Sowing the seeds for a deeper understanding of the power of nature as a healing space for individuals and communities
In a neighborhood where the dome of the U.S. Capitol can be seen just blocks away, there live 250 low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities struggling to meet their basic needs of food, housing, adequate health care and human dignity. With a grant to A Wider Circle, a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to help people address these needs, a sacred space for the residents of Sibley Plaza, a D.C. public housing residence, has been created. The residents responded enthusiastically to the challenge of envisioning and programming a shared space where they can feel “sunshine on their face.” A 1,500-square-foot Sacred Space was built on the grounds. An Open Space Sacred Place is described as “a space set aside from everyday life, which is meant to invite you into a deeper and more peaceful relationship with yourself, your neighbor and the created world.”
This garden dedication in 2011 brought the residents closer to enjoying their peaceful new gathering place, unlike any other they’ve ever experienced. The space includes raised garden beds filled with flowers and vegetables for residents. For these seniors, a sacred space in nature not only improves their health, it facilitates feelings of self-worth, spiritual well-being and provides an emotional uplift while lessening the deleterious effects of lifetimes in poverty. Today, they refer to the space as their Peace Garden.