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Local Gardens to
Help Communities Heal

The Need for Helping You Heal Community Gardens

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Helping You Heal Gardens

located at 74091 Larrea St, Palm Desert, Ca

The Past 2 Years...

Big-T, little-T trauma.  Big -T is like what we would officially classify as trauma:  death, injury, people who have become very sick from Covid-19, people who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

And then there is little-T trauma:  losing a job, being isolated from your loved ones, feeling trapped in fear and uncertainty for a long time.

We have all felt some type of trauma over the past 2 years.

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PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)


The Pandemic provides us with valuable data regarding the psychological effects the last 2 years have had on people.

We know roughly around 1/3 of the people hospitalized during the height of the winter Covid-surge will probably develop PTSD, which works out to about 40,000 people or so.

We also know that at least 580,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.  Each of those deaths, on average, leaves 9 bereaved close relatives of parents, children siblings, spouses, grandparents.  In general about 10% of bereaved people develop prolonged grief disorder which means their grief is intense; it's incapacitating.  You don't get over it, even after a year or more.  So that means that we probably have about half a million Americans experiencing that kind of severe, prolonged, intense grief, which is the population of a reasonably sized city.

That's a lot of people.  And here we're only talking about those Big-T traumas.  We're not even talking about people who are grieving friends.  We're not talking about long-haulers who are still experiencing symptoms, not talking about folks who are dealing with all the minor traumas like unemployment and isolation and all the rest.

Reflection Areas

Reflection areas in a Helping You Heal Garden can be designed as quiet environments for health recovery such as cancer survivors and caregivers.

This reflection area is a natural place to reflect, rethink and recharge.  Individuals may need a safe, peaceful and solitary place for recovery.

Healing Garden Reflection areas could include:

  • Ornamental grasses softly separating quiet sitting spaces

  • A meandering sensory walk framed by drifts of bright-flowering, low-growing perennials and textural succulents.

  • The words Hope, Connection, Empowerment, Self-respsonsibility, Meaningful Life etched in the sidewalk

  • A waterfall muffling conversation sounds

Remembrance Areas

Some people come to a healing garden with enormous emotional and physical scars.  They are tormented by the past, fear the present and question what, if any, future awaits them.  Many have difficulty relating to other people and are consumed by fear and anger; they find it easier and safer to engage with nature - to talk to a bird, smell a flower, caress a leaf, plant an herb - than to interact with people.

A goal of the Healing Gardens is people learning to associate positive experiences with optimism for the present.  In time these positive memories may replace or diminish the horrors of the past, allowing people to feel safe and to trust themselves and others once more.  Memorialization is an essential act of remembrance for survivors.

Healing Garden Remembrance areas could include:

  • Labyrinth walking experience to set intentions and quiet the mind

  • Community areas like wood-fired bread oven - while mixing and baking the dough, participants often talk effortlessly about their lives, sharing stories and recalling the past.

  • An aromatic Herb garden to grow and harvest herbs for local restuarants

  • Benches to sit on while reading positive affirmations nearby such as "I am whole, complete and perfect"

Refuge Areas

Finding refuge in a healing garden is finding a place of comfort and safety. as well as:

  • a place to free one from burdens and relief from stress

  • a place to recover, to reconnect with themselves or with others

  • to build resilience and find acceptance

Healing Garden Refuge areas could include:

  • planters installed at waist height for each access

  • active areas for yoga, group activities, and quiet niches for contemplation or visiting with a friend

  • several shade structures minimizing contact with the sun

  • wide walkways accommodating wheelchairs and walkers

  • sensorial gardens offering smell, touch, and sight experiences to help focus and improve attention

The Need to Help Our Communities Heal

As most communities have an insufficient amount of formal counseling or talk therapy mechanisms, Helping You Heal Gardens will begin to play a vital role.  It comes out of a profound need for a local place of reconciliation, where those who are hurting can find peace.  The gardens are essential to renewing the hope and trust which will construct a vision for their future.

Helping You Heal Gardens' endeavor is to create places for reconciliation where Reflection, Remembrance and Refuge are publicly available.

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Helping You Heal Garden Rendering

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