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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.

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.

 

Alan's new book: ready to publish

Natural Happiness: the Gardener’s Way

Grow your resilience by learning from ecosystems

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

Soul Resilience Circle – online group

Soul Resilience Circle – online groups: Wednesday June 8, 7.30-9.00pm. If you are new to exploring soul insights, or want to go further, these groups are a good opportunity. We will explore different ideas of what soul is, and ways to contact it, to find soul guidance...

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...

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...

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.

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....

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...

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...

Cycles of progress map

This tool is an invitation to map your progress over time, including the ups and downs, and to celebrate both, and see if there are any cycles involved.   During my 20 years in business management and my Harvard MBA studies, progress was always defined as linear...

Friendship Tips

Cultivating a garden takes some dedication and skill, and friendships need this too. One of the big improvements in my 50s and 60s has been more and better friendships.  These friendships oil the gearbox of life: lubricating changes and crises which could be...

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: 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...

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

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
Discerning at the end of life

Discerning at the end of life

Discerning at the end of life Guest blog from Palden Jenkins Alan Heeks writes: Palden is an old friend, who plays a Merlin-like role in my life, popping up periodically with cryptic insights. He’s a deep thinker out of the box, a seer and astrologer, who usually...

read more
Making sense of the covid times

Making sense of the covid times

I'm writing this in April 2022: we're into the third year of the covid time, and over 70% of us in the UK have had covid at least once. This is the biggest global pandemic since 1918… so what can we learn from it? Probably all of us have had many conversations where...

read more
Climate distress: trauma and Nature immersion

Climate distress: trauma and Nature immersion

I'm a big fan of Bob Doppelt's book, Transformational Resilience, which sees individual and collective trauma as one of the biggest, most pervasive issues of our times. Doppelt defines trauma as "an experience (that) seriously undermines or shatters at least some, if...

read more
Beauty, outrage, shared humanity: all in Trafalgar Square

Beauty, outrage, shared humanity: all in Trafalgar Square

I've just had a rare visit to London, and one of my treats was a classical music concert in St Martin in the Fields, the beautiful old church on Trafalgar Square. Right across the road, in the big central area, was a vigil and protest for Ukraine, which is happening...

read more

Transformation goaded by crises: Palden Jenkins

A bigger view of our possible future… Alan Heeks writes: Palden is an old friend, who plays a Merlin-like role in my life, popping up periodically with cryptic insights. He’s a deep thinker out of the box, a seer and astrologer, who usually offers a radically...

read more
Book blog: Navigating the Coming Chaos, by Carolyn Baker

Book blog: Navigating the Coming Chaos, by Carolyn Baker

A handbook for inner transition Carolyn Baker is an American psychotherapist who has been deeply involved in Transition groups in the US for many years. This book is a valuable guide to spiritual and emotional resilience as stability erodes around us. She sees the...

read more
Navigation aids for a world beyond normal

Navigation aids for a world beyond normal

In the past two years, the world has been rocked by three huge events: covid, the rapid acceleration of the climate crisis, and now by Ukraine. Most of us did not see any of this coming: a few people did, and the ones I know are telling us to brace for more major...

read more
2022 Climate Outlook: pray for miracles

2022 Climate Outlook: pray for miracles

The holiday time around New Year 2022 has been a chance for some of us to reflect on the outlook for the climate crisis, and it's not a cheery prospect. I have been digging deep to find some constructive responses. In reviewing current information, I was startled to...

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...

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...

Cycles of progress map

This tool is an invitation to map your progress over time, including the ups and downs, and to celebrate both, and see if there are any cycles involved.   During my 20 years in business management and my Harvard MBA studies, progress was always defined as linear...

Friendship Tips

Cultivating a garden takes some dedication and skill, and friendships need this too. One of the big improvements in my 50s and 60s has been more and better friendships.  These friendships oil the gearbox of life: lubricating changes and crises which could be...

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: 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...

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