Natural Happiness –
The Gardener’s Way

Learn from nature to grow your wellbeing and resilience

 

How can we stay happy when there’s so much uncertainty around? The answer is to cultivate yourself like a garden, and grow your own wellbeing by learning from nature.

Natural Happiness is a simple, practical guide that supports people in their personal lives, in their work, and in making sense of wider issues.

People are organisms: constantly changing, and with interactions between physical, emotional, mental, and inspirational aspects. In cultivated ecosystems, such as organic farms and vegetable gardens, we can see how to shape and steer an organism to achieve the outcome we need, and this is a great guide to cultivating human nature.

Organic farmer, conservationist and social entrepreneur Alan Heeks has developed a way for people to cultivate and maintain their own sense of wellbeing and happiness, drawing on his own experiences.

Alan comments: “Having set up a 130-acre organic farm and education centre, I realised that people and teams can learn a huge amount about human sustainability from the parallels with cultivated ecosystems.”

Alan has since created a 70-acre conservation woodland, an acre of organic garden in his hometown, founded a community food security project, and runs workshops on personal resilience and adapting to climate change.

For more about Alan’s planned fourth book, Grow your own Happiness, click here.

For further reading on the Natural Happiness way, click here.

To receive regular info and updates, subscribe to the Natural Happiness newsletter, click here.

To get in touch with the Natural Happiness Office, click here.

Follow us on social media

Get the latest insights and updates

Facebook     Twitter     YouTube

Deep Adaptation in local communities

This blog shares Alan’s experience of a pilot initiative in Herefordshire.

How soul resilience can support you in stormy times

As life gets more uncertain, we need a quantum step up in resilience, and that’s what soul resilience could offer you. See more on Alan’s new website, www.soulresilience.net.

 

Natural Happiness e-newsletter

Natural Happiness e-newsletters are issued every couple of months, and bring you insights, resources, event news and bonus blogs. To see the latest newsletter, or join our mailing list, click the link below.

Nurture and adapt: Natural Happiness for stormy times

See new blog here.

See latest newsletter here.

Image: Learning to live with extremes with Bedouin nomads

The Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness

The times we’re in are tough: it’s clear that we need new approaches and models to thrive in all this. Natural Happiness is a simple, practical approach which can help in your life and work, and for work teams and communities.

Alan Heeks has created a unique model based on what he calls the Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness, which stress different ways of enhancing and supporting your wellbeing inspired by nature, gardening and farming, for example, nourishing your roots; compost your troubles; cultivate community.

Read more about the Seven Seeds here.

Organic gardening methods offer us many useful parallels for growing happiness and the Seven Seeds are a distillation of what Alan has learned over the last 30 years.

Growing through uncertainty: resilience insights

The present is already so demanding that most of us don’t want to consider the future. But surely the rapid changes and rising pressures we face now are likely to continue, and increase? Alan has been researching and leading trainings in resilience for several years: the skills to grow through problems and keep thriving, not just cope and get by.

 

Here are some resources that may help you:

Nine positive ways to use your lockdown time

Finding the gifts in Bewilderment

Deep Adaptation and climate change

Looking back from 2042

The 8 Dimensions of Super-Resilience: How to grow into the 2020’s

Hope and Resilience in the Climate and Ecological Emergency

A retreat led by Alan Heeks and Jonathan Herbert Friday Feb 3 – Sunday Feb 5, 2023 at Hilfield Friary, Dorset Using material from the Christian contemplative tradition, from Joanna Macy – a Buddhist and deep ecologist,  and from Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation approach,...

Tailored Retreats in the Welsh Mountains

A tailored retreat means that an individual or small group choose their own dates for exclusive use of a magical small retreat centre in Wales. Alan will run a couple of sessions each day, drawing on his unique Natural Happiness model, and tailoring the retreat to...

Natural Happiness for Gardeners

Natural Happiness for Gardeners 60-90-minute online workshop Cultivate your wellbeing with gardening skills! Available for group bookings With Alan Heeks   In these stormy times, we need new skills to stay happy.  A cultivated ecosystem, like a garden, is a role...

Events

We’d love you to join us at one of our events. We create spaces to connect like-minded people and explore a range of different topics for personal development and have started doing workshops online.

Resource Toolkit: Natural Communication

Natural Communication provides the skills to express yourself, hear others, have a fruitful conversation. These methods are part of my overall Natural Happiness model using gardening analogies. All this is closer to gardening than you might think: both need a dynamic...

Self-help Process: Circle of Voices

This is a method I’ve evolved for integrating multiple viewpoints: see Chapter 4 for a fuller introduction. Before you do this process, read this briefing thoroughly, and get clear on basic decisions such as aim, location, and who’s involved.  Set aside more time than...

Community insights from ecosystems

Community insights from ecosystems Cultivated ecosystems shape natural processes to achieve outputs for us humans: we can learn a lot from the community aspects of Nature. Community on the farm Wild margins: This is one of my favourite principles in organic systems....

Resource Toolkit: Personal Energy Audit

This can be a powerful process to help you understand your sources and uses of physical, emotional, mental and inspirational energy. Gardeners and farmers manage the energy mix for their land, and you can do this for your personal ecosystem.   Asking yourself “How’s...

Resource Toolkit – Change the Story

If you’re setting an intention for positive change, changing the story is an important part of shifting you or someone else out of a habitual response. One of my biggest insights since turning 60 has been the way repeating stories shape our lives. The older we get,...

Nourish Your Roots: The Tree Test

Life and work get more confusing year by year, and that’s unlikely to stop in future. Spending time in Nature is a great way to reduce its stress and find clarity, but what do you do when you have to make a decision, in your workplace or at home, within the next few...

Composting: the upsides of your downsides

Imagine that you can tap into a major new source of energy and insight, that’s already within you: it’s free, abundant, and just needs a bit of effort to process it.   What’s more, you’ll be creating benefits out of problems that drain energy and pollute your inner...

Mapping your wild margins

This matrix can help you recognise and value wild margins in yourself, or you could use it for a group such as a work team. Start by listing a few activities, skills, interests which may seem marginal and unproductive. Then explore how they could help you, and how you...

Resource Toolkit: Creative Conflict Resolution

Many challenges involve conflict. This process is one I’ve used often myself, and have taught in training groups. You can use the gist in minor conflict, and the full process in major ones. Here we move on to human skills which can help you to compost difficult...

The Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness

How can you stay happy when there’s too much change and uncertainty?  Are there ways to bounce back and thrive if life is getting you down?  Natural Happiness uses skills from gardening and organic farming to help you cultivate your own wellbeing. The Seven Seeds...

Resources

In this section you’ll find a range of processes and resources I have created which can help you to grow your own natural happiness and resilience.

Natural Happiness Blog

Deep Adaptation in local communities

Deep Adaptation in local communities

Two of my current crumbs of comfort are a sense that many more people now recognise that we're in a crisis, and that I hear the need for adaptation being widely accepted. Whilst I used to get annoyed that newer crises were distracting from the climate emergency, I now...

read more
Feeling our way without a map

Feeling our way without a map

Subtle discernment for confusing times Imagine you're in a dream where you're trying to drive somewhere. Your satnav goes off. You realise you don't have an old-fashioned paper map. There's no mobile signal, so Google is no use. As you look for road signs, you see...

read more

The Work that Reconnects: a way to face the future

If you’re working with hazardous materials, you need good methods and equipment. The future really is hard to face: it can easily feel bleak and overwhelming. Many people feel pain and despair about the state of the world and the environment, and blank out to avoid...

read more
Emergency resilience: why you need it

Emergency resilience: why you need it

Learning from Boiled Frog syndrome Climate psychologists tell us that humans aren’t good at dealing with complex, diffuse threats whose timing is uncertain. It seems we’d be great at handling a woolly mammoth attack, and our evolution is way behind reality. If you...

read more
Mining for hope in the quarry of gloom

Mining for hope in the quarry of gloom

There must be some kind of way outta hereSaid the joker to the thiefThere’s too much confusionI can’t get no relief In this time of big troubles, it’s easy to feel hopeless. And if you’re an anxious type, like me, you’ll always find plenty to unsettle you. Yet the...

read more
Deep Adaptation and climate change: an introduction

Deep Adaptation and climate change: an introduction

Back in 2018, the sense of urgency about the climate crisis rose sharply, helped by several key voices, including Greta Thunberg, and Professor Jem Bendell. Jem uses the term Deep Adaptation as a focus for facing and adapting to the major climate and related...

read more
Could a pilgrimage renew you?

Could a pilgrimage renew you?

As life keeps getting more complex and confusing, I've found that pilgrimages are a good antidote, a way to feel renewed, re-centred, clarified. The tradition of pilgrimage goes back many centuries, and has seen some revival in recent years, with Santiago de...

read more

Resource Toolkit: Personal Energy Audit

This can be a powerful process to help you understand your sources and uses of physical, emotional, mental and inspirational energy. Gardeners and farmers manage the energy mix for their land, and you can do this for your personal ecosystem.   Asking yourself “How’s...

Resource Toolkit – Change the Story

If you’re setting an intention for positive change, changing the story is an important part of shifting you or someone else out of a habitual response. One of my biggest insights since turning 60 has been the way repeating stories shape our lives. The older we get,...

Nourish Your Roots: The Tree Test

Life and work get more confusing year by year, and that’s unlikely to stop in future. Spending time in Nature is a great way to reduce its stress and find clarity, but what do you do when you have to make a decision, in your workplace or at home, within the next few...

Composting: the upsides of your downsides

Imagine that you can tap into a major new source of energy and insight, that’s already within you: it’s free, abundant, and just needs a bit of effort to process it.   What’s more, you’ll be creating benefits out of problems that drain energy and pollute your inner...

Mapping your wild margins

This matrix can help you recognise and value wild margins in yourself, or you could use it for a group such as a work team. Start by listing a few activities, skills, interests which may seem marginal and unproductive. Then explore how they could help you, and how you...

Resource Toolkit: Creative Conflict Resolution

Many challenges involve conflict. This process is one I’ve used often myself, and have taught in training groups. You can use the gist in minor conflict, and the full process in major ones. Here we move on to human skills which can help you to compost difficult...

The Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness

How can you stay happy when there’s too much change and uncertainty?  Are there ways to bounce back and thrive if life is getting you down?  Natural Happiness uses skills from gardening and organic farming to help you cultivate your own wellbeing. The Seven Seeds...

Enjoying your elderhood

The term elder is used with various meanings: I’m using it to invite you to connect with the mature wisdom in yourself, and in our ancestors. Traditional tribal cultures, such as the Native Americans, Celts, and Bedouin, had great wisdom, including the role of the...

Resilience Toolkit: Some Basic Methods

What is resilience, and why does it matter? Resilience is the ability to stay calm in high levels of change and challenge, to bounce back when something difficult happens, to face up to a problem and find a good solution. It’s a set of skills to help you maintain your...

Not Fade Away: Staying happy when you’re over 64!

Not Fade Away Staying happy when you’re over 64! By Alan Heeks Due for publication May 1, 2018: AVAILABLE NOW  THE BABY BOOMER GUIDE TO CREATIVE AGEING The late sixties and beyond are a landmark: a good time to choose what you want from the years ahead, and take stock...

Natural Happiness

Contact Form