S is for summer (and savoring)

In previous posts, I’ve discussed the practice of savoring, which has roots within both the mindfulness and positive psychology fields. Savoring is available to everyone. We can savor memories of experiences from the past, bring mindful attention to pleasurable current experiences, and anticipate those headed our way in the future.

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Mindful writing with nature

How are you like a tree? A mountain? An ocean? What nourishes your soil? How do you know when you are depleted or in need of replenishment? Which seeds have you intentionally sowed in your lifetime – and which do you still long to grow?

Join Dr. Dawnn McWatters (licensed psychologist, community educator, and nature advocate) as she offers brief presentations on topics related to edible gardening and therapeutic horticulture, and guides class participants through a mindful writing exercise – cultivating curiosity, awareness, and compassion, with the support of nature-based prompts. While not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment, nature exposure, mindfulness, and expressive writing have been shown to contribute positively to mind/body health.

Through Winter 2021, Mindful Writing in Nature sessions will be offered on the 3rd Monday of each month. Pre-registration is required. Once you sign up for a class session, you should receive the Zoom link details within 24 hours. And look for “sneak peeks” beginning in September 2021 as Dawnn features live IG “bites” that highlight seasonal topics.

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Worms make the world go ’round

I’ve written previously about vermicomposting and the value of cultivating a healthy worm system in your garden, but here are a few more resources I’ve come across in the past week. Plus, exploring the world of worms is a fun, family-friendly activity. And a good way to assess the health of your soil, if you’re contemplating a new edible garden or just wondering how well your garden is doing. All part of The SAVOR Project’s “growing healthy gardens, families, and communities” educational mission!

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Growing food + community

Recently, I reflected upon how edible gardening’s many benefits extend well beyond mind/body health, and a sense of pleasure, efficacy, and empowerment, to directly impact the larger food system as well.

Over the past five years, I’ve intentionally created a life that centers the growing of food. In doing so, I realized how much I’m also financially supporting a wide range of organizations and industries that share my green passions. Here’s just the ones I came up with:

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SAVOR monthly digest

Welcome to the newest SAVOR digest – an appetizer plate of what I’ve been exploring (and recommending) in recent weeks. I’m continuing to feature educational content related to mind/body health, although I’m no longer breaking information into three categories (HEAL, GROW, and SAVOR).

This particular digest happens to focus heavily on mindful eating, therapeutic horticulture, and savoring. Pretend it’s a buffet and sample what you’d like. Enjoy!

Next month, I’ll return to a limited schedule of telehealth (online individual psychotherapy) services, focused upon stress management and women’s health. But this educational arm of The SAVOR Project will continue and eventually, after I’ve completed my second vaccine dose, I’m hoping to offer low-cost, socially distanced classes in various community garden spaces. Stay tuned.

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Food, mindful eating, and social justice

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a deep dive into the mindful eating literature. Although much is familiar terrain after nearly two decades of studying, practicing, and teaching mindful eating, I was delighted to recently discover Mindful Eating for the Beloved Community: Food for Social Justice, a collection of essays written primarily by community leaders of color. Below, you’ll find highlights from some of my favorite chapters, and if you are a teacher or practitioner of mindful eating, I highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book.

Throughout the book, personal stories about food, culture, and faith are interwoven with nutritional guidance, mindfulness and mindful eating instruction, and discussions about racial equity and food justice. A collection of prayers and blessings (from a variety of spiritual traditions) and delicious recipes are also included – integral parts of a truly “mindful meal.”

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Sowing seeds of health

Over the past month, I’ve been busy sowing seeds (mostly indoors) for this upcoming growing season. After recently downsizing from a small farm to an urban setting with space only for container gardening, I’m making the most of what I have – and devoting a fair amount of time to cultivating healthy, nourishing soil, the foundation of growth.

This is a good time, as well, to review the health of our own metaphorical soil, so essential for our minds and our bodies. Increasingly, on this blog as well as in my social media postings, I’ve referenced how our daily behaviors can positively or negatively impact health. While it feels like we’ve all been held hostage during this pandemic, we can still amend our lives with adaptive behavioral responses that also serve to boost our personal resilience.

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All winter I was lost

This evening I was reading food-related poetry and came across this poem by Camille T. Dungy, which I’m still unpacking. Here’s a taste. You can reach the entire poem courtesy of the Poetry Foundation:

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SAVOR weekly digest

This week’s digest will be a little shorter because I’ve spent most of the past week watching sessions from the Embodied Social Justice Summit – there’s still time to purchase access to this amazing line-up of speakers and presentations. I look forward to re-watching some of my favorites when the collection is re-released on February 15th.

After this post, I’ll move to a condensed monthly digest as I dive back into the intensive growing season, which will also include a return to short psychoeducational webinars in the near future.

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Edith’s zucchini bread

Several weeks ago, I signed up for a Food Writing class. I’ve written briefly about a similar class I attended in 2015. Whenever I dip back into the literary world, I feel grateful for the gift of receiving others’ writing and for the chance to share discussions about the craft. However, I’m mostly interested in the process of storytelling, the power of storytelling, the magic of storytelling – and how it helps us heal.

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