For now a year, a beautiful project has been birthing on our land. A women's medicinal Garden.
The vision for this garden is that it offers medicinal plants, meditation & prayer space, and a safe space for women to connect, steward the land, and grow their own medicines. This garden is taking care of by a group of volunteer women (and their children) who come regularly to attend to the garden.
For now thousands of years, our western society has used the Earth as a resource and treated our bodies & health as a commodity. Not surprisingly women were the first to suffer from this great lack of reverence and respect. Even in today's world being a woman means you will be paid less than a man for the same job, be shamed for being pregnant, and not really be allowed to take time off for being with your newborn or young child.
In this vision to empower women to reconnect to the land, to their bodies, and to their health, the women's garden was born. I decided that I would not be involved in it, and let any women feeling called to birth it, participate in this project.
All the plants that are being planted in this garden have an ancestral use in herbal remedies for women and medicinal benefits for women's health.
Since the beginning of Spring, the plantations have started and it has been such a joy to witness not only the garden birthing but the coming together of women, children, in joyful and deeply healing together times.
For many years now, modern psychology has termed a pathology called "Nature Deficit Disorder" that is spreading among children and adults.
"Among the reasons: the proliferation of electronic communications; poor urban planning and disappearing open space; increased street traffic; diminished importance of the natural world in public and private education; and parental fear magnified by news and entertainment media.
Since 2005, the number of studies of the impact of nature experience on human development has grown from a handful to nearly one thousand. This expanding body of scientific evidence suggests that nature-deficit disorder contributes to the diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, conditions of obesity, and higher rates of emotional and physical illnesses. Research also suggests that the nature deficit weakens ecological literacy and stewardship of the natural world. These problems are linked more broadly to what health care experts call the “epidemic of inactivity,” and to a devaluing of independent play." - Richard Louv
Reconnecting to the land through community work, allows us to re-engage our senses back / towards the stewardship of the land, which in turn allows us to steward better our bodies, physical, emotional, and mental health.
It is always fascinating to me to see how some children might arrive a little grumpy or tired and after a few hours of playing on the land, regain their joy, wellbeing, and happiness.
Children are naturally curious, open-hearted, and open-minded. So when we allow them to express their curiosity and playfulness, they naturally self-regulate their emotions in much quicker and better ways. Which in turn brings healing to their parents.
All across the United States and worldwide, a growing number of schools and programs are embracing this movement to provide kids more time in Nature and use it as a tool for learning and development. Forest schools for kids have been embraced in some curriculum in the private school system, but still are almost absent for kids who live (and learn) in cities and have little access to green leaves and brown soil!
I also believe that if we can teach our kids to be good stewards of the Earth, they will always remember how to take care of Her and why it is so important. They will probably not take jobs for corporations that arm the Earth, and won't buy products that are not sustainable and socially responsible.
What seems to be a counter-culture movement is in fact the rebirth or the strengthening of an ancestral way of raising children (alive in native cultures all around the world) that have proven to raise good adults (meaning healthy and balanced emotionally and spiritually). Kids who won't need drugs or alcohol to "escape" or numb their pain. Kids who won't experience such ADD in the traditional school system that traps them into a room for countless hours into learning that is often designed to make them consumers and workers before anything else.
So one women's garden can be one seed into this greater change we want to see in our collective.
Picking one plant, and understanding it is food & medicine, can be one step to avoid an illness and having to take a western medicine filled with side effects or addictions risk.
Putting our hand back in the soil can be one way to feel the Earth, her richness, her bounties, and her beauty.
Spending one hour on the land in community, can be one way to experience the healing power of togetherness.
Maybe we are not just planting seeds. Maybe we are not just growing plants.
Maybe we are cultivating a new way of living and relating.
That is my prayer. Our prayer.
With deep gratitude to all the women for their resilience, hard work, and big hearts.
PS: If you have gardening skills (or not), are interested to support the garden with plants or $ donations, time to work on it, email us to join the volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org