Natural Happiness – The Gardener’s Way: connect with Nature to grow your wellbeing and resilience.
How can we stay happy when there’s too much change and uncertainty? Are there ways to bounce back and thrive if everyday life and work is getting us down? The answer is to cultivate yourself like a garden, and grow your own wellbeing by learning from nature. The times we’re in are tough: it’s clear that we need new approaches to thrive in all this. Natural Happiness is a simple, practical guide which can help in your personal life, your work, and living with the wider issues. It will show you how to cultivate your own human nature, and tend yourself like a garden: deepen your roots, and grow happily through all kinds of weather.
Life these days is so complex that we need models and parallels to learn from. You might think there are useful comparisons with systems like computers or cars, but human nature is far subtler. People are organisms: constantly changing, and with this interactions between physical, emotional, mental and other aspects. A much better parallel is cultivated natural eco-systems: farms, gardens or forests where rules of nature apply, but people are trying to shape nature to achieve the outcomes they want. For over 20 years, Alan Heeks has been exploring what people can learn from these parallels for their life and work
Alan comments “I never set out to become a pioneer in the parallels between natural ecosystems and people’s wellbeing and resilience, but it has turned out that way. Nature has been a huge comfort and refuge for me ever since my unhappy teenage years, but the real catalyst for Natural Happiness came in 1989, when I felt a calling to create a major learning-based centre, using some of the capital I’d made from a successful business venture. Fuelled by excitement, determination and naive ignorance of what I was getting into, within a year I had set up an education charity, and we had bought a run down 130-acre farm in West Dorset. Ten years turning this into a flourishing mixed organic farm and innovative education centre is what taught me about organic cultivation from the roots up.
After seven years of this, in 1997, I realised that people and work teams could learn a huge amount about human sustainability from the parallels with a cultivated ecosystem like this organic farm. Since then, I have refined the model further by creating a 1-acre garden with my wife at our home in Bridport, and through many years’ involvement with conservation forestry at Hazel Hill Wood.”