Self-care Cultivates Freedom

The term “self-care” is used a LOT in my practice. More often than not, the response it conjures is not one of empowerment, but of guilt. Responses include words like “try”, “should”, “I know”, “struggle”, “I don’t know when”, etc. The backstories of those responses are ideas of not being/doing enough and/or being responsible for the outcome of every detail, emotion, and choice of those around us. A dismal lack of boundaries muddles the concept, often accompanied by the remnants of trauma (societal/inherited trauma included). “Self-care” feels like ANOTHER thing I have to do that I am failing at. I shy away from the phrase “self-love” (but of course that is what we are really talking about), because some of things we identify as “love”, are NOT love. When we attempt to reflect those things inward, they don’t make sense. Hollowness, disorientation, overwhelm, and a foreign language-like encounter of confusion/helplessness/frustration are common experiences for people reckoning with self-love. It can turn us off and shut down our efforts before they get started. We are so unfamiliar with both self and love that it becomes easier to default to what we know – to those things which provide scaffolding for our identity, all the outside things that depend on us or that we believe depend on us. The lie is that self-care takes away from the rest of your life and will deprive others of what they need. The truth is that self-care gives life. Self-care revitalizes our parts, gives life to our bones, makes us better able to manage our lives, and REALLY love. Self-care cultivates self-love. When we...

Of DACA and Miss Celie…

Most days, my gaze is fixed, with contentment and certainty, on continuous applied activism – imparting peace, love, and compassion through my self-care, work, parenting, community, etc., in opposition to the evil works of the foul-hearted. Some days, I waver in my contentment, my spirit is incensed and I want to lose myself in a righteous bloodlust aimed to exterminate cruelty. There have been more of the “some days” than I care to admit, in the last nine months. This morning I woke with a heart heavy with awareness of the many ways the vulnerable among us are having protections removed and their predators encouraged…empowered. I am tempted to hate the perpetrators, the complicit, the lazy, and the enabling. I am tempted to “fix” them. I am tempted to vomit foul words on everyone who looks like them. I am tempted to pray prayers for their painful affliction. I am tempted… It is in my scramble for prayer intentions that I am made aware that my heart is being baited/led, not into a temptation of pleasure, but a temptation to hate. The indulgence of which leads to ugliness and leads to death – not for the evil foul-hearted – but for my heart, my peace, my body, and what I am cultivating for my generations to inherit. However, in my wavering contentment, I am never moved from my certainty. White Supremacist Heteropatriarchy has been marching toward its death since its inception. Its purpose; to take with it as many of us as possible. It is without regard, has long arms, and is cannibalistic – it will eat its own. But...

Street Advice

Greetings good people. In recent months, I have noticed an increase in the number of requests I have been receiving for what I call “street advice”.  Common questions, like: What should I use for headaches? What is _____ good for? What can I use for insomnia? Are there any herbs for cramps? I have trouble with _____? Is black cohosh good for ______? What is ginger used for?…and so on. Usually, these questions are asked in passing, social gatherings and on social media. The difficulty of answering these questions in these settings is the missing variables and the time to relieve any plant’s appropriate application. I have to contain my enthusiasm when people ask, but take a conservative approach, especially if the question is about an individual’s specific health concern. There are a multitude of uses for any given plant – physiological and energetic. Some of their applications are nuanced and their effects can be influenced by lifestyle factors and other therapies. Furthermore, not everyone responds the same way to all plants. What may work for one person’s constitution may be ineffective for another. Consider Valerian Root; a plant widely recommended for sleep concerns, for good reason as it is a powerful nervine, antispasmodic, sedative, muscle & tension relaxant and pain reliever. However, Valerian does have a short-term stimulant effect on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. For some people this stimulation is lasting, resulting in the opposite of the desired sedative effect. More often than not, most people will purchase a bottle of capsules from the supplement aisle of their grocer. This is problematic in a few ways: 1)...

First Day in the Garden

This year’s Colorado spring has been wonky (not that wonky springs are unusual here), we’ve had more snow than rain and a less than usual amount of sunshine. It’s been downright cold and dreary = S.A.D., especially when I my healthcare plan includes playing in the dirt and wondering around in the hills. I have been able to snatch a momentary hike and gather some dandelions, but April was a doozy!   The GOOD news is that today I got a whole hour at Eastside Garden; a groovy community garden I am privileged to co-lead (but more about that another time). Mostly, day 1 (and 2, 3, 4…) is about cleaning up the from the fall and waking up the soil, but I was greeted by dandelions galore with a bounty of bees, gorgeous green rue, and a seasons-old purple sage plant that has doubled in size! Not to mention all the calendula babies that will no doubt bring brilliance. The overwintered collards (reminding me how we make it through) and happy onions tell of unending providence.   But, with all those ancient medicines to ground me and, along with the soil, provide some much needed energetic cleansing, there were challenges. I had to pull away detritus, tangled under-growing weeds, and dead heads. In the soil, stones clanged against my pickax and it rattled through my bones. My body didn’t immediately remember the proper mechanics. My knees weren’t used to the pebbles, my back muscles twinged (as if they have been neglected all winter), I sneezed a lot, and sweated more. I tell you what, though…when I stood up from...

The Current Current

Greetings, Good People. You have joined me just as I am being swept into a new life and work flow. Until now, there has been little need for my work to necessitate this platform (i.e. website). So, what you are seeing is the result of expanded territory. For many years, my work with medicine plants, ceremony and academia has been very regional.  I am fortunate to have the realized (in awareness and achievement) the need for a more efficient communication tool as my client, student and colleague relationships have expanded beyond my ability to simply manage them via email. With that, The Work itself is requiring my next-level attention and actuation of my next-level potential. This actuation is showing up in Brown & Green and in the fullness of my life. The best part is that I have good people continuing to ride the currents with me and new ones showing up with this current current, and this includes you....