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Community Medicine Garden
with Anna O'Malley, MD

Being in the natural world is healing. The sights and sounds soothe us, we humans become kinder and more empathetic with each other, our immune system is boosted, our blood pressure and mood is improved. We are opened to insights and presence. Taking the natural world in through deeply breathing, silently sitting, mindfully sipping herbal tea, and eating fresh from the garden has powerful benefits, from cellular to societal. The Garden is the perfect place to do healing work; in many ways it is allows for deeper healing than can happen in a clinical setting.

Beginning in early 2022, we will be exploring different facets of this medicine here in the Commonweal Garden. In collaboration with our local community health center, we will deepen our creative engagement with healing in community, in relationship with nature. Each session will complement the Community Medicine Circle (CMC) held that month, on Zoom. The CMC is not a prerequisite of attendance. Open to all.

These sessions are held by donation. You donation supports our ability to keep the Garden open and tended, and accessible to all. Suggested donation $10-$20 though we gratefully accept any contribution.

Winter-Spring 2022

January 27, 2 pm-4 pm

Community Grief Ritual: We will come together to honor and grieve all that we have lost to COVID, to divisiveness, to partisan politics, to ecocidal anthropocentrism. Marking our grief and our losses help us heal and move forward. We will welcome in this new lunar year with prayers for healing, and blessings on the Garden being a place for this healing to take place. All are welcome. (CMC: This COVID Moment, January 12)


March 3, 2 pm-4 pm

The Medicine of Movement: Join us for a hike up out of the Garden to a beautiful vista. We will start with gentle stretching, dialogue about the pleasure and benefit of movement and strategy for sustainable practice. Then we will hike up the hill and be rewarded with breathtaking beauty and all sorts of positive neurohormones. Wear good walking/hiking shoes. (CMC: The "COVID 15": Self love, and reclaiming our fitness, February 9)

March 24, 2 pm-4 pm 

The Bitter Herb: Bitter herbs are potent medicine. Right now they are growing all over the place! We will take a foraging hike to meet wild and cultivated allies in blood sugar stabilization, digestive functioning, and cleansing, and harvest some for a cup of medicinal tea. Take a baby medicinal powerhouse plant start home to plant in your garden.

(CMC: Healthy Blood Sugar, March 9)

April 21, 2pm-4pm

The Medicine of Nature: Join this guided exploration of the connection between our bodies and the body of the Earth, through our senses.  What does it mean to be a lover of the Earth, now? We will work with opening the channels of connection, presence and receptivity. (CMC: Women's Health-Sovereignty, Sisterhood, and Tending our Beings, April 13)

May 26,**Note: Time shifted to 3-5 pm*

Reciprocal Tending: We humans are going through a lot right now. Many of us are experiencing really challenging emotions. One of the surest ways of lifting oneself out of a dark place is caring for another. Today we will channel our love and concern for the more than human world into a intentional tending project, giving love to a place in the Garden that holds people on their healing journeys. (CMC: Mind-body Medicine: Presence and Joy in the Midst of Challenge, May 11)


June 2, 4-5:30 (note later time)

Mending our Relationship with Nicotiana: Humans have long been in relationship with the tobacco plant. From indigenous healers in the Amazon basin to indigenous peoples in North America, the plant has been revered one of great healing and sacred potency. It is a sad irony how it has been commodified, and the human-tobacco relationship has largely become one of addiction, disease and suffering. The recent rise in vaping among young people is a particularly tragic manifestation of this cynical abuse of this special plant. This circle is for those wanting to reframe their relationship with Nicotiana, and will include a ceremonial planting of a tobacco considered native to California, which is, among many things, a favorite of native bees. (CMC: Beyond Subjugation, Commodification, and Addiction: Bringing Consciousness and Healing to the Human-Tobacco Relationship, June 1) 

Thank you for all you are doing to care for yourself, your community, and the Earth.
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