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The Healing Garden

Grief has a way of either hitting you hard or creeping up slowly and weighing heavy on our souls. One thing I know is at some point in all our lives we will all traverse through the difficult terrain of grief. In 2020 I found myself unexpectedly in a pit of grief and not due to the corona virus - my beloved daughter chose to leave and live on the other side of the world for the remainder of her childhood and the kicker was she went on vacation and just simply never returned. Sometimes life throws us such curveballs that there is no amount of planning that can prepare us for that hopeless feeling of despair that is experienced during the dark hours of the journey of grief. I am sharing all this to connect with my people, of which you are, but also to share what helped me and may help you get through your season when it comes.

Gardening has long been known to have health benefits. The obvious ones are muscle strength, maintaining flexibility and cardio work, particularly when throwing a pick axe around, but more recently there has been a discovery that gardening has a wonderful positive impact on our mental health. The process of being out in the sunshine and soaking up vitamin D, combined with the reduction in cortisol and release of oxitocin as a natural bonus of doing any exercise are all obvious benefits, however there are more subtle benefits that may need to be experienced to fully appreciate. I found the process of concentrating on nurturing up seedlings, gently trimming plants and deadheading roses to have a meditative impact as all of life's worries are gently processed or simply fall away as the mind turns to the simple satisfying task at hand. There is also the process of caring and growing a plant from seed or seedling to a full sized thriving plant that is deeply satisfying. In the garden you enter a world which is separate from the muck and the mire of life, a world where you can conquer and achieve, even if in the real world everything has fallen apart. A world where you can be a child again, dream again, hope again and find a sacred space where you know in your heart anything is possible.

This piece of magic somehow stays with you and one little piece at a time you find yourself out of the pit of grief and into a place of joy. The garden is a healer that needs to be experienced- one weed at a time!

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