A time for everything
Who would have guessed that hanging out in a chair swinging from a tree could be so powerful?
Taking time out to sway in the breeze, tune into the sounds and sights around me takes me out of my head and into a different space altogether. I become ‘in the moment’ as my worries and concerns become lost in the wonder of what I see and hear around me.
An hour ago, I was worried about this, that and the next thing and close to feeling overwhelmed. Now I can feel the warmth of the sun, blossom is falling like snow and I can identify different birdsongs. I feel that all is well in my world.
During lockdown and spending so much time inside my flat, I sought escape in our shared garden. We all know that research says being outside and close to nature is good for your mental health. During many years of using mental health services, it was regularly suggested that joining a gardening project would be good. I was dismissive. If only I knew then what I know now…
I have come to appreciate just how much the garden reminds me of my recovery journey – from feeling lost, with no hope of surviving to a place of thriving and feeling that I am valued with much to offer.
Clearing weeds, overgrowth and abandoned furniture speaks of recognising what is good and works for me, dealing with trauma and putting aside all the things that get in the way. How to nurture the soil and build on the good that was already there. Learning where to focus my time and energy.
Planting primroses and snowdrops reminds me of my granny and roses are a point of connection with my mum. Discussing with my neighbours the plants that would add colour, form and fragrance has helped us to develop stronger relationships. Spending time in the garden has enabled me to connect with neighbours in ways that our busy lives previously hadn’t accommodated. I love conversations with the wee boy over the garden fence as we discuss creepy crawlies and their habitats. I am inspired by his curiosity and ability to be in the moment.
Planting and tending, in the hope of a gorgeous future display speaks of hope and potential growth. Nothing is immediate – it takes time, energy and commitment.
Today I am loving the way the sunlight catches the tulips, they are beautiful – like stained glass. Back in autumn I was wondering if I was doing it right, educating myself on what they needed. Then it was down to trusting the process. As winter eased, I found myself getting excited as buds pushed through the soil. The garden was coming to life and I felt energised.
A little regular garden maintenance picks up any changes or problems. This very much aligns with learning about what helps me thrive as well as identifying and dealing with any challenges that come along.
Cats pass through the garden and over time, they have ventured closer and now welcome some stroking. It reminds me of humans (me) – when we are scared and have lost trust in people around us. Tentatively we approach others in the hope of being accepted and included, ready to run yet with time and acceptance we trust more and find ourselves becoming accepted, involved and a part of the community.
The passing of seasons remind me that there is a time for everything and the natural cycle is a great metaphor for our own lives. From hunkering down and protecting through difficult times to enjoying life to the full and everything in between.
There will be challenging times but connecting with others and what we find nurturing will guide us through. That our mind, bodies and souls are worth investing in. One step at a time…
As a final note, I found the ‘The Garden Cure’ by Jan Cameron inspiring. Jan shares her many years of experience of community gardening as metaphor for cultivating well-being and growth.