The story of nature-hearted
Hi, my name is Liubou Shefarevich.
I'm here thanks to the power and support of nature.
Nature-hearted, LLC has emerged organically – from light and darkness, childhood memories, hardships, a place of awe and gratitude to nature, and a myriad of connections and teachings.
In October 2017, I met Japan. It was love at first sight! On my first and very brief visit there, I was fascinated by urban spaces in Tokyo and nature spaces around Mt. Fuji, by the Japanese culture, language, and food. Ikigai, kintsugi, ikebana, chado, wagashi, komorebi… Upon my return, I started researching Japanese cultural traditions. I read about shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing”) in A Little Book of Japanese Contentments by Erin Niimi Longhurst. Shinrin-yoku is the practice of slowly walking through the forest for its restorative benefits – “bathing” in the forest atmosphere, taking in the scents, sights and sounds. A google search brought me to the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT) – a wonderful organization that trains nature and forest therapy guides. The ANFT’s approach incorporates the practice of shinrin-yoku, principles of wild tending, circle gathering, sensory awareness, and more. I saved their website to my bookmarks for later and got busy with my life.
Then came 2019 - the worst year in my life. Loss, debilitating grief, illness, burnout and isolation were made even more difficult by the pandemic and shut-downs. I was looking for a way to support myself through all of this and also looking for a change. I signed up for a nature therapy walk with a local guide. That walk gave my mind a break from the overwhelm and the hurt. It gave me a moment of rest, a moment to take a deep breath and to slow down. This experience made me realize that “getting out of my head” and literally “coming back to my senses” is the way back to life. At that point, I knew I had to learn everything I could about this beautiful practice.
I completed my training with ANFT in November 2021. It was an amazing and inspiring journey. I hold so much gratitude to the wonderful trainers – Geeta Stillwell, Kat Novotna, and Carla Zorzanelli. And I've grown alongside my fellow trainee cohort members.
While in training, I came across information about EcoNIDRA – a deeply relaxing practice developed by Kat Novotna as a path to rest and restoration, a radical act of non-doing in a world obsessed with productivity and to-do lists. EcoNIDRA combines elements of the ancient Yoga Nidra and nature connection practices. In April 2022, I became a certified EcoNIDRA teacher.
The benefits of these nature connection and mindfulness practices are many, and many of them are well-researched. Their beauty is in their simplicity. For me, they have been a source of joy and a way to connect to the nature outside and within, integrating my life experiences and remembering myself whole.
I started nature-hearted, LLC to share these simple yet profound practices with others - a path to rest, restoration, space and spaciousness.
I'm learning about the history of New Jersey as I go, just as generations of newcomers to this land did before me. I walk every day on unceded Lenape land, enjoying its beauty and generosity, conscious of its complicated past, and aiming to plant tokens of awareness among current inhabitants and nurture gratitude to the first nations who have cared for this land for millennia.