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PASS THE TREES PLEASE

PASS THE TREES PLEASE

“Pass the Trees Please” written by Laura Burdo.

Talk a Walk on the Wild Side

And into
The forest I go
To lose myself
And find my soul

It’s trendy and it’s the new craze.

It’s Nature meets Mindfulness.

Maybe, it’s not new to you…

What is Forest Bathing?

Forest Bathing is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest to improve mental health and to boost physical immunity.

(And not to be confused with an energetic walk or hike.)

Shinrin-Yoku (森 浴)… and What It Can Do For You

The practice originated in Japan back in the early 1990s. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries coined the term Shinrin-yoku (森 浴) – which translates roughly as forest bathing.

(Rumor has it that some practitioners actually practice this ritual au natural. Gulp! But, keep your shirt on, folks… and your shorts and shoes, too, please!)

Why Go Wild?!?

This practice is proven by scientists to benefit physical and mental health as it helps lower heart rate, blood pressure, reduce stress- hormone production, boost immunity and mood, and improve overall feelings of well-being.

In addition to that impressive list of benefits, quite uniquely, recent research showed significant increases in human natural killer cell activity after forest bathing. And its positive effects last a month following each weekend in the woods.

Wow!

The positive effects last a month after woods- walking! Now, that’s sumthin’ to PIP about.

Let Me Be Your Guide

The aim of forest bathing is to slow
down and become immersed in the
natural environment.

Tune in to the smells, textures,
tastes and sights of the forest.

Breathe deeply and take in the
surroundings by using all our senses.

Close your eyes and just listen.

Then upon opening your eyes,
imagine that you are standing on
holy ground, in a magical place,
and as if you are seeing the world
for the very first time.

The Benefits of Forest Bathing

Many health care providers are incorporating forest therapy as an organized stress- reduction strategy. There’s no question that stress takes a terrible toll in the United States; a 2016 study found that work-related stress alone accounts for up to $190 billion in healthcare costs each.

Fortunately, there continues to be a growing interest in the US and in the UK. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to organize Woods Walking group!

Pass the Trees Please - Pilates Preacher - Laura Burdo

Warning!  Helicopter Trainer on Patrol

Now, at the expense of sounding like a helicopter-trainer, may I make a few suggestions?

Consider possible pit-falls and precautions pertaining to the terrain, weather, and wildlife. (Geez, I sound over-protective, I know.)

OK bear with me… maybe bring along some basic First Aid items. Oh, and don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray!!

(Whew, what a real nag, right?)

Well, at least I refrained from hinting about leaving a breadcrumb trail! 😒

What Would Joe Do (WWJD)?

And now, let’s get back to Joe.

Joseph Pilates said, “By all means, never fail to get all the sunlight and fresh air you can!”

As a child, Joe would lie in the woods for hours, hiding and watching how the animals moved, how the mother taught the young. This helped him understand natural movement and how to mimic it within the human form.

Reflect Respect

This brings to mind how many fundamental Yoga asanas and Tai Chi moves mimic animals – and these practices also reflect respect for nature.

Who doesn’t luv Tree and Up-Dog? How about the Sun Salutation Series?

I like Pulling-Up-Earth’s-Energy and Cloud-Walking in Tai Chi.

You may have your own favorites, too.

So save the favs … but grab a friend or two to do some Forest Bathing.

So what are you waiting for?

Nature’s calling!

And may the Forest be with you.

Talk soon,
Laura Burdo
The Pilates Preacher

For more check out these articles:
1) Oh Time Divine
2) Mush It
3) Age on Stage

Laura Burdo - The Pilates Preacher

P.S. To hear more, please be sure to sign up to the 7 Heavenly PIPs.

OH TIME DIVINE

“Oh Time Divine” written by Laura Burdo.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Time is divine… and time is a thief.
Life is a gift… and life is a bitch.

Double-minded?
I think not.

Seasons

We all have ever-turning (and churning) seasons in our lives.

Seems like just when we finally get the hang of something… or about when we start to get comfortable… wild winds whirl and we sense a shift in the atmosphere.

Ut-oh, what happens then?

Do you cringe at change, or combat it?

Maybe you expect it, and welcome it.

Divine Rhythm

When a season is light and lingering, of course, we delight in these times of tranquility. But, do you look over our shoulder at what could be coming down the pike while holding your breath a little bit?

So, what’s happening here?

Are you waiting to exhale… or are you waiting to inhale? No matter, maybe.

The natural answer to either state is merely to breathe. Metered and cyclical, as if each inhalation and exhalation is a compliment to the other.

Compatible – each are equally dependent upon the other.

This is a divine rhythm. Every breath affirming our existence as we trust that we belong in this life – in this time and space.

Your Weather Patterns

Have you noticed that we are all at the same time experiencing our own unique weather patterns (of life)? Some are sunny, or partly cloudy, while others are cold with lots of precipitation.

Maybe this is why Socrates once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Let’s talk about those heavy and hovering seasons. You know… the ones that call for some true blue long-suffering.

Ut-oh, did I just hear you groan?

Reaction

I get it… just typing those two words hit me.

I feel it in my chest or deep in the gut somewhere… like an old memory or like an anxious dread. This must be a common reaction because, c’mon, no one likes suffering!

But, we do have some say over the matter. We don’t have to be taken down or let the pain settle in. Instead, we could determine to gut it out.

Long Suffering

Did you know that long-suffering is an actual characteristic that we can develop? Yep.

The actual definition is having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.

Bet you know how to obtain this quality.

Yep again… we just have to deal!

It’s like what Robert Frost, the great American poet told us in his writings. He said, “The best way out is always through.”

Rhyme and Reason

Instinctively, we know that trying times are testing and teaching us. And yet, we struggle to feel appreciative. Of course, that too, is part of the lessons learned.

Hey, how bout the seasons that leave us mentally screwed-up, as they appear to have no rhyme or reason?

Jessica Jones (a super hero character) said, “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stranger.” Pretty good one, right?

Now, we could try to resist these stages of changes within us. But should we?

Isn’t that like trying to wear a hat on a very windy day, shoveling sidewalks while it’s still snowing, or talking to a person who isn’t listening? I mean, we can do that, but it can be exhausting and ultimately futile.

In addition, these reactions would only rob us.

Behind the Divine

What would happen if we expected and accepted all things? As in… whatever arises, love it.

Say to yourselves, everything is as it should be. And then relax, because nothing is really under (our) control anyway.

It is said that change is taking place continuously, all the time, behind the scenes, underneath it all… even when we can’t quite detect it.

May I suggest that that is the divine design at work within us?

Fly with Byrds

You may already be acquainted with these wise words – courtesy of The Byrds.

Remember the song, Turn! Turn! Turn!

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.

And… there it is.
The revelation is still relevant.
PEACE and PRESENCE is the PURPOSE.

Final Words

Let us make peace with… self, others, loss, pain, and change.
And know this… God has made everything beautiful in its time.

Talk soon,
Laura Burdo
The Pilates Preacher

For more check out these articles:
1) Mush It
2) Age on Stage
3) No Apathy

Laura Burdo - The Pilates Preacher

P.S. To hear more, please be sure to sign up to the 7 Heavenly PIPs.

MUSH IT

“Mush It” written by Laura Burdo.

A “Little” Story

A long time ago, in a mid-west town, this happened one snowy school-cancelled afternoon…

Suit Up

I remember requiring assistance getting into my snow suit – along with the usual accessories – mittens, earmuffs, and a hat, as I was only six years old. Now the boots… well, I put them on all-by-myself!

So there I stood, donning my new fuschia-pink snow suit with big fluffy earmuffs which practically covered my entire face. A white hat sat upon my head with pig-tails poking out at the sides.

We (my siblings and I) were anticipating snowball fights with neighborhood friends, sledding, and my personal favorite… making snow angels!

Prior to these wintery festivities, we had to complete schoolwork and tend to the family pet. These were strict orders from our father.

Seemed fair enough, and so we perform our tasks, leashed the dog and headed for the front door.

An Unexpected Twist

Just before anyone could take hold, this impetuously independent dog charges boldly into the great outdoors. “Tanner” was his name. Craazy was his game. Being a Shepard / Husky mix, this made him large, energetic, and strong-willed. (I’ll tell more about this four-legged feisty foe another time.)

I caught a glimpse of the end of the long leash and dove toward it, grasping with both hands. I recall the snow being high and slippery.  Now, one might say that my small stature was no match for that rambunctious rebel… or was it??

You see, all I needed to do to subdue the dog’s rant was to create a drag and tire him out, right? Then I could save the day by saving the dog and bring him safely back home.

At least, that was this six year old’s plan.

Stop

But slow down, he did not!

Tanner charged up and down the main drag including some side streets, slid-into and climbed-out of ditches, chased a few dogs, and circled around too many trees to count. Yet, I held onto that leash for dear life – for his, and for mine.

Worries and thoughts racing. What if he ran away and became lost in the cold? Or he caused an automobile accident that injured people. Also, I feared that we may receive rebuke from father for allowing the dog to escape in the first place!

This scene continued for quite awhile as Tanner was rather young and spry – but, ya know what, so was I!

Mush It - Laura Burdo

I suspect that being a gymnast made me no stranger to pain. Perhaps, it even helped me endure the discomfort of being jerked around, dragged over rough pavements, and bashing into the occasional inanimate object or tree along the way.

Ugh, and all that twirling. Remember the long leash? Well at times, I was on my back or sideways, but periodically, I’d be completely face down in the snow.

Spectators

Neighbors were gathering to observe this spectacle. Some were staring with gaping mouths, others laughing. Bigger boys were chanting, “MUSH, MUSH!” and other obnoxious things.

But, ALL were shouting, “LET GOOO!”

I overheard my brother exclaim, “My sister’s a fighter, she won’t let-go!”

(Speaking of my brother… he recently recounted the details of this day with me.  We had a good laugh when he said that if this had occurred during the smart-phone era, it surely would have been captured on video and posted on social media!)

Show’s Over

Although attention spans may have been a bit longer back then, still the crowd dispersed. Tanner’s show-boating slowly dwindled and then his mania just stopped. And would you believe, right in front of our very own house?

And there we were… panting and wrung-out. Tanner’s coat snowy and his paws were mud. My snow suit was ripped in several places and my hat lost.

My siblings and I sulked up to the house together… like a scene in the movie, Dead Man Walking. We readied ourselves for punishment.

I’m still hanging onto that leash. Tanner’s tongue… (still) hanging out.

Father

Father runs toward us with an expression upon his face that confused me. It looked something more like pity then anger. He lifted me up and held me, and attended to my bruises while brushing wet clumps of icy snow from my hair.

I asked, “Father, what does MUSH mean?

I told him that the punk boys were chanting it at me.

He roared with laughter and said, “Basically, Tanner fled and you, my dear, became the sled.”

Final Thoughts

As I reflect on this story, it both warms my heart, and saddens it.You see, that pattern of rescue, responsibility, worry, holding on too tightly, and not knowing when to let go has permeated my life. At times, this caused considerable conflict and perhaps pain to others, but certainly to myself.

Today, I understand that the best I can do – in all situations – is to seek the wisdom to know the difference.

Talk soon,
Laura Burdo
The Pilates Preacher

For more check out these articles:
1) Age on Stage
2) No Apathy
3) Meet Your Feet

Laura Burdo - The Pilates Preacher

P.S. To hear more, please be sure to sign up to the 7 Heavenly PIPs.