Here can be anywhere on your journey. Here doesn't define the end, but of possibilities for a new beginning. Outdoor therapist Ruth Allen (whitepeakwellbeing.com), invites us to travel beyond 4 walls and step into nature, where we can heal, experience and take the next steps on our path.
Director | Shooter | Editor - Sim Warren | simwarren.com
Creative Director | Producer - Jeffrey Bowman
Executive Producer - Jorrit Jorritsma
Concept Development - Sim Warren & Jeffrey Bowman
Sound Design - James Locke-Hart
Featuring - Ruth Allen | Carim Nahaboo | Athena Mellor | Jim Marsden
There’s a really interesting element of therapy which has always sat quite uncomfortably with me. I would call that the privatisation of suffering, and I think this is a really important social issue.
It’s become very easy to send people indoors to talk about their problems and their illnesses, and it gives the impression that the problem is for them to deal with alone.
But a lot of our suffering in society comes from societal causes, it comes from structural inequality, it comes from poverty. So it’s important sometimes to allow suffering to be public in that way, to remind people that this isn’t just you. When you’re off doing therapy with people outdoors it sends a message – you are part of the world, you are part of nature, this suffering is not just yours to hold on to.
My name is Ruth, I am an outdoor therapist, I’d say I was an existential counsellor, and I’m an adventurer and a writer.
When we find ourselves stuck with where to go in our lives or how to feel about something and things aren’t moving, I, I like to invite the question, what is the possibility from here? What’s the way out of this hole?
When you’re going on a physical journey and you’re actually doing the miles, I mean, you are increasing your (laughs), you’re increasing the experience, you’re increasing the encounter, the possibility of meeting different things along the way, helping people see in that moment of stuckness, here’s possibility.
When you’re out in nature, you’ve got some visual cues that are really interesting, around that you’ve got a sense of direction, you can go backwards and you can go forwards, but also nature is a really non-judgemental space, you can just be there and you can give up your worries and give up your fears to something bigger than you, and everything is going through that with you, whether it’s a fox living in the woods, or it’s a tree, or it’s the cycle of water in the environment and the atmosphere and the oceans, everything is in that process. So there’s a lived metaphor out there in nature and I think there’s a really deep reassurance that these things are ok and they help us come to terms with cycles of life and to go through cycles of emotion.
There’s something important about the cyclisation seasonality of nature, which whether we like it or not, we are faced with the fact that things come round and round again. There’s this actualising tendency of nature and I think in the human spirit that you keep going forward, you keep moving on through your cycles and through your seasons, and so I think nature offers that sign that you’re in a here and now process.
We really suffer in the gap between where we are and where we want to be because we see where we want to be, and so how do we get out of our own way and say you’re not where you want to be but you are where you are. There’s so much freedom in that because you’re not spending your life waiting for your healing that’s going to happen in the future, you know the end of the course of therapy, the implication is that you’ll be at the end of the process somewhere and you’re not, you are the process, the way that nature is the process. It’s part of the seasons of being a human.
When something about that truth connects I think it’s, it’s like wow I’m, I’m here.