Gabriela Guedez emigrated from her native Venezuela to Canada in 2005 and then to the United States. The nature of her childhood and a strong experience in the Himalayas marked her. As well as being a mother and an executive, she has crossed the Grand Canyon in one day, and does mountain biking, rappelling, hiking and even guides Forest Bathing in a kayak. From Mayan grandmothers with cacao ceremonies to Health Math training, Gabriela has traveled a path to balance the corporate and the natural worlds.
A forest bathing referent for the Hispanic world in Houston, Texas, she has had the call of the science behind Forest Bathing, decides to go one step beyond his initial training as a Nature and Forest Therapy Guide by immersing herself in the FTHub Forest Therapy Practitioner training, which also led her to an unforgettable FTHub 3-Day Immersive training in California.
“There are key moments. One was in childhood in Valencia, Venezuela, on my father’s farm: I remember a mango tree that was my favorite and the greatest thing for me was to climb the branches and be there, or sit on its roots.
“And the other key moment was in the Himalayas, in Nepal. I was at about thirteen thousand feet, in those sacred mountains, I started to feel my body shuddering and I felt like crying. I thought it was the altitude, so I took off my backpack, my gloves, and I felt a very big decision to touch the earth. In that instant I received a vision or intuition, a clear message that my mission was to bring people to connect with the earth“.
“I work in corporations, I’ve worked for major oil companies, and to say I had received a message from the Earth didn’t sound good. But I started doing the ‘Mother Earth Connection‘ walks, and my friends encouraged me to take them. So I started taking people out to nature.
“And like when the student is ready, the teacher comes, I went for the science component. Because I was saying ‘it’s very good everything I’ve studied’ (about Forest Bathing) but I needed more science. The circle I move in is completely analytical.
“When there’s team building, what do I do? I take them outside. Then they started to say ‘I felt better, I found peace, calm, tranquility’, ‘I got focus and concentration’, ‘I lowered my stress and anxiety level’… Then I said to myself that I should look for something that has a science backup. That’s why I love the FTHub program”.
“I did the FTHub in-person training in California, it was perfect to meet the trainers in person, to live it in nature. This has led me to do a program ‘From the stress of work to the calm of the tree’, because all these people who look for me, who are executives or entrepreneurs, do not do it for nothing. I live surrounded by forests. The universe brought me to live here. I discovered that I had a reason to be inside corporations and also to be outside. I combine it, I have a balance of the corporate with the outdoors.
“I studied as a life coach seven years ago and they called me ‘the outdoor coach,’ because that’s what I love to do. And then I created Houston Forest Therapy, and I’m a pioneer in this for the Hispanic world, who didn’t have forest bathing in Spanish here.
“I also work for the Township of the community where I live, The Woodlands, which is over 120.000 residents, and one way I give back to the community is to offer forest bathing. I have also given talks at local state parks, and the Hispanic week, about the relationship with nature. Another thing I do is forest bathing in a kayak, the same sequence (by the FTHub Method) you do walking, but in the water. My focus has always been to recover or restore that relationship with the Earth, and now I add science to it.
“Among the many testimonials of people who have gone to my forest bathing walks, there are those who have told me ‘I got my life mission’, and I always say that the people who come to you are the ones who have to come to you. I never make an effort for someone to come to a forest bathing walk, because they are not going to take advantage of it. They’re not going to get nature’s medicine. This is a call.
“I think it is important to go back to the essence, to what we were in the past, to the ancestral. The forest has the medicine. And I’m not just talking about pharmacy medicine, but medicine of the soul. For me it is about the balance between the corporate and nature. Because I can do much more for the environment from the inside than from the outside. And I can reach more people who have not yet been able to connect.
“When I have guided parents and children, the parents start to remember their own childhood through the children. The children are the teachers, the guides. I have seen that many people are kind of asleep. With forest bathing they begin to remember their childhood, and they have tears of joy and want to relive it. This is where the change begins for them. It is like opening a door that was closed”.
Ph: Courtesy Gabriela Guedez