The day I forgot to take my herbs…

Every morning, I wake up, grab a cup of steaming hot water, load myself up with tinctures and head to the shower. Except Saturday, I forgot to….

Nothing crazy happened. I taught my yoga class. I made dinner for the week. I talked to a good friend and texted another. Saturday was a productive day.

But Saturday was the first day I really felt myself in a long time.  While cleaning the collards I could feel my anxiety. I could feel my fear. I felt like I always felt; even before my father’s death.

I have an exhausting combination of fear and anxiety that constantly hums in the background. It’s always waiting for something to bust loose. Underneath the fear and anxiety is the feeling that I am a horrible, horrible, terrible, no good person. When everyone finds out, they’ll feel cheated by me. As I tore the collards along their veins, they asked me to be nicer to myself.

I sighed. I grounded. I breathed more deeply and wondered why the fuck I was on five different tinctures and whether it was all helpful; especially if I still feel like a piece of shit. Don’t I need to feel my own pain to heal it?

This pain, this old familiar pain, is different than the grief I feel over my father’s death. This shit, is the shit I’ve felt since… forever. However, it is because of my father’s death that I have space to heal it. His death has given me space to make new decisions about how I live life. I can face myself and life differently. Death can bring you life if you are determined to live.

Today, I am determined to live. I will ease up of the crazy amount of chill out tinctures I take. I will ground fully into my body. I will face my own fear and anxiety. And I will live…. at least for today 🙂 Tomorrow is always a different story.

Herb of the Month: Rose

Why Rose in November? Rose is perfect for November because we all could use loving compassion to guide us through the darkness into the light of Spring. We all need help being loving to ourselves and each other as we enter a time of year that can bring great joy and great pain at the same time. It’s hard to remember that we are all struggling in one way or another, when you are in pain. Rose will help ease your pain so you can be kind to yourself and others.

Rose connects us to the divine love that lies within and all around us. Rose brings us back to center; where we can nourish and care for ourselves as we prepare for the dark, challenging times of life. More than any other friend, Rose helps me remember that there is more than enough love in every moment. The challenge is to open to it. As long as I am open, I will have all I need.

However, Rose reminds me that love does not mean being a sucker. It’s very important to have strong clear boundaries to remain safe whole and sane. Rose has a bigs strong heart, but also comes with very large thorns to protect herself with. I often ask for Rose’s assistance when I need to protect myself, in a loving yet clear way.

Hanging out with roses is a great way to connect with her. Rose hip tea is also a great way to reach the essence of Rose; although I am fond of taking a rose tincture first thing in the morning. If you are a fan of flower essences, Green Hope Farm has quite a collection to explore.

Be good to yourself and each other 🙂

Mourning through Motherhood

Here is a short list of the herbs that have helped me mourn my father while being Mommy. Please note that I didn’t work with all these herbs at once. I find that some plants helped for different parts of the process. However they all have and continue to support me as I grieve and raise my little one. Also, I breastfed while working with all these plants and had no problems. If you are very concerned, please contact your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic Arnica: Homeopathic Arnica was great for when the death was fresh. It kept me grounded and present so I could actually remember to grieve. Arnica didn’t take the pain away for me. It reminded me that I had just gone through something very painful and that I should take precious care of myself.

Homeopathic Ignatius Amara: Ignatius Amara kept (and still keeps) me from being emotionally constipated. When I wouldn’t let myself cry or be sad, Ignatius Amara would hold space for me to cry or be sad as much as I needed to. It helped me to keep flowing  and helped me to feel without judgment or overwhelm.

How the homeopathic remedies worked with me: For the first 3 months or so, I would take either Arnica or Ignatius Amara (sometimes both) every 4 – 6 hours. I needed all the help I could get at the time.  After three months, I backed off a bit. Now, when I recognize that I am having a rough time, I take some Ignatius Amara. I love Arnica, but for me Ignatius Amara is more gentle.

Tinctures

Elderflower Tincture: I love Elderflower. Elderflower will help you channel your energy in the most beneficial direction. So instead of spiraling into the darkness of what had happened, Elderflower helped me keep one foot in front of the other; moving in a positive direction. Note: This does not mean I had an easy time. It means that in the midst of sorrow, I had a light pulling me forward. There was something that had confidence in my ability to make it through and was rooting for me. For me, this is what I needed most.

Rose Tincture: Rose Tincture helps remind me how my I love my father. No, the man was not perfect, but thanks to Rose’s help I can remember and celebrate what I love most about him. Rose’s love also helped me say all I needed to say to him before he passed, so neither of us needed to carry that.

Peach Tincture: Peach has softened any harsh left over feelings I held towards my Father. It’s allowed my heart to expand and feel compassion for things he did that hurt me. Peach has also been instrumental in keeping my anxiety from running wild. My anger and anxiety have vastly increased as part of the grieving process, Peach keeps things in check for me. (Sweet Violet is another tincture that’s great for anger and anxiety.)

Reishi Tincture: Together with Peach, Reishi has helped to heal old scars on my heart. It’s increased my empathy for Dad and helps me feel like he’s not too far away. Reishi is perfect for deep heart work, and I would play with it more, but it upsets my bowels if I take it for more than a month at a time.

How the tinctures worked with me: I love some tinctures. They are easy to work with. I would take a dropper full in my mouth every morning. Teas I would forget or get stressed out over. Tincture I would rarely forget. I find that I forget, it’s time to play with another tincture. They usually call to me in advance , so if I am being on top of things, I already have what’s needed.

Essential Oils

Frankincense Essential Oil: I started playing with Frankincense oil right before my father died. It has a soothing, calming presence that helped to ground me. Frankincense oil is a great go-to for working through Daddy issues.

Myrrh Essential Oil: Mourning my Father’s death, inflamed grievances I have with my Mother. Myrrh helped keep me steady, in integrity and grounded as I dealt with my Mother. Myrrh is great for working through Mommy issues.

Geranium Essential Oil: Geranium’s big bright spirit brought youthful joy and peace. It helped me to feel resilient and strong. She also has a way of helping you work through things in a simple, easy and almost playful way. Geranium is fun and uplifting, yet protective.

Bergamot Essential Oil: Bergamot kept me from descending into the abyss. He kept me light and fired up. There would be no way that I couldn’t find light to see or understand if he was around. If you are clinging to the edge and want something to bring you light and joy, Bergamot on your hands, belly or the bottoms of your feet can help.

How the Oils worked with me: The Essential oils wanted different things from me. Sometimes, they wished to be put into a diffuser and kept near all day. This was perfect for winter. Now a days, the usually like to be put on my skin in specific places. Bergamot loves my belly and the top of my head. Geranium wants to be on my heart, in the front and on the back. Frankincense and Myrrh go in various places on various days.

Here’s my list 🙂 There are plenty of other Herbal Allies that will support you through grief, but these are the ones I know 🙂 I hope this list has helped you in some way.

Herbal Ally of the Week : Peach

I have fond memories of Peach. When I was a little girl, there was a Peach Tree in our back yard. Peach Tree seemed a bit tiny in comparison to the tall graceful Birch Tree that danced in the wind beside it. Peach tree’s sap used to run, it’s leaves had brown edges and it’s fruit was spotted. I used to be so very angry at the Birch Tree beside it. I swore the Birch Tree was choking it out. Funny story, in the end that Birch Tree saved my life :). However, those two trees were just too close and I was so upset when my parents cut Lil Peach Tree down.

My memories of Peach tree are quite different from my current experience with her. She is a comfort when my nerves are shot, I am feeling stabby and I just can’t find my way back to calm. There is something soothing about peach. She softens hard the hard spots in your heart and gives stuck emotions space to flow. Suddenly what was stuck can move and you can finally discern the past from the present. You don’t have to hurt anymore, you can now move on.

Working with, or rather playing with Peach tincture has helped me clear my lungs and open my heart in a gentle sweet way. Because of Peach, I know that growth or moving on doesn’t have to be something painful. It can just be. If you have something stuck in your heart or have a knot that needs to be loosened, Peach will help sweeten things so you can let go. If you find yourself anxious in a sort of violent way, Peach will create peace , so there is no longer a need for war. She doesn’t want to see you suffer or harm yourself when you can forgive instead.

My favorite thing to do it enjoy Peach tincture in the morning. There is a distinct different in my patience levels when I don’t take it!! I’ve also played with peach leaves in tea, but nothing does me like Peach Leaf Tincture. Here is my favorite one 🙂 May the sweetness of Peach find you and slowly overcome the bitterness in your life!

 

Photo courtesy of Dreamstimes.com

Herbal ally of the Week: Jasmine

A single star’s shining brilliance illuminating the darkness. I fucking love jasmine. I love jasmine in the way that I love everything, because she loves like that too!  It’s an intense, passionate, brilliantly, burning love that shines from the inside out. There is no darkness in light. And in light there is only God; that is Jasmine!

The first time I consciously worked with Jasmine, I was hanging out in Beltsville, MD. I had purchased some jasmine essential oil from the Silver Fox metaphysical shop in Laurel and decided that I needed to bathe in it. So, I did. Jasmine made me feel hiiiiiiiiiiggggghhhhhh. High like I had expanded outside of myself into this vast cosmos of being that included all things. The funny thing was that as I expanded, I still was myself, but a larger greater, grander, more hooked up version of myself. It was awesome, beautiful and made my bleak situation much brighter.

Today, Jasmine flower essence is in my cabinet and we play in the morning. When she sits on my tongue, she reminds me that I have the most intoxicating scent and presence. She says that this scent and presence must be shared with the world. As she blossoms in beauty, safety and serenity I can and must as well.

My God I love Jasmine. She is the friend who reminds me that being who I am and how I am is beautiful. She whispers into my ear that God don’t make junk and that the sun eventually burns through the clouds. So must I. Jasmine connects me to the part of me that Divinely enchanting and intoxicating; that space that attracts me to what I most want and need and in life. She excites me and incites me to chorus.

My Dearest Star burning in the darkness; illuminating all being. Jasmine, for you, I write this entry. When you need her most, may she find you 🙂

Image used under license from Dreamstime.com