Hike to Heal Nashville

By Ali Schaffer on 22nd Mar 2019













Hike to Heal is an initiative to encourage women all over the world to tap into the healing and empowering influences within themselves and the Great Outdoors. Organizer Ali Schaffer describes why she has brought this project to Nashville…

The row of pine trees in my childhood backyard in Maryland. Clouds Rest at sunset in Yosemite National Park. The mountains of Breckinridge, Colorado in the Fall. Springtime in the woods of Pine Mountain, Georgia. The sunrises on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. An afternoon walk through Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville…

As I look back on my life, one of the threads I can see most clearly is my consistent connection to nature. I vividly remember the varied landscapes of my life and can easily transport myself back to those moments during which I was overcome with wonder and awe. I recall pivotal “a-ha” or “uh-oh” life-changing realizations discovered in these places at different points of my life. For me, nature has been an entry point into myself. I’ve also witnessed the profound impact of nature and movement on others as a counselor at an adolescent outdoor therapeutic wilderness program in Georgia. With the support of a caring community and immersed in nature, the girls tested their own limits, discovered personal strengths and learned important life skills, while developing a strong relationship with themselves and others.

There is something powerful that occurs at the intersection of nature and community. It’s why I’m so excited to be hosting the 2019 We Hike to Heal Nashville. This event was started in Atlanta, Georgia by Kenya and Michelle Jackson-Saulters, as an extension of The Outdoor Journal Tour. This year there are over 30 hikes happening all over the country on March 30th. The mission of We Hike To Heal is to encourage women all over the world to tap into the healing and empowering influences within themselves and the great outdoors. It’s incredible when women come together to move our bodies and share our hearts.

The mission of We Hike To Heal is to encourage women all over the world to tap into the healing and empowering influences within themselves and the great outdoors. It’s incredible when women come together to move our bodies and share our hearts.

My personal goals for the Nashville event are to bring women together in the outdoors, to feel our own aliveness and to experience benefits of nature, movement, meditation and writing. As a professional in the mental health community, I also see the event as an opportunity to create access to a healing experience that doesn’t require someone to have a “problem” or a mental health diagnosis in order to participate and receive benefits. I hope that each woman leaves feeling more connected to themselves, to their community and a little less alone.

To highlight additional outdoor opportunities for women, River Queen Voyages (RQV), a female-founded original kayak outfitter in downtown Nashville will be at the hike. RQV founder, Annie Klaver, and her dynamic team are passionate about mind/body healing and getting people outside to connect with nature.

All women are invited to join us on March 30th at 9 am in Shelby Park for our hike. We’ll meet at the Shelby Riverview pavilion for brief welcome and head out to hike through the park. The hike will last around one hour, followed by journaling, meditation and conversation. The hike will be on flat, mostly paved ground and all participants are encouraged to go at their own pace. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water, a journal and pen. To register for this free event, click here.

Ali Schaffer, LCSW is a spark for change, a permission giver, and an illuminator. She has a private counseling practice in Nashville and provides individual and group therapy for adults navigating life transitions, coping with health challenges, and desiring to live more fully. In life and in her work, Ali is deeply influenced by nature and incorporates inspiration from the natural world along with her super power of noticing to help people write their own stories, create meaningful change and reconnect with their joy and purpose.

Want to connect with Ali? IG: @alischaffercounseling or email: alischafferlcsw@gmail.com

For more information about River Queen Voyages visit their website or on Instagram @riverqueenvoyages

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