When I look at my life and when it is happiest, most grounded and content, it’s when I am living in harmony with nature. Connecting with nature and the plants is such an essential part of me feeling whole.
I discovered this when I was eighteen years old and left for college in Arizona. Before I left for the Southwest I was making poor choices, disconnected from myself and the important things in life. It was a time in my life that I really needed to make some changes and luckily at the end of that summer in 1998, I left on a journey that would begin to shape me into who I am today. Who I was before this journey is a story for a different day... today is about where it ALL started to look up and change for the better.
When I arrived to Prescott College I didn’t know what I was doing really. I just knew I needed to leave my old life and the philosophy of this school seemed like the right place to do that. Unlike most traditional colleges where you have meet and greets over a weekend orientation, our orientation when we arrived that summer was a month long backpacking trip in the high desert and through the canyons with nine other new students who I didn’t know and two instructors that were our guides. We were all in new territory and didn’t know each other and it stretched us in a good way, forcing us to be more open to one another and to our relationship to the land around us.
It was on this trip that I would say I started really living more fully and intentionally. There was no excess noise. It was me, the sounds of desert animals, smell of Ponderosa Pines, and just nature....in all of her glory!
One thing I did on that trip was carry around a medicinal plants of the southwest book that one of my instructors gave to me. I was having so much fun learning about how many plants were used for healing! It was such a new concept to me and so powerfully intriguing to me. When one of the members of our group got sick, we all went out and gathered desert sage growing all around us and brewed up a tea to help with his cold and the coughing. He was better in two days...I was sold. On a separate occasion we made a poultice from the pad of Prickly Pear Cactus to help a wound that one of the girls in the group got from a sharp rock on our hike. We were worried that she would have to get evacuated and leave the orientation but within a few days her wound and skin were healing. I was blown away by the power of these plants. I wanted more and so it began, through out the years since that backpacking adventure, I have not only been pursuing, understanding, and training in herbs and natural healing methods. I have also become so intertwined with nature and a deep yearning to be connected to the Earth that I start to feel a little funky when I am inside too much. When I stay true to these three steps below, I fell better spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I can show up better for my family, my friends, my clients, and myself!
Living in harmony with nature means many things.
Here are three ways to live more a more nature based existence and feel more connected to the Earth.
1. Drink herbal tea. Put and add herbs to your food.
The act of drinking a daily cup of tea is a wonderful way to connect to the plant world and be in tune with nature. In order to have a cup of tea, we need to slow down, heat water, steep our tea, strain our tea, let it cool a bit, and slowly sip it. This ritual can be very grounding. We benefit physically by the plants healing qualities as well as spiritually by aligning ourselves with the gifts of the Earth Mother. We are literally eating and drinking sunshine when we consume plants! How awesome is that?!
”Everything you see alive around you is there because a plant somewhere was able to capture sunlight and store it.”
2. Go outside and learn the land around you. EVERYDAY.
Whether that be sitting quietly and observing, walking, or taking a plant identification book outside with you to start understanding what you’re actually looking at besides green stuff. Even if it’s for only 10 minutes. There is so much we can learn about nature and ourselves from this step. It can be life changing and I highly recommend it. It doesn't even have to be extravagant. If you can't get out on a hike or you live in a city, you can still enjoy nature. You can find green in between cracks on the sidewalk or in a park. You could go to an indoor botanical garden. You can even observe nature when you are in your car...I'm not recommending you experience nature in this way on a regular basis but if you are going somewhere anyway, take a scenic route and enjoy the beauty of nature around you. Not only is it prettier, you will probably also feel more grounded when you get to your destination. There are many options for connecting with and learning about the plants and nature around you no matter where you are.
3. Seek out a trained Herbalist to address common ailments.
Sometimes Western Medicine is the best way. Sometimes Herbal Medicine is the way. Point being, there is a time and a place for everything. When you have a broken bone, need surgery, or need to be on dialysis, Western Medicine needs to be a huge part of your care (although many times integrating herbs with this care brings additional benefits and quicker healing). When you have a cut, sore throat, cold, digestive upset, mild anxiety, arthritis, etc. Herbal Medicine can be extremely effective if you are being treated by a trained and knowledgable Herbalist.
Sometimes when I've taken over the counter drugs, I feel better while I take the product but just as bad as I did originally when I stop them. This is because many times it masks the problem and doesn't get to the root of it. Quick fixes or band-aids as I call them, aren't only NOT helping us heal, they enable us to keep moving a fast and disconnected existence by not listening to what our body is really needing which is many times, to rest, be nourished with nutrients, and take time to heal. I know this isn't always convenient in our modern culture of everything needing to be moving at lightening speed but that's where the problem lies.
What I love about botanical medicine is that the plants aren't harming you with side effect while masking your symptoms of whatever you are taking them for. Nope. They just rebalance your body over time to do what it already knows how to do but got off course. They remind your body how to come back to a place of homeostasis. Adding herbs into your health care regimen is a wonderful way to be in harmony with nature and slow down from the false healing results that can come from masking the symptoms. You are utilizing natures medicine chest to heal your own illness which is a beautiful thing and in turn invites you to think about plants and the Earth a little differently.
Herbs are our allies for so many problems and can be easily brought into our lives. The Earth is our true home over the boxes we live in and call our houses. We are part of the whole and the more we connect with nature and plants the more grounded we become. Connecting with nature fills the gaps of the parts of ourselves we have forgotten. Its easy to get consumed with daily busyness, technology, running errands, and whatever else keeps us from slowing down to be in tune with what is around us. This month, I invite you to do an experiment... sip some tea, take walks outside, bring plants into your health routine, and take the time you need to be good to your body and your mind. Share with me how you feel by the end of the month!
If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with me, please click on my contact page and send me an email. I look forward to working with you!