Why I Began Searching for My Garden and Living Simply

You don’t get to this place in my opinion by chance. No way! You are here in the place because you lived your life in a manner in which “busy”, “stressed” and “grinding while getting to the money” was your default mode. Scenario two, you felt your life was cluttered—- home, car, finances, everything was chaotic and you desperately needed to make a change. Lastly, you really felt that somewhere deep in your soul, you would magically discover there was “more in less”. For me, it was all three. I didn’t know what was going on in my life, how I would get to the woman that I kept visualizing on well designed vision board when my life was in utter disarray.

At the time, I was working way too hard and not making substantial financial or professional progress. Twelve hour sewing days with multiple projects and yet still at the beginning of the month, I barely made enough profit to pay rent. How and where do they do that? My constant grind was preventing me from spending quality and undistracted time with my daughter. My dating life was in shambles. I would never date. My desires for my future husband were not going to be met with the way I was living. No way— my husband would not be looking for me behind a sewing machine. Self care was a thought that never crossed my mind. Most importantly, I was facing an all out catastrophic battle with my inner self trying to balance the divine feminine aspect that need to flourish.

But, on one glorious day and a two hour conversation with my sorority sister Shemika, I had an epiphany. I felt deep, like down way way deep, in my core—that I was in the wrong place that was conducive for growth. In order to save myself from myself, I had to abruptly cease every way in which I was living my current life. A creative sabbatical, just 5 days initially, was the first step. I disconnected from the world. I initiated my own weekly day of rest and decided to be still. A trip to the bookstore led me to “In Search of My Gardens: by Alice Walker and the journey to simple living began.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Wellness Blogger and Memphis Lifestyle Blogger shares a new journey into simple living.

The significance of reading this book during this time was major in my shift. In the book, Alice Walker speaks about her search for the African American women’s suppressed talent, of the artistic skills and talents that they lost because of slavery and a forced way of life.  Our great great grandmothers who were artists, seamstress, writers and goddess of the Earth could not relish in their gifts. They were being stripped down to nothing by hardships or manipulative America that robbed them from their being. These women, our great great great grandmothers were artists “driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release.”

The suppression of talent that Walker spoke of that frustrated me but wasn’t the only thing that really resonated with me. It was the strength and tenacity of those women, mothers, Black women that moved me. The collection of essays offered hope, healing, and wholeness to my broke world. It showed me that despite the current climate of darkness and trouble, if I searched for my mother’s garden that determination, strength, yet simplicity of living. I could bring light, hope and harmony into my own.

While In Search of My Mother’s Garden, I began getting revelations that my personal life was in shambles because of me. Unknowingly, I was in a war against myself, fighting the need to express myself creatively and be myself. I didn’t know my purpose. I just knew I hated sewing for people and I wanted more meaning to my work. I had changed. The things I was interested in had dramatically changed. I wanted to show the world the carefree, simple living, natural remedy loving woman despite the portrayal on social media.

Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect of strength-in Search of My Mother’s Garden, I found my own.
— Alice Walker

My weekly rituals of rest became days of decluttering and reading. I began working my soil and planting my own garden. Taking the time to play music and make my own clothes without being rushed. Dinners were made with vegetables that I grew with my own hand and love. My rosewater facial serums were created by me and for me. I had finally gotten to the point to have the courage to live in harmony with myself. I could no longer live in two different worlds pretending that working 16 hour days were the final destination. Over consumption could not be my narrative. I wasn’t living that life. I was searching for a way to express myself and honestly nurture my spiritual self by way of manifesting and exuding love, beauty, strength and creativity through my work. Now, I am here. Here in a place that illustrates vividly how I can now dream dreams that someone knows unlike my great grandmother. I can carry on a legacy of making everything I touch reveal grace and beauty. And, I can do that my living intentional and simple with meaning.

In Search of Our Gardens, the blog, was conceived out of a desire to put more of my authentic self in the digital world.

Andrea Fenise Memphis Lifestyle Blogger and Memphis Slow Living Blogger shares journey to simple living