The world has gone somewhat crazy in the last few weeks. Between reports of just how urgent our response to climate change really needs to be from the IPCC to reports around social injustice and food access, along with the usual stresses and strain of life, my brain has been feeling just a bit addled and even I, with my focus on positive communication and action led change, have struggled to find my way through the melee of information coming at me. For me that silences me. Makes me question my own voice, what I am doing and how I am doing it. So when Fiskars asked me to join their “Grow with Fiskars” campaign - exploring how gardening impacts everyday life and mental wellbeing – I had a moment of clarity.
Well actually it was 2 moments!! The first was as I was sowing seeds for the Incredible Edible Bristol gardens early crops and to feed pollinators early next year. I felt myself slowing down, relaxing, my mind clearing out the voices and being present, in the moment. After 4 packets of Calendula, the same of broad beans and some sweet peas for my garden had been sown, I could feel myself looking around for something more, so started on putting bulbs into pots and revelling in the feel and smell of the compost, the promise of the bulbs that will flower in a few short months, and forgot about my phone, the news and the constant noise coming from outside sources. For an hour my garden was my whole world.
The second moment was during an Incredible Edible Bristol work party as we chatted, gardened and drank tea. It’s so important to us that our community gardeners, the exceptional people who come along out of love, kindness and a will to support change, enjoy their time with us. Time is all of our most precious resource and for people to choose to join us for garden sessions in their rare spare time is always humbling and we are always making sure they get as much from the work parties as the city does in their gardening. Most of those people are focussed on one, local space, but our city centre beds are visited more by a group who just want to be outside and doing something, and extraordinary conversations always take place. But this comment particularly stuck with me……..
“I just take from each work party, the joy of being at it and that’s all I want from it.” Being present, truly in the moment is so hard. Our phones bleeping and ringing, emails demanding a response, the latest must see TV series winking at us from the corner of our rooms. 24 hour news reporting and fighting though the media to see every angle before working out our own thoughts and opinions on whatever the crisis appears to be that day. The ongoing crisis of poor mental health, lack of access to nature, and nature disappearing before our eyes. Brexit, climate collapse, starvation, war…………..
Overwhelmed? Step outside. Stand under a tree, shut your eyes and listen. Listen as the leaves rustle, the birds chirp, the wind blows. Allow yourself to feel the rain on your face, the sun on your back or the snow underfoot. Touch the bark of the tree, the leaves in the ground. Breathe.
Not everyone has access to a garden, but everyone needs to find a space in nature, so do what you can. Grow some herbs on a window sill, buy houseplants, install a window box, find your local community garden or gardening group. Meet new people, learn new things, eat new foods and revel in the new life that comes from being a part of a space, a cog in the wheel. Make meaningful gardening a part of your life and allow yourself time to be in the present. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to your life!
For more information on Fiskars gardening products head to the website: https://www.fiskars.co.uk/products/Gardening