For those of you who know my fondness for river-bathing on mission trip, this post is not about that…Lol. This is about a different kind of forest bathing…about communing with nature…connecting to creation…understanding mankind’s place and being renewed by it. I realize that some might think it a Romantic notion to attribute such sensations, such power and influence to the elements of nature. How can simple flora and fauna change one’s perspective or restore the spirit? The answer - by invigorating the senses and engaging with the energy of living things and prehistoric places….or at least that’s what I believe. All of my cognizant memory, I have enjoyed being surrounded by nature and always felt a certain sense of calm among the trees. I’ve long suspected this is due to my Transcendentalist temperament. So many of my personal philosophies pertaining to man, God and nature are expressed in the ponderings of Emerson and Thoreau. ( A few of my favorite quotes about nature and from Nature are below). However, I recently learned there’s an ancient practice and some modern science explaining the benefits of shinrin-yoku or Forest-Bathing. The linked article from Time magazine explores the ancient ritual and its application in modern times, but the overall message is simple - in this busy, often overly stimulating life, it is vitally important for physical and mental wellness to unplug, escape, reconnect and revitalize. I agree and believe empathizing with the natural world is an important part of one’s empathy journey and along the path of peace so…. I encourage you to get out there and bathe in nature…take it all in Whitman style….”loafe and invite your soul”.
“In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influence of the earth…. Be blown on by all the winds. Open all your pores and bathe in all the tides of Nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Journal August 1853
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, -- he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature