After forest bathing in the woods for the past eight days, I have emerged!
I know it's blurry, but I treasure this photo because it truly shows what a week in the woods can do for your soul. It was a privilege to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and study to become a Forest Therapy Guide at the Eco-Wellness Centre in Carp, Ontario.
During the course, I was completely immersed in nature and invited to wander, with no destination in mind, and allow my senses to guide me. As I slowly moved my way through the woods, the ancient trees waved hello. I noticed the smell of the rain, the cool breeze moving across my face and a symphony of birds.
One evening, we gathered around a campfire and shared nature connection stories. I laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks.
The most powerful experience from the program was when my mentor, Carolynne, who is of Mi'kmaq ancestry, sent me on my first medicine walk. A threshold was made with sticks we found in the woods and once I crossed the door to transformation, I was able to reconnect with my inner wisdom. Meanwhile, Carolynne waited at the threshold, held space for me and awaited my return. I'm going to keep what "medicine" was revealed to me close to my heart, but I will say that nature reflected back what my soul needed and wanted to see.
The founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, Amos Clifford, says to be a guide is more than a job. It is a calling. Over the next six months, as I continue to strengthen the threads of connection I have with nature and complete my field practicum, I look forward to the opportunity of opening the door and supporting my community through immersive experiences in the forest.