Forest Bathing International Magazine, Issue 1 - Page 5

ROOTS & BRANCHES

Leadership Perspectives

Ben Page,

Director of Training, Association of Nature and Forest Therapy

Founder & Guide, Shinrin Yoku LA

As I sit down to write this letter, what keeps coming up is gratitude. Gratitude for all the forests I have known, gratitude to the wind and the waves, gratitude to the plants and animals, gratitude for human beings, and gratitude for knowing what it feels like to be alive in this moment. I also have a lot of gratitude for you, those of you who love the Earth, those of you who feel a connection to it deep in your bones. Even when it can feel that we are facing significant perils in our world, knowing that there is so much to be thankful for gives me hope in the idea that we can repair our culture and individually awaken to a much deeper sense of connection to ourselves, to other humans, and to the more than human world through Forest Bathing.

What does Forest Bathing mean? I believe it is a dream emerging all around the world. In practice, there are a diversity of ways the dream translates itself. This is not to say that one is better than any other, for they all come from one source: the desire to reconnect humanity with nature. One thing the forest has taught me is that Forest Bathing is fundamentally about friendship; it is not about stewardship, ownership, or competition. When we enter the forest, we go in as friends and with the intention to make friends with beings like trees, stones, water, birds, and animals. This is not a competitive paradigm. This is about building relationship. And this is how we strive to bring this work into the world.

In that spirit, I’m honored to introduce you to the first issue of Forest Bathing International magazine. The intention of this magazine is also to cultivate friendship; we shall do this by providing this forum as a way for us all to know each other better and to understand and learn from each other’s work. We see that the global movement of Forest Bathing is growing very quickly and we are excited to harvest the wisdom of so many talented practitioners and researchers from around the world. I hope you enjoy this first issue and we look forward to your contributions.