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Shifting perspective in the woods

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

On a recent forest bathing walk with a client, I introduced her to a perspective changing practice. It sounds so simple yet it can be a really powerful exercise and one we can do anytime, also without a guide.

In my forest bathing walks, we build up to this one gently, first using other practices to help open the senses and quieten the mind. The beauty of forest bathing practices are that they allow us to connect to nature and to ourselves which in turn can help us get clear on what the next steps are.

In the perspective changing practice from the Forest Mind (Metsämieli) tradition that I am trained in, the guide invites the client to take a worry and put it down on a tree stump, a rock or a pile of leaves. They can choose how big the worry is and where to put it.

They look at where they've put their (invisible) worry for a few moments. Then they take a few paces backwards and look at it from that distance. A few more, and so on. Then they are invited to look down from the treetops perspective and see if anything has changed.

We might hope that the worry has become smaller and sometimes it does but as a coach, I find it often invites a conversation and helps the client gain more clarity on their concerns.

Does everything need to be solved right now? Coming into the forest, it might feel like it does. But actually this feeling can make us more anxious and nervous and stop us from moving forward.

Forest bathing is a mindfulness-based practice which can help us to accept things as they are. That doesn't mean we don't want to change our situation or we don't want to make a difference. It's more an acceptance that change is made step by step. By coming back to ourselves, we have more energy and clarity for doing the work we feel compelled to do in the world.

With my coaching clients, the conversation often comes down to the state of the world and what they want to do about it. Why not take your questions on a walk? Or contact me if you would like to be guided on a forest bathing or coaching walk.

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