These offer individuals opportunities for spiritual (non-religious) healing where there is an inner-self need to connect or re-connect back to the soul, the spirit or the inner-self that has become lost, hidden and contaminated through living in a chaotic, materialistic, ever-changing world.
On a wilderness spiritual journey individuals can work through 'silent' and 'open' wilderness therapeutic activities which included opportunities to experience a Solo, Silence and Solitude in order to help the individual start to re-discover who they are, what they are and move positively towards being who they feel they want to be rather that who and what others expect them to be.
In addition, we run Wilderness Bereavement & Life Celebration walkshops which involves walking through Nature and the natural Environment whilst participating in therapeutic activities geared to aid and support the grieving and bereavement processes.
Clearly, the title Wilderness Bereavement & Life Celebration is in it-self a contradiction in words relating to emotions. Or is it? There can be no doubt that the grieving and bereavement process for any individual or family, is a time of negative emotions and feelings coming to the surface. Feelings and emotions such as sadness, anger, emptiness, loneliness, confusion, disbelief and guilt among many others are an intricate part of any grieving and bereavement process.
Personally, when I lost my soul mate, best friend, confidant, business partner and wife, I went through all these emotions on a daily basis asking the familiar questions many ask when faced with the sudden loss of a much loved one. Why her? Why me? Why now? Why anything seems to be the overriding question that those suffering the pain and anger of loss continually ask themselves. After two years of this process, I realised that life is not fair. Life does not pick and choose whose turn it is next. Life does not have to explain itself as things just are and so I started to think of the positive things about my loved one who I had lost. I thought of her smile, her ability to be calm and to spread this onto me. I thought of the things we liked doing together and places we liked to visit.
One morning whilst walking through a wilderness forest in Madrid, I realised that something was missing from my bereavement process. It was Celebration.
And so I started to celebrate her life in as many ways as I could. I visited ours and her favourite places. I listened to the music she loved to hear and I put back up on the walls those pictures that were her favourite but not necessarily mine. Given my work as a Wilderness Therapeutic Practitioner, I started to do rituals and ceremonies in the wilderness places I was visiting that celebrated her life, her laughter, her smile, her love for me and life and her sense of just being who she was. I started to feel good about myself and less sorry for the fact I was left alone when we had planned our retirement years together. Life became easier for me and my body started to feel less aches and pains although the pain of not having her around still lingers just as it should.
Now today, I see the real value of celebrating the passing of a loved one for the many positive qualities and affects it can have on the individual and on families and so have included this into my repertoire of activities that I offer individuals and families in Nature and the Natural Environment.
This is not bereavement work or grief counselling but a new radical approach to dealing with emotional, physical and psychological issues that arise for those of us who have lost a loved one no matter under what circumstances. I do not seek resolution to personal problems but offer metaphorical doorways that the participant can walk through when they are ready, and, at their own pace so that once through the doorway, they hopefully will be more attuned and grounded with dealing with their loss through celebration of the life of their dear departed one.
It is only when you see the world and your current place in it, do you become aware of the unique and special place a departed loved one played in the daily life of not just your own life but also that of others who they came into contact with as they travelled their own life’s journey of living.
To not celebrate a life is like looking at a rainbow and only seeing shades of grey!
To facilitate such an internal part of the grieving and bereavement processes, I run one day, a two day and a five day walkshop in Nature and the Natural Environment with either families or groups of like-minded individuals.
The one and two day walkshop takes place in the Lake District, usually around Thirlmere and Harrop Tarn area whereas the five day walkshop usually takes place in either Pillis Forest or Börzsöny forest in Hungary as this venue serves as ‘new ground’ through which to journey to participate in therapeutic activities in Nature using a base in wooden chalets at an isolated camp site.