Shinrin Yoku Participant

Nature has always been there to offer me its supportive presence, loving embrace and deep inherent wisdom, even at times when I was not consciously aware of it.

As I travel back in time to my childhood years growing up in the outskirts of Lake Macquarie, NSW, surrounded by the expanse of the Australian bush, my heart fondly remembers the freedom that came with being able to spend hours on my bike out in nature on dry bush tracks, riding past the occasional giant anthill and the native spiky grass trees. Oh the simple childhood joy of long days in the forested bush roaming, playing, building and discovering.

Later on, in my teenage years I would often find solace with the large solitary Eucalyptus tree towards the end of my graveled street next to our backyard driveway. Whenever I would be feeling emotional or simply overwhelmed with family life, I would run out of the yard and always stop unknowingly near this large tree for a sense of space and calm.

Fast forward to my third decade of life and I am living in a small apartment in Melbourne. On a seemingly normal day I took a blanket and a book and went down to a nearby open park to enjoy some space and sun. It was during this time I had an extraordinary experience with a nearby gum tree that was completely unprecedented.

Not long after settling into the first chapter ‘something’ pulled my focus, shifting my awareness over to the tree. It happened quite suddenly and without any warning. It was quite extraordinary and in an instant I sensed myself and the tree as the same, simultaneously as ONE. I could clearly sense the lifeforce energy that was running through me was also intrinsic to this tree. We were one, I felt no sense of separation whatsoever, but a deep calmness and connectedness with something greater than myself.The experience was vivid, clear and embodied. In looking back now, I would consider I experienced Oneness with that tree, awakening an inner knowing that had laid dormant within. The fact that nature is sentient and conscious. Yet it was not until another 15 years or so later the pull to return to the oneness of nature would become more insistent…

Many years later, I found myself continually dreaming of relocating out of Melbourne’s inner city suburbs to be surrounded by nature once again. The pull become stronger to live a lifestyle for myself and my boys being more connected to nature. A few years later we moved into the leafy Macedon Ranges on 8 acres of forested land. It was everything and more! A real nature parkland surrounding us with mature gardens, kangaroos, wombats, rabbits, and plentiful local bird life.

So here I am, once again enjoying endless hours outside in nature. This time as an adult, meditating, gardening, observing nature with mindfulness or in the translated words of the Japanese term “Shrinrin-yoku”, forest immersion.

This new journey into nature opened me up to its consciousness, wisdom, healing capacities, cycles and willingness to communicate to those who are open-hearted and aware enough to “hear”.

People ask if I’m afraid to be roaming out in nature, like it is some kind of terrible monster to be feared. Quite the opposite! I actually feel connected, safe and a sense of belonging within its green ferny embrace and tall protective canopies. Each experience has opened up within me a deeper communication with nature and its wisdom.

It is like a wise elder that patiently holds the space for us to be present, to be mindful, to be inspired to move into the lightness of clarity and the realization that there is a vastness of universal consciousness within nature that we too are part of.

Throughout my life’s journey I have had many cathartic experiences in nature that transcend the mundane, opening up a dimension of joy, renewal, healing, wisdom and release. I know I have come full circle with nature and that our journey here on this planet requires us to reconnect back to our innate kindness and compassion and to the healing power of nature itself.

We are not separate.

Nicole is the owner of holistic meditation and coaching business The Lightness of Being You.

Nicole’s inspiration is facilitating, teaching and empowering people to heal and reconnect to their essential true nature, living with a greater sense of presence and kindness to themselves, each other and this beautiful planet.