What a month it was! The long summer seemed to bring a longing for going inwards and deepening. As the days become shorter there is more and more interest innature-based programs. I feel so privileged to do this work and am happy to share with the community a few of the programs I facilitated in Israel this month and some of my thoughts on the way.

Opening the two year training in leading nature based processes for personal development for the seventh time was very challenging. This year we have 50 students, 25 first year who are accompanied by 10 student facilitators and 15 second year students.

The first year is built by six3–4-day journeys in the wilderness, The size of the group and expected thunderstorms required a creation of a well held and safe setting. As the hours went by it seemed as if the circle got smaller and smaller and on the second day after dancing under the stars and in the rain, I was amazed at how intimate and close the circle had become in such a short time. Learning to surrender to the weather with all the gifts it brings when open and conscious of tying these in with the group process.

https://www.leanaor.com/

A very important project in Israel is “BishvilHamachar” translated astomorrow’s path, an organization that takes soldiers who have experienced trauma in battle into the wilderness for a healing journey.
https://www.bshvil.org/?lang=en

I was asked to give the very experienced therapists that facilitate these processes a workshop on how to work with nature rather than in nature. This called for a new perspective on facilitation – facilitatingwithin an unknown and unexpected zone where letting go of control and trusting nature was a big leap of faith. I feel it is of utmost importance to help practitioners expand personal perspectives to include nature as co.(more on this in my paper “working with nature in nature based therapies”https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1053825920933639 ).

This year the training program for adventure therapy asked me to teach nature therapy- integrating spiritual and ecological aspects into their work –such wonderful and very new connections were made for students regular to overcome rather than join with nature.  I would like to share an intervention that I facilitated with them that can be used easily with different populations in various settings:

**Lying on your back while being with a struggle or dilemma that is very present in your life today, now look beyond the clouds and as you feel the earth supporting you think of where we as humans have come from (star dust, water and earth) take a few deep breaths and let your body sink into the earth while supported in such a gentle way…be aware of the wind on your face and the passing clouds….after 10-15 minutes sit and write how the clouds view your dilemma and what came up for you from a wider perspective of the web of life we are part of.

And last but not least, we are preparing for winter solstice, students from the past and present get together for 24 hours in a tent in the desert and spend the long night each sharing their light with each other through offerings, workshops, dance and music bringing to the community.

These are times of darkness – not only in hours of light but what humanity and ecology are faced with. In these times it helps me to remember the story of the king who asked his daughters to fill up the biggest chamber in the palacegranting her the kingdom. The elder daughter filled up the chamber with hay, the second with sand and the smallest sister just light a candle filling up the room with light.

Warm spicy blessings.

 

 

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Lia Naor (PhD) is a nature therapist and researcher at the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa. Her research focuses on the process of positive transformation as occurring in the natural environment. She heads “Ways of knowing”, a center for personal and professional development through nature based processes for groups and individuals. Lia leads several academic programs and has published her research in leading academic journals. Lia has developed several evidence based models that provide practitioners with practical frameworks for working with nature as an active partner in therapeutic processes toward growth and flourishing.