3 Comments

Buy Nothing Brings Healing

By Erica Sternin

Erica Sternin in Her Healing Garden.

Erica Sternin in Her Healing Garden.

I can’t express…. If you’ve never been there, it’s just hard to imagine. Almost three years ago, I was diagnosed with breast and thyroid cancers. I went through an extremely strenuous year of treatment. As I went along, I realized that every person, whether medical personnel, or folks that came to the library where I work, co-workers, family, friends, neighbors I came into contact with was part of my Healing Team.

Vicki (Buy Nothing Northeast Seattle member) shoveled and hauled 4 wheelbarrow loads of heavy wet compost up the to veggie garden beds. I can do ONE wheelbarrow load per week - so this put me WAY ahead of things. Plus, it cleared up the old compost pile so that I can move the current pile to that location.

Vicki (Buy Nothing Northeast Seattle member) shoveled and hauled 4 wheelbarrow loads of heavy wet compost up the to veggie garden beds. I can do ONE wheelbarrow load per week – so this put me WAY ahead of things. Plus, it cleared up the old compost pile so that I can move the current pile to that location.

For some reason, I imagined I’d feel better a month or so after treatment ended – NOT SO! I’m about 18 months out from the end of treatment and JUST beginning to really get my feet under me. So anyway – my garden has been my spiritual practice, my sanctuary, my party place – where friends, family and neighbors gather.

Sara (Buy Nothing Northeast Seattle member) pruned hellebores and ferns and cleaned up the hillside garden. This puts me WAY ahead of the curve for Spring!

Sara (Buy Nothing Northeast Seattle member) pruned hellebores and ferns and cleaned up the hillside garden. This puts me WAY ahead of the curve for Spring!

Fortunately, when I got sick, my garden was well established and only needed maintenance care. For three year,s friends and neighbors have generously assisted me. I have also continued to work in the garden, to the extent possible, because it feeds me in a way that nothing else can. I don’t have even the energy, and certainly not the money to pay someone, to downsize the garden, and I’m waiting to find out the degree of my physical limitations before I do something drastic.

This pile of brush has been in the back yard for 3 months - I pick away at it, try to get one can to the curb each week, not always successfully - Vicki packed three cans for me - there's just a little bit left to finish up, definitely manageable for me.

This pile of brush has been in the back yard for 3 months – I pick away at it, try to get one can to the curb each week, not always successfully – Vicki packed three cans for me – there’s just a little bit left to finish up, definitely manageable for me.

I want to thank Sara, Vicki, Kristin, Betsy, for generously and light heartedly helping me this month. One of the blessings of going through something that brought me so close to my mortality is that I have become VERY clear about what is important to me, and I found that being part of a Community is one of my core values. The EXCITEMENT I felt when I realized that complete strangers WANTED to be with me in my precious garden – You have no idea how Healing that is for me, I really can’t express it, but I do know it and I wanted to thank you and the other folks on Buy Nothing who are forming up a community. I’m proud and grateful to be a part of it.

Erica's yard and garden.

Erica’s yard and garden.

About pioneeringthesimplelife

Filmmaker, Mother, Educator, Dreamer

3 comments on “Buy Nothing Brings Healing

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Brave and inspirational. Thank you.

  2. great share. I love seeing you do that thing you do…you’re the kind of amazing person who is always attracting amazing people to you.

  3. I have been looking for a way to share items/services, while getting involved and meeting members of my community. This was a perfect story! Helping each other out. I too, went through cancer – pretty much by myself. Some people don’t have the family and support they’d like, so it’s nice to see a community come together like that. Your “healing garden” looks great, Erica – you’ve got some good people!

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