Council of Waters and Trees
With Amos Clifford and Christy Thomson
July 17 - 21, 2019
Enter the liminal space of renewed possibility for deepening our connection with the more-than-human world through Forest Therapy and the Way of Council.
Forest Therapy, also known as Shinrin-Yoku, refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. It is a practice of connection with the natural world and with each other. A series of guided invitations bring us into the present moment, opening the doors of communication with the forest, waters, and landscapes we explore. We encounter not just the forest, but through the many ways nature mirrors us, we also encounter ourselves.
The Way of Council is a process of communication with ourselves and each other that supports deepening into our experience. Through council we can discover the meaning of our emerging stories through sharing and being witnessed in circle. Council invites us to become more intimate with our own lives, and to support each other as we move through our processes of learning, growing, grieving and healing. Because it invites authentic expression, Council can be quite intimate. Discover how the form of Council can create space that is both vulnerable and safe.
Restorative Practices build on the Way of Council to create opportunities for exploring and healing harms in relationships. In the Council of Waters and Trees we introduce “Aloha Ropes,” a restorative practice developed by M. Amos Clifford. Inspired by the Hawaiian tradition of Ho’oponopono and other sources, we use the practice to deepen our relationship with the more-than-human world of nature. Through Aloha Ropes we discover how the land can listen and speak to us, and through us, give voice to its longings, wisdom, and needs. Like Council, Aloha Ropes is a method that can be readily transferred into other settings such as schools and communities.
This four-day journey allows us to sink deeply into the medicine of the forest. Mornings are spent immersing in the experiential practices of Forest Therapy. Afternoon Council meetings support the deep rooting of the medicine the forest has offered. We experience the brief “light touch” council as it is used in Forest Therapy as well as diving into the deeper practice, and learning-by-doing the core skills of council leadership.
Amos Clifford is the founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs. A serial social entrepreneur, Amos is a leading voice for Shinrin-Yoku inspired Forest Therapy in the United States. The Association’s work has been featured in Oprah Magazine, NPR Morning Edition, USA Today, the Washington Post, Yahoo Health, Yoga Journal, and many other publications. He was featured on the January 2016 episode of National Geographic Explorer, “Call of the Wild.” Amos holds a BS in Organization Development and an MA in Counseling from the University of San Francisco. He has authored many publications including “Your Guide to Forest Bathing:…
Learn more about Amos Clifford
Christy Thomson is a Forest Therapy Guide Mentor and Immersions Coordinator for the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides. She is also the music program director for her local YMCA, a violinist, vocalist, and teacher. Christy’s work in forest therapy gives energy to all other facets of her life and aids in the raising of her children, three of which are teenagers. Her forest therapy practice in Indiana works primarily with non-profit organizations, from state parks to health services, botanic gardens, landtrusts and schools. She is currently wrapping up her studies in Environmental Science and Religious Studies and will be starting…
Learn more about Christy Thomson