23 Jan 2017

Cultivating your Inner Garden

Winter is a time to turn inward. The leaves have fallen to the ground and the last blossoms faded long ago. It is a time when we contemplate the quieter points of life and slowly await the melting of the snow and the rebirth of the landscape.

Winter is also a time of seed catalogs. They arrive quietly one by one in the mail. Each page offers a tantalizing array of possibilities. Some plants are bright, some showy, some familiar and others brand new. Yet all scream with the potential of a fruitful harvest after time spent in dedicated effort in your garden.

It can be easy to imagine a well-stocked garden bed. Rows of cheerful flowers blossoming in the mid-day sun, accompanied by big juicy red tomatoes draping close to the ground. But what about your very own inner garden? How will you grow in the coming year?

Be it your physical body or ethereal psyche, we all have a garden within us that needs cultivating. Imagine yourself as a vast garden bed. What seeds will you plant within yourself this year? Will they be seeds of peace? Seeds of health? Seeds of friendship…contentment…joy?

Each seed that you plant within you will need tending, just like those in a garden. Take a moment to imagine how you might care for them. It might be a 5-minute daily meditation, a cup of tea once a week with an old friend, or brisk jog in the quiet morning hours. Each seed may require different care, just as it would if it were to grow a plant.

So the next time you pick up a seed catalog and ooh and ahh over the beautiful pictures, remember your own inner garden. There is as much to cultivate within as there is in any garden bed. Why not make a little time for both? Happy Gardening!


Danielle Simmons, Horticulture and Animal Interactions
Inspired by her childhood experience of play in the forests of upstate New York, Danielle has devoted her career to connecting human wellness with a deeper engagement to the natural world. Danielle planted and manages the greenhouse and the garden beds at Sunrise. She enjoys teaching guests the many uses of herbs, from first aid to making herbal teas and salves. When she is not being inspired by the big trees and abundant water at Sunrise, she is enjoying time with her family and their organic garden, which they tend on their homestead south of Santa Fe.