I grew up in inner city Birmingham, although ironically surrounded by green space and a family of multi-generational farmers. My grandmother has the philosophy of “if I didn’t grow it, I don’t eat it”. This extends from flour from the grain she grows and milled at the local flour mill to the her thriving mint patch which feeds the whole neighbourhood. My pre-verbal associations to nature were pretty strong, however I have rejected this my entire life living a complete urbanite existence and rarely venturing to the garden unless it involved sitting in the sun.
I spent many years offering vicarious support to other keen gardeners and homesteaders, my brain full of years of family wisdom and even marvelled at a college who offered nature inspired therapy. I was aloof and impatient, looking at nature from a distance and only appreciating its fruits and manicured gardens of which I had no part to create. Then, I took a career break. My garden became my world. It was a way for me to connect with those I have immediate relationships with, find common ground to talk about other things and not always work.
When I finally ventured outside I began to notice the instant crispness of the clean air on my skin. I could be messy and it didn’t matter. It was as if the inherited wisdom in my mind was now for me to personify and make real. Allow others to see a part of who I am. Let them in to my identity and find kinship with other growers.
Every seed I planted was a hope, symbolic of the first time we cross the therapy room threshold. Full of knowledge of ourselves, carrying our trans-generational inheritance and tiny insights into the unconscious that lead us to step over the feared obstacles that keep us from creating. We project ourselves into our therapists, hoping that they will attend to us with same gentleness a seed requires to grow. To be nourished, and cared for. Knowing just as nature does, that the trust takes time to build and we slowly but incrementally build this up, with mindfulness patience.
Maybe my Granny’s onto something, there is something special about growing your own food. It teaches you to wait, be still, be patient, for it takes time to figure things out.
Connecting with nature
Charles Gordon-Graham explores a love of nature, animals and the positive role of green spaces for mental health. Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
Part of the natural world
Gemma Lamerton explains that everybody can connect with nature in their own unique personal way. Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
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