A Daily Meditation

 

img_5801A daily meditation is a lovely way to begin or end a day.  A time to reflect, think, dream, pray, be.  An idea floated upon me yesterday.  An idea to listen and record a daily message from nature.  We all know that we go too fast in this society.  We have isolated ourselves from the things that enchant and feed our life force.  We desperately try to connect but get a busy signal.

I am among the most guilty of this.  I despise sitting for a long period of time though I do dream of great books and cups of tea and long walks.  But from sun up to sun down I busy myself to the point of frenzy.  My body yells for rest now.  It used to whisper, now it demands.  Fatigue hits me with a powerful force mid-afternoon.  I get the subtle and not-so-subtle messages my body and weary spirit are telling me.  Slow down.  Breathe.  Listen.  There is much to learn still.

So each day I will be out in nature, even if that means walking along the pavement, and will listen and record what I am being told.  Plenty of photographs and symbolism will intertwine with the daily meditations I write.  These will all be recorded on my other blog, Medicine Wolf.  I will still be writing this blog daily with all of the fun, recipes, homesteading, farming, herbal remedies, and stories you have grown to love.  But, then maybe hop over to Medicine Wolf and sign up for a daily email with insights and wisdom from nature.  Let’s all become students of nature and Spirit.  (Click on the name Medicine Wolf to be taken over to the other page.)

Unmanifesting; Cleaning Up Our Garden of Life

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I write plenty about manifesting.  It completely astounds me every time how efficiently, and rather quickly, one can manifest an idea or dream.  In fact this time last year when I wrote in my resolutions that we would manifest a farm, I scarcely believed it.  Looking at the exorbitant jump in house prices in my state and our humble income, it just didn’t seem possible.  Yet, when one wishes for it, everything truly is possible.  And in less than three weeks we will move onto our very own homestead.  But what about unmanifesting?

There are some things we must unmanifest in order to move forward.  If simple words uttered to the universe can create whirlwinds of activity to create the outcome, one can imagine that words that create harm can also manifest.  It’s time we dug up poisonous seeds.

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In a bar some twenty years ago a young man holding a beer jokingly looked at my hand and “read my palm”, never mind that he was wrong about me having four children or that my first marriage would last forever, he said that I would have cancer in my early forties.  It was just a moment in a bar.  But, those words stuck with me.  My lymph nodes have been swollen for a good part of the year and I am tired.  I know with every fiber of my being that this is stress.  A year of tremendous loss followed by a year of working non-stop.  But, that seed…ugh, it’s gotta go.

It is time to dig up that seed and throw it in a river somewhere.  Same with all the times growing up I was told how big my nose was.  How my voice was irritating.  How my laugh was obnoxious.  The times as an adult that I was told Doug would never stay with me.  The times I felt worthless.  Any seed that was planted that has not born good fruit we must dig up, and do not even put them into the compost pile, but rather dispose of them once and for all.

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This season, I would encourage you to think of what seeds were planted in your garden of life that are harmful or deceitful and dig them up.  This year we only manifest good and prosperous and beautiful.  Because that is what you are.

Vegan Week 3 (tips for success and surprising results)

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I guess I noticed it on our two mile walk.  The one we did later that day, not the two mile hike up a steep incline we did that morning.  My knee wasn’t bothering me in the least.  Ok, first of all, no one can ever tell me again that one needs lots of protein from animal sources for energy and working out.  Goodness, we have so much energy we are hiking all over the place!  That has been one really great result of going vegan.  The other, is my knee.

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I hurt it when I was seventeen, so…a few years ago.  I tend to it with herbal concoctions and intermittent yoga to keep  it at bay.  The third floor apartment though was really doing my knee in.  You may have noticed that I have been hobbling around more.  This makes my back hurt then and I am instantly aged and grumpy!  Well, my knee hasn’t hurt.  And I bet it’s been two weeks.  So yes, we know that animal products create or worsen inflammatory issues like arthritis, gout, and other skeletal issues, but what I am eating now is really helping.  Between the two to four cups of homemade kombucha (glucosamine and B12) we are enjoying plus the quart of green smoothie each morning with the heavy dollop of coconut oil put in it, plus the nuts and nut butters in the smoothie and on bread, and the increased antioxidant intake from all these plant foods, my skeletal system is healing itself.  And that, my friends, is an amazing thing to report so early in this experiment!

Here are some tips for going and staying plant based:

#1 Start the day with a great smoothie.  For two people, put in 4 cups of greens of your liking such as kale, spinach, chard, collards, romaine, dandelions or other wild greens.  Add 4 cups of fruit, a combination of bananas, apples, kiwi, mango, peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, pears, and a good amount of frozen fruit to make it nice and cold.  Add a fat to make it bioavailable.  A dollop of sunflower or almond butter, peanut butter or coconut oil, or a handful of nuts.  Add spices like cinnamon or cardamom Sweeten with maple syrup or honey.  Make more filling with a handful of oats (a good nervine for pain) added in uncooked.  A good chug of coffee if needed!  Fill the container half way with water or cashew milk or juice and swirl away in a good blender.  Imagine that kind of healing power in a breakfast!

#2 When going out be prepared.  When Doug wanted to go to Panera and have coffee and bagels I put his creamer and cream cheese in my bag.  It isn’t dairy so it keeps rather well and then we don’t feel deprived.  Seem silly?  It’s not.  We get our time reading, writing, sitting outside enjoying coffee and bagels together, we just add the creamer and cream cheese that is healthier for us.

#3 Try new restaurants.  Gnarly Root, City O City, Watercourse, Leaf, just to name a few, are offering up creative vegan dishes.

#4 Get creative in the kitchen!  Doug and I have been having fun creating veggie meats out of the Vegan Bean Book.  “Chicken” made with chickpeas, wheat gluten, spices, and dipped in panko are baked and go from lemon chicken with pasta and mushrooms to burritos with lots of lettuce, tomato, salsa, and vegan cheese.  We also make “chorizo” using black beans, millet, quinoa, and New Mexican red chile (our staple around here!).  That went into a roasted sweet and new potatoes, corn, and green chili casserole with my homemade taco sauce and vegan cheese mixed in.  The fresh vegetables look so beautiful to me.

We are fluctuating between three pounds, down and up, because muscle is heavier than fat, and where a woman is in her cycle, and water and waste all plays into the weight scale.  But, we are feeling great.  All the beautiful fluids and fats and antioxidants are making us look a little younger even.  You know, I don’t think we are ever going back.

How a Farmgirl Got Her Groove Back

The sun peers over the edge of the horizon shedding light on a new day.  The rose colors dash through the maple tree and dance on the floor of our walkout basement apartment in the country.  It is as if we were eighteen again.  We have a studio apartment with a wood cook stove, microwave, and mini-fridge.  We have use of the shower and kitchen upstairs.  We help out around here in exchange for very low rent.  I cook meals.  I walk the grounds and hear the birds.  I try to figure out if the scat near my favorite trees to sit under is bear or raccoon.  I go to my shop where my granddaughter helps me make medicines.  Doug enjoys his job.  My heart is most recently repaired.

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Words of loved ones kept echoing in my mind and I knew I had to do something.  “Are you sure you are okay?”  “Are you losing weight?”  “I can’t believe anyone could take your voice.”  “Your heart is so wounded.  You need to repair that before you can move on with what your journey holds.”  “I know,” I whispered.

Time does heal.  A year ago we sat in our homestead on the prairie, tears in my eyes because of the cold.  My animals were freezing as were we.  There is blessed heat here.  Two wood stoves, an electric heater, central heating in the house, and a warm shop.  I heard goats yelling from across the street.  I wandered down the long driveway to catch sight of them.  Screaming, as they do, from an enclosed shed they waited impatiently for their morning meal.  I laughed and found myself happy I didn’t have farm chores to do that very cold morning.  I walked in the house for another cup of coffee.  Doug chops wood for the fire.  I am sure we will have animals in the future.  I transplanted five Jerusalem artichoke roots from Aunt Donna’s house here.  I’ll plant garlic.  We should be here to harvest them but if for some reason unforeseen I cannot, I enjoy planting them all the same.  A buck passes the window.  Big floppy ears.  I wish he allowed hugs.  The frost melts as the sun hits it.  The alpacas next door slowly making their way through the pasture.  It is magical here.

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I went to our favorite hiking place.  I went alone.  I chose rocks.  I put two on the east side of the small circle I was creating.  I put one in the south.  One in the west.  One in the north.  Three in the middle for Father Sky, Mother Earth, and the Ceremonial fire.  I offered tobacco to the Creator.  Sprinkled cedar for the spirits and my ancestors.  I offered sage.  I placed a larger rock symbolizing my heart in the south where childlike wonder and fun reigns.  I released the harsh words told to me that made me quit writing.  I released the loss of our things and our lifestyle and embraced the now and the lesson and journey we are on.  I released my broken heart.  An eagle flew over the valley as I sat there.  I breathed in the fresh air of life and smiled.

The Life of a Healer- Part 6 (brain injuries and miracles)

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Wildflower laid there staring at the ceiling, the little white dog standing over her.  She scolded herself for getting hurt so easily.  The hatch of the minivan was not all the way released as it held against the closed garage door and as she backed out of the opening behind the minivan after retrieving something she hit her head on the corner of that hatch so hard it knocked her to the ground.  The soft spot on the crown of her head stung and she had trouble getting up.

Oh, maybe it was the same day or perhaps the next but the good husband couldn’t get a hold of Wildflower and called the neighbor to go by the house and there she was found lying on the stairs muttering in French about her children and wasn’t able to get up.  Things were going downhill quickly.  A trip to the Emergency room led to diagnoses of possible MS and dehydration.  Wildflower asked incredulously, “MS since Wednesday when I hit my head?”  This further added to the loss of faith Wildflower had in doctors and the medical system but the next year and a half with a head injury would complete it.

She declined in abilities and in health.  It had not even been a year since they were married and the good husband became a caregiver rather than a new husband.  She had constant, non-stop migraines.  Mini-seizures occurred regularly.  She had to walk with a cane as her balance and equilibrium were completely off.  She had lost a lot of hearing in one ear, and went from perfect eye sight to losing her eye sight in one eye.  She had to be told each morning what day it was, what her name was, what she was supposed to do that day.  She would speak in French then in English, never knowing which one she was speaking.  She was losing herself, her dignity, and her life and fell into a great depression.  She would never be the same again.  She felt sad for the good husband.  She had been a caregiver for a girl who had a brain injury and knew that it would never get better.  Doctors gave her hearing tests, and new glasses, and offered her anti-depressants and wished her luck.  Then one night she sat in the dark of her office praying and holding up the proverbial white flag.  She surrendered.

“If I am to have this disability for the rest of my life then I will use it to help others.  I will help those with similar issues and give myself to God,” she fervently prayed.

Wildflower’s children had decided to be baptized in the church that they were all attending at the time.  Wildflower loved the pastor that would be doing the ceremony and decided to be re-baptized.  That day she felt the cool water rush over her skin and hair and as she walked out of the sanctuary she realized she did not need her cane.  Over the next few days she prayed that the symptoms would not come back as she was unsure if God would have healed her yet again but it was certainly obvious that she was completely healed.  Her eyesight was restored, her hearing was restored, the pain was gone, her balance was restored, her mind was clear, and she and the good husband were overjoyed.  It was another miracle.

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So, Wildflower decided to go to college to become a music pastor.  She loved to sing and found that music was a powerful way to reach people.  For a year and a half she studied music and fell in love with her English classes just like when she was a child in school.  But alas, time and money were gone and it was just before Christmas so she left school to get a job that could better help them make ends meet.

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It was not long after this that Wildflower and the good husband were in a garden center looking through a book where lavender could heal skin conditions and goldenseal could heal bronchitis and she was ever mesmerized.  Wildflower had never heard that herbs could heal ailments.  She had long been disillusioned with pharmaceutical medications and doctor’s best guesses for ailments.  Something came alive in her, a long lost knowledge in her DNA, and she realized she did know these plants.  She read through book after book of herbal knowledge understanding innately each property, each flower, each history and consuming it like good wine.  In her heart and somewhere in her mind she knew all these things and within days she was developing medicines.

Wildflower and the good husband began selling these potions at farmer’s markets the following summer to see if there were any interest and indeed there was.  The medicines got better, stronger, more beautiful, more healing, and the herbs started prospering in her gardens and in her workshop.  But there was more to this healer’s journey.

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The medicine people came to teach her then….

 

Heal Thyself

Katie store

I excitedly read my way through “Growing 101 Herbs that Heal” by Tammi Hartung.  I could not believe that these simple plants and weeds had so much healing power.  Or that pharmaceutical medicines actually used derivatives of these same plants because you can’t patent a plant.  If you just use the plant and make the medicine properly, you can heal yourself of virtually anything!  This is amazing news.  For many, the largest worry and cost in our lives is healthcare and vet bills.  But, if you have the knowledge, you have the power to take care of everyone around you!

This is one of the keys to homesteading, power to heal.  If we are to go off and be more independent and cut our costs of living and have many animals now, it would be very wise for us to be able to put together an herbal remedy and not have to drive long distances to find a doctor, an emergency room,  or a veterinarian.  How empowering!  How necessary.

I first read about lavender and that it was a pain reliever.  I was so excited, I made my first extract of lavender and lemon verbena.  It couldn’t have taken away the pain of a stubbed toe, let alone a severe headache!  I had to learn the major players in the plant world and the supporting actors that make great extract blends.  I can now replace Morphine.  My anti-biotic works EVERY time we incur an infection.  And here’s where my worries always sat, “What if the kids break their arm?!”  Broken bones are healed in two weeks.  Every time.  Comfrey is awesome.

This knowledge is not just privy to me.  I teach a Certified Herbalist Program and Master’s Herbalist Program in my shop and by correspondence but there are libraries and internet stores brimming with books on herbal medicine.  There are no secrets as to which herbs do what.  What properties are concentrated the most and what area of the body they are specific too.  If you could break a fever in a small child in minutes, take care of a severe sprain quickly, and heal a burn fast, imagine the time not spent in the emergency room.  If you are taking medicines for prevention and can heal up a cat’s upper respiratory infection and a help a horse’s arthritis, you certainly would be ahead of the game homesteading.

Herbalism is powerful knowledge.  The original medicine; it still works; it doesn’t make as much money as big pharma wants so it isn’t going to be as popular, but wait until you start learning and making medicines…you will not regret it.

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