Embedded spirituality: gardening in daily life and stressful life experiences
Unruh, A.; Hutchinson, S.
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 25(3): 567-574
There is a limited body of research examining the relationship between spirituality and leisure, or the impact of leisure in the context of daily life, and life with stressful events. To examine the meaning of gardens and gardening across different life experiences using hermeneutic phenomenology to focus on the lived experience of leisure gardening. Most participants were interviewed once in each season over a 1 year period usually in their home. There were 42 participants (27 women and 15 men) in this study. Fifteen individuals had been diagnosed with cancer and were in varying stages of diagnosis and treatment. Three people had a chronic and progressive disease. Four women were grieving the death of their spouse. Participants ranged in age from 32 to 80 years. In this paper, we focus on the spirituality-related themes in this study: spirituality as connectedness; spirituality as an expression of inner being; the garden as a spiritual place and gardening as spiritual activity; gardening as a spiritual journey; and, stewardship. Participants with religious views saw their garden as an extension of their spirituality and a confirmation of their beliefs. Participants with secular or sacred views of spirituality that was not related to any religious beliefs were more likely to embed their spirituality in their relationship with nature as manifested in their garden. This study extends current theory regarding leisure and its contribution to meaning focused coping, and spirituality as a significant component of leisure in living with stressful health and life events.