On the Way to School | Acrylic on canvas
The forest holds answers to questions we have yet to ask.
Walking in the woods has a calming effect on me. Sometimes I receive an unexpected solution to a problem I've been struggling with. Other times an emotional upset is soothed. Even physical pain is eased.
Recently I ran across the term, "forest bathing." Known in Japan as Shinrin-yoku (Shinrin means forest and yoku means bathing), it's the practice of immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way, using your senses to derive physical, mental, and emotional benefits. A forest bath is known to boost immunity and promote recovery from injury or surgery.
A photo of my 'woods'
Maybe that's what happens during my walks along the Smoky Hill River. I can hardly call this woods a forest, I suppose it barely qualifies as woods. But I have definitely noticed the benefits of forest bathing within just a few minutes of being there. And I feel more creative.
Want to feel this "nature calm" for yourself? Here's one recommended exercise:
- stand still in nature
- find things you can see but not hear
- find things you can hear but not see
Try it and let me know what happens. What words would you use to describe it, or what colors would you use to paint it?
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