Mindfulness Walks in the Garden - Cheekwood
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Mindfulness Walks in the Garden

Inspired by Strolls for Well-Being from Bloedel Reserve
Made possible by

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Mindfulness Walks in the Garden at Cheekwood is part of the Wellness 360 programming. Fifty-five acres of thirteen diverse gardens, a one and one half-mile woodland sculpture trail, and historic estate with expansive vistas preserved by the surrounding Warner Parks invites you to step away from electronic distractions, busy traffic patterns, and situational urgency and step into a posture of presence, openness, curiosity, and acceptance as you walk along the winding paths.

This program is based on an ever-growing body of research that demonstrates the positive impact of nature on mental health, physical health, social health, and overall well-being. It is not to replace the guidance of medical practitioners but is available as a tool for those who wish to take personal steps toward renewing the mind, body, and spirit.

Cheekwood itself is a tool for those who seek time and space to reflect on senses, thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are often pushed to the side day-by-day. As you interweave the prompts of this guide with your experience at Cheekwood, we hope that you are re-assured by the consistency and persistence of the natural world around you.

The following pages provide prompts, space for notetaking, suggested paths and pause points for thought. The exact sensations and situations that will be addressed depend on you and where you want these walks to take you. With practice, these thought processes can happen in a matter of minutes, so do not feel held to a certain time frame, long or short.

The sense of physical freedom in the garden is accompanied by an inner sense of freedom in which the possibility of a different way of life can be glimpsed.” —Sue Stuart Smith, The Well-Gardened Mind

Herb Study Garden


The first phase of Mindfulness Walks focuses on becoming physically present. It begins in the Herb Study Garden, continues through the Carell Dogwood Garden, loops through the Burr Terrace Garden, and settles in the Howe Garden. These gardens, located on the east side of Cheekwood, will offer you the opportunity to get acquainted with the grounds and move your mind from the abstract to the tangible world around you via sight, sound, texture, and scent.

Blevins Japanese Garden


The second phase sprouts your curiosity in the veins of discovery at Cheekwood. Nestled below the Color Garden, the Blevins Japanese Garden draws you in as you focus on the variable paths that wind and loop through different perspectives. The final stops encourage exploration of the Robinson Family Water Gardens, which teem with life and questions waiting to be asked. Slow down, start to wonder, speak less, and seek answers- this is the path that you will wander in an effort to pursue curiosity, an excellent tool against anxiety and fear. 1


The third phase originates in the Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden and guides you into a mindset of openness as you walk through the Wills Perennial and Martin Boxwood Gardens. These gardens, found to the left of the Cheek Mansion, offer you a more secluded environment for approaching unwieldy and predominant emotions or thoughts through a method known as “RAIN” (recognize, allow, investigate, and non-identify).



In the final phase, venture into acceptance along the Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail. This trail is one of the most continuous paths at Cheekwood and cultivates uninterrupted movement from one end to another or in a comfortable circuit. Here, you can recognize, realize, reflect on, and release the things about life that we can’t quite change. Practicing acceptance, both internally and externally, on the sculpture trail blends seamlessly with the relationship found amongst art and nature. The entrance can be found at the bottom of the hill behind Botanic Hall and beside the Blevins Japanese Garden.

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