As I develop my new garden lectures for the upcoming season, I am reminded of the phrase, “When the world ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” Somehow, thinking about something small, such as how to design a garden seems so trivial in the bigger scheme of things, until I talked with my friend Pam Montgomery, herbal teacher and wise woman.
She explained that teaching others how to incorporate the sacred into their gardens, by creating sanctuaries will allow the healing power of plants to be received.
This is the heart of my work: showing others how to create beautiful kitchen gardens that will ultimately bring more joy and connection through nature and the healthy food that is grown.
When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure what I should pay attention to first. The problems of the world? My giant to-do list? An exercise regime? The more I tried to figure it out, the more anxious I became…until I realized that all I wanted to do was cook. I put a stock pot on the stove, added a bit of olive oil, and began to chop onions, carrots, celery and parsnips. The radio was on so I could listen to the news, yet somehow doing this simple task (which was also a way to bring soup to a friend) gave me focus and a sense of ease.
It was a very simple thing and sometimes the simplest things are best. Cooking and gardening are a way to create a sanctuary in our minds, and bring balance to our lives.
As I pay attention to the big problems and concerns, I am also noticing the small things in my life to give them loving attention. What simple task can I accomplish that will bring me a sense of balance? How can I turn ingredients into nourishment, by giving my time and skill as a cook? Allowing the vegetables to simmer on the stove top, steaming up the windows, and filling the house with a delicious aroma, makes it easier to go to my desk, and get to work – developing a course to teach about how a beautiful garden is a sanctuary, for yourself and others.
I’ll be sharing more thoughts about gardens as sanctuary, with Pam Montgomery on her podcast, scheduled for Sunday, May 30th on her website: Nature Revolutionaries.