Posts Tagged as: sacred

Shinrin-yoku. The medicine of forest bathing

shrinrin-yoku forest bathing | sacred flow

Waterfall Forest – Cascade park in Mill Valley, CA

In a world that seems to turn mechanical, I can’t help but feel drawn to all that is organic and pulsing with aliveness. My senses begin to awaken in such embodied presence. Some places take us to a state of connection we long to inhabit, where our essence can blossom, uninhibited, unbridled, and free. The noise of the world and the chatter in our minds begin to quiet down as we enter sacred space in nature, sacred space in ourselves.

When I feel pain in my heart, stress in my body or confusion in my mind, I go to nature as a refuge and medicine for my weary soul, a place where I can replenish my being, where my fragmented energy can become coherent and whole again. There is a beautiful little forest in Marin that calls to me on a regular basis, where I go to connect to Spirit, to Mother Earth, and to myself. It has become my sanctuary.  It feels enchanting, magical, alive.  When I sit on the ground in this forest, I can feel myself dropping into my body, relaxing, breathing more gracefully. It has a calming and grounding presence.

The Japanese language has a beautiful term for bathing in forest energy–Shinrin-yoku. Have you heard of it? Forest bathing is an ancient Japanese tradition with Shinto and Buddhist origins. I love its shamanic undertones. My appreciation for this practice also stems from my love of bathing in general as a cleansing and invigorating ritual that connects body and soul. I love that we can bathe not just in water but also in forest energy.

Scientific research is just confirming its therapeutic benefits to release stress.  This article states that forest bathing is “proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.”   Not only do forest environments have a positive effect on the body, they also “soothe the spirit” as psychological studies have shown. Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a physiological anthropologist and vice director of Chiba University’s Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences emphasizes “that spending time in nature helps facilitate a feeling of comfort because our rhythms become synchronized with those of the environment.”(article by Florence Williams)

I first heard about this practice that struck a chord in my heart on a Lyft ride I shared with a man in San Francisco on my way to work about two months ago. It was a Monday and I had just spent my Sunday doing precisely what this man encapsulated in this beautiful term that he shared with me. Shinrin-yoku has come up in multiple places since then. Forest bathing seems to be bubbling up from the wells of the collective life that binds us all together–the collective unconscious. I love to see that deep down, many of us are yearning for the wild. I love to see us craving healing. Nature brings us home because we are part of it.

Beyond all our inhibitions, prejudices, and fears
beyond the lines that limit our becoming
beyond the stifling constructs that constrain our life force
beyond the walls, masks, and judgements that separate us
beyond the fears that shrink our hearts and dim our light

there is a wild zone that seeks space
a raw dimension that yearns for connection
a love too big to contain, big enough to shatter our illusions
and wake us up

If we get still enough
we can listen deeply to the song in our hearts
the beat of the earth that whispers
to inhabit ourselves fully, calling us to to release and drop all that burdens us, inspiring us to reawaken the subdued, tamed, and tangled fragments of our being.


Moss in the roots of a tree

shrinrin-yoku forest bathing | sacred flow


shrinrin-yoku forest bathing | sacred flow


You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.”
Alan Watts


I dedicate these words to all that is reawakening in our bodies, in our hearts, and in our consciousness; to all that is wild, free, and luminous; to all that is pulsing with love, awareness, and the oneness that we are.

Water is life. Protecting Standing Rock Sioux

Water is the source of life. Water is Sacred. Let’s protect it. Dear ones, there is so much fear and frustration in the air moving some to act in inhuman ways. I imagine you are all familiar with The Dakota Access pipeline, which threatens to endanger the water, land, and cultural heritage of Native Americans….

Nov 22, 2016 | continue reading →

This fire in my belly and heart

How do you awaken the fire in your belly, the one you know was once there but life seems to have extinguished?  I was asked this question by a sacred flow client recently. I humbly meditated on the nature of fire and its imminent absence in our bodies and souls. And I remembered this quote…

Oct 30, 2016 | continue reading →

Light in your heart

I realize I’ve taken a long pause in my writings. It has been in a period of incubation I like to think, of living suspended in the threads of a new rhythm set in motion as I learn to navigate my new life thrust into a full time job as an architect and a transformative relationship; while still dipping my toes in the waters of Sacred Flow work.

Dec 25, 2015 | continue reading →

Journey to the Sacred. Finding Sanctuary on the Inca Trail.

My ancestors, like many Indigenous traditions around the world, felt an ancestral pull to honor the body and spirit of the earth and build in harmony with the land. It is this sacred connection to land and cosmos that inspired them to design an architecture that flows not against, but rather, in harmony with the rhythms of the earth and cosmos. Honoring contours of earth, their structures adapted to the formations of the landscape. Their architecture didn’t seek to dominate the land but to enhance its beauty…

Sep 5, 2013 | continue reading →

Home: from prison to freedom

Do you feel imprisoned, stuck, estranged and alien in your own skin, home, land? The journey from prison to freedom is about removing the negative connotations of home, expanding our perception of this sacred space, taking it on a journey from prison to freedom. I am writing this article to claim the sacredness of the home as a safe haven where to nourish your life force, stir your creativity, feed your soul, enliven your spirit.

Jul 28, 2013 | continue reading →

The sensual spiritual bathroom

feminine space

The bathroom can be the most neglected space in the house, evoking feelings of guilt, shame or plain fear. We often respond to this triggered emotions by over sanitizing this space; making it cold, sterile, bare, silenced, desacralized. Our dwellings seem to hide the bathroom or seek to subdue its design as we disconnect from body and soul. This is a call to celebrate the bathroom as a a place of flow, communion, transformation, self-care and well being for our sensual, spiritual selves.

Jun 30, 2013 | continue reading →

Ode to Feminine Space. An architecture of flow. An architecture of the feminine

We are sucking the soul out of our lives and not replenishing it. And yet we feel that something is missing, yearning for a different kind of experience of wholeness that deeply feeds, awakens, and revitalizes our souls. Are you longing for intimacy, deep communication, connection? This is an invitation to notice, liberate, express, and experience the feminine: the feminine dimension of our being, the feminine dimension of space, the feminine dimension of the sacred…

Jun 18, 2013 | continue reading →

Riding waves in a magical, real world

There is a kind of magic that is born from the soil of experience, the magic of the mundane if you will, which under the light of awareness, shines sacred. I wonder if some of us are wired to experience life in a magical realist way. Asi parece. Magical realism is not just a literary genre; it is a way of living, of perceiving life, of engaging the world..

Mar 12, 2013 | continue reading →

In the belly of this wild, sacred dance

We have come to be danced…
…the claw our way back into the belly
of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance…
~ Jewel Mathieson

Mar 1, 2013 | continue reading →
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