• Shelly Blake


Updated: Jan 30

"I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees." Henry David Thoreau

I have been surrounded by the forest most of my life. I definitely didn't appreciate just how blessed I was to be near such a natural powerhouse until recently. Green is the color of life. If we eat our greens we are promised better health. So it's no surprise there is such a thing as ecotherapy, which is also called green therapy. Getting out into nature and soaking it in has been proven to reduce depression and other conditions.

It just goes to show you that sometimes we already have everything we need at our fingertips, but just don't realize it. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, invented the phrase forest bathing, or "Shinrin-yoku". It's not about exercise at all really, but being a part of nature and experiencing and appreciating the beauty and fullness of nature. In her article, 9 Benefits of Forest Bathing and Why You Need to Try It, Genevieve Howland lists the many benefits of forest bathing, including stronger immunity, more energy, decreased risk of heart attack and the creation of anti-inflammatory terpenes.

"Nature always wears the colors of the Spirit." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Real beauty is discovered within. If we truly appreciate life around us and soak it in, it will seep out of our pores in a smile. Laughter is the best medicine, even a smile creates a healthy brain surge. (From the Science of Smiling) If we can learn to appreciate the beauty around us, in other people and ourselves (sometimes the hardest of all) and just simply smile, we are on our way to a better life.

Beauty is Sacred

It's amazing how a beautiful sunrise or sunset can rejuvenate the soul. I can still remember the surprise and elation I felt one morning walking outside to start my work day and being met with a glorious sunrise. I literally gasped in awe, and then, naturally smiled, outwardly and inwardly. There's something about the way the clouds create perfect patterns in the sky and the light highlights everything just right. It's sacred. It's like a shot of joy, rejuvenating. It was the same for my daughter and I taking a walk in the woods and being pelted with bits of nuts falling from above and finding out there was a feast of birds going on in the treetops, and we'd just been invited.

You may or may not want to grab a camera and share your photos on social media, but I hope you soak in the beauty until life is a dance of light in your eyes, energy in your soul and a smile on your lips. We all need to forget about our troubles for a moment each day and see only beauty.

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