In 2004, a backcountry kayak eco tour with Captain Bill Keogh changed my life and set me on the path to creating Serenity Eco Therapy (SET). I will never forget the excitement of exploring the mangrove near-shore environment with paddleboards and kayaks for the first time.
Every stroke took me deeper into my imagination as we left the sunlight behind to paddle through the shallow and mysteriously narrow mangrove creeks. I floated serenely in this tunnel of life, going with the flow, and completely engulfed in the mangrove jungle. The red prop roots reached for me as the smell of salty decaying leaves permeated the air. In the silence, I became acutely aware of the fact that “I” was a part of this “All.” I felt an ecological and psychological connection which, over time, has become the theme of my conservation efforts in business and research.
Ever notice that your mind is calmer after a day paddling compared to a day spent indoors? The term “Eco Therapy” might sound radical, but you already know what it means. Ecopsychologists look at how nature deprivation and exposure impacts the human psyche. My original application of this new field, referred to as Serenity Eco Therapy, harnesses the tremendous healing power of nature for the mind, body, and soul to improve quality of life. The practice of connecting with nature is organic, personal, and usually facilitated by a trustworthy guide.
I am a SUP yoga and kayak guide with a background in clinical mental health. I facilitate the restorative effects of nature on mind and body every day while navigating the mangroves of the Florida Keys. Physically, the body relaxes as the breath lengthens, when we enter the veil of turquoise reflections found at the heart of this unique ecosystem. It’s easier to let go of to-do lists and experience relief from the symptoms of stress, including depression and anxiety, when you are exploring wild new sights, sounds, and tastes. Feel your spirits soar as you come in contact with the creatures of the Caribbean near-shore environment including the mangrove tree crabs, loggerhead sponges, and the upside-down jellyfish. As your Serenity Eco Guide and friend, it is my joy to take you into this adventure, out of your comfort zone, and back again safely.
The benefits of paddling while going quiet in nature are vast and have no side effects, other than quitting your day job. Generally, we see that the mind/nature connection increases over all well-being and promotes the release of stress and tension from the body. Just a few hours a week has been shown to improve quality of sleep, mood, metabolism, blood pressure, and has a positive impact on behavioral disorders such as ADHD. Not to mention, it’s the best day of your vacation!
Serenity Eco Therapy (SET) is an effective paddling lifestyle health solution that needs no prescription and does not come in a bottle. The Florida Keys provide us with the perfect opportunity to practice paddle sports in the leeward side of protected mangrove shores and creeks. Come on out and see for yourself!