Post ID 703

Posted by on October 9, 2019

No doubt you’ve heard of Forest Therapy (Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku), the evidence-based therapeutic practice of connecting with the woods. But have you experienced it for yourself? 

On Friday I finally had the chance to enjoy a guided forest therapy walk, and it was even greater than I thought it would be, so I’m excited to tell you a bit about it. I hope to inspire you to get out there among the trees for your psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

I also view forest therapy is a complimentary ‘sister’ practice to my ‘walk and talk’ coaching sessions (which are more outdoor movement oriented), so am excited for you to learn more!

Sue Hamel, the owner, lead seeker and soleful guide of Seek Adventure and Tours, was our warm and gifted host. As a bonus, Ben Porchuk of the Global Institute for Forest Therapy was in town and was a co-host for the morning.

Sue’s Re-Wilding for Wellness Forest Therapy Walk, is a 3-hr opportunity to “immerse yourself in the sentience of the living forest, during a guided walk with sensory-based invitations to deepen connections.” I knew this would be a relaxing and connective experience with the landscape on an easy walk, but beyond that I didn’t know what to expect.

Our hosts met us on the bridge crossing over the Current River, and we entered into the autumn-painted, sunny yet chilly Centennial Park that boasts 147 acres of rich boreal forest. We were a group of 9 and I was surprised to be acquainted with most of the participants. It felt great to be with these kindred spirits in a new context. 

I won’t share too many specific details about the experience, all of which would be hard to put to words anyway. Instead I encourage you to try it for yourself, either with Seek or from a provider in your own local area.

To generally overview, we were guided through a series of “invitations” to practice several new ways to interact with and receive from the natural world around us, sometimes in a circle, with a partner or on our own. Many of us have spent much of our lives enjoying this park, and we agreed that we had never fully enjoyed and engaged with the land in this way. After a heartfelt closing ceremony, we ambled back through the park and over the bridge to return to our everyday lives, more refreshed, grounded and alive than when we arrived. 

One of my favourite takeaways was a deeper appreciation for the value of connection.

Beyond the experience of re-connecting with myself, I also enjoyed greater: 

  • Connection with Nature – The most obvious one, I experienced a deeper connection with nature and learned new and profound ways to be present with and learn from the landscape. We all know that we’re born to connect with nature – we live in, rely on and are nature – yet we often forget about or avoid it.  Surprising research (learned from Ben) indicates that North Americans spend more than 95% of our time indoors, which prohibits us from accessing nature’s many benefits and also leaves us vulnerable to the many stressors of our manufactured society. Contrast that with the fact that just a few hours of forest therapy boosts your immune system for a week(!) and it will have you asking yourself: How will I spend some time being present with nature today?

 

  •  Connection with the Guides – To effectively guide another is truly an artform, so it was a special treat to witness our leaders in their element. Although I’ve practiced aspects of forest bathing on my own for years, doing so with skilled guides added a layer of magic to the process. As a coaching guide myself, I especially admired how they seamlessly offered their wisdom and experiences while, most importantly, creating the space and allowing for the process to unfold between each of us as individuals and the forest. They truly modeled how “the forest is the therapist, and the guide opens the gate.” Who can you join on an outdoor adventure to take your experience to the next level?

 

  • Connection with Others – Obviously I love this stuff, so the best part for me was connecting with other nature-inspired people to practice something I normally do on my own. Simply showing up was a great way to reconnect with some old friends and acquaintances and meet some new folks too. More profoundly, hearing others’ personal thoughts and reflections throughout the morning added to my own insights and even  resolved difficult thoughts that I couldn’t work out on my own. And of course being with others made it way more fun too! Who will you invite outside today?

 

I wholeheartedly recommend that you all try forest therapy, especially Seek’s Re-Wilding for Wellness if you’re in the area. I will continue to use the practices I learned on my own outdoor adventures, and will look forward to my next guided walk in the woods  – maybe when the snow flies. 

And if you’re intrigued about how my ‘walk and talk’ coaching similarly supports your well-being while being outside, simply reply email me so we can arrange a chat. I would love to connect with you to tell you more.

Now I’m off for a walk on this unseasonably warm day in October. How about you?

Yours Outdoors, 

     Nicole

P.S. If you’d love to receive more notes like this directly to your inbox, opt in to my email community by CLICKING HERE!

Posted in: Adventure, Body, Community, Nature

Post ID 692

Posted by on August 14, 2019

“Sustainable happiness is . . . found in our relationship to place.” Richard Louv

 

Where do you feel most at home? 

On this lifelong adventure of being happy and whole, knowing this about yourself is gold.

There are many ways to know you’re on the right track to being your truest self on the inside and out. Today I have 3 fun questions you can ask to more fully be yourself and enjoy your life.

1) Where do you feel the most like yourself, at peace and alive – the most at home? 

This is on my mind as I’m currently at the place where I feel most at home – my family’s summer camp (or cottage or cabin if you prefer :).

Built on a beautiful lake by my grandparents in simpler times, when resources were treasured, craftsmanship was beautiful and the good times were oh so good, I’ve been blessed to spend summers here my entire life. 

Camp’s a part of me. I’m part of camp.

This is where I feel most at home. What about you? Even if it’s a specific patch of earth where you spent only moments, remember yourself in that place where you felt most like you.

2) As you picture yourself in that place, what adjectives describe how you feel there? 

I think about this all the time as I know there’s wisdom in our feelings. When I think about how I feel at camp, it’s no surprise to me that the words that come to mind very accurately describe my own personal values . . .

  • Connected – The loving and joyous times come to mind – with family and friends, young and old, today and yesterday
  • Simple – Camp life is easy life, it’s minimalist and routine in the best way which makes everything more simple and fun
  • Free – Living in the moment with barely a care in the world, spacious and away from life’s stressors
  • Natural – From morning through night, in all weather and elements, barefoot if I please, appreciating the wonder everywhere and feeling like a part of it all
  • True – This is me and this is where I feel most like me.

What words arise when you consider how you feel and why you feel that way in your “home”?

3) How does this awareness help you? 

The place you feel most at home is a ‘sacred space’ of sorts. In some cases, you may be able to return to this place that feels like home to feel whole, centred and true. More practically, you can recreate elements of this place in your everyday life. 

I use this insight about myself to guide my actions whenever possible. When it comes to my self-care, my personal life or my business, I use these words as a compass to make decisions and to guide my next steps.

How can I make this more connected, simple, free, natural or true?

For instance, when it’s time to take good care of me, I may ask myself what I can do to increase my experience of just one of my above 5 words. Maybe I need to meet up with a friend to meet my need for connection, or perhaps I can go for a walk to connect to nature. 

I do the same for my personal and professional life – how can I make housework more simple? How can I share more of my truth in these business emails? The more I align with my values, the more in flow and enjoyable life seems to be. 

I also use these words when facing decisions. To help me choose, I consider which option would bring me the most connection, simplicity, freedom, nature and truth.

Now it’s your turn. Considering the feelings you’ve noted for yourself, choose one and decide what you can do today to invite a little more of that into your life?

There’s no place like “home”,

     Nicole

P.S. Want to receive more messages like this, straight to your inbox? Simply subscribe to my freebie here and you’ll also receive weekly empowering notes from me!

Posted in: Empowerment, Heart, Spirit

Post ID 688

Posted by on June 21, 2019

How’d you get on last week with identifying your self-care needs and putting them into practice?

If you did it, awesome! Keep it up. If you didn’t, no worries. Today’s email is for you.

As much as we may want – or love – to nurture our self-care needs, we often feel RESISTANCE which keeps us from moving ahead. Today, let’s sort out what’s really going on.

First, it helps to know what’s up with resistance. When you feel stuck, and can’t seem to move forward with something, it can mean one of two things: either what you’re engaged in (or want to be engaged in) isn’t truly meeting your needs or you’re involved in something that does meet your needs, but clashes with your internal beliefs or self-concepts.

Think of something you’re resisting regarding self-care, and ask yourself:  Would this truly meet my needs? If no, move on to something that would. If yes, keep reading . . .

The next consideration is to discover what is causing your resistance. Again, there are two possibilities: your blocks may come from outside of you or from within you.

Outside resistance includes the practical, legitimate, concrete reasons that you cannot move forward. If you’re facing this type of resistance, chances are that you already know the work-around and are simply waiting for certain pieces to ‘fall into place’ before you can get on with it. Or maybe you don’t know the specific ‘how tos’ to accomplish what you want, but you do know that you can reach out to someone who can help you strategize your way forward. As per Pareto’s 80/20 Principle, this may be the cause of your resistance about 20% of the time.

The other 80% of the time, you’re likely facing resistance from within yourself. This is the trickier of the two to navigate, because you’re often not even aware that you are the source of the obstacle – that your mindset is the true block. Which of these inner resistance thoughts can you relate to, as inspired by Hannah Braime’s book “From Coping to Thriving”?

Top 7 Reasons for Inner Self-Care Resistance

1) “I don’t have the time.” Yes, we all have a million things to do. Which of those things matter most to you? And how would you be better able to tend to the other things if you were energized, motivated and full up from self-care? Prioritizing what you value most can be tricky to master, but once you have there’s no going back. Also, on your journey to clearing more space for yourself in your day, remember that some of the most effective practices take only moments, like breathing, looking at a beautiful view and envisioning a happy memory.

2) “I can’t afford it.” If money barriers are lurking, this is surely a mindset issue, as we all rationally know that self-care doesn’t have to cost a dime. Since many people equate their financial worth with their personal worth, it follows that such people may only invest in their self-care, financially or otherwise, when they feel worthy. If this sounds like you, I want to tell you that you are worthy and you do deserve self-care.

3) “Self-care wasn’t a thing for me growing up.” As with many of our unconscious beliefs, we may have received overt or underlying messages about self-care from our parents and authority figures in our formative years. However well-intentioned your guardians were or were not, and whether they deemed self-care acceptable or unacceptable, you may still carry their outdated self-care beliefs which need refreshing as they are no longer serving you.

4) “Society frowns upon it.” Additionally, we’re taught so much by our community, culture, religion, media and society, and not all of what we learn through this societal conditioning serves our highest good. For example, many women have internalized that we must be caregivers and put others needs before our own, or that we must not express our ‘negative’ emotions. We fear rejection if we don’t follow through with these ‘norms’. The truth is, as a human you are meant to love others without being a martyr and honour ALL of your emotional needs.

5) “It’s just another thing I ‘should’ be doing.” Thanks to social obligation as mentioned above, not meeting our ‘shoulds’, ‘need tos’ and ‘musts’ leads to resistance. The more obliged we feel about doing something – and the more accompanying self-judgement it brings – the more we will resist. If we are ashamed of some aspect of self-care, we will avoid it at all costs to also avoid experiencing the dreaded feelings of shame. The best way to suck all of the fun and value out of your self-care is to do it because you ‘should’, instead of because you ‘choose to’, ‘want to’ and ‘love’ to engage.

6) “I wish someone else would take care of me.” The more we yearn for someone to come and ‘save us’ by meeting our unmet needs, the longer we stay stuck. This also manifests as wanting to meet our needs without having to express, assert and negotiate how to meet them with others. If you can relate, I lovingly share that living your best life begins with taking responsibility for yourself, including meeting your own unmet needs.

7) “I don’t deserve it.” Self-care is a matter of health-care, not a question of whether or not we have earned it. You have the unconditional right and responsibility to take great care of yourself. The real question is how would you love to tend to your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical need? Understanding self-care as an essential priority in your life will help you ditch the guilt and see it as a necessary part of being alive.

Okay, now breathe.

That was a lot. You don’t have to get all entangled by the details of these barriers if they’re all too much. Simply pick one to explore, or if you prefer just take away the simple message that you deserve to take great care of you. And return to those fundamental questions:

What do I really need? What could I do today to get one step closer to meeting that need?

Yours in self-care,

Nicole

P.S. Want to receive more messages like this, straight to your inbox? Simply subscribe to my freebie here and you’ll also receive weekly empowering notes from me!

Posted in: Dreams, Empowerment, Mind
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