Really, a 'virtual walk'?!
I debated it, for sure. Couple the need for social distancing with the need for connection with nature and where do you end up? I had traditional nature and forest therapy walks scheduled with full rosters and alive, dynamic natural spaces picked out to gather in. As one thing after another was cancelled, I fought with my gut reaction which was to suspend my nature and forest therapy work until we found ourselves in the 'after' of all of this. Ultimately, I decided that the value of the human connection, the witnessing and the shared energy was important enough to give a 'virtual walk' a try. Even if the partnership with the natural world might be stretched, the other pieces of the experience could still have value.
Talk about a jump into something for which I had no road map. It meant there was new technology to learn, some kinks to work out in how to share a natural space and the letting go of past experiences with the tradition.... but I had a strong connection with the foundation of nature and forest therapy to draw on. I am so grateful that there were people willing to jump in and participate in the first virtual experiences that I offered. Is a virtual walk the same as an in-person walk? Nope. However, I had no idea how powerful, connected, and expansive a zoom-based-virtual-nature-therapy-walk could be. As guides I am sure each of us has found our own way in the digital world and I have no doubt that no two virtual walks are the same. After each of my virtual walks I have been struck by how grounding, calming and eye-opening these have been - both for me as the guide and for those that have participated. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait till I can again guide, safely, with participants around me out in nature.... but until then, I am so grateful to have access to the technology necessary to provide it in a virtual way. Proof that the forest has your (and my) back, no matter where you are! With an open heart and a strong wifi signal, I will continue to offer virtual walks to provide those wish to join me with a much needed 'nature breath'.