Eli’s Garden of Healing was formed from the cowardly act of violence Elijah Gomez experienced on May 9, 2022 when he was ambushed and gunned down while walking home from high school on the Farmington Canal Trail less than a week after he turned 15 years old.
While the garden is in memory of Eli, the intent is to be a place of comfort and healing for people who are suffering from any type of violence. For victims and their loved ones. Survivors, healers, even those who feel remorse for acts of violence they may have committed in the past. We carry our pain deep within us and through this garden heal together.
Our personal connection to violence can be any combination of types of violent acts; for victims it is sourced from multiple people in their life. For some, the event(s) was a long time ago, for others it is ongoing. This is not an all inclusive list, but rather a reminder of the many ways we can experience violence in our lives.
“In a study of 20,000 people, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.” – Jim Robbins, a regular contributor to Yale Environment 360, he has written for the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler and numerous other publications.”
“These studies have shown that time in nature — as long as people feel safe — is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Attention Deficit Disorder and aggression lessen in natural environments, which also help speed the rate of healing. In a recent study, psychiatric unit researchers found that being in nature reduced feelings of isolation, promoted calm, and lifted mood among patients.”
excerpts from Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health. Published in Yale Environment 360 by Jim Robbins, a published author and regular contributor to Yale Environment 360, New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler and numerous other publications.”https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health#:~:text=These%20studies%20have%20shown%20that,reduce%20anxiety%2C%20and%20improve%20mood.
“One of the most important steps in trauma-based therapy is establishing a safe, comfortable, and relaxing environment. The process of trauma disrupts central nervous system (CNS) function and (among other things) can create heightened sensitivity to environmental stimuli. Part of the therapeutic work with trauma survivors is to gently reintegrate their sensory CNS function, which is best accomplished in calm, relaxed settings. Properly chosen natural environments are well-known for engendering a restorative context for individuals who have experienced stressful events. For individuals who have suffered trauma, the environment itself can be an important component of therapy.”https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/benefits-ecotherapy-survivors-domestic-violence
Healing in nature can come to people through many forms. Everyone interacts with spaces in different ways. For some, nature can be a gathering place to socialize with friends and family. Others enjoy spending time looking inwards and simmering in their thoughts. The intent of Eli’s Garden of Healing is to design intentional spaces for people to cope and heal from the lingering impact of violence in ways that work for them. Our sensory garden will welcome the visitor of the garden to touch plants which may be soft or leathery, listen to the sounds of nature, observe an array of color, or taste herbs such as rosemary. A thoughtfully designed walkway will be installed which will allow for strolling through the property and comfortable seating areas will be placed in spaces appropriate for quiet reflection.