This April, Random Acts of Green CEO and nature super-fan, Jessica Correa embarked on a Guided Forest Therapy experience for the very first time.

Here at Random Acts of Green we’re always encouraging our community to reconnect with the great outdoors.

We wanted to share Jessica’s experience with you in the hope that it might just encourage you to look into Guided Forest Therapy experiences in your area.

Here’s how Jessica got on …

CEO of RAOG Jessica in a wood with her arms spread. Happy!
“Times have been tough. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken it’s toll on all of us. It’s forced me personally to search for unique ways to stay calm, balanced, and centered. I’ve done this through journaling, meditation, yoga – and most recently, I’ve added a 4th called Nature Therapy. One of my New Years Resolution was to connect to nature more intimately. In my line of work, I spend so much time trying to encourage people to protect it, that I sometimes forget how sacred, beautiful, and peaceful it is. How intertwined we are to it and it to us.”
bright yellow forest. beams of sunshine come through.

Last week, I did my first ever Nature Therapy session with a certified Nature Therapy Guide.

First, she had me take several deep breaths on a log in the woods in Jackson Park. She asked me to close my eyes, and listen to the sounds of the forest. I was encouraged to feel the sun on my face, smell the first signs of spring, and pay attention to anything that stuck out to me as special.

I did hear a small squirrel and some birds chirping around me – and it reminded me that we were in their home.

A photo of a mallard duck.

The next segment was to go close to the water and to listen as you approached it as the sounds got stronger.

We humans are drawn to water, and there was something really special about this segment as I was surprised at how calming it was to just sit and stare. I sat by the water for a long period of time, without interruption, without judgement, without anywhere to go.

The water was strong. It was forceful. It was fast. It was resilient. It moved with urgency and strength. It had purpose and direction. And nothing was getting in its way.

And I was blessed to witness a small duck, in that moment, just riding the waves. Letting the strong current take it wherever it wanted to go. It didn’t resist the strength of the water, it didn’t swim upstream. It just floated along, peacefully. Living it’s time.
RAOG CEO Jessica sitting upright on a grassy hill.
This spoke to me as it felt like a mirror of the life I’m living: We cannot resist this pandemic. We cannot resist what is happening around us – we have to just let go and enjoy the ride. That little duck, as lame as it may be, brought me to tears – because it was a special moment I would’ve missed, had I not been told to just sit by the water and watch. It was magical and it was a majestic moment.
black and white photo of tree roots.

And then, we moved onward to the next segment – to move toward a tree that called to us.

At first, I really didn’t feel anything or see anything and I wasn’t sure if I was “doing it right”, but as soon as I just let myself wander and let myself be, I noticed this beautiful tree: It was strong, it was rooted, and it has 5 unique tree branches all brought together in 1 root system.

This reminded me strongly of my family, as there are 5 of us total. When I approached the tree, I knew it was calling to me because I saw one of the branches, tall and mighty – the tallest tree of them all, which reminded me of my father. As I moved closer, I was encouraged to shake the trees branch and introduce myself.
black and white photo of tree roots.
Immediately I noticed something even more special about this tree – one of the branches had grown a 6th branch, which I felt represented my newest nephew , Lorenzo who just joined our family back in November. Needless to say, I felt a strong attachment to this tree and the closer I got, the more it revealed itself to me and the more I felt I connected to it and it back to me as we aren’t so different. We both had 5 family members – and one of those family members had branched out to have a new one!
A dark wood. a person stands in the distance with a bright red jacket.

And last but not least, my forest therapy guide and I sat close to the water again and enjoyed sips of our Forest Tea.

We asked a tree nearby and thanked it for some pine . We added boiling water to it and sat in silence for a while longer.”

5 wooden mugs sit around some pine cones and moss.
“I really enjoyed this experience. As a spiritual person who enjoys meditating, I felt it was a unique experience that brought me calmness. Perhaps it isn’t for everyone, but it was definitely a way for me to connect to nature. I’d highly recommend it.”
A dark moody scene of a forest.

Key Learnings From This Experience:

🌲. Be like water – be resilient

🌲 Be like water – be strong

🌲 Be like water – have direction.

🌲 Be like water – have purpose.

🌲 Be like water – don’t let anything get in your way

🌲 Be like a duck – ride the waves – let things happen . Just be, no matter where you go

🌲 Be like a tree – connect to your family – stay rooted

🌲 Be like a tree – provide nourishment to others

RAOG CEO Jessica sitting in the woods.

Has this review inspired you to try Forest Therapy?

Read more about the practice and how you can become a Forest Therapy Guide on the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs website here.

A sprig of pine needles. Below it reads Associate of Nature and Forest Therapy
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