Thursday, July 5, 2012

the Wild Within

Welcome to the July Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindfulness and Nature
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared their experiences of mindfulness and the natural world. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

  Before I was naturemummy, I was Nature Girl; a wide-eyed small person regularly finding wonder and magick in the forest that raised me (and, no, my own mummy does not mind me saying that).  That forest was my whole world, and with my ever-increasing imagination, it was everything I needed to flourish.  That forest grew the best bits that make me who I am today.

  Nowadays I live within a town and although naturedaddy and I do have a big yard, we do not have a forest…yet.  When I became pregnant with my daughter, Evening, this worried me to no end.  We had dreamt of a forested home to raise our children in, and suddenly here she was and the dream was as distant as ever.  

  Disheartened, I started reading up on how children raised in cities and towns related to nature.  I’m afraid what I discovered was rather grim, so I let it go and set about, instead, to be more mindful of the nature that does surround me.

  I am a gardener, a former horticulturalist by trade (just mumming now), and the daughter of a landscape architect.  This should probably mean that our yard is impeccably manicured, but it isn’t.  True beauty, to this mind’s eye, lay in the wild places.  A jumble of fern in a hanging basket can calm me down, but to gaze into the wild soul of nature is a deep and cleansing breath for my own soul.  This is what nature and mindfulness means to me.

  I have my beds, mostly wildflower mixes I’ve scattered haphazardly, and I have my manicured flower garden (or two), my pots of petunias, and a vegetable garden that will provide my daughter with her first solid foods come fall.  I have my little herb garden and my medicinal plants, my large inherited trees and the teeny ones I’ve planted, and then I have the Wild Alley.  

a place to discover one's own wild nature
  The Wild Alley is the space between my house and my neighbour’s, with a fence running in between.  On their side of the fence is a space for their kids to park their bikes, and for runaway lilacs to grow wild.  For me it’s the most beautiful part of our yard, full of overgrown flowering trees and shrubs some long lost gardener planted and that have long since lost their cultivated state to their wild selves.  It is the place where I first encountered the wildflowers of a province almost a continent away from my true home.  It is a source for wildcrafting, and a place attracting birds and butterflies to our home.  

    It is a place of healing for struggling and sickly plants that I transplanted there for their ‘retirement’.  A tiny, half-dead fern and a sickly bleeding hearts have found new life in this healthy ecosystem sustained only by the will of the wild things and my grey water.  It heals my spirit when it is wounded, and it anchors me in the natural world; my place as part of nature.  It reminds me of what the world is like when we don’t attempt to control it; it teaches me that all you need is to grow and be alive to be beautiful and whole.  

  One day it may do the same for my daughter (if we haven’t found our forested home by then).  It is not an entire forest, but it is a wild place for her to explore; to learn of bugs and dappled sunlight while searching for faeries in hidden crannies.  A place for her to discover her own wild nature. 

  At four months she is already responding to this patch of wild.  The Wild Alley runs along our backyard deck, and when she is fussy and inconsolable we sit together there in a camp chair, quietly taking in the green and feeling it soothe our ruffled spirits.  Evening grows quiet and thoughtful, and finally begins to giggle, her woes forgotten and her true nature returning.

  Some would call this meditation, just sitting quietly and gazing silently into the soul of nature, but sometimes I believe that it is a memory of our ancestral home we feel, taking comfort in the knowledge that we are a part of something so unforgettably beautiful. 

Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hashtag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has found a connection to nature in her very own backyard, thanks to her chickens.
  • Healing Gemstones and Crystals for Children Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses which genstones and crystals are best used by children to support physical, emotional, and/or spiritual healing.
  • A Gardener’s Meditation Andrea at Tales of Goodness shares how she finds peace and renewal through gardening.
  • Weeding My Thoughts Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro discusses how nature keeps her in the moment and stops her endless stream of thoughts.
  • Grounded in Nature Rani at OmSheSaid shares her walk in nature, and through expressive words, shares this journey to coming home.
  • Embracing the Magic of Moonlit Nights Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares ways to embrace the magic of moonlit nights with your children and as a woman.
  • Meditation for a Mindful Mama Alinka at Baby Web guides you through her research on the science of meditation, its numerous benefits, and presents to you a life changing meditation exercise.
  • The Wild Within Naturemummy at Motherhood: My Latest Adventure reflects on the soothing qualities of wild places.
  • Nature’s Lessons in Mindfulness Tat at Mum in Search wants to bring the same mindfulness that comes so easily in nature to her relationships.
  • On Manicured Nature: We Roam in Small Spaces Featherstory at The Aniweda Dream shares her gratitude for her limited natural settings and her plans to expand her children's experience with the natural world.
  • Garden (Time Out) Meditation Do you ever need a time out for yourself? Amy at Anktangle finds that during a difficult parenting moment, taking pause to spend a few minutes outside is just the thing she needs to be able to experience renewed patience, focus, and energy.
  • Nature Makes Me a Better Mother Terri at Child of the Nature Isle could not imagine parenting without Mother Nature.
  • The Healing Power of Sunshine Karen at Playful Planet shares her experiences of reneweal in the natural world.
  • Natural History Kenna at A Million Tiny Things gets out into nature, 200 years ago, and isn't sure she likes it there.
  • Nurtured by Nature Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares with us how being in nature helps her feel centered and connected.
  • Mindfulness and Nature Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores the connection between mindfulness and the natural world.
  • A Sense of Awe and Wonder Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the feeling she never fails to get from the natural world and how it guides her to the mindfulness she craves.


  1. Oh, I really like the sound of this Wild Alley of yours! Your description of the peace and grounding it provides you is truly beautiful.

  2. I love it how you managed to create what you desire with the means available at the moment. Your daughter truly has a magickal mom ;)

  3. Sounds like you've created a beautiful outdoor haven for your family. We have a wild backyard with all kinds of berries a.d wild flowers.

    1. I have always wanted to revert our lawn to a wildflower meadow, can you believe it is against the town bylaws??

  4. Wow.

    I have to say first that I LOVE your daughter's name - that is just gorgeous!

    Also love the sound of this Wild Alley. We are blessed with having a green space behind our house and while the neighbors keep it mowed and tame nearby, I love walking out further and seeing the tangle of flowers, grasses and trees it holds that never seems the same the next time I see it.

    I am so motivated to have my little city girl be in tune with nature...we've been visiting farms with her since she was a few months old and I'm always planning natural adventures (though they don't happen as often as I would like in this busy life). It does always help to have whatever you can nearby...

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. thank you, we love her name too, and I'm hopeful my mom will forgive me one day for it...hahaha.

      I do love a 'tangle of flowers' - have you ever heard of 'wildflower bombs' and 'guerilla gardening' in empty city spaces? I've never tried it but the idea thrills me

  5. "It teaches me that all you need is to grow and be alive to be beautiful and whole." I adore this. I am so getting myself a wild space. I didn't even know I was missing it until now!

  6. Second the LOVE on your daughter's name - not of course that it's any of my business!! - Evening - what a calming, soothing, mindful name.

    Wild places are so important for the soul - and nature too. Long live the Wild Alley!

  7. thank you for the love. I have always thought of the word "Evening" as a calming, peaceful, soothing word as well. I was so thrilled when her daddy agreed with me that it would be her name (especially since it took us a year to agree on a name for our cat).

  8. I love the name of your alley! and it really is gorgeous!!!! I think it's great that gardens can be tended to just about anywhere! I'm now inspired!

    1. that makes it a good day;) thanks Rani!


embedded below post