The Sweet Spots

Words by Terry Folks
& Wendy Turner
Photo by Jenn Dykstra

Using Shinrin-Yoku and the beauty of our surroundings to heal during times of transition.

 


 

Shinrin-yoku, sometimes known as “forest bathing,” is simply the act of being mindful and present in the forest while repeatedly walking and stopping. Using the spiritual geography of the Comox Valley in our practice may take the form of “Walk and Talk Therapy,” Shinrin-yoku, or meditating by ocean or river.

The way we facilitate Shinrin-yoku experiences at SpiritFirst Healing Touch results in physical renewal through improved immune function and decreased stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rates. This gentle intervention also provides spiritual, emotional, and intellectual renewal.

Shinrin-yoku compliments our Healing Touch treatments and psychotherapy to support the grief that accompanies major life transitions such as trauma, loss, and change. The spiritual landscape of our valley is beautifully diverse. We assist people in growing the relationship they have with themselves through their relationship with their natural surroundings. Some who visit our practice find resting places in meditation on a forest path, meadow, or tidal pool where they can lose themselves and rest awhile.

We use natural metaphors to elevate our clients’ struggles. As a metaphor for the spiritual journey, some people choose the mountain. It might seem cliché to connect the climb up a mountain to a personal challenge. However if you are dealing with overwhelming change, struggling with the end of a relationship, coping with the death of a loved one, or battling addiction, the mountain image is perfect in its representation of challenges faced and obstacles overcome. Some liken their current struggle to swimming upstream, where any overhanging tree branch could be a lifesaver.

In our Healing Touch practice, some traverse inner landscapes on the treatment table. We have regular weekly clients who come to experience the rejuvenation and renewal that comes from deep relaxation. Some travel to India, the Serengeti, Greenland, or back in time, all in their mind. These inner landscapes provide healing for travelers.

Some people travel halfway around the world in real time seeking restoration at famous sacred spaces: Australia’s Uluru (Ayers Rock), a Mexican Cenote, India’s Mahabodhi Meditation Centre, the Arizona Vortexes, or Stonehenge. However, there are “sacred spaces” much closer to home. You can find renewal on a Puntledge River bank, a ramble around Goose Spit, a nostalgic romp around Filberg Park and MacDonald Wood, a crisp sojourn through Paradise Meadows, a trek across a sand space at Kye Bay, a walk through the labyrinth at Anderton Gardens, or exploring Cumberland’s incredible trail system. Each is a unique opportunity to refresh the spirit and psyche here at home.

Sacred spaces are as personal as they are diverse. We live in a paradise conducive to spiritual calming. May you find renewal in your own special sweet spots.




Category: Volume 13