Yesterday, I celebrated Shinrin Yoku for the first time.
Traditionally it’s not a holiday, per se, just a Japanese custom/concept I’ve adopted as part of my 2015 adventure in mindful celebrations.
Shinrin Yoku literally translates as “forest bathing” and it’s rooted in the belief that natural spaces have powerful cleansing, restorative, and healing energy.
My inagural forest bath involved a half-mile walk along the river in Boston in (according to my weather app) “feels like” -16 degree temperatures with 21mph winds out of the northwest and several feet of snow.
It was wet. It was COLD. And it was…bafflingly…meditative, restorative, and healing.
Now, let me be perfectly clear, this was not a transcendental experience. There was nothing graceful about my alternate slipping through the slush and stumbling through 3-foot drifts, glasses caked with blowing snow and snot freezing in my nose. But choosing not to distract myself from the intense sensory immersion, the experience took on a kind of harsh beauty–physically, aesthetically, and emotionally.
All in all, not a bad first “bath.”