Gina Geremia is a Forest Bathing Guide trained by FTHub and soon to be Forest Therapy Practitioner based in Leavenheath, UK for 13 years now. A Psychologist and Life Coach, she was born in Vermont, United States, on a farm with a massive boulder nearby where she would go with her father. She runs programmes as a coach including Forest Bathing sessions and her last project includes a weekend retreat for women in menopause.
It is precisely at this stage that Gina realized she was not living passionately, and after a Coach training she still felt something was missing… until she found Forest Bathing. It was a long time ago that her father told her that if there was a place to worship God, it was in nature. It may be Gina’s Italian ancestry that makes her so funny and talkative – “I’m a horrible person to be around if I don’t get out in nature“- and one of the things she valued most about the FTHub’s Method and the Liquid Interactions Model in the training was developing more comfort with silence.
“One of the strongest memories of nature is from the very small, very tiny town in northeastern Vermont where I grew up, in a small self sufficient farm. My father struggled with the system and it was important for us to know that being in nature was the most important thing. He would take us out to the fields where there was a massive boulder, we would sit on, and he would say ‘this is where you need to be, whatever God is to you, you will find and experiment it in places like this’. That was the place to be worshiping. Since then, it has led me on a path of true development of my natural observational skills, which have been with me all my life”.
Flexibility to grow
“I have a Bachelor degree in Psychology, and in a Ecology class I realized there was a marriage between the two things: human nature, people, their behaviors and nature, I always think they belong together. And so I have done a lot of things for non-profit organizations, experiential education and outdoor education. I saw this common blend of people and nature as preserving our sacred spaces.
“So I almost hated the jobs I had, I wasn’t living with passion anymore. I started menopause and a lot of things happened. I realized I was so far removed from everything that was dear to me for so long. I became an accredited Life Coach, and then I felt it was not enough, mirroring that our behavior was so far removed from nature. We are very out of touch with our own internal natural rhythms and systems and we no longer recognize that.
“I spent probably a year going to FTHub’s website and kept going back. There are plenty of places out there but there is something about what FTHub does that led me to it: I read the trainings are not accredited and the reason why you do that is to allow you the flexibility to shift, to change, to adapt. And that ultimately is what my business is about, and I am about: allowing yourself that room, that space, that flexibility. When you don’t do that, many problems arise. And it was that language that tipped the scales.
“It is essential in the work that I do, to really be as malleable as I can be. I have developed an outdoor coaching programme, working with nature as a co coach, before I even knew forest bathing or connecting with this network. It is a coaching outdoor programme, in seven sessions. But I realized it’s time consuming and not everyone needs a programme like that. So I did a lot of google searching on nature connectedness and realized that is what I was looking for”.
A space for silence in nature
“The training brought me to tears sometimes, I was so happy because I felt I’ve found my community. And we need our community, it’s great to be challenged also, not only to have people who thinks just like you. What impressed me the most was this sensation like ‘oh, I found my community’.
“And then taught me a lot, helped me develop more comfort with being silent. You practice that a lot during the training. Just listening, not responding necessarily, just allowing that to be there. And you don’t do that very much in coaching, you need to come to conclusions and this transformed me and I think I am a better coach for that.
“It also made me realize I’m on that path and finally made it. I am doing the Forest Therapy training as a final piece of the puzzle. And it gave me the science behind all the things that I believed and wanted to be. This gave me more confidence”.
Menopause & Forest Bathing Programme
“I am offering Forest Bahing to schools and universities, as nature connectedness improves academic performances, there is much evidence on it. But the one I am probably more proud of is this menopause programme: it was a coaching programme that I adapted with Forest Bathing.
“I have a Menopause Reset Retreat. There are a couple of Forest Bathing sessions, group work, it’s all about nature connection. We have a beautiful tepee and wonderful trails, I feel very fortunate about it. It is a weekend: starts Friday and ends Sunday, is not long but also long enough. In a one-day retreat you miss sleeping outside and I think it’s important.
“I could live outdoors if I could. I have lived outdoors for a long time. Being in a group of people who are experiencing a similar time in their life, doing that in nature I find it more helpful, we become more resourceful, we develop a resilience we don’t think we have. It’s like tapping into that youthful side of yourself also.
“And something that I love is that you will never have the same chemistry twice in a group of people. Whatever the chemistry is about time, it needs to be cherished because it will only be there at that time. And we need to talk about our reproductive system, whatever the stage.
Ph: Courtesy Gina Geremia