Nature Therapy for Cancer Survivors
Live a Meaningful Life Beyond Cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer is often a life altering experience. The busy-ness of daily life with its unending "to do" list, deadlines, and distractions can seem so irrelevant when you are suddenly faced with the reality of your own mortality. With heightened awareness of the vulnerability and impermanence of our earthly existence, what may have been taken for granted- family, friends, the beauty of Nature, having time to get to the bucket list, life itself- becomes exquisitely precious. After the acute treatment phase of your cancer journey you are left to adjust to a new reality that may have you questioning what is most important to you and how you can live life to its fullest with a sense of joy, meaning and purpose.
One of the key factors in living a fulfilling life is being able to be who you truly are. Incessant messages about who you should be and what you should value in order to be accepted by others and "successful" in our society may leave you feeling unsure of who you are deep down inside and what is most important to you. This lack of alignment can lead to chronic stress, along with feelings of loneliness, being lost, sadness, anxiety, depression and despair. This, in turn, can impact physical health, including functioning of the immune system, thereby producing inflammation and increased risk of recurrence.
Another core element of a fulfilling life is feeling that your life has meaning and that your existence matters. We naturally seek to make sense of our experiences and unfolding life story. This self-reflective process enables you to bring the experience, strengths, skills and wisdom gained from your unique life journey together with your deepest values to find a way to make a difference to something greater than yourself.
What is Nature Therapy?
Nature Therapy is about coming home to yourself and embracing your your kinship with all life on this magnificent planet. Throughout the evolution of humanity, our survival depended upon synergistic interconnectedness with the natural world. As technology advanced we came to see ourselves as separate from and above the web of life, resulting in a disconnect from our primal home, our extended multi-species family and our deepest soul guidance and inner knowing. We effectively became isolated from our Source and inevitably, our authentic selves.
With inspiration and guidance from the animals of Free Spirit Sanctuary you will have the opportunity to mindfully explore the wonders and mystery of both the natural world and your own inner wilderness. As you align with the cycles and rhythms of Nature you will reconnect with your inner wisdom and your awareness of being an integral part of something much bigger than yourself or humanity. This deep kinship with all living beings will help you to more fully embrace the joy, sorrow, vulnerability and preciousness of life.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves moment-to-moment awareness of your inner and outer worlds with nonjudgemental openness and curiosity. While taking in your surroundings through your senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch, you inwardly notice your thoughts, bodily sensations and emotions.
By simply observing your thoughts and feelings as they come and go, you free yourself from ruminating about what is wrong with you and your life. Instead of mulling over the past or worrying about the future you open up fully to your experience in the present moment. Through this process you come to realize that you are not your thoughts, but rather the awareness behind the thoughts. This helps you avoid being hijacked and swept away by the drama of speculations, assumptions, and judgements toward yourself, others and your life.
As you shift from autopilot to mindful living, you increase self-awareness and create the space needed to make conscious choices, rather than defaulting to habitual reactive patterns of behaviour that leave you feeling frustrated and stuck.
You also find freedom in being able to choose the perspective you will take in response to life events and circumstances, including those over which you have little or no control. With daily practice you begin to find peace in the present moment without needing to change anything about yourself or your life.
This helps you live in greater alignment with your innermost values and pursue goals that bring a sense of meaning & purpose to your life.