Tag Archives: Diana Beresford-Kroeger

On Writer and Botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Have you ever seen the movie “Call of the Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees”? I saw it several weeks ago, and this film was my introduction to Irish botanist Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who now lives in Canada.

According to the movie’s website, “The film follows Diana as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore, and restoration challenges of this essential eco-system.” I was surprised to learn about the link between deforestation and the decline of fish. 

I particularly like Beresford-Kroeger’s bio-plan. She believes that we can turn around climate change by replanting our forests. According to her, if everyone planted one native tree each year for the next six years, we can save our planet. If you are interested, you can spend some time exploring the website connected to the movie, which is full of advice related to tree planting and introduces a related app.

After watching the movie, I wanted to read some of Beresford-Kroeger’s books. I had wanted to start with “To Speak for the Trees”, which is an account of her life and how it led her to her ideas, but, unfortunately, it is not yet available in my local library. Instead I decided to read “The Sweetness of a Simple Life”, a book with “Tips for healthier, happier and kinder living, gleaned from the wisdom and science of nature”.

The book is a collection of essays. In the introduction, Beresford-Kroeger writes about how the biggest gift we can give ourselves and others is the gift of time. In order to do this, we need to learn to live more simply. So Beresford-Kroeger has written the book in order to help us to “reset the clock”.

The book is divided into three sections: “health and food”, “home and garden”, and “the larger world”. Each essay is full of practical and doable advice, such as how walking 20 minutes per day is beneficial for the pancreas and what plants can benefit you for certain ailments. One essay called “Bee’s Knees” discusses the benefits of bone broth. In the essay the author writes about how a lot of generational wisdom—wisdom handed down—has been lost, because of delayed births. This means that the wisdom of the elders is not being passed along, because often they are not there or too elderly to do so. This is followed by the essay called “Marriage Menopause”, which sheds some insight on “the long game of marriage”. Indeed, when I was reading the book I often felt like my grandmother was passing on things I would have loved to have known.

You also can read more about Beresford-Kroeger’s bioplan in the last chapter of the book.

I am looking forward to reading another of her books called “The Global Forest” (40 ways trees can save us).

What about you? Have you ever read any of Diana Beresford-Kroeger’s books or seen the film? What wisdom did you glean?


Thoughts on Bibliotherapy

Ever since I stumbled upon the concept of bibliotherapy, I have been fascinated by it.

But what exactly is bibliotherapy? The use of books as a balm for our souls has been around for a very long time. But now some therapists are using books in their practice as a support for other forms of therapy. Targeted bibliotherapy may be useful in issues such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders. You can read more about it in this article. Watch the video below for some suggestions about books to help children with depression.

Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud started offering the first bibliotherapy service in 2008 through the “School of Life”. They even wrote a book called “The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies”.

The authors of “The Novel Cure” state “Our belief in the effectiveness of fiction as the purest and best form of bibliotherapy is based on our own experience with patients and bolstered by an avalanche of anecdotal evidence.” There are a wide range of topics covered in the book. There are suggestions for books to help you with less serious ailments such as burning the dinner, “coffee, can’t find a decent cup of”, hiccups, itchy teeth, and Monday morning feeling. But the authors also address some more serious issues, such as anxiety, “death, fear of”, and “drugs, doing too many”. As well, there are several top ten lists, such as “The ten best novels for when you’ve got a cold”, “The ten best novels to cheer you up”, and lists for every age, such as “The ten best novels for the over one hundreds”. For an example of five book suggestions contained in “The Novel Cure”, click here.

Although it is now popular to use books as therapy in medical settings, many people have been using books informally to cure what ails them for a long time.

So what books do you use?

I find that if I am feeling down, I reach for self-help or spiritual books. For example, a book I recently found in a little library, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach, has indeed been very comforting. Every day has a reading on creativity and spirituality, and I find that often the reading of the day has at least one nugget of wisdom that helps with a current challenge in my life. One line from today: “…worst of all, we close our hearts so we won’t get hurt, when opening is the only way we’ll know joy.”

I also find a lot of comfort in books about nature. I recently discovered Diana Beresford-Kroeger, an Irish Botanist, who is now living in Canada. I like Beresford-Kroeger’s approach: yes, the earth is in trouble, but there are everyday steps we can take to improve our situation. I am currently reading “The Sweetness of a Simple Life”, and only 1/4 of the way into the book, I have learned  (among other things) how to take better care of my joints, the best diet to follow if someone is trying to stop smoking (not that I smoke, but I know people who do), and all about “marriage menopause”. The chapters are all bite sized and easy to comprehend. Best of all, she gives me hope.

Watch the video below, about the importance of garlic and onions, for an example of what’s in the book.

I’d love to hear what books you consider are bibliotherapy for yourself.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler