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Forest Medicine

"And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." - John Muir

May, being in the middle of the spring, correlates with the Wood Element in the yearly cycle. As the flora around us awakens and thrives, blooming with new life, the energy of this element gives us the motivation to work hard and get things done. We are naturally driven to move forward with big projects, inspired to make plans and spend extra time outside. And as we spend more time among the trees, in the forests, we can find medicine for our souls.

Forest bathing is becoming more of a mainstream idea, and for those of us living in rural areas, or who actively seek out nature, it's sort of a way of life. The stillness found among these steady giants grounds us, reminding us how small we are the grand scheme of life, and giving us some much needed perspective and breathing room. Wellness based practices often include either walking mediations or seated mediations in forests to experience enhanced benefits. And as equestrians can attest, trail riding brings a sense of peace rarely found through other avenues. For some there is also a sense of a deeper connection to God/the Universe/ Spirit Energy, where the forest or other landscapes bring in reverence for all life.

The relationship we have with plant life goes deeper than the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, because it's not only physical benefits that we receive from trees. It is also teachings on the importance of both community and individuality. Within a forest, the trees are in constant communication with one another, sending support and sustenance to the weak and ill through their underground network of roots. Yet each tree is unique - asymmetrical, bent, irregular, and still always accepted. We don't look at nature with judgement, we are instead in awe of the diversity found there. The imperfections makes the bigger picture more beautiful, more enchanting, more inspiring. They model strength and flexibility, cooperative uplifting relationships with species outside of their own.

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