These days, we stay indoors for hours scrolling through social media, binge-watching TV shows, or playing video games. We shop online and have purchases delivered straight to our homes. We live in or commute to cities surrounded by concrete, steel, and smog. Our days are mostly spent away from sunshine, trees, water, and fresh air.
While our modern way of life can be convenient, it’s taking us away from the health benefits of nature. To the point where getting outside should now be a priority. This is where the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku — or forest bathing — can help.
What is forest bathing?
In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries created the term shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere.” The practice encourages people to simply spend time in nature — no actual bathing required. It’s also very low impact, which means you don’t have to go for trail runs or do an intense hike. The goal of forest bathing is to live in the present moment while immersing your senses in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.
Forest Therapy, also known as
refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.”
How do might you do it?
Enter the forest with an intent to have a direct, uninterrupted, immersive engagement.
Cross the threshold into the forest and acknowledge the ceremonial honor of entering the home of gracious beings.
Take time to become aware of yourself, your body, and what your senses are perceiving
Begin to take notice of each impression you have as it occurs
Move slowly through the forest as you observe everything else that is moving around you
Explore aspects of the forest that enable you to have an intimate appreciation for what you find by connecting with your senses
Sit and discover what has been revealed to you
close your visit with a ceremony before crossing the threshold as you depart
“The problem with our busy city lives, however, is that the stressful events keep piling up. There will be emails to answer, co-workers demanding attention, a deadline looming, the shopping to get done, the bills to be paid. And our cortisol levels remain always slightly raised.
When cortisol is released constantly, it can disrupt all our body’s processes. And people who produce chronically high levels of cortisol are at increased risk of numerous health problems.”
Dr. Qing Li
Forest Bathing, pgs. 66-67
My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
He knows our thoughts
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?”
Jesus read their thoughts. Jesus asked why they had evil in their hearts.
Application in my life
God knows our thoughts, Jesus demonstrated that. God sees the evil in men’s hearts based on their thought life. Jesus asked them about the evil inside them. There would therefore be a reason for it, one they should know the answer to. So it stands to reason that every person should be able to see the reason for what is in their hearts.
I want to replace any evil with the goodness of God. By not choosing God I am not allowing Him to fill my heart. I will be empty inside without God. That emptiness makes room for evil to find a home there. Choose God and reject evil. Because I fill my heart with God, my thoughts will reflect God’s goodness. And a God will know because he knows my thoughts.
Lord, I ask you to fill my heart, your words your thoughts, your desires, your love, with all of it there is no room and no emptiness to be filled, by evil Amen
My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:16-21 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[ says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Being hopeful is a virtue. Patience is rewarded. Prayer is being obedient to God and it is where our safety lies. Harmony is how we should live, so when given a reasonable choice, choose this option.
Application in my life
Prayer will allow me to hear from God and after I hear from God I can benefit from what He reveals me. This is knowledge that I can use to keep me from stumbling when I otherwise might. What God imparts to me will help me have patience when I need it and furthermore, it will gift me with the amount of hope I need to maintain my joy.
Prayer is what I will commit to do more of and make more a part of who I am and what I do each day. Prayer is a very important part of my role in my relationship with God. I model myself as a person who prays to God, then acts accordingly. I behave in a manner that reflects what has been communicated in my prayer.
As a purpose, harmony is an option that I can identify with. That means I treat everyone the same, the poor, wealthy, educated, uneducated, people with status and those without. I leave my pride at the door and respect others as equals. Being humble is often the appropriate goal in a given situation. Overcoming evil with good for me can meam not allowing what someone else does control what I do. I can be generous towards someone who is selfish. I can be kind to people who are not kind to me. I can be considerate of people who aren’t. I can forgive an unforgiving person. Each of these examples I can be reminded of if I pray about relationships I have with people who wrong me.
Lord thank you for allowing me to be as close to you as I am committed to being, and thank you for accepting me, flawed as I am. I purpose to listen to You more, and act on the guidance You give. Amen
What you should know:
or you can read about the movie based on the book here
Cross Roads is a very different book from The Shack in several ways. Both books do have similar themes however. Cross Roads is a novel that engages in a philosophical debate about personal beliefs, eternity, the nature of God, and the ideas of freedom, redemption, and forgiveness. One of the similar themes between Cross Roads and The Shack is grief and the idea of being angry at God for the loss of a family member. Cross Roads addresses this theme from a different point of view than The Shack does.
I think The Shack approaches the subject on the level of sovereignty and judgement. While Cross Roads approaches it from the perspective of the fear of pain and suffering. One theme that separates Cross Roads from The Shack is that the main theme of Cross Roads is death.
What I liked:
This is one of the funniest books I have read in a while. There is humor woven throughout the entire novel. Which might surprise you as death, divorce, and serious illness are prevalent in the story. It has a compelling plot and several likeable characters. There are some amazing moments where someone says something really profound. The author smoothly moves between two storylines, one where the protagonist is dealing with the events of his life and the other where he has a discussion with God about his soul.
During his discussions with God, the protagonist, Anthony Spencer, engages in very heady conversations about many important ideas and beliefs people have. The book poses questions and offers answers without preaching. Spencer is on a journey of sorts, one of discovery, where he finds answers which he is willing to accept without feeling forced to. This is genius, in my opinion. And is worth reading for those parts alone.
What I didn’t like:
I thought it started too slowly. I put it down for a while and finally picked it up again believing it would gather momentum because I found The Shack to be interesting. Another similarity Cross Roads has to The Shack is its focus on extreme cases. Anthony Spencer is extremely anti-Christian, while the protagonist in the Shack is extremely broken by the death of a child. What’s wrong with that? Well, not all of us can identify with these extreme positions. But I guess the author would argue that we aren’t supposed to.
If Spencer is such an extreme is he realistic? Now it could be fair for me to ask that, but I’d have to also admit that Spencer might not need to be realistic. As long as enough of his thoughts and actions are reasonable, the fact he himself as a whole is arguably unbelievable doesn’t actually detract from the story.
Recommendation: Must Read
In his review of BlackKklansman (2018), starring John David Washington and Adam Driver, Collin Willis notes that recent films Get Out (2107) and Sorry to Bother You (2018) also address racial conflict past and present. Here is a top 10 list of other films about race in America you may or may not have seen.
Is there one here you recognize as a favorite or one that you think provides the biggest impact on the topic of race?
— Read on moviebabblereviews.com/2018/08/16/top-10-movies-that-take-on-race-relations/
Exercise: Write a short bio for one of your lessor characters
Bio of Marie Marisol
How do you want readers to feel about the character? Are they to have favorable or unfavorable feelings? Will they like the character? Will they be able to relate to her? Probably if the character behaves in a manner that is consistent. A bio can help guide you in how your character would perform in various situations. What she will say and do. So when you need something to happen in your story you know which character is most appropriate to assign that role to, because of their bio.
Marie Marisol was born in Windsor, Canada. Her father was a former French Canadian hockey player who worked as an equipment manager for the Detroit Red Wings professional hockey franchise. Her mother’s family was a minority owner of the team. Marie inherited her parents’ passion for sport and was an all-city athlete in high school. She was on the fencing team at Wayne State University and competed for Canada in the Olympic Games. Marisol has a PhD in Native American Studies from UC Davis. Before becoming the college chancellor she headed the Center of Teaching Excellence at Stanford University. A passionate animal lover, she has a standard poodle she brings to work with her.
Have you thought about lately what you do with the treasures that others have buried inside you?
Quoting an often remembered parable “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
My mother’s love language was acts of service. Without any conscious purpose I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the following professions, military, police, and education. All of which gave me opportunities to help, protect, and cultivate. Now I’m taking the time to consider what it means to be my mother’s son.
One of her defining traits was fostering. Her grandmother showed her what that meant while raising her from infancy. As a child my mother practiced it with her cousins. As an adult she continued it with coworkers, friends and acquaintances throughout her life.
I am humbled by the daily experience where I engage in the same fostering my mother once did. This manifests as a cherished memory now. One I welcome with warm embrace. Thankfully, I have powerfully available visual cues to remind me of how my mother’s spirit remains present in her absence.
It occurs to me that similar expressions will be born out in her other children, grandchildren, and those others whom she endowed with her loving legacy. There is a good sized list. My hope is that in the days ahead that we live without her, each of us still recognize how we operate as an extension of the seeds she planted within us.
What about you? Who do you think about? What do you remember? What do you see in your life that must have come from them? Will the idea of honoring the heritage they passed on to you bring you peace, comfort, or assurance? Will it bring healing and restoration? Will it help you bury your treasures in the right fields?