|  Blog Post   |  Nourish the garden
Healing Quote From Justine Froelker - Mental Health Motivational Speaker

Nourish the garden

Grab a cuppa and settle in <3

If you follow me on the social platforms, you know about my wildflower gardens. The beautiful wildflowers, of course, make me so happy from early spring to late fall every year. However, the entire process of the garden is something that I love and is a way that I embody the work of healing. You know I love me a good metaphor and my wildflowers are no different. 

There are things in our lives that we need to bury so that something new can grow – bury the seeds. To do the work of grief and forgiveness in that burial and new growth – don’t forget to water them.

When the flowers first sprout, they look like gangly weeds that I have to fight everything in me not to pull (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, unfortunately). They just need time to look a bit awkward, maybe even a little ugly, before they will bloom into a bright, beautiful bloom. The same goes for the healing journey – it’s going to be awkward and maybe even a bit ugly.

Once bloomed, I leave some of the blooms for the pollinators and I also cut fresh bouquets for friends and our house. One, because fresh flowers make everyone happier and healing never takes place outside of connection. And two, because when you cut the flower, the plant blooms forth even more blooms. There will be things that we must cut off in this healing journey, things that no longer serve us, maybe even people we must let go of. We can trust that in the pruning new growth is stronger, more plentiful, and worth it.

Once the flower bloom runs its course and dries up, it will produce seeds that feed the birds and also drop to the ground for new growth the next year. I also collect those seeds to spread to more areas of our properties and to give away. Because the world needs more flowers. 

And the process begins again. 

It is during this time of winter that we watch as the garden turns a different version of beautiful in her dried up, brown state and leave her because she provides shelter for wildlife through the cold winter months. Not until spring (50 degrees for a full week) do we cut down the spent flowers, leaving the remnants and the roots to nourish the soil – what we’ve been through can and will nourish our hearts once we’ve done the work to heal.

We can’t forget to weed, though, too. I have to weed regularly. Otherwise, the weeds will take over and take all the good nutrients of the soil away from the native wildflowers. Hands in the dirt, I used to think of the weeds as those thoughts that I needed to rid myself of, except that has shifted a bit recently. I just finished reading The Garden Within by Dr. Anita Phillips and it has confirmed so much of how I have been thinking, feeling, and teaching emotional well-being. And she uses the garden metaphor throughout the book, which I obviously really love. As I was reading, journaling, meditating, and praying through the book, something new dawned on me about these weeds that we all must pull in our gardens aka our hearts. The old stories I made up, allowed to be spoken over me, agreed to, and that have defined me, especially those stories around some of the toughest seasons of my life, are the weeds that I must regularly pull. Whereas the hard parts of my story, the tough stuff I have been through, are the plants I must allow to die off, then cut off once they have served their purpose, and allow their roots to nourish the soil of my heart.

All this to wonder:
What old stories/weeds do you need to pull? Because they are separate and different than the hard parts of your story.
What do you need to tend to (bury, nourish, cut back, leave)?

As Dr. Phillips writes: The soil of our hearts nourishes our lives spiritually, mentally, and physically. Emotions are not your enemy. Internal war is not your destiny. You were created to flourish. Come walk in the garden with me. 


Justine is a Licensed Professional Counselor with more than 25 years of experience in traditional mental health and personal and professional development. Justine has been certified in the work of Dr. Brené Brown for ten years. Justine is the author of eleven books, including five Amazon bestsellers covering subjects such as infertility, faith, and grief. She has been honored to do two TEDx Talks, The Permission of the And and The Donut Effect. She travels nationally and presents virtually to global audiences delivering keynotes, workshops, retreats, and trainings on topics such as leadership, courage, resilience, mental health, preventing and coping with burnout, and courageous and curious conversation, especially in creating cultures of belonging and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Justine lives in St. Louis with her husband Chad, their three dogs, and for four months of the year hundreds of monarch and swallowtail butterflies.

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