What’s next

As I type, our nearly four month old baby lies beside me and our nearly three year old toddler is at Ikea with the in laws. In these moments of quiet, I want to return to having my own business. I miss having something for myself that connects me to community. I miss brining in hush money. I miss utilizing skills beyond managing a bunch of things.

Even though I miss all of these things, I wonder if I actually have the time, energy and space to do what I want to do. Every day is a full one. There really isn’t space for clients. Or at least I think so. I often find space when I most need to.

We’ll see… times are changing and I feel called to do something more than lactate and chase a toddler <3

Take Precious Care

J

An herbalist by any other name…

One day while perusing facebook, I noticed a friend’s status. She had decided she would no longer call herself a herbalist. I love it. It’s out of the box and I agree with it. Besides, the more I study herbalism the more annoyed I become with it.

Why get annoyed?  For starters, I don’t believe in “using” plants to heal “ailments”. I find it disrespectful and arrogant. I believe in healing connection. Plants have their own consciousness. They are their own beings with free will. Just because you want a plant to heal you or someone else does not mean they will or are obligated to.

I also get annoyed when asked to ignore my intuitive connection with Nature. Materia Medica is nice. I mean, reading about plants and what they “do” and how to identify them is cute. But that’s no substitute for building a relationship with a plant–which is something that many teachers of herbalism suggest. However, it is never suggested that you trust your own connection with a plant over what they teach or what you read in millions of herbalist books. Your intuition must be validated by the authorities to be useful 😉

I am also bothered by the idea of wandering out into the forest, or roaming through rural locales to harvest plants. I’m a black southerner. I’m not doing this shit. I live in Maryland where the klan is still active. It’s not safe for me to wander everywhere all the time. And not all of us have the money, space or energy to grow our own herbs. Oddly enough, growing and making your own medicine is supposed to be a big part of what makes you an herbalist.

I also take issue with co-opting Native American traditions when many main stream herbalists aren’t Native American. It feels wrong, to me, to profit from continued genocide. If you are in America, you live on stolen land. Benefitting from those who lost what was most precious to them, feels wrong.

I’ve also been frustrated that there aren’t more resources on slave medicine. We healed ourselves as we were tortured and worked to death. Our minds, bodies and spirits were routinely broken with only the plants to put us back together. Yet, we are still here. Our ancestors obviously knew something good about Mother Nature. Why aren’t our herbal traditions (outside of Hoodoo) discussed more?

I won’t even get into herbalist guilds, or using indigenous medicines from Africa, Asia or South America. All that irks me too.

I don’t like what I have been given as a framework for herbalism. It smacks way too much of colonialism and capitalism run amok. It feels too much like giving power to structures that aren’t supportive and don’t reflect who I am.

I still love working, playing and being with the plants, but I can’t really call myself an herbalist either.

At the end of the day I am left with what I am usually left with: an intuitive connection with Mother Earth and the plants. We’ll see where this leads. Something is shifting.

 

Well Damn..

It’s been a minute.. so much has happened between now and then. There is so much to say, yet so little time. Oh, the joys of motherhood. Here’s the high notes:

1.  The land we live on is magic. Whenever I think of a plant that I’d love to cultivate a deeper relationship with it pops up in the yard. I wanted roses and now there is a little rose bush forming. I wanted violets. There are an abundance of violets peppering the back yard. Now that I have calmed myself, I can finally enjoy the  magic of this space. Speaking of enjoying things..

2. This transition to two kids is bananas. I find myself sometimes thinking, if only I could take more passionflower, or more shatavari I would be oooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyy. I am constantly reminded that no matter what plant I consort with I need to take care of myself. Some days taking care of me is sleeping when the boys nap. Other days it’s finding mothers of color to talk shit to. Whatever care is on that day I need to do it, or the next day I’m not the mother I want to be. Since we are talking about self care and herbs…

3. Dirt is magic. Did I mention how magic our yard is? It seems to calm the eldest son, put the youngest to sleep and helps me find balance. I never thought planting an herb garden would be a joyful activity to share with a toddler and an infant, but for us it is.

4. Who am I?  I am slowly realizing that I need to show up as myself when I mother; even though who I am is constantly changing. To make everything about the boys isn’t honest. It’s stifling and not real. It makes me resentful. But somehow, I don’t want to completely ignore their needs either. I am finding that we all enjoy being outside and interacting in nature. Whether that means meandering on a wooded path or digging in the garden. I hope to find more harmonious activities to share. Did somebody say change?..

5. In the midst of all this crazy, herbalism has changed for me. Or rather maybe I’ve become more confident in my own approach. I’d be a damned lie to call myself a clinical herbalist. Ain’t never been anything clinical about me 🙂 I find that plants dance in and out of my life to help me and those around me. Oddly enough whatever we need is whispered into my ear or is in the cupboard. Ironically many of the plants I fux with heavily are plants my Father or Grandparents worked with. I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out and just enjoy the ride. It’s very entertaining at the least.

6. New plant friends.. So in the past few months, I’ve made two new friends.. well more than two. But these two want to be written about: Borage and Lemon Verbena. I am loving loving loving borage seed oil on my face in the morning. It gives my skin a youthful glow. Word on the street is borage is great for hormonal balance too! All I know is that I love borage and she likes me 🙂 Lemon Verbena is a lovely nervine; meaning it calms me the fuck down and supports breast milk production. She pairs nicely with Elderflower and Honey. Me thinks I’ll see more of her this summer.

There is much more to share, but I have a toddler to pick up and a baby to nose frida. Poor Ting can’t sleep while congested.

 

Take Precious Care

J

Reconnection

It’s been a minute…So much has happened between now and the last time I posted. I want to blame it all on pregnancy, but recreating rhythm with a toddler in tow isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  Anywho, here is what I’ve been learning the past couple of months.

Love surrounds you, if you choose to see it. 

I mean, I’m not going to act like I float around Bowie in a pink cloud. Flowers don’t bloom when I walk by. However, since moving here I’ve been feeling more loved by everything and everyone around me. Since I am actually open to being loved here in the present moment, I can see how love has always been with me. I just couldn’t see it at the time.

The present moment is all there is.

It could be pregnancy, but I am slowly becoming able to better distinguish whether the emotions I feel in the present moment come from the past or are actually rooted in the present. This information has kept me from creating drama as a means of acknowledging and working through old pain.

Children are as wise, loving and supportive as we allow them to be.

It’s easy to say this because lil Boo is no longer vomiting everywhere. However even when sick, this kid is loving, supportive and has an easy way of encouraging me and his father. It’s amazing. He’s so gentle with us in our moments of fragility. I thought that it was my job to hold this kid down, and that’s what he does for me 🙂 Motherhood is always so surprising!

Don’t fight nature when you can learn from it.  

The only nature we currently have living with us are crickets in the garage and the occasional spider or beetle. Despite all my fears, nothing has chewed it’s way in. Regularly burning oils and the local cat population have caused whatever was burrowing around and underneath the house to no longer be there. I don’t smell them anymore. In their short time, they’ve taught me to embrace things as they are. There is good and bad in everything. When I become absorbed in the bad or fight reality, I can’t see or receive what’s good. I choose not to see that I am never given more than I can  handle or manage. Life and nature has a rhythm and balance to it. The more I fear and fight; the more I throw things off balance.

 

Pregnancy is giving me more to process, but I haven’t really gotten to a space where I can write about it. I am so amazed how this second pregnancy is different than the first. Physically, spiritually and emotionally things are just different. We’ll see what unfolds from here.

Until next time,

Take Precious Care

J

 

 

Mommying Mommy: As good as I can stand it

What  wonderful problems I have. On Mother’s day I came downstairs to my loving son and husband. I made and ate a delicious breakfast and was gifted with items I’d been craving for a very long time. Through out the day I received numerous texts, emails and messages from people I cared about. To make things even better, we had pizza for dinner and I even got to take an afternoon cruise to my favorite black bougie place-to-be.

My Mother’s day was wonderful. Although, I spent the day anxious about our decision to buy a house and being pregnant, it was a beautiful day. My mental state begs the question, how good can I really stand my life? All the things that I’ve been wanting over the years are suddenly finding me. I’ve always wanted a loving close knit family. Now, I am a Mama in one. I’ve always wanted vocation that suited me and that I didn’t have to compromise my values for. I have been teaching yoga for the past 10 odd years. I’ve always wanted to a strong loving tender affectionate partner. We’ve been married since January 2009. The list of my wants that are being satisfied goes on and on.

I have so much to be thankful for. Yet somehow, I still find it within me to be angry about the past. I still harbor resentment and am perplexed by it. As good as things are today, how can I still keep a foot in yesterday. Yesterday never brings me goodness like today does. I don’t quite understand myself.

It’s okay though. One day I will let go and finally come to enjoy all the love and beauty that surrounds me. I have faith.

Until next time..

Take Precious Care

J

Stuck in Anger

You ever get mad about something only to realize that you aren’t really mad about what you thought you were mad about? You are actually mad about something that happened years ago. Something that you want to be over, but some how you can’t get over it. Besides, it feels too fricking good to be angry and self-righteous about it. I mean hey— you have a right to your anger!

I’m there. I am so there. No matter how much I try to “be spiritual” about it. No matter how much I try to be mature about it. No matter how much I try to just get the fuck over it. I don’t let go. I don’t get un angry about it. I can’t get un angry about it. I mean who would I become if I were to be un angry?

I know (mentally) that I can choose to feel something else other than anger. I could choose compassion. I could choose love. I could choose joy. Hell, I could choose to work towards resolution! I could expand my heart and vision into something beautifully new. I love new!  But naw, I’d rather stay stuck in anger. This anger suits me and has been with me for so long. Why change? I know how this isht works. Babies grow, I want to stay the same some how.

However, this anger keeps me stuck and I hate being stuck. Sigh, but that’s where I am for now 🙁

Until next time…Take Precious Care

J

I am not everywoman

I had a revelation. Chaka Khan fucking lied. Or she didn’t have children at the time.

I am not everywoman. That shit ain’t all in me. Hell, I am doing good to be just me. I would be doing better though if I could be okay with pleasing me instead of trying to please everyone else though.

Pleasing everyone is an old habit that runs me ragged. It causes me to volunteer myself and agree to do shit that I know I don’t want to do. It leads me to answering the phone when I have no business doing so. And it causes my to cater to folk, when I really ought to be catering to myself.

As I silenced my phone this weekend and commenced to reading smutty manga, I realized that trying to please everyone else ain’t working too well. In fact, it runs me ragged and causes a great deal of resentment. People pleasing also helps me make a mess of shit that wouldn’t be so messy if I just told the truth.

Do I really need everyone to like me? What happens if people like me for who I am rather than what I do for them? I don’t know. I don’t know. I just know that I am exhausted and need to make some better decisions from a different place. We’ll see how this comes together.

Until next time..Take Precious Care

J

 

Mommying Mommy: I am not my emotions

After doing this practice, I had the oddest sensation.  I could tangibly experience my emotions as something separate from me. I could physically feel that I am me and not the emotion hanging out in my right hip.

It is an interesting distinction because it creates space to receive the wisdom of whatever emotion is present without being taken over by it. Usually when I connect with my emotions, I do so as if they were parts of me. I never feel my anxiety. I am my anxiety. But today, instead of being anxious, I can recognize that I feel anxious without having to be it. Not being anxious actually allowed me to hear what it had to say. No, the anxiety did not leave me. It’s hanging out until it’s purpose has finished.

The more I take time out to actually recognize and hear my emotions, the more I realize that my intuition often communicates to me through emotion. I don’t always see, or hear or know, like I used to. Lately, I feel something that requires some digging or checking in. When I don’t dig or check in the feeling gets louder and disrupts my sleep. I love my sleep. So when my sleep is disrupted I listen:).

Another fucking yoga thinkpiece

My thoughts on yoga, how I feel about the practice and my experience of practicing yoga don’t quite match up. I often get angry, confused and threaten to quite teaching. But somehow I always end up back on the mat wearing tight pants and reminding folks to breathe. Life is weird.

When I think about yoga I get angry. I think about yoga as a colonized practice that is far away from it’s root. As an American I feel embarrassed because I participate in perpetuating the experience as yoga as something that is potentially less than a direct hotline to God. I could get into the latest brouhaha about whose teacher was caught fucking whom, why xyz, should not be taught in public classes and how white yoga is– but let’s not 🙂 These observations and the way they arise are more a sign of what’s going on in our culture, than an indication of yoga itself. Yoga is much more that what I capable of perceiving. I am slowly learning that.

When I teach and practice I often feel a bit of guilt and sadness, because I wish that I knew more. However the knowledge and experience that I seek is intangible. It’s more than the experience or feeling of a balanced, well rounded practice. It’s more than having a capable or authentic teacher. The thing that I most seek I imagine isn’t Stateside. Sadly, I am not going to India to time travel. Maybe next life time 🙂  Even though, I often feel something is off in the way I work, I am not quite sure how to remedy it. No amount of study or practice I’ve done makes me feel better. My moments of clarity in regards to yoga come when I yield to something larger than myself; which connects to my personal practice.

Yoga found me when I was a graduate student in Bournemouth, England. I don’t use my graduate degree–at all. But since that first class many many years ago, I’ve never stopped practicing yoga. When I practice, I feel God. I feel loved. I feel cared for. I feel seen. I feel known. I feel forgiven, empowered and uplifted. When I step on the mat, to practice or teach I feel a larger, infinitely wiser and more loving hand guiding what and how I do. In this moment, whatever I am going through fades into the background. It’s just me and my breath. All I need to do is make it to the next breath. All is well. Whenever and however I practice or teach my needs in the moment are met. Somehow, despite whatever brings me to the mat in the moment–everything is and will be alright.

Oddly enough, this is why I practice. Outside of herbalism, it’s one of the few spaces where I can surrender to a tangibly higher power and know that everything is really alright. I can actually let go of my frantic me, meld into something divine and then decide whether to reside in that space of divinity or not. Most often I flow back into myself, but its so nice to know that God is always an available option.

I guess that is why I practice and teach. It always brings me back to God.

..till next time..

Take Precious Care

J

Mommying Mommy: Have to vs Love to

Sometimes, I wonder what would happen with my life if I focused more on  things I love to do rather than things I have to do.

When I say focusing on what I’d love to do more, it doesn’t mean ignoring responsibilities such as paying taxes and doing groceries. It means having a willingness to be motivated and inspired to do by love rather than a sense of obligation to shit that’s outside of me. In some ways, I imagine that it would make it easier to be me and to mother Lil Boo.

However this begs the question that if things come from love, would it be easier to take the bitterness of life. Even in the pain and bitterness there is always love; it’s just harder to see. If everything comes from love, even if it the result is less than loving whatever unfolds is worthwhile. Even if it’s just experience.

I feel willing to shed some ideas about who I should be to become more comfortable with who I am.. as a good friend said, being willing to define motherhood for myself rather than allowing it to be defined for me. In this way I can focus more on love, rather than obligation.