Hello, welcome to The Metaforest!

My name is Brent Henrikson and I am a Life Coach and Therapist from the USA. I enjoy reading and writing about psychology, spirituality, philosophy, science, culture, health and wellness, relationships, communication, and related topics. I have lived in a few other countries (Spain, Mexico, New Zealand), although I’ve spent most of my life in California. For fun I enjoy backpacking/hiking, nature, music, reading, writing, and good conversation.

What is The Metaforest?

The Metaforest is a name that popped into my head about 3 years ago on a beautiful hike and wouldn’t leave me alone after that.  I like the multiple meanings:

Metaphor.  We think and make sense of existence largely through the use of metaphors.  Language itself can be looked at as a series of old and new metaphors. Delve into the etymolygy of a word and you’ll typically see a metaphor at it’s roots. For example, the word metaphor derives from roots that mean “carry over”. In that sense, any blog is a “garden” of metaphors.

Meta.  One meaning of the prefix “meta” is “beyond” (as in metaphysics).  I spend a lot of my time in the actual forest for walks, hikes, camping, and backpacking.  While there, my mind (thinking and emotion) goes to many places that I think of as “beyond” the forest.  So, The Metaforest is a metaphor for the state of consciousness that a natural, beautiful forest tends to evoke in me and many others who visit the mountains.  It’s also an inquiry into other ways that that state of consciousness can be reached.

Rest is related to the internal goals that many coaching and therapy clients want to obtain.  Whether it’s feeling peace instead of anxiety, creativity instead of stagnation, vitality instead of depression, or clarity instead of illusion, it all tends to require that we slow down the mind and rest in the present, or rest in awareness, as is sometimes said.

Forest.  The forest is a group of trees that are each stronger together than they are separately. When one tree is weak, the others help it through their root system. Humans are also relational, prosocial beings. We aren’t equipped to survive alone. We become the dominant species on this earth through cooperation and synergy. We take turns caring for each other, which allows us to task risks and stretch ourselves to grow, having trust that we will survive the challenges we need to face to realize our potentials. Building and restoring trust is a common and important goal of therapy and coaching.

Also, forests are very sacred and revitalizing to me. One of my favorite things to do is traverse through the forest (also known as “forest bathing”).  I also like to take photographs and videos you’ll see in this site, and do most of my thinking and growing among trees.

In summary, The Metaforest is a metaphorical place beyond the chaotic din of the collective, anxious and despairing mind.  It’s where we enter our own nature and rejuvenate from its energy.  It’s where we build inner strength through purposeful challenges.  It’s where we “rest” in the cocoon of nature, consciousness.

My favorite portal to the metaforest is literally a forest, or a mountainous crest.  But your portal could be a desert, a coastline, a valley, a city park, an exercise workout, a meditation practice, a relationship, or a community gathering. This website is about finding the portals and the experience of being there. 

There is a lot of psychological and spiritual suffering today.   In many parts of the world, our physical needs are met but our emotional, social, and spiritual needs are not. This has created confusion and guilt. We think we should be happy, because in many ways we have so much. But something is missing… connection, community, love, purpose, transcendence… many of our hearts and spirits have been neglected in order to pursue security and comfort. There is a call to action to turn inward and face our fears and sorrows in order to be free of the burden of avoiding them by staying small, by avoiding genuine connection, by living in a mental trance instead of the present, or the various other strategies we employ to merely survive rather than to thrive.

We are in a collective “ordeal stage” of a global hero’s journey.  Many people are seeking a treasure, an elixir, that can be found in the den of the dragons of nihilism and fear.  The Metaforest is my image of a place inside of ourselves that is the treasure. I aim to do my part to help each other confront our dragons and find the treasures we seek.