we can step back from the details of our life and look closely at the larger picture, we see that it comes down to this essential and primary relationship.
So often we go into some new thing like Forest Therapy wondering what we will get out of the experience. What will this do for me? What benefits will I receive from this investment in time?
There are many benefits from a Forest Therapy practice to be sure…many physical and psychological benefits are being brought to our attention by both research and experience. But when do we take the steps to enter into a more mature relationship with Nature? Toddlers and children no more, adolescents no more, we can choose to step into the forest with a heart filled with appreciation and gratitude. We are present not to receive but to share, to be present.
What might happen if we enter the forest with the question, How can I serve? How can I express my gratitude? How can I give back for all the beauty in my life? What shifts might happen in us and in the forestif we stepped into the forest with a spirit of reciprocity? I believe our footsteps have the potential to become blessings that repair and replace acts of destruction, neglect or unconsciousness.
Sometimes I wonder if Nature has been waiting for us humans to grow up. Perhaps she watches our teetering steps into an adult spirit of service and reciprocity breathing a sigh of relief. Does our gratitude and blessing shift the Forest?
How do we stop and remember what is really true in a culture that consistently nudges and goads us to forget our essential nature, to forget our deep and vital connection to all life around us?
How might your experience of Forest Therapy and your life experience after a Forest Therapy walk be changed by a spirit of reciprocity?
I began with a question that I repeat here…
Does our grateful spirit make a difference to the Forest?? What do you think?