The following is a guided meditation intended to help you rekindle your childhood curiosities about the natural world, and to rewild your soul by drawing you closer to the forest, one breath at a time. To take part in this meditative practice, it is suggested that you begin by distancing yourself from as many distractions as possible. Find a safe place of quiet where you can be left undisturbed for the next few minutes. Whenever your mind begins to wander, gently follow your breath, and allow it to guide you through the ether of thoughts towards the sanctuary of your own forest. This practice is also suitable to share with a partner and makes for a blissful group adventure. If at the end of the meditation, you find that there are some species you are unfamiliar with, I would recommend that you spend a minute looking them up and introducing yourself. They are, after all, your relatives.
Begin by taking a comfortable position. Wherever you are, whether sitting, standing, or lying down, feel safe, comfortable, and at ease. Settle into stillness. Turn your attention towards your breath, and notice wherever it is right now. Whatever rhythm it has settled into. Do not try to slow or control your breathing, but rather observe it, as if it was the first breath you had ever felt.
Now focus your attention towards your face, and actively release any tension in this area. Feel as though two fingers were gently pressing between your brows and then releasing, along with any pressure. Release your tongue from the upper palate of your mouth and allow your jaw to fall at ease. Lower your shoulders away from your ears and roll them backwards, to gently open your chest and ribcage. Relax your lungs and diaphragm, your back, your tummy, your buttocks, your legs. Relax your arms, your hands, your fingertips. Connect with the ground through your feet so that you feel rooted but not rigid. Then relax your toes. Everything is relaxed.
Now take a big inhalation and hold it until it feels natural to you, then let it go. Take another inhalation and invite this one deeper into your chest. And again, when it feels good to you, let it go. And now take one more breath in, guiding this one even deeper into your belly. And as you let this breath go, see yourself walking towards the edge of a magnificent old growth forest. Notice the range of greens amongst the trees: emerald, olive, sage, lime, chartreuse. The textures in the canopy: leaves, needles, and hanging mosses that sway ever so slowly. Explore the sub-canopy of barks, berries, and blossoms.
Take another few steps until you arrive at a carpet of bright green moss. As you approach, notice as your feet sink gently into the soft spongey ground. Feel how with each step, your entire foot, from heel to toe, is cushioned, and for just a moment, supported by an earthen sole. Once you have arrived at the center of the moss, slowly lie back, and enjoy the comfort of your forest bed. Watch as the clouds play peak-a-boo behind the tall treed canopy and dance around the bright blue sky. What shapes are they making?
Now that the duvet of snow has melted, and the millions of fungi have resumed quilting the forest tapestries, there is a whole new life taking place before you. Take notice of the aromas emanating from the rich dark soil they are carefully sewing. Smell the freshness of dew drops as they stitch into their work. The delicate scents of the early crab apple blossoms that pirouette from the sky and land silently adorning the fungi’s creations like celebratory spring confetti.
Hear the tap-tap-tap of the pileated woodpecker as he prepares a gourmet assortment of carpenter ant kabobs for breakfast. The eager peep-peep-peep of hungry warbler chicks impatiently calling for their grubby porridge, and the relieved dee-dee-dee of the chickadee mum who just discovered a burrow of caterpillars in a tall spruce tree. Hear the delighted chirp-chirp-chirp of the chipmunk who has stumbled onto someone else’s rich seed cache.
Feel the currents of energy passing through the roots beneath you, as the mosses, the plants, and the trees, speak to each other in silent communion. Tune into the right channel and you can even experience how, through their rich networks, trees create their own weather, heal the sick, and wage war on the cheeky red squirrels. Navigate their complex mazes and you will experience the mysterious workings of the real interweb. Gently close your eyes and invite the wild knowledge within you to navigate your breath towards the frequency of the forest. Quietly, you begin to hear its call…
You have arrived, say the aspen.
You have arrived, sing the pines.
You have arrived, hum the spruce.
You have arrived, murmur the tamarack…
You are home, howl the wolves.
You are home, hoot the owls.
You are home, chirp the squirrels.
You are home, caw the ravens…
Breathe with us, recite the lichen.
Breathe with us, echoes the wind.
Breathe with us, rumble the rocks.
Breathe with us, whispers the river…
Embrace your wildness, chants the forest.
Embrace your wildness, invite the clouds.
Embrace your wildness, speaks the sun.
Embrace your wildness, offers the moon…
Gently begin to invite some movement back to your body. Softly wiggle your fingers and your toes. Roll out your wrists, then flex and stretch your feet and ankles. Slowly release your head to one side and then the other. Come back to stillness and take a few breaths. Remember what it is like to be in the forest. Take this feeling of peace, serenity, and connection with you. Come back to this sacred place and rewild yourself whenever you feel the call. And when you hear the gentle breeze passing through leaves, stop and listen. Maybe the forest is calling to you…reminding you, that it is time to come back home.
© Mette Cooper