“A walk in nature, walks the soul back home.”
– Mary Davis
Many of us who are drawn to living in the Pacific Northwest do so because of our love of the wilderness. Walk-and-talk ecotherapy has many benefits. In addition to being great for our health, moving our bodies can help us process thoughts and emotions. Some people feel more comfortable engaging with a therapist side-by-side, rather than with face-to-face eye contact. Being in nature helps us feel more connected and at peace in the world around us. It helps us to slow down, find our pace with the natural rhythms that surround us, become more observant and attuned to the present moment, and listen within for guidance.
Nature is also full of metaphors we can use to support our process. If we feel weak and unable to tackle a challenge in our personal life, climbing up a hill can remind us of how capable we are. If we feel responsible for those around us, the choice to move a snail from a path to protect it from harm can serve as a reflection of our day to day decision making process in relationships. If we are overly self-critical, the ability of the trees around us to simply be as they are, gnarled and misshapen, yet beautiful nonetheless, can remind us of our intrinsic wholeness. If we are frightened by change, learning to trust the natural flow of the times of day and seasons of the year can remind us to trust our own natural processes. If we need to gain perspective on an issue, viewing a landscape from new angles can spark insight. And so on.