“Let’s start at the very beginning”
Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east; and there He put the man He had formed
Gardens are not only about flora, but also fauna and other life forms all existing together harmoniously in a balanced interactive circle of life.
Good gardening, which happens to be the oldest profession, is both an art and an act (skill) which engages us on all levels, physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually.
All our senses, sight, smell, feel (touch), hearing (sound), even taste, are heightened in the garden and the good gardener is the one who has learnt to engage with his garden on all these levels. In fact, one of the most notable characteristics of a good gardener is that of well honed senses.
Any sustainable and successful training in gardening is thus essentially one that ultimately sharpens our senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste and instinctive ‘feeling’ and not surprisingly, often ends up drawing us to the Mastermind behind this ‘feast of the senses’, God the Creator Himself!
SENSORY (GARDEN) TRAINING EXERCISES [Part 1]
Take time to indulge your senses whenever you enter your garden.
– Walk barefooted on your lawn in the morning dew.
There are documented health benefits for this practice, popularly referred to as ‘Earthing’ plus it is invigorating & refreshing.
The premise is that the earth’s negative ions help balance the positive ions we build up every day through stress, inflammatory foods and exposure to electronic and cellular devices.
An expert in the field of Earthing, Dr. James L. Oschman, describes the exchange in this way: “The most reasonable hypothesis to explain the beneficial effects of Earthing is that an earth connection enables both daily electrical rhythms and free electrons to flow from the earth to the body.”
Benefits of Earthing
Regular contact with the natural electrical field of the earth helps restore your body’s natural electrical balance. Practitioners of this trend, ranked #3 in the 2013 Spa Finder Wellness report, say that it helps:
- Reduce chronic pain
- Improves sleep
- Lowers stress
- Improves energy
- Lessens hormonal and menstrual symptoms
- Accelerates recovery from extreme athletic activity
“One of the major benefits of Earthing is that it appears to conduct the negatively-charged electrons from the surface of the earth into the body where they neutralize positively-charged destructive free radicals involved in chronic inflammation,” says Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra, co-author of Earthing with Ober. “The potential benefits of the earth’s energy on the brain, heart, muscles, immune and nervous systems — and in turn the whole body and the aging process — are massive. Medically, this is a big deal!” he says.
– Step out into the evening/dawn just to listen to the sound of the wind through the branches, the rustling leaves, sound of the croaking frogs, chirping crickets, running water or simply to listen to the silence!
We live in a rapidly de-natured and electronically saturated environment that is slowly but surely poisoning us with increasing stress levels. Our only escape route is to find green spaces we can retreat into often to reconnect with nature. When was the last time you heard crickets chirping, toads croaking, birds singing and a cock crowing to welcome the dawn? When did you last stop to just listen to the rain or the wind? Can you find/create a private retreat in your garden where ‘electronic and mechanical background noise’ is not allowed to invade?
I have known that listening to nature sounds is calming, but beyond that, there is actual proof that natural sounds and visual landscapes are of immense benefit.
The University of Minnesota’s Sustainable Urban Landscape Information Series (SULIS) says that gardens have been used throughout history to help in the healing process. They advise that when gardens are planned, it is important to keep intrusive noises (street and mechanical noise) to a minimum. When these noises cannot be avoided, the use of sounds such as water can be used to mask it. Plants that make pleasant sounds when the wind rustles their leaves help to provide a soothing natural sound. They point out that when a Hospice Garden is designed, these natural sounds are important because oftentimes hearing is the sense that remains with the patient until death. These soothing sounds also provide a restorative setting for prayer and meditation, as well as visuals such as running water. E.O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist, believes that we humans love bird songs because it is part of our intrinsic “biophilia”, or an inborn need that we have to connect with nature and other living beings.
– De-stress by simply walking through and hosing/spraying your garden with the water hose.
The sight and sound of water has a magical appeal to our psyche and we instinctively respond positively to its soothing effects.
Apart from the direct benefits to the plants ( rehydrating the plants, washing away the dust from the leaves so they can ‘breathe’ better, raising the relative humidity of their immediate surroundings, lowering the ambient temperature, knocking off pests from the plants, etc), it indirectly cools us down too.
By: Patrick N.A. Masoperh