Sep 9th, 2021

Days of Reflection

We have all experienced a significant change in the 18 months since Covid appeared in our world.  Some of us more than others, but none of us can say that what has affected the entire world hasn’t hit home for them in some way.  Experiencing the loss of a loved one, losing a job, or losing pieces of one’s self as we have all had to shift and modify our routines to keep ourselves and one another safe, are all states of change. And, while moments like getting married, celebrating a milestone birthday, or bringing a new life into this world are perceived as events that usher in positive change, perhaps these anticipatory experiences didn’t look or feel like the one they had envisioned or hoped for.

Reflections of A masked wedding party during COVID

A quick photo was taken after my live-streamed pop-up wedding ceremony. Attending were my husband’s parents, my mother and father, sister, and a life-sized cut out of my sister-in-law as witnesses. My sister-in-law lives in Chicago and traveling to Virginia by plane was out of the question.

On a personal note, what I had planned for April 25, 2020, didn’t really go as I had envisioned. It was my wedding day and we scaled down our 250 guest wedding ceremony and reception to my father officiating an outdoor live-streamed pop-up wedding ceremony with only my husband’s

Reflections on baby

Baby Booth, born on June 1, 2021.

parents, my mother, sister, and a life-sized cut-out of my sister-in-law as witnesses.  My best friend surprised me and played guitar between precious moments of reciting our personal vows to each other and exchanging rings. Although the experience was small and intimate, we felt the love and support of our friends and family who couldn’t make it through the live stream. Following the outdoor ceremony, Mom brought out a card table and dressed it with her grandmother’s linens and china for a tailgate cake cutting. We blew bubbles, gave each other air hugs, and parted ways. While it wasn’t the wedding I had envisioned, it is a day I will never forget. We tried to plan our reception to celebrate in-person with friends and family for September of 2020 but also had to cancel due to our concerns about the pandemic. We will try for a third time this October and will be renewing our vows and blessing our 4-month-old daughter. Yes, we had a child on June 1, 2021.  Our daughter came quite quickly while I was laboring at home,  and all of a sudden I was having a home birth.  A huge change I was not expecting and a day that I will never forget.

Sometimes, change doesn’t happen all at once. It can be gradual and can be accompanied by acceptance and understanding as time allows. Healing occurs over time, and as we recover we experience peace, even if it is temporary. Knowing that we are not alone in our personal and collective healing for me has brought about resiliency, hope, faith, and gratitude.

Studies have shown that formal times set aside for reflection are important for our healing.  Some of the actions that you can take to promote healing include telling your story and attending remembrance events that create a public bond with others who have experienced loss.  One way you can tell your story is by writing it on a community paper chain. You could also write a wish, or a loved one’s name on a strip of paper, and link it to another person’s. Watch how the chain comes together, each link connecting to and supporting the other.

The Garden At Dusk

Dusk at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, one of the most magical times of the day.

How does reflection help?  Experts at the Earl Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing say, “In reflection and contemplation we find an openness to seeing things as they are, not how we think they should be.” We find we can let go of our usual self-imposed boundaries and hierarchies, along with our many doubts, anxieties, plans, regrets, ambitions, and other distracting thoughts.” The helpful part is focusing on what is happening right now in the moment and getting in touch with how we are currently feeling. The next step involves meeting where we are with understanding and compassion and recognizing what a great gift it is to be in the present moment even if we are experiencing pain.

A couple reflecting on the year.

We hope our gardens can offer you a peaceful spot for reflection.

On September 29 and 30, 2021, the Garden hosts Reflections in the Garden, two evenings where any kind of reflection is welcomed. Whether it is reflecting on the moment, thinking about yesterday, or the past months, the Garden is the perfect backdrop to support and honor your continued life experiences.

Beginning at dusk, guests will experience the Garden at one of its most magical times of the day. Take in the beauty and peace of the Garden as you walk paths lined with luminaries. From 6  – 8 p.m. guests can personalize a luminary that will be placed in a collaborative installation and participate in making a community paper chain. Throughout the evening enjoy live acoustic music, enhancing the reflective atmosphere. Food and beverages will be available for purchase in the Garden Cafe. The Garden Shop will also be open throughout the event. So, come as you are. Be immersed in nature and experience a great sense of peace and calm. And, no matter where you are with change in your life, remember that any kind of adjustment takes some getting used to.

Schedule of Events for Reflections in the Garden (Please note, this event is advanced tickets only):

5:30 p.m. Doors open

6 – 8 p.m. Join us for an opportunity for guests to join in making a community paper chain. Write your own special wish, or commemorate a loved one, on a strip of paper, and link it to another person’s. Watch how the chain comes together, each link connecting to and supporting the other.

6 – 8 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to inscribe a luminary to be placed in a collaborative installation.

6 – 9 p.m. Guests can meander paths of the Garden to discover self-reflective prompts. Acoustic music in select locations will delight and surprise you. Guests can explore the Alfonso Pérez Acosta: Artist in Residence medicine wheel-inspired art installation of painted rocks at the base of the Anderson Meadow, along with one Cristina Taphouse art installation, Flock.

Inspired by and attracted to all walks of life, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Guest Engagement Specialist, Beth Anne Booth focuses her energy on creating meaningful experiences for everybody, mostly in the forms of programming, interpretation and enhancing the everyday Garden visit. She looks to nature for creative solutions and believes that what we all need as humans is connection and a sense of belonging.

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