THE POWER OF THE HEALING FOREST
Today I am going to talk in depth about the concept of the “healing forest”. Forests are magical. When standing amongst the trees, it’s hard not to feel their healing power; their very life essence. According to the USDA Forest Service – Northwest Research Station, research studies show that forests and other natural, green settings can reduce stress, improve moods, and increase overall happiness. A visit to the forest may also strengthen our immune system by increasing the activity and number of natural killer cells that destroy cancer cells. In fact, Taxol, a drug used in the treatment of breast and ovarian cancer is derived from the yew tree.
We can apply the metaphor of the forest to our lives as well. Life can be viewed as a magnificent forest filled with the trees of family, friends, work, hobbies – our community. When faced with a life challenge however, whether it be divorce, loss of a job or sudden health crisis, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture of our forest and the many other “trees” that inhabit it. You may be familiar with the saying “he can’t see the forest for the trees”. This idiom is primarily used when someone has the inability to see an overall pattern from a mass of detail; a failure to see the big picture. In the midst of a crisis, our vision may narrow as we stare down the tree of our failing marriage, axe in hand, ready to chop. We may feel alone, with no one to lean on.
Rather than isolate ourselves, if we step back and look at the surrounding trees of our forest and recognize the overall patterns and framework with which we are viewing this damaged tree, we can gain perspective of the whole picture. How does the rest of your forest look? Do you have a job that you love? A spiritual practice that feeds your soul? Friends and family that you can trust and lean on? What we focus on expands, so we need to look at our entire forest. How many of our trees are healthy? Are there other areas of our lives that need pruning?
In Native American culture, there is a story used to illustrate the importance of a healthy community. If a sick tree is removed from a sick forest and planted elsewhere in healthy soil and allowed to flourish, but is put back into the sick forest, what happens? It could become sick again. As you envision your ideal life, plant the seeds of the trees that will grow into a healthy forest. If there are relationships that no longer serve you, release them with love. If you are in a job that doesn’t feed your soul, envision the job that will. Feel it as if it is already yours. If there is a dream you’ve had, but feel is unattainable? Take one step towards it. Plant the seed.
We do this at the Essence of Being workshops. In our three-day intensive, you will learn to recognize the subconscious thoughts that may be blocking you from filling your forest with the most magnificent redwood of the perfect job; the colorful cherry tree of a life partner; the mighty oak of friends you can count on. You will also be surrounded by a community of like-minded “trees” so that when you are re-planted, you have a healing forest surrounding you, all of whom have their roots firmly planted in the healthy soil of love and oneness. Plant the seeds today of the life you’ve dreamed of. Water them with love, prune them where needed and create your healing forest.