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Meditation - Forest Bathing and Eco-Grief - Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine

Meditation by Jenny Harrow-Keeler | September 14, 2020

I'm grateful for the opportunity to share this meditation practice with the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine - AIHM community. I miss spending time in nature and fresh air. This morning I combined my forest bathing practice with a guided imagery practice to connect with the healing power of the Earth through our imaginations.

Right now, things are tough here in California. We are in the midst of an unprecedented fire season, one that has started earlier, burned more acreage, and caused a massive cloud of smoke over the entire West Coast, which has created some of the most unhealthy and dangerous air quality in the entire world. Thousands of people are displaced, homes and forests destroyed, and we are still at the beginning of what is known as fire season, which depending on the year, can last until November or December.

Without a doubt, climate change is here and is changing life on this planet for every living being. Personally, I have been feeling a lot of eco-grief lately. "Eco-grief can be thought of as pain for the loss of our shared home stemming from a place of connectedness and love. It refers to sensations of fear, anxiety, anger, and sorrow linked to our intertwined ecological and social crises, emotions related to climate chaos and its devastating impacts on people and places and all living beings, on our planet as home". Grief is an emotion that can feel overwhelming and especially in this particular moment of time while we are navigating COVID-19, a government that is facilitating a rise in racial violence and white supremacy, the stress of the upcoming election, and a planet in increasing turmoil from climate disasters such as the wildfires here on the West Coast, but also the hurricanes and other severe climate disasters happening across the country and world.

When we block our pain for the world we are disconnecting our ability to experience and feel empathy, love, and radical imagination. By opening to our grief we open more to our compassion, our ability to experience and share joy, openness, love, kindness, and awareness. We remember what our ancestors knew for millennia - that we are all connected, that we belong, and from this place, we can anchor into the present moment and tune into what is truly needed next for the benefit of all beings.

Sending love and healing to you all <3


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