The response to my poem, Green Therapy has caught me by surprise. A number of readers have asked for more information on this subject. This got me thinking back to when I first heard the term. For this I have to give credit to my husband. Whether he coined the term or not doesn’t matter. He told me once that the best thing he always does when he first comes home from a stressful day at work is to spend some time alone in our garden. He actually called it his dose of ‘green therapy’. The term was so apt and descriptive it has stayed with me ever since.
Let me give a bit of context to the whole garden thing. For many long years our garden was sadly neglected due to some major projects in progress in our yard. Once these were completed we turned our attention to the garden. What we have now is a thriving, beautiful oasis of calm. Our front yard in particular is filled with greenery – hedges, a natural pergola, a yuzu tree filled with Japanese limes, rose bushes adorned with softly scented blooms. The ‘floor’ is covered with a ground hugging carpet of flowering plants.
I want to tell you the story of the natural pergola, the centrepiece in our front yard. I had always wanted a pergola to sit in on a summer evening or lazy weekend to socialise with friends and neighbours. Or have some quiet time on my own. He (husband) had a different vision and ideas. What he has created in our yard is the most exquisite gift nurtured over many years to its maturity. It started life as an eight foot ornamental mulberry tree girded by an arc of shrubs. The canopy of the tree was surrounded by a trellis that supported the growing young branches whilst they spread out and strengthened. Around the tree trunk he built a round table and footing for seats to rest on.
Now we have a living, green pergola. The hedges and the overarching branches of the mulberry tree meet to create the roof and the walls. Nestled into the canopy is a mist sprayer. On hot days we can turn the tap on and sit immersed in private air-conditioned comfort in our front yard. We do. Often. I can see it through the window of my work room as I sit and type this article. It has burst into new soft green spring growth.
Whilst the pergola was being created, the rest of our garden was also a work in progress. Each plant was nurtured, tended, watched over. Sometimes plants did not survive. As novice gardeners we made mistakes. Plants died. We didn’t always know why but we grieved the loss. And planted new, different ones in their place. Now that spring has arrived our garden is lush with new growth. Green is so restful to the eyes.
When I look at our garden I see it teeming with life. The roses are blooming beautifully, scenting the air with their sweet perfume. But there is so much more than that. At this time of the year the butterflies are emerging. I can see them flitting from flower to flower. As are the birds enticed to swoop in either to sup on the delights of floral nectar or scoop up a juicy insect or two. Bees busily buzz collecting pollen and transporting their leg laden loads back to the hive. The floor is teeming with insect life scurrying around busily on their insect business. And underground, I know, the worms are industriously tunnelling and churning their magic juices providing rich nutrients to the plants.
Which brings me to the whole reason for writing this article: Green Therapy.
Here’s the results of my quick internet search on things green:
“ the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy, is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment. Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking, ambition, greed, jealousy…” Link:
Global Meanings of Green – it is universally associated with nature; it symbolises ecology and the environment; traffic lights are green all over the world.
Unique Meanings of Green in Different Cultures – in China it may symbolise infidelity; in Israel it may symbolise bad news; in Japan the words for blue and green are the same – ‘ao’; in Spain racy jokes are green.
Luck or Bad Luck? – in the west green is associated usually with luck, such as the green shamrock in Ireland; green racing cars are considered unlucky; circus and travelling showmen in Australia consider green to be bad luck; an old English saying about wedding colours is ‘married green, ashamed to be seen.”
Green color meanings have become closely tied with the trend to preserve our planet and ecology – ‘Green Revolution’, ‘Going Green’ ‘Green Energy’ …The colour green used in décor can create particular moods – tinted with white or gray is relaxing and works well in a spa or health clinic …..tinted with black it becomes masculine and mysterious and can be found in corporate offices and restaurants. The color Green is the most restful and relaxing color to the eye optically because of its spectral wavelength. However the range of different Greens is very broad. A relatively high proportion of men are genetically Red/Green Color blind and have difficulty distinguishing some Greens.
Personality Test – In the 1940’s Dr Max Lϋscher, a Professor of Psychology at Basle University in Switzerland, developed a personality test based on colour. “The colours people prefer, dislike or are indifferent to, are indicators of basic personality traits.”
The Plants – Nature abounds in many shades and hues of green. Ted Andrews in his book Nature Speak writes – “Green is the colour of nature and it is found throughout the plant and the animal kingdoms. It usually reflects something about growth, abundance and healing in our life. It can confirm that we are on the right track and growth and movement is occurring in its proper time and space.”
The Heart Chakra – In our body there are seven major energy centres located along the spine. They are called chakras. The fourth one is the heart (or anahata) chakra. It’s colour is green. According to the Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier its key issues are passion, tenderness, inner child issues and rejection. It is also the seat of the Soul and our connection to unconditional Love.
A Green Healing Angel – The Archangel Raphael’s energy is green. He is known as the Healing Angel. His focus is on healing and harmony, being associated with the heart chakra. Amongst others the vibration of the green crystals emerald and malachite and the essential oil , lemon resonate with his energy.
From other worlds – Edgar Cayce, known as the Sleeping Prophet of the twentieth century, gave readings which included the use of colour and crystals for health and wellbeing.
Wait – there’s still more! This website has a whole lot more information on the meaning of colours
Hints and tips on how to use Green Therapy:
“Used to treat both physical and emotional problems Colour Therapy may involve exposure to coloured lights, massage using colour-saturated oils, contemplating and visualising colours, even wearing coloured clothing and eating coloured foods.” Link –
Drinking green – “ dark leafy greens contain: high-quality amino acids, important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals that support your immune system, improve health and longevity, and may reduce life- threatening diseases. I know that’s a mouthful, so that’s why when you hang out with us, we try to keep the green smoothie lifestyle simple and fun. I think we can both agree fruits and vegetables are good for you.” .
For a refreshing, healthy, cool drink try Yoda Soda.
Of course eating green foods in general is really good for you. To get some ideas, check this out–
Bless the food you eat – here’s why
Symbolism and metaphors in my poem
Soul eyes are those that help you see the world differently. There is a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Looking out through those windows lets you see the world through your Soul. Through your heart. You may have noticed there is a lot of talk nowadays about being heart centred and doing things with love. I have heard it in relation to lots of different areas. To name just a few – cooking, gardening, relationships, business, work in general. I think the word soul can be equally as powerful applied to all of our senses – hearing, feeling, smelling, touching.
Growth is seasonal in nature. Equally so in us. Times of growth push us sometimes to our limits calling for period of consolidation and rest. For us as adults, emotional, personal and spiritual growth and development can be really hard work. At times the challenge of confronting yourself can seem overwhelming. Changing values, beliefs, long established patterns and ways of being is exhausting work. New growth is tender and fragile, needing nurturing and support to mature and ripen into solid, full growth.
Loss and grief is a natural part of life. How we deal with it is critical to our health and wellbeing. This is a time for being gentle on ourselves. It is important when going through difficult challenges such as loss and grief to seek support, comfort and solace from people and places you feel safe with and are helpful to you. If you find it all too hard consider seeking professional help.
Nurture of course is about taking care of the whole Self – Mind, Body and Soul. I have written about this in some of my other posts. Here’s a few links:
- This newsletter addresses Happiness
- This article gives tips on how to use Lavender essential oil
- In this article I talk about one of the ways I nurture my Soul
- This is a post about why lemons are good for you
And finally, here is a copy of the poem that started all this –
is my garden
Tenderly planted, nurtured
with Soul Eyes
Enraptured with the beauty
Sorrowed over losses
Unexplained and missed
Every new blade noted, counted, tended
Heart and soul immersed
© Raili Tanska
Oct 5 2015
Images Pixabay and personal album