This Memorial Day weekend I visited the Portland Memory Garden, a therapeutic garden designed for individuals experiencing memory disorders (and their caregivers), although the park is open to the general public as well. On the day that I visited, I noted that both elderly community members and very young children were enjoying the space, with their families. I chose to pause my recording at times (and to skip several sections) in order to respect the privacy of those present.
As you gaze upon the garden’s imagery, notice where your eyes are drawn. Which aspects do you find most pleasing? Quite predictably, my eyes went immediately to the vibrant purple of the Oregon irises in their sunny raised bed. Did you observe any changes in your body between the beginning of the video, and its end? Is this a space you might like to visit – and why? Read More
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry (hear the poet read this poem)
About eight years ago, I attended a brief women’s metta retreat. Following a weekend of meditation and near silence, re-entry back into the “real world” proved surprisingly difficult even though I’d participated in previous retreats.
The challenge started once I left the rural retreat center and attempted to merge onto the freeway. I found that I couldn’t force myself to drive any faster than thirty-five miles per hour – big problem, even in the slow lane! Drivers swerved around me, honking their horns. Eventually, but oh so slowly, I increased my speed and somehow made it safely home.
Later that day, I visited a crowded grocery store, one that I usually dreaded. However, that afternoon, I felt something inexplicable arise within me from the moment I pushed my rickety cart through the grungy automatic doors and gazed around at the sea of shoppers. An unfamiliar emotion, something that I’d never experienced in that grocery store before.Read More
Sound is all around us, throughout our day. We encounter sounds that may be sweet or soothing, and occasionally, sounds that we might not want to hear.
However, sounds provide information and help us navigate in, and connect with, our larger world. A growing body of research supports the many health benefits of interacting with nature, and we can use our sense of sound as one doorway to connect with nature, literally or virtually. Savoring practices also help us to “take in the good” and to balance out our inherent negativity bias, which is hardwired into our biological survival system but can lead to heightened stress. Read More
This past weekend I spent an hour or so deep-cleaning my bedroom, removing clutter, and exploring ways to bring more nature indoors. Although I’m immensely grateful to have a wooded view outside of our bedroom windows, recently I’ve realized that I need to turn the volume WAY up on my self-care.
Now, more than ever before, we can all benefit from basic sleep hygiene recommendations (and if you’ve struggled with sleep issues for a long time, you might consider seeking help). Even if sleep isn’t a problem, consider giving your nightly routine an additional “nature boost” by incorporating repeated elements of biophilic design, which “emphasizes human adaptations to the natural world that over evolutionary time have proven instrumental in advancing people’s health, fitness, and wellbeing.” A few suggestions:Read More
The lilac is blooming, and the rain has lifted. Amazing how each garden transition is like a birth. Just like each breath, and each day.
Last night I hosted a short silent meditation session for my Mindful Self-Compassion community, and I read Mary Oliver (of course – she’s been on my mind a lot lately). I’d like to share her poem The Summer Day with you. Read More
For those of you who are parents or have children in your life, you may be familiar with a sweet little book by P.D. Eastman titled “Are You My Mother?”
I can’t remember where we bought our copy – probably purchased with our Dr. Seuss collection at a local children’s resale store about ten years ago. I started reading it to my daughter around the age of two, and I was hooked. My daughter adored it, too.Read More
Happy Earth Day! So many of our friends are sharing resources today and here’s just a few that I’ve visited:
The Oregon Metro-area Master Gardener resource center
The Children and Nature Network blog