Tapping into the Spirit of the Forest for Your Well Being

Tapping into the Spirit of the Forest for Your Well Being

by David Motzenbecker


There I sat in the forest, staring intently at a snow-covered log.  My eyes scoured its surface, noticing the different textures that the snow (and ice) took depending on their location upon the log.  I saw the way rivulets of water had filled cracks in the bark, then froze, creating solid wedges that would slowly rend the fallen log apart.  This same minute and glacial movement – writ large – has shaped our planet in the same way it was shaping the log.  


I saw snowflake crystals; noticing how they molded themselves to the palm of my hand.  I then pondered how liquid water behaves in similar fashion when it molds itself to whatever vessel contains it.  I saw autumn leaves, once crispy and dry, now rehydrated and pliable once again after spending some time in the snow.


I then remembered that we – humans – are 60% water, our brains over 70%.  Does this explain why the brain is so adaptable, pliant, and willing to absorb knowledge?  What could this snow tell me about myself?


This was the result of an “invitation” on one of my recent Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) walks.  A deep noticing that brought forth really profound stories from each person that joined the walk that day.  Not once during my “snow study” did I wonder how many emails were unopened, or how many stores were having sales that I could visit afterwards.  I had become buoyed by the flow of time, so much so that I didn’t realize fifteen minutes had passed since I had started ‘looking’.


These kinds of experiences are what humanity has evolved to desire.  We need nature!  We need conscious and intentional time – critical to both our practices - to slow down and connect to something outside ourselves.  


As practitioners you are undoubtedly aware of the deep nature connection embedded in Feng Shui; the words for your practice being literally rooted in nature.  Those words – wind and water – convey to me a sense of movement, subtle and powerful, and how that energy affects places and their inhabitants.


Unfortunately, contemporary society seems to be going down the wrong path, with a sole focus on the acquisitions of spaces and things.  To do this we often sacrifice something even more essential – our time.  We guard our things rabidly, but we’ll gladly give away our most precious resource, time – to mindless scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  


But you can regain that connection to the energy of nature.  You can access permission to be still, to heal.  Forests are treasure troves of untapped health benefits.  Humanity has only but scratched the surface on what’s out there.  


I look forward to speaking to you about the benefits and practice of Shinrin Yoku and how it can be complimentary to Feng Shui.  I will also be offering a walk in July. We’ll wander out into the woods where you can experience the power of forest bathing for yourself.


David Motzenbecker is the Founder of Motz Studios, a Shinrin Yoku guide practice and design consultancy in Minneapolis, MN.

Be sure to Check out David's 9 Weeks of Nature