(read part 1 here)
In these challenging times I find myself telling my son: choose with your Heart, your Heart knows what is right.
The Mind is a great tool, but the Heart comes first.
There are three things I do when feeling overwhelmed: Meditate. Be in Nature. Rest.
Just silent sitting is a very effective method to tackle tough stuff. Answers will arise. The next step will become obvious.
I bake my bread, ferment foods and drinks, sow seeds and tend to Life as well as I can.
Connecting with Nature through food
In herbalism there’s an interesting theory: plants that you need the most, will grow nearby you.
Another herbalist-theory is that local herbs are much more potent for healing a person than herbs imported from another habitat.
Nature organizes itself through an inherent intelligence.
We humans are also a part of Nature, although we’re often dis-connected, because we’re so busy in our minds.
Since food is our best medicine, and working with soil (dig your bare hands into the soil!) evokes feel-good hormones, it’s logical to grow some of our own food – as much as you can!
If you don’t have a garden or an allotment, you can still grow some herbs in pots by your window.
More theory: talking or singing to plants makes them grow better.
This is true, because we live in a respiratory symbiosis with plants. We humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants also have a circulation of gasses, and they ‘breathe’ in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
Have a little breathing session with your plants!
By incorporating the grow-your-own-food mentality into your life, you’re automatically connecting to the web of Life, even if it’s only one plant you’re tending to.
The more you pay attention, the more you’ll notice. About the soil and its inhabitants. About compost. About the elements – earth, air, fire (sunlight), water and about the natural rhythms of everything alive.
It is very calming, nourishing and enlightening. It puts things in Life into a healthier priority and perspective.
There is another aspect of growing your own food and eating locally produced food that I hadn’t expected.
I’ll weave it into a story:
At the community herbal garden where I’m volunteering, the garden design is based on a beautiful keyhole mandala.
At the center of the mandala grows a medlar tree. It is the first medlar I’ve consciously met in my life. Perhaps because it was a stranger to me, I found it a little bit difficult to relate to it. I didn’t get further than a general “it’s a tree with (somewhat) edible fruit, so it’s all-right”.
The volunteer whose brain-child the herbal garden is, had made medlar compote from the fruit, and had a jar of it for us all. At home, I tasted it, savoured the composition of fruit and spices, the texture, the warming feeling it gave. The energetic warmth and velvety smoothness, topped up with exotic spices made me decide that even if it was just for one jar of medlar compote per year, this was a tree I’d love to have in my garden – what an interesting personality to meet!
Gardening is on winter pause now, but one day early in January I went for a walk in the direction of the herbal garden, and decided to go and take a look at how the garden is doing at this moment. Letting my eyes glide over the bare, brown stems of herbs and the graphic contours of the plants, I was paying attention to the subtle colour palette of the garden when – my gaze met the medlar and there was an instant connection. Suddenly I could feel the inside of its trunk inside my ‘trunk’, my body!
Smiling, I thanked it for its delicious fruit, and a happy answer came, thanking me for paying attention.
The herbs that I collect and dry for herbal teas are also a personal allies.
Herbs will have their unique effects, no matter where they come from, but herbs/plants you personally know… will bring magic!
As I mix herbal teas in the autumn when the season of colds and flu’s is around the corner, I meet the plants again, they go through my hands and I thank them for their healing power.
The next season I see the familiar flowerheads nodding in the sun again, and I’m so sincerely and thoroughly happy to see them, and as I express my joy they seem to swell up a little bit with happiness as well.
If you quietly pay attention, plants that you mindfully connect with will gladly connect with you, and in addition to their healing qualities they are willing to share their wisdom – if we just listen.