I love my allotment, well technically it’s not my allotment, my sister pays the yearly fee but won’t go anywhere near the place unless there are ginormous spiders in the shed. Then she’s drafted in to make the poor unsuspecting creature magically disappear, while my mum and I look on in terror. I work the plot with my mum, now I’m 53 so mum (love her) is no spring chicken.
I am the one with the passion however.
Other members of my family are content to let me wax lyrical about compost, seedlings, strawberry netting and humane, but perhaps not sane, ways of defeating the local slug population.
I love everything about my (my sisters) allotment, the satisfaction of growing the food, the sense of a good days work done, the excitement when a young seedling is ready to plant out. Did I mention I love my allotment?
I entitled this blog offering ‘lessons from my allotment’, so it would follow that I offer perhaps some aspect of it being a metaphor for life. Don’t get me wrong, I did consider making the link between watching seedlings grow and patience or planting a seed and optimism that it will grow.
Nonetheless that is not the point I want to make.
My intention of introducing readers to my allotment is to talk about ‘sanctuary’ or perhaps ‘refuge’.
Everyone needs somewhere that they can completely switch off. We all need a place in which we can feel your shoulders slowly creeping down from our ears.
For me the allotment does just that, it’s a place I can breathe and totally switch off from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.
The important thing here is that connection with nature. Increasingly humans are having less and less contact with nature and we are the poorer for it.
Human beings need contact with the natural world, it’s what connects us with seasons, allows us to marvel, and offers tranquillity. It has the ability to calm us and gives us that all important connection with something greater than ourselves.
To ignore the human need for a connection with the natural world is to miss out on a piece of personal development that can boost not only your sense of wellbeing but also afford you sense of peace and calm.
So here are my tips for finding that place outside that could become as special for you as my allotment is to me.
• If you have one take a slow walk around your local park
• Take a drive out to the beach/forest/national park and walk for a couple of hours
• If you are lucky enough to have a garden plant something that will bring you joy – it can be a lovely flower or some veg, but it must be something that you love and can enjoy
• If you fine an open space that you enjoy, make sure you really connect. Sit on the grass, take your shoes off and feel the earth under your feet
• If you can find a natural space that you can just sit on your own for twenty minutes (and of course if it is safe to do so) just sit and take in your surroundings. Feel the sun/rain/wind on your skin, listen to the birds, watch the breeze in the trees or over the ocean
• If you have the choice of walking along a busy road or a more suburban tree lined road – choose the tree lined road, your lower stress levels will thank you
And finally get rid of the excuse that you don’t have time. I’m going to be harsh here and say ‘make time’!
You will feel the benefit of finding a natural space in which you can connect with the beauty, wonder and calm your mind.
I would love to hear about your favourite places in nature, and how you structure your day/week/month to ensure you take that all important time out. Please do share your tips and places below.