Creating Sanctuary: Book Review & Giveaway

What does the term 'sanctuary' mean to you?

To me, sanctuary means a place where I can be still. A quiet meditative space. My garden. The rolling English countryside. Sitting by the ocean listening to the waves – or on a mountaintop absorbing the sheer majesty of a vista. Author Jessi Bloom offers a broader definition; "…any patch of land that brings you into proximity with nature – including your own backyard."

What is this book about?

"Creating sanctuary, every day, wherever we find ourselves." We lead busy lives – often too busy. Career and family demands, as rewarding as these are,  often take a toll on our bodies and finding a balance is essential to our well-being. Finding sanctuary can be that first first step.

Who is this book for?

Prayer flags flutter in the breeze at Earth Sanctuary, Whidbey Island, WA.

I admit that at first I struggled writing this review. Some of the vocabulary Jessi uses is a bit "out there" for me since I come from a traditional Christian background. Yet I wanted to connect the dots between Jessi's journey and my own, highlighting our common ground. Jessi's response when I emailed to explain this was perfect; "I totally appreciate the feedback and my mom would as well, she being a very strong Christian had a similar reaction with some of the wording I chose. One of my aims was to be inclusive for all different beliefs systems and not just one.  I hope as you get further along you find pieces that resonate with you!" Indeed I did – and believe you will too, regardless of your background or beliefs. I see this book as being a wonderful personal resource to anyone who is grieving (loss of relationship, loss of career, death of a loved one), anyone who already appreciates the benefits of mindfulness, yoga, or meditation, or anyone who wants to live a simpler, meaningful life, respecting Nature's gifts that we have been entrusted with. You don't need to be a tree hugging, tie-dye wearing, modern-day hippy. I'm not. Yet I gleaned many wonderful practical ideas to incorporate into my own garden and into the gardens I design for others.

What will I learn?

A colorful Labyrinth Garden Earth Sculpture in Wisconsin – be inspired to create your own version using Jessi's suggestions

  • Five steps to creating your sanctuary garden
  • Fifty sacred plants for the sanctuary garden
  • Tips to help you care for your body, mind, and soul
  • Suggestions for daily practices and rituals that you may find helpful – practical "I can do this" lists

What I especially appreciated

As a designer who creates gardens to be experienced, not just observed, I enjoyed the section  'Imagining with All Your Senses.' This included a reminder on how colors evoke different emotional responses for example. Clearly defining the entrance to ones sacred space by using some kind of portal or threshold also resonated with me. Whether it is an archway through which one passes, a cairn to indicate the start of a unique experience or a meaningful sign or quote. Having designed a labyrinth for a school garden I also appreciated the various interpretations Jessi shared – and wish I had this book to hand a few years ago!

Who is the author?

For author Jessi Bloom, a letting-go ceremony involved burning documents

I've known Jessi for many years, our paths frequently crossing as speakers, designers, and authors. Yet it was some time before I realized the personal struggles she had faced and appreciated the remarkable journey she had traveled. Jessi is a renowned ecological designer with a focus on permaculture and healing the earth. She knows first-hand the chaotic life of mom/successful businesswoman and the resulting health issues that ensued from constantly giving 100%. A painful divorce forced a critical revaluation and the realization that she had failed to create a sanctuary in her own life, to take care of her own basic needs.

Where can I buy it?

Available everywhere books are sold and online.

Enter to win a FREE copy!

Leave a comment below telling me why you would like to win Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being (Timber Press, 2018). Maybe it's for yourself? Or a friend? Or you're just curious? One winner will be drawn on Sunday August 18th, 8pm PDT, by a random number generator and notified by email BONUS: Also included in this giveaway is Jessi's companion publication "Everyday Sanctuary – a workbook for designing a sacred garden space"

Rules aka the not-so-small-print

  • Only USA residents may enter to win (sorry!)
  • The winner has 48 hours to respond after which time a new name will be drawn.
  • Only comments left in this thread will be included in the drawing. Comments on images or on social media will not be entered.
 

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I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

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