What to Expect

June 13- August 8, 2021

Group Calls on Sundays at 10am PST.

We live in a narcissistic world, where we are taught that we should strive to be someone special. Through conditioning, we become focused on the story of who we are, of how the world sees us, and with every attempt to become someone heroic, we become more estranged from the inner nature and the ordinary beauty of being alive. We are thirsty for definition because we have been taught to crave acceptance from the world of humanity, but what if we were worthy of love just as we are in each moment? What if nature was waiting for us to come home?

In this 8-week course, we’ll be exploring how to experience ourselves as nature experiences itself. Beyond separateness and specialness and egoic stories of who we think we are, this is a journey towards the most essential self, an ecological identity that is given to us even before we are born. It is something emergent, spontaneous, and beautiful in its ordinariness. We don't need to earn it or prove ourselves worthy of it; it comes naturally when we relax into being what we are. In this way, this course aspires to a kind of ecological liberation, an integration of the individual consciousness with the the landscape that is living and harmonious.

This course is open to anyone who is curious about exploring their own sense of ecological self. For those who have trained as Forest Therapy Guides, this course may also offer a subtle exploration of the philosophy and embodiment of the Way of the Guide, focusing on principles of authenticity, spontaneity, unconditional acceptance, non-doing, playfulness and paradox. The course is not designed to teach Way of the Guide, but to explore our inner nature; however, you may find that these experiences inform one another at a fundamental level.

In this course, you will learn and experience:

1.     Storytelling practices and expressive arts to represent and create distance between the ego self and natural consciousness

2.     Nature Immersion practices to investigate how the more-than-human-world can act as a mirror to our inner nature

3.     Contemplative Journaling with Sit Spot Scrolls 

4.     Embodiment techniques to cultivate ecological awareness

5.     A subtle exploration into ‘Way of the Guide,’ a core philosophical concept in the practice of Forest Therapy Guiding

6.     Supportive group calls to cultivate a learning community

7.     Much more.

Testimonials

The discoveries are infinite

Julie Brams, ANFT Cohort 16

This course is a profound, gentle and deep dive into the way of the guide. In each lesson, Ben offers multiple portals to step through and live the questions of what it means to be human, what it means to be nature, and what it means to let go of our personal preconceptions in order to become even more spontaneous and free to join with the human and more than human web of being. Whether you are new to forest therapy or have been guiding for many years, these invitations will expand your heart and your mind around the core principles of guiding. The discoveries are infinite - I plan to take it many times.

Treat yourself and take it.

Faith Fuller

This course will not look, sound or feel like any other course you have taken. It is provocative when you look at yourself. It is moving, as you weave your experience with others. It is profound as you let go into your true nature. It is magic and deep relaxation. Treat yourself and take it.

Relief and Freedom

Stana Luxford Oddie, ANFT Guide & Trainer

During Ben’s course, I delighted in chewing on, wrestling, and dancing with each week’s new thread. The supportive weekly rhythm, deepened relationship with the land and others, as well as the overall content left me with a feeling of relief and freedom. I highly recommend this beautiful course.

FAQ

  • How much time should I expect to put in to this experience?

    This course is designed in such a way that you can really put as little or as much time in as you want. It's really about process more than product, so there's nothing that you "must do" in order to move ahead each week. You might expect an average minimum of about 3 or 4 hours of self-directed experiences, plus one 90 minute phone call each week.

  • Do I have to be a Forest Therapy Guide to take this course?

    No, this course is designed for anyone with an interest in exploring their inner nature. While it is not the focus of this course, those who have trained as Forest Therapy guides, may recognize that becoming intimate with their inner nature is a parallel experience to exploring the "Way of the Guide," which is a leadership model that emphasizes spontaneity, authenticity and selflessness. If, after this course, you want to learn how that philosophy applies to the art and practice of Forest Therapy guiding, you might consider taking the ANFT guide training and certification program.

  • Do I have to attend all the calls?

    It is OK to miss calls. This course is not designed in such a way that you would feel lost if you missed a week.

Instructor(s)

Ben Page

Ben Page is a Forest Therapy Guide, global advocate for the practice and the author of the soon to be released Healing Trees: A Pocket Guide to Forest Bathing. He is the founder of Shinrin Yoku LA and Integral Forest Bathing and has been guiding Forest Therapy walks since 2015. During his tenure as a trainer and mentor of guides, Ben has trained hundreds of guides around the world. From 2017-2020, he also served as the Director of Training for the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, specializing in curriculum and pedagogical design and was the main designer of the ANFT Forest Therapy Guide Training on Thinkific. Since his practice began, Ben has been featured in such publications as Women’s Health, USA TODAY, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, and WebMD. Ben is also a co-founder of The Open School, Southern California’s only free democratic school. He holds a B.A. in religious studies from Carleton College and an M.A. in human development and social change from Pacific Oaks College.

Pricing options

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Course curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome & Introduction

  • 2

    Chapter 1: Observing Ego & Nature

    • Chapter Reminders

    • In case you want to revisit: Introduction Powerpoint

    • Zoom Recording: June 13, 2021

    • Campfire: Chapter 1

    • Bonus: Arriving at the Inner Nature- a diagram

    • Living: Scroll 1

    • Cave 1: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 1 (Creating the Mirror)

    • Video: An invitation for the Campfire stories

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 3

    Chapter 2: Confronting Spiritual Narcissism

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Zoom Recording: June 20, 2021

    • Bonus: Some musings on the gathering of stories from beings of nature

    • Campfire: Chapter 2

    • Living: Scroll 2

    • Cave 2: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 2

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 4

    Chapter 3: Reclaiming Innocence and Playfulness

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Campfire: Chapter 3

    • Living: Scroll 3

    • Cave 3: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 3

    • Bonus: Unpacking the question: "How do I know if my actions are motivated by my ego or by my inner nature?"

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 5

    Chapter 4: Remembering Our Bodies

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Campfire: Chapter 4

    • Living: Scroll 4

    • Cave 4: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 4

    • Bonus: The Wander

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 6

    Chapter 5: Glorifying the Mystery

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Campfire: Chapter 5

    • Living: Scroll 5

    • Cave 5: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 5

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 7

    Chapter 6: Honoring Purposelessness

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Campfire: Chapter 6

    • Living: Scroll 6

    • Cave 6: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 6

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 8

    Chapter 7: Embracing Unconditional Acceptance

    • Chapter Reminders

    • Campfire: Chapter 7

    • Living: Scroll 7

    • Cave 7: Sitting or Wandering

    • Living: Mirror 7

    • Preparing for Final Chapter: Integration

    • End of Chapter Harvest

  • 9

    Chapter 8: Integration

    • Campfire: Chapter 8

    • Living: Scroll 8

    • Cave 8: Sitting or Wandering

    • What did you see in the mirror?

    • Share your integrated poem

    • End of Course Harvest

    • Caching and Integration

    • Optional: Write a testimonial of this course

    • Stay tuned for more...

    • Reflections on the Journey: A Course Evaluation

  • 10

    Post-Course Dialogues

    • Introduction to Post-Course Dialogues

    • Dialogue on Chapter 1