Forest Bathing for Inspiration

Gravel dust swirls in the warm air, stirring more with each step I take. To my left are rows of flowers, with colors spanning the rainbow, smelling like a perfumery of floral and wood. To my right is a border of trees, protecting a wetland and habitat to rabbits, ducks, frogs, and many varieties of birds. Up ahead the crows call out, beckoning me to move deeper into the forest. Two butterflies dance in the sky, moving from one side of the pathway to the other, reminding me to be spontaneous and playful.

I have been an avid forest bather long before I even knew what it was. Nature’s cathedral of treetops has always been my place of peace, where I can turn off and allow everything else to fall away. The Japanese have coined the term “forest bathing”, and it has recently made a surge into our American lexicon, but for those of us living in the Seattle area, forest bathing has already been a part of life.

Forest bathing is not simply being outside, it is about immersion in the natural beauty that surrounds you. It is a break from devices, signals, and busyness. While there will be some people who tell you how to take a forest bath, it is more about embracing a being-ness that cannot be defined by another person. Forest bathing creates a daily escape from our workweek routine, and forges connection with nature, as well as our innermost thoughts.

When you emerge from your time in nature, you come out with renewed priorities, perspectives and focus on what really matters, instead of what you think should matter. You can walk, jog, sit, meditate, practice tai chi, do yoga, read, color, take photos, sing, laugh, or simply be. The more you allow each moment in the forest to lead and guide you, the better experience you will have.

I enjoy using this time for walking meditation, contemplation, connecting with the animals I encounter, tai chi on occasion, and taking photos. Each day is a different experience, even if I go back to the exact same place. The forest is my place for inspiration to jolt me to my next adventure.

Whether, I am sun gazing though the canopy, or pondering on the ripples in a pond, the forest reminds me of what is important for me in my life today. It is my therapist, my guide, and my theater, showing me all that I need to see.

Meditation for Connecting with Nature

Below is Karen’s meditation to assist you in connecting with nature and feeling the peace within you. You are guided to a forest with a large Moss Agate crystal inside. Then you journey with the butterflies to discover your own place of personal peace and contentment.

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Messages from Animals

Whenever you are outside in nature, it is a great fun to look at the animal friends that will come across your path. Sometimes these happenings are an everyday occurrence, but other times they will be unusual or get your attention in some way.

I live in an area where there are many wild rabbits, but they are often in hiding for much of the day. Friday night as my boyfriend and I walked to the grocery store, we saw six rabbits! First of all, this was the most rabbits I had ever seen in one day, and they were all together, like a little rabbit family gathering their food for the evening. They were really calm too, some of them came up to us and another one was sleeping only 12 inches away, he just opened one eye looked at us and went back to sleep.

Talk about an unusual experience. Rabbits are known for being fearful and flighty, but these were the most confident rabbits I had ever seen, plus they were so cute! Because we do have many rabbits living in the area, I see them on my walks from time to time, but last night’s sighting was definitely unusual.

Whenever you have an unusual experience with seeing animals, take a look at what they are trying to say to you. Rabbits are known for procreating and bringing in new life. We saw the rabbits just as we were talking about future plans for our spiritual work, coincidence? No. Message? Yes! To us it meant that the ideas we were speaking of will come to fruition. Exciting 🙂

Now, sometimes the animals will simply enjoy your energy, so if you have regular visitors to your backyard or deck, most often there is not a specific message there, other than to simply enjoy their beautiful energy. It is when you have a different experience than normal, or when you are asking for a sign, that messages can come through these interactions with animals.

Everyone has animal spirits that connect with them in different ways. These can be pets from current or past lives and also animal guides that can assist you. I have a raccoon for one of my guides, his name is Roscoe. My mom will tell you that when I was little I had a toy raccoon named Roscoe that I slept with every night. He was my favorite! I also am aware that whenever I see a raccoon that my animal guide Roscoe is there helping me to gather the guidance and materials I need to take the next steps on my life path.

You can also have animal guides to assist you with specific things in your life, like spiritual development, career or family. So look around and notice the fun ways that the animal world interacts with you. And, just like with anything else, the more that you listen, the more that the messages will reveal themselves to you.