Joanna Bristow Watkins

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  • Autumn Forest Bathing with Harmony in Nature

    WhatsApp Image 2021 07 24 at 10.41.45 7

    Join us for Forest Bathing, 11am-1pm, Sunday 14th November within semi-ancient private woodland. We spend two hours in the peaceful grounds of the Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere. Cost is £25. 🍁
    ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Later this month, 11am-1.30pm, Saturday 27th November, we are offering our first weekend event at Cannon Hill, London SW20. This 2½ hour session costs £35.🍂
     
    Many of our sessions are offered at school drop-off friendly timings to enable busy parents to savour some 'me time'. This is our first weekend event in SW20, normally they are weekdays at this time. We can offer a closed session before end of term if we have 4-12 participants, and would be hapy to pay 10% to any organising PTAs or social groups. 👩‍👧‍👦
     
    Our Harmony in Nature woodland sessions deliver the restful yet therapeutic benefit of guided mindfulness sensory activities with fellow nature lovers. 🌲
     
    To book our 'harmony in nature' therapeutic sessions see https://bit.ly/FBSessions or, to receive our nature connection mailings, email 💻
     
    Next month we have winter sessions at Newlands Corner (Saturday 4th) and Horsell Common (Monday 6th, school pick-up friuendly timings of 10.30am-1pm), plus Harry Edwards again on Saturday 11th. ❄
     
    Forest Bathing (no swimming involved!) is an evidence based wellbeing activity. As well as boosting the immune system for 2-4 weeks, balancing blood pressure and reducing blood sugars, typically participants feel a reduction in anxiety (and rumination) and a sharp improvement in concentration afterwards. 🌲
     
    To find out how it differs from a dog walk or stroll in the woods, see our recent Blog https://bit.ly/WhyForestBathe🌿
     
    When we have the right clothing and footwear, usually plenty of layers, and a spare, we can happily stay outdoors for hours. Even longer if we take a hot drink and a snack! ☕🍏
    We sell Harmony in Nature Vouchers too. 🎁
     
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    WHAT MAY HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF FOREST BATHING?
     
    Forest bathing, and in particular Forest Bathing+, which we embrace at Harmony In Nature and through our training at The Forest Bathing Institute, could be considered an amalgam of nature therapy, mindfulness and meditation, as well as its own thing. As such, there are decades of scientific research into what happens when we experience nature, do things mindfully, breathe consciously or follow a guided meditation.

    The (mainly) Japanese research into forest bathing has shown that we may potentially experience any or several of the following:

    • reduced stress and cortisol levels
    • improved heart and circulatory system
    • improved digestive and respiratory issues
    • reduced anxiety, depression and rumination
    • improved decision-making, motivation, creativity
    • increase in sense of connection with nature, self and others
    • balanced blood sugar
    • boosted immune function through increased production of 'Natural Killer'-NK-cells and anti-cancer proteins, lasting 2-4 weeks

    forest bathingFundamentally, it brings our nervous system back into balance, which regulates our hormones and our nervous system, and resets our mind and body functions. Some participants express experiencing emotions they hadn’t allowed themselves to feel recently, and this felt safe, and it passed. Some say how energised they felt, others how sleepy.

    In its simplest form, forest bathing combines the physiological benefits of nature’s presence with the meditative aspects of closely observing without judgement. What we feel as a result is ultimately influenced by what we each need at that point- sleep, energy, creativity, a sense of peace, wonderment. Our minds and bodies will give us what we need, when we allow them space to do so. That’s why we go forest bathing.

    Summary of remaining 2021 Forest Bathing+ Sessions with Joanna & Katie
    We have Harmony in Nature forest bathing sessions at:

    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, 11-1 on Sunday 14th November
    Cannon Hill Common, London SW20, 11-1.30 on Saturday 27th November
    Newlands Corner, Guildford, Surrey, 10.30-12.30 on Saturday 4th December
    Horsell Common, Woking, Surrey, 10.30-1 on Monday 6th December
    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, 11-1 on Saturday 11th December

    Book any of the above sessions via Harmony Healing Shop

    last session at newlands cornerImportant News about Newlands Corner
    Newlands Corner, our beautiful site in Guildford Surrey, have put up our site rental price so much that we don't know if we will be able to continue working there. So, if you want to join us Newlands Corner, please book in ASAP for one of our pre-Christmas dates as it ls unlikely to feature as a 2022 destination. We will be forced to cancel Newlands events one week before if numbers are low, so please don't leave it to a last minute booking or you stand to be disappointed.   

    Blog updates
    To receive Forest Bathing updates ONLY,  sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters on the above link and indicate receipt of the Forest Bathing mailings only.

    To receive all Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • Sunday 26th September, National GetOutside Day in the Uk

    26 Sep National Get Outside Day an initiative by Ordnance SurveySunday 26th September is National GetOutside Day in the UK, an initiative by Ordnance Survey. 

    Embrace GetOutside Day by Savouring the Approach of Autumn
    Guest Blog by Katie Robinson, Co-Founder of Harmony in Nature

    Once the days start to feel cooler and shorter, it’s very tempting to stay inside with our heating, rather than add on extra layers and step outside; but it’s well worth the effort! If you can go out into a clean natural environment, that’s ideal, but observing plants in a pot, listening to the birds as the sun starts going down, feeling the breeze or sun are all ways to feel a sense of connection with nature, which soothes our mind and body.

    When we have the right clothing and footwear, usually plenty of layers, and a spare, we can happily stay outdoors for hours. Even longer if we take a hot drink and a snack! If you have the company of a young child, you may want to let them lead you, as they know what to do in nature, by following their instincts.

    Feeling the barkIf you want to amuse yourself, then here are some things that we at Harmony in Natureenjoy doing outside, as the cooler weather approaches. Take your time, and really notice the details with your senses. When we become completely present in the moment, rest, recovery and healing is triggered through a different branch of our autonomic nervous system operating than during our daily ‘doings’. Being outside, and especially in nature, has been shown to benefit us in all areas of wellbeing.

    • See what draws your attention when you step outside: is it the temperature, the light, colours, shapes/angles, movement? Follow one of these qualities for a few minutes, and see how you feel.
    • In a clean area in nature, appreciate the quality of the air, breathing slowly in and out through your nostrils (especially important in very cold weather, as the nose warms the air). Notice if the air seems the same temperature as it goes both in and out, or is it different?
    • Feel the air on your face, hands and skin - does it change if you turn, very slowly, in a full circle? Do you feel some breeze/warmth/cold/movement across your skin, or not?
    • What can you hear? If it’s a jarring sound, take a few slow breaths in and out, and listen even harder to find a natural sound - maybe birdsong, wind, water from a small fountain? Cup your hands round your ears and see if that makes the sound louder.
    • Smell as much as you can! As there is more moisture in the air, the smells get stronger, so make the most of this, by looking for some areas where leaves have come down. Rubbing them between your fingers increases the smell, as does ‘sniffing like a cat’, taking in several shorter sniffs before inhaling more deeply; but not so deeply that you get bits of leaf up your nostrils, though! Do deeper layers smell different?
    • Leaves are fun for all the family! You can scuff them along to make a great swishing sound, or throw them, kick them or, if you find a nice layer in a safe place, even lie down and make ‘leaf angels’ with your arms, so you don’t have to wait for snow!
    • Have you walked on grass in your bare feet? Not only is the damp grass a lovely feeling, but being in contact ‘skin to skin’ with the ground has wonderful health benefits, too. It sends to the earth all the excess positively charged ions, which we are absorbing from all our tech and electronic equipment, and sends us back the negatively charged ions, which bring us more health. Some say we need at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted contact, but others feel it is instant. Certainly, we feel often feel tingling after a while, and sometimes feet even warm up! (You can always put something like towel on the top of your feet, and that keeps them warmer, for a luxury version!)

    Whatever you do outside, ensure you have fun, and rediscover the pleasures of having the curiosity of a child again.

    forest bathingForest Bathing+ Sessions with Joanna & Katie
    We have Harmony in Nature forest bathing sessions at:

    Horsell Common, Woking, Surrey, 11-1.30 on Tuesday 12th October
    Cannon Hill Common, London SW20, 11-1.30 on Thursday 14th October
    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, 11-2 on Sunday 17th October
    Newlands Corner, Guildford, Surrey, 10.30-12.30 on Saturday 30th October
    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, 11-1 on Saturday 13th November
    Newlands Corner, Guildford, Surrey, 10.30-12.30 on Saturday 4th December
    Newlands Corner, Guildford, Surrey, 10.30-12.30 on Saturday 27th November
    Harry Edwards Healing Sanctuary, Shere, 11-1 on Saturday 11th December

    Book any of the above sessions via Harmony Healing Shop

    Important News about Newlands Corner
    Newlands Corner, our beautiful site in Guildford Surrey, have put up our site rental price so much that we don't know if we will be able to continue working there. We will be forced to cancel Newlands events one week before if numbers are low, so please don't leave it to a last minute booking or you stand to be disappointed. So, if you want to join us Newlands Corner, please book in ASAP for one of our pre-Christmas dates as it ls unlikely to feature as a public destination in 2022. 

    Blog updates
    To receive Forest Bathing updates ONLY, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters on the above link, indicating receipt of the Forest Bathing mailings only.

    To receive all Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.

  • What's the Big Deal With Metaphors? What Metaphors Reveal About You.

    As someone who likes Etymology – the study of the origin of words – I’ve always striven for a wider vocabulary.  As such, I listen carefully to people, and it is apparent that a person’s choice of words in everyday conversation is coloured by their interests, educational background, profession, beliefs and even state of mind at the time.  Pilots talk of navigating their way around a problem, projects taking off, contracts landing, taking flight from a situation etc. Rally drivers refer to racing out to the shops, a poor quality product being a heap of rusted metal, a difficult route to success being a rough road. Chefs pepper their conversation with talk of sweetening a situation in their life or news being a bitter pill to swallow.  Yet most of us know what they mean because our mind is able to decipher the comparison into a meaningful statement; somehow we are able to translate the general understanding to the relevant context.  As a result all of the above examples of metaphors, although they may have originated from the stated professions, are now used by people from all backgrounds and occupations.

    Metaphor is how the Unconscious relates to and expresses reality. It is a method of using language to bridge from one way of understanding to an alternative. Metaphors can provide a bridge between one familiar item and another. We state that we are "drowning at work," bridging between the idea of being unable to cope in water and the idea of being unable to cope at work. Similarly we may refer to being ‘out of depth’ in a work situation yet we realise this doesn’t mean that we are wading through a pile of paperwork that is literally taller than us!  In a therapy situation, we might observe that this phrase ‘out of depth’ is dropped into the conversation casually, maybe even with reference to someone else, but the clue is there to the active listener that the client’s unconscious mind is dropping us a hint that this description is apt for his or her work or home life.  It will take a little detective work on our side to determine which.

    However, metaphors are not just a feature of our spoken language. We also use metaphors, both consciously and unconsciously, every day in our non-verbal communication through gesticulations, movements and behaviour. We don’t realise what pointers they are giving to outsiders about ourselves. We can learn to 'listen out for' and 'read' these metaphors to glean insights about our clients and colleagues.  They can even be expressed in our manifestation of ailments; shoulder pain can represent difficulties with ‘shouldering’ responsibility and joint pains can indicate an issue with flexibility.  Louise Hay was one of the first to document this back in the 1970’s with her book ‘You Can heal Your Body’, which is still in print.  Louise, who died last year aged 90, identified links between a host of health conditions with specified emotional causes and went on to suggest ‘affirmations’ to help alleviate them. Whilst Louise’s work has produced many loyal fans, she is not universally applauded as some feel that her interpretation of all ills being created by our own inner turmoil somewhat simplistic and patronising.

    However, professional bodies do concur that metaphors play a key role in uncovering suppressed emotions.

    “Over the past 30+ years, it has become clear that metaphor is not simply a literary phenomenon; metaphorical thinking underlies the way we make sense of the world conceptually. It governs how we think and how we talk about our day-to-day lives.” …
    Researchers at the School of Critical Studies, Glasgow University.

    "The ‘metaphor transfer effect’ undoubtedly affects our feelings".
    The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    “Like any science, psychology depends on making links from the known to the unknown. Throughout the history of psychology, metaphors have proved an invaluable way of gaining purchase on the unobservables of human cognition. Indeed, a history of metaphors of mind might look very much like a history of psychology.”
    The British Psychological Society Report

    Last October, an advert for a ‘Random Dialogues’ Meet-up caught my eye. I was intrigued and decided to go along to meet the hosts Arthur Partridge (Aypee) and Jane Tyson. 

    Aypee quickly established that we both used metaphors extensively in our work, helping us to determine underlying explanations for our client’s behavioural and/or physical manifestations.  It’s certainly a technique well known in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy, where stories are often used to illustrate an explanation, both by the client and practitioner.  A client who finds it hard to verbalise how they feel might find it easy to say ‘life is an uphill struggle’ telling us instantly that they lack strength, energy and/or stamina and that they are finding it difficult to cope. It’s also indicating that they feel ‘low’ compared to others.

    Since a slumped body posture is likely when people feel sad, metaphors relating depression to a burden are common.  Interestingly even the word ‘depression’ is itself a metaphor as it is derived from the Latin deprimere, translating as “to press down,” indicating the suppressing of emotions.

    Aypee’s many qualifications included being a Metaphors of Movement Practitioner, which he had studied with Andrew T Austin. Aypee explained how when he was coaching he used the positioning of events and situations in his client’s mind to determine all sorts of metaphors which he could apply to his/her coaching journey.

    In contrast, I discussed with Aypee how I used Past Life ‘glimpses’ and symbolic images which came to mind when I energetically ‘tuned into’ a client, to create metaphors which I could apply to his/her healing journey.

    So Aypee suggested that we joined forces on a joint Metaphor workshop.  It was agreed that we should collaborate on an event and promote it via Harmony Healing and Random Dialogues.

    Jo Aypee at Clandon Wood with bucket better croppedOn 21st December, we met up at an early morning Winter Solstice celebration at the Clandon Wood Nature reserve and decided to take some photos together for our event.

    Our friend Annette asked us to pose and noticed that a metal bucket was very close to our feet, she remarked “Mind you don’t kick the bucket, Aypee”, to which he laughed and suggested that we embrace the bucket and bring it into the picture.  We did.  The next day I started promoting the event on social media, using the picture with the by-lines “Is your life beyond the pail” and “Have you got any bad habits which you need to kick the bucket?”  As I was sharing the posts, an SOS from Jane alerted me to an emergency, and when I called her, she relayed the shocking news that Aypee had just suffered a fatal heart attack.  Obviously, I instantly withdrew the photo campaign and workshop promotion.

    As time passed, in consultation with Jane, we began to realise that this bizarre photo synchronicity could have been Aypee’s final cosmic joke to leave his epitaph in the form of a metaphor.  It also felt like a strong message from ‘beyond the grave’ that the workshop should go ahead because metaphors are not to be underrated.

    My friend and colleague Geoff Rolls immediately came to mind as my new collaborator as he had known Aypee for many years and was a fellow metaphor practitioner and enthusiast.  He was more than willing to share knowledge that can help us on a daily basis, when we observe, listen and witness more around us.

    Here’s what Geoff had to say about the use of metaphors as a life tool:

    Storytelling and use of metaphors allow us to explain complex subjects relatively easily. This is because when we tell stories people’s defences drop, maybe they metaphorically “take off their armour,” making is easier for us to connect and communicate efficiently.

    Have you ever seen the wonder on a child’s face when you begin to read or recite a story to them? Often they relax, their breathing slows down, the pupils dilate and they begin to play out the story in their own mind, giving characters qualities that maybe have never been there

    Metaphor has been used by generations to convey messages, to reframe situations that may have been difficult and to learn from others’ pursuits to indicate simple ways of growing and developing.

    Metaphor is so powerful that actually uttering certain words, phrases and sentences have a dynamic effect on people’s minds and bodies. Within Touch for Health Kinesiology we can recognise the shifting of muscle integrity when considering a new concept, or even focusing on the function of part of the body. The promotion of an altered state can be hugely beneficial and if we learn to speak on purpose, by using metaphor, maybe we can easily promote manageable and enjoyable change.

    Metaphors make it possible to:

    • Help clients to understand why they are stuck in repeated behaviour patterns and aid their aches, pains and chronic conditions
    • Produce a framework for releasing blocked emotions and reboot their life plan
    • Free them from their distractions and get them to feel good, no matter what.
    • Access their commitment, satisfaction, happiness, contentment, increase their resilience and confidence.

    Together, Geoff and I will show how to use metaphor in therapies, coaching and healing to quickly and easily improve life for our clients. Furthermore, this skill can be implemented in our daily life to improve our interaction with others.

    Article by Joanna Bristow-Watkis with input from Geoff Rolls, April 2018

    We are offering our first workshop on Sunday 29th April, 10am – 4pm at the Hoebridge Golf Club, Woking Surrey, GU22 8JH.  Cost is £75.  This will be an eye-opening (there's a great metaphor), collaborative and fun workshop which will enable you to communicate with others more effectively.

    To enable us to maximise our personalised interaction with the participants, thus sharing tools for each attendee to use in the future, we are offering this pioneering workshop to no more than 10 people. See Harmony Healing Training for details and to book you place.

    Here are a couple of Videos we've made looking at 'what the metaphors you use tell others about you'. It's especially useful for therapists but actually the skills discussed are transferable to business and home use too. The videos are 7.5 & 11.5 mins long respectively.

    1/. You Tube/Linked In video, featuring how alchemy metaphors can be applied in a corporate setting.

    2/. Facebook live from Monday 23rd April 2018, which discusses some metaphors which have come up in our therapy work, pinned to the top of Joanna's Harmony Healing Facebook Page.
     
  • Why Go Forest Bathing When I Already Go Out in Nature?

    WhatsApp Image 2021 07 24 at 10.41.45 7Guest Blog by Katie Robinson, Co-Founder of Harmony in Nature, September 2021

    ‘I walk my dog every day.’

    ‘I meet my friends weekly for a walk.’

    ‘I go for a run three times a week; does that count?’

    ‘I get great benefit from doing my 10,000 steps most days.’

    Of course we can continue these positive activities. And, we can enhance our experience when we add something new into our lifestyle.

    For example, if our usual supermarket doesn’t stock something new we want to try, do we not even look elsewhere? Of course not; we’ll find out where we can find it. Forest bathing is simply a different way to be out in nature and woodland, with different benefits from these other activities. It’s not an ‘either/or’ scenario.

    To answer the title question with another question: Where is your mind when you do these activities?

    Is it noticing the details of what is immediately around? Or the mind and body sensations? Personally, my mind would be clocking up the steps, or the landmarks indicating I’m half way, or wondering how far away until my stop at the coffee shop as a reward, or chatting with my friend, or checking the dog hasn’t disappeared. Dogs are very mindful, but owners checking on them cannot be. This is why our walks currently do not include children and dogs. This is total ‘me’ time.

    Our minds are wonderful things; always busy and looking for problems to solve to keep active. However, years of this often leads to it being stuck on ‘doing’ and ‘fixing’. With forest bathing, we can leave this behind for a while.

    I notice the texture of the many tree barks; I stop to smell the variety of new growth or layers of the soil, noticing how clean it smells and how uplifting that feels; or I allow my attention to be drawn to the many patterns in the tree canopy above. I can use my senses in a directed way that brings out the wonderment in nature I felt as a child; I breathe deeply and appreciate the power and healing we get from a high-oxygen environment; I notice the tiny things.

    Forest bathing adds another way to be in nature and has enhanced our lives immeasurably. Giving ourselves 2-3 hours to meander around in woodland is a great act of self care, and a common realisation by participants is that the permission to do this is so valuable.

    They realise how little we notice normally, and get great joy and excitement from re-discovering small elements they hadn’t paid attention to in a long time, if ever. Immersing ourselves in all the forest has to offer (hence the ‘bathing’) is eye opening for many. The sights, sounds, smells and feel of the forest, as we each experience it, brings us into the present moment, away from the upset of the past and worry about the future that hasn’t yet happened. We simply ‘are’ and the forest accompanies us, being its beautiful self, just waiting to be noticed, to calm and reset us, and never judging us for the failures we perceive in ourselves.

    WHAT MAY HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF FOREST BATHING?

    Forest bathing, and in particular Forest Bathing+, which we embrace at Harmony In Nature and through our training at The Forest Bathing Institute, could be considered an amalgam of nature therapy, mindfulness and meditation, as well as its own thing. As such, there are decades of scientific research into what happens when we experience nature, do things mindfully, breathe consciously or follow a guided meditation. The (mainly) Japanese research into forest bathing has shown that we may potentially experience any or several of the following:

    • reduced stress and cortisol levels
    • improved heart and circulatory system
    • improved digestive and respiratory issues
    • reduced anxiety, depression and rumination
    • improved decision-making, motivation, creativity
    • increase in sense of connection with nature, self and others
    • balanced blood sugar
    • boosted immune function through increased production of 'Natural Killer'-NK-cells and anti-cancer proteins, lasting 2-4 weeks

    Fundamentally, it brings our nervous system back into balance, which regulates our hormones and our nervous system, and resets our mind and body functions. Some participants express experiencing emotions they hadn’t allowed themselves to feel recently, and this felt safe, and it passed. Some say how energised they felt, others how sleepy.

    In its simplest form, forest bathing combines the physiological benefits of nature’s presence with the meditative aspects of closely observing without judgement. What we feel as a result is ultimately influenced by what we each need at that point- sleep, energy, creativity, a sense of peace, wonderment. Our minds and bodies will give us what we need, when we allow them space to do so. That’s why we go forest bathing.

    forest bathing Forest Bathing+ Sessions with Joanna & Katie

     See our current sessions listed and/or book atHarmony Healing Shop

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Blog updates
    To receive Forest Bathing updates ONLY,  sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters on the above link and indicate receipt of the Forest Bathing mailings only.

    To receive all Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is  (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing). You may need to add this email to your safe list and check your junk filter initially.