Natural Happiness is inspiring and practical. Based on decades of hands-on experience, Alan Heeks entwines gardening strategies with mindful exercises that are proven to improve your wellbeing. His approach also has a poetic and ecologically sensitive side as he draws parallels between our personal challenges and the fragile state of Gaia our planet. If you are looking for a helpful, grounded and realistic approach; if you love nature and gardening; if you want to improve your wellbeing — then this short and friendly book is for you.
Dr William Bloom, international author and educator
If you wanted to improve your life by growing just one thing, what would you choose? ‘Yourself’ is Alan’s answer and I agree. He’s mapped out so beautifully how we can do this, growing not only our wellbeing and resilience, but also our rootedness in the world. As someone who’s inspired by projects Alan has developed, I’m so pleased he’s sharing his practical vision and approach in this book.
Dr Chris Johnstone, co-author of Active Hope, leading expert in resilience and wellbeing
Alan Heeks’ wise book offers subtle but powerful ways to restore happiness in our lives. We can cultivate wellbeing like gardeners cultivate their gardens, noticing the essentials – soil, sun, air, compost and water – and making small adjustments to increase a vibrancy. Our happiness can grow as we tend, rather than fix, what ails us.
Vicki Robin, leading US author and social innovator
I love how Alan takes the positives of gardening and translates them to everyday life, with phrases such as compost your troubles and cultivate community. He shows how to translate the practicalities of life-affirming garden methods into our own lives, which sets up a loop of positive feedback between us and plants. Grow a green finger, healthy plants, great soil and feel vibrant while doing it.
Charles Dowding, leading UK organic gardener and author
Alan’s wise and joyous celebratory book shows how our primordial relationship with our planetary home Gaia, is not only fundamental to our healing within ourselves and each other, but vital to our potential to survive and thrive – and to consciously evolve – as a planetary and universal species.
Dr Jude Currivan, cosmologist, planetary healer, author, co-founder of WholeWorld-View
New evidence from the Amazon to Australia tells us that we humans were improving the biodiversity and food productivity of wildernesses for thousands of years before the start of sedentary agriculture. In other words, we are a gardening species. That might be why we can feel so at home and at peace when gardening today. And it is why we can approach gardening with a renewed reverence and confidence. Alan Heeks taps into this truth as he advises on how gardening yourself can be as meaningful, healing and celebratory as possible. Your harvests will be even more enjoyable after reading this book.
Professor Jem Bendell, initiator of the Deep Adaptation Forum
I have worked with Alan for over ten years as a valued fellow of the Schumacher Institute. His passion to help people and address the big questions of the future – the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and community resilience – is an inspiration. This book draws together much of his thinking on ways that nature and gardening can provide powerful answers, both literal and metaphorical, to generate happiness.
Ian Roderick, Director, The Schumacher Institute