What is the forest? This question was presented to us today by Professor Waverli Neuberger while exploring the Atlantic Rainforest here in Sao Paulo. Before today, I thought of the forest as a place where you can find wild animals, where witches dwell, and where Snow White lived before her Prince Charming came to save her. I had never been grateful for the forest or listened to its story until today.

Professor Waverli explained that the forest is not about competition, but about cooperation. The idea that the trees work together to provide each other with nutrients and to sustain life in the rainforest. This made me wonder, what if human beings were like the trees and forests, maintaining each other and providing for one another rather than competing against each other? Professor Waverli also questioned us about the way we walk. Our feet are always protected by shoes or socks, and they are never bare, never feeling the world around us. She told us that we all walked into the forest as if we were walking into a busy city.

Through the craziness of life and my surroundings, I tend to forget about what is in front of me and focus too much on where I need to be instead of enjoying and experiencing the now. I need to start taking off my shoes and feeling the Earth around me and be present in the present. If I keep looking forward, my life will pass, and I will not have experienced anything to remember. Being dominantly visual beings, we tend to focus on our sight too much, so much so that if we cannot see, we say we are lost, but that isn’t the case. If we start to feel the world around us and recognize who we are and where we are through our other senses, we will never lose sight of what is important.

So what is the forest you may ask? The rainforest is a place that is filled with hundreds of different species that work together for a common goal, to sustain. Most importantly, it is where I learned that experiencing life is much more important than walking right through it. So next time you are wearing shoes, take them off. Maybe you’ll “see” the world differently too.

Categories: Brazil 2019


Amy Kovach · May 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Professor Waverli has a wonderful way of making us “see” differently. This is a wonderful reminder, and the pictures are beautiful!

<3 Dr. Kovach

Waverli Neuberger · May 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Reading your post made my heart sing with joy and gratitude! May the forest be your professor and stay in your heart, your mind and your will. Keep walking barefoot enjoying the precípua gift of life that God give us! Amy I misses you!

    Amy Kovach · May 22, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Waverli, I miss you too! Proximo ano!!!

Waverli · May 27, 2019 at 2:40 pm

I wait for you Amy!!!! It is so rewarding to see how the students are learning and appreciating their visit! Thank you for you and Julie to keep it going on! See you soon!

Terrina LaTourette · May 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm

Hurrying…it seems like it’s the way of the world. I often try to have someone else drive while I’m in the car so I can look around, even if it’s just at the sky and the beautiful (now GREEN) mountains the Lord has provided for us. How wonderful it would be if people helped each other instead of always competing!!! . It reminds me of the TobyMac song “Speak Life”. Brennan Manning told him “In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There is no neutral exchange”. I encourage you to SPEAK LIFE!!!
<3 Bailey's Momma

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