How you can use the forest to foster your ikigai

Stepping stone crossing of a creek

As I have been spending more time focused on my core values & my reason to get up in the morning (my #ikigai), I have been thinking about how to really build a values based strategy for my own business. 

I have been learning to use a particular set of exercises for my own mental well-being.

Those exercises are part the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (森林浴) translated means nature therapy, or more literally forest bathing. 

This practice was originally coined by Tomohide Akiyama, who was the head of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 1982 in an effort to encourage more people to spend time outdoors.

Dr. Qing Li, a regular practitioner & world’s leading expert of forest bathing has been documenting the benefits of spending regular time in nature as a means for the body to heal and for the mind to find peace.

The thing that comes to mind though as we think about how this practice can benefit everyone, is that we all need to be cognizant of the impact we leave on nature when we go.

It is vital for us to consider our impact on nature and in doing so we will end up developing a deeper sense of understanding on how to preserve it for others to get this same healing benefit. 

So please consider learning about #leavenotrace principles whenever going to parks or forests.

I would like to leave you with an exercise that you can start practicing today in a local park or green space.  The only requirement is that you get outside to do this practice. 

𝙂𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙂𝙖𝙯𝙚: As you head into the park or forest, see if you can expand your peripheral vision or awareness beyond the “tunnel vision” we get used to from extended screen time. 

Shift your eyes 10 to 15 times left and right, as far as you can without moving your head. Then look up into the canopy and beyond the highest branch. When you look down again, stretch your gaze as far into the forest as possible. 

Bring your attention back to an object within several inches of you. Now try “seeing’ all that you spotted at once. 

How long can you maintain this ‘gentle gaze’? 

Observe things as if you are seeing them for the first time. Observe things as if you are seeing them for the last time. 

There is a Japanese idiom “𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙞 𝙜𝙤 𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙞 𝙚” (一期一会) which when interpreted describes a cultural concept of treasuring the unrepeatable nature of a moment. We are not guaranteed tomorrow or even the rest of today. Treasure each moment and you will find that the world will become a different place.

If you would like to learn more about Ikigai, comment below or DM and I will send you details.

#ikigai #shinrinyoku

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