How did my journey start?
In addition to my father’s attempts to get me, a lively child who was constantly singing, to stop and listen to nature, I was bringing home new animals all the time. Especially in the winters when I felt extra pity for the animals that were hungry and frozen. It was both homeless kittens who got warm under my jacket and wild mice, which I rented my mittens to on the way home. Since then, I have helped and rescued many animals, but besides that, there were two more special occasions in my life that led me to nature where I belong, that I would like to tell about with gratitude.
The first awakening took place on a cross-country ski competition I participated in as a junior. I was one of my coach’s highest hopes and had a good time score also at this competition. Until, for some reason, I looked up at the blue sky above me and saw all the beautiful snowy treetops glittering in the sun … They were majestic and spread serenity. ”Why am I in such a hurry?” I thought. ”Should I really rush here in the magically beautiful winter landscape with the saliva running over my shoulder, without stopping and watching nature´s beauty?” This became my last ski competition and my first forest bathing – when I just slowed down and took in the forest environment to all of my senses. I took off my skis and walked in wonder towards the finish line …Ttowards my goal – to feel good.
The years passed, and even though I did not compete anymore, I ended up in the contest with myself and the time.
Life became increasingly stressful and the pile of musts grew. Health began to show signs of imbalance.
One day, when I woke up, I decided not to do anything at all that day to recover. That’s when I received a text message from one of my best friends, Carina Dahl, who asked if I wanted to come with her to a forest bathing, Shinrin Yoku in Japanese. ”Nooo, you promised to rest today,” protested the sensible part of me, while the other spontaneous part was already in the car, driving to the assembly point for the forest bathing near Stockholm.
And oh, how glad I am that it happened like that. Forest bathing was the best I had done for myself for a long time. During these 3-4 hours in the forest, my stress level had fallen to almost non-existent, my senses were open and I felt grateful and happy.
Shortly after that, I had signed up for the Nature and Forest Therapy Guide training with the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides & Programs http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/ to become a guide myself and share what I had experienced and discovered.
With lots of inspiration and support from M. Amos Clifford, the founder of ANFT, my wonderful cohort fellows, my first mentor Sky-Maria Buitenhuisand second mentor Maria Carmo Geeta Stilwell and nature itself as my foremost teacher and therapist, the journey has become extraordinary and rewarding.
Now I’m part of the fast-growing wave of Nature Therapy that sweeps across the globe and a large international network of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides – creative nature lovers who so generously share their gifts, tips and experiences – making me a better guide and human.
Thank you everyone, who contributes to this!