I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and was in treatment for 7 months before starting my road to recovery. I should say “Rocky Road to Recovery” because it was something of an obstacle course navigating all of the changes in my life and side effects from treatment. But somehow, just when I thought I couldn’t feel worse, my garden invited me out to rebalance myself and find some joy.
With the approval of my oncologist, I’d begun working with a gifted Austin holistic doctor as I made my way through recovery. I’d hoped to get help with my foggy brain, balance issues, range of motion issues, depression and lack of energy. Seems like a lot to ask of a doctor, doesn’t it? But I’m fortunate that my holistic doctor is also a gardener, so she gave me an assignment: Start every day in your garden.
She called it “grounding.” And before we get into what “grounding” is, let’s take a look at what it means to be “ungrounded,” because most of us have heard that before. Being “ungrounded” is when you are in a headspace of feeling angry, unhappy, bitter, distracted and unbalanced. All of these are normal feelings, but they can also keep you from enjoying your life and living in the here and now.
So, getting grounded with your garden as the backdrop is ridiculously easy and unbelievably effective. My holistic doctor told me to get my cup of coffee every morning, and before I check email or do anything else, to walk outside into my garden. If I can do it barefoot, all the better. Just walk around, enjoying a few moments of connecting with your garden before your day kicks into gear. Smell the flowers, feel the breeze, breathe in deeply and let your feet connect with the earth as you let the garden do its thing. You might cut a few flowers to bring inside, but don’t make this “work.” This is simplicity at its best. This is grounding.
Grounding became my morning ritual that I shared with my garden as I was recovering, and it’s still a big part of my daily routine. My coffee, my garden and me — it’s an unbeatable combo for starting the day right, with my feet firmly on the ground.
Editor's Note: Jenny Peterson is an Austin, Texas-based garden designer, speaker, master gardener, and author of The Cancer Survivor's Garden Companion. She will be offering a seminar at Swansons on February 21, from 11am-12pm, where she will share tips on how to create your own backyard haven for hope and healing.