The Home Practice

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This is not a photo of me. I am usually in pajamas doing yoga with my cats.

I was always the last one to be chosen for a team.  It was disappointing for kids to see my height and seemingly athletic limbs then to witness my ability.  I can dance, that is about it.  I get a stomach cramp running, hurt my wrist weight lifting, daydream enough to get hit by a ball, and couldn’t catch one to save my life.  I do notice though that if I do not do any exercise my back starts to hurt, I am more fatigued, and long intervals between workouts cause any good work I did to unravel.

I am brilliant at creating ideas and medicines and magic but having so many ideas at the same time does tend to make me flighty.  A personality trait I doubt will leave me.  I need a workout that will keep me focused.  I also need a workout that I can tailor if my old knee injury or sciatica flares up, or the nerve damage in my toe from ballet kicks in, or I slept wrong and my neck is out of whack.  I also do not need to compare myself to fit twenty year olds.  I also don’t particularly like leaving the house if I don’t have to.  So, the very best practice for me (and I don’t wonder for you too) is a home practice.

We know exercise is absolutely imperative to cardiovascular, lymphatic, and skeletal health.  Hormones are improved, mood is improved, and a good booty are all reasons to get our cute selves into the living room!

I am a huge advocate of yoga.  There are many types of yoga and lots of videos that can be checked out a week at a time from the library.  I love all types of yoga.  I never feel like I want a serious, back breaking, sweat inducing workout.  Yoga makes me focus so I don’t fall on my head, effectively clearing my mind and making me feel calm, but I also get a much better workout than I think I am because I like the feel of stretching, dance motions, and the feeling that I am connected to nature though movement.  I stand up straighter, feel stronger, and am more flexible.

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This is me, I would LOVE to be able to do yoga on a beach each day. I guess the back yard works too.

Yoga also encourages you to slow your mind, meditate and send out your prayers for the day.  Breathing regulation and the body moving in natural ways seems to me to be the very best and a very natural form of exercise.  It can be done anywhere and can be done with or without a video, and can be altered to the body’s desires for the day.

Walks in the park and swimming, hiking in the mountains or a quick jog are all lovely but when the desire to stay in one’s jammies hits (every day) we can always roll out the yoga mat in the living room and get an effective and invigorating workout.

 

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.)

The Interim Room (and a recipe for a luxurious oil bath)

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I am sitting in the waiting room between the first part of my life and the second.  A space with cream colored walls and carpet and a fireplace run by a light switch.  It’s quiet here in this respite room as I wait for the universe to throw open the next door.  I breathe and listen to my own heart beat.  My lesson here is rest.  Learning to balance rest, work, and play. I am plenty good at the work and play part, not so much with the rest.  I am forced to learn rest before I can move on.  It is imperative to the creation and success of our next ventures.

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I will be forty-two next week.  I am thankful for each and every birthday as I know how precious they are no matter the age.  Perhaps I will be sitting on a beach or running about the San Diego zoo or strolling a really fresh farmer’s market.  I know not, open to adventure, we fly out Tuesday to stay with our friends, Lisa and Steve, who graciously opened their home to us.  We are taking the opportunity to travel some this year before we have to find farm sitters again!

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I am really listening to myself in the silence.  I am highly sensitive person.  I have to be careful what I watch or read as it can completely change my heart rate, ignite fear, create chaos.  I close my eyes and meditate on nothing, or love, or acceptance, or peace as I look out beyond the crows to the snow bound mountains and the low lying clouds that embrace.  I stretch into yoga poses, more flexible and getting stronger than I have been in a long time.  I have written poetry and gratitude every day since the beginning of the year and my poetry collection is growing into an anthology of my life.  I recognize myself more, I embrace change, I look forward to the future, but I embrace today.  Even the dishwasher and dryer (which I still could do without).

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The highlight of this beautiful apartment is the garden tub.  The first I have fit in at nearly six feet tall.  It is wide in girth and long and luxurious as I rest my neck against its back and meld into the warm water in the warm bathroom with candles lit.  My spirit resetting at each wave of water and each meditation prompt, and each yoga move, and each delicious clean dish served from my kitchen.  A lovely interim.

The Luxury Bath

As the bath is filling, light candles.  Let there be silence, it is mesmerizing.

To water add a good drizzle of oil, such as olive, apricot kernel, avocado, sunflower, et cetera.

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to balance the PH of the body.

Add 1/2 cup of fine sea salt.

Rest in bath and pour a bit of your favorite (not volatile or hot) essential oil under the pouring water.  I particularly love rose, lavender, jasmine, and/or orange depending on my mood.

Breathe and rest completely.

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Rest, I am learning, is as important as work and play.

(You can type “A Walk in the Vineyards” in the Search and find our week of adventures in Napa Valley and San Francisco with Steve and Lisa from a few years ago.)

As the Owls Looked On (and teas to help heal the spirit)

 

Spirit Journal CoverThe five owls perched overhead near me each morning as I wrote, prayed, cried, and did yoga.  The temporary farm we were on last summer was a beautiful place.  I knew we were about to lose everything and the dread of what was going to happen next and the scrambling for some semblance of sanity and organized planning to move forward tangled with each other in that open field as I sat cross legged in the early morning sun peering across the acres of unscathed plains, my eyes taking in the sight of watercolor mountain tops still touched by snow across the horizon.  The owls looked on.  Directly at me.  Their messages clear and soothing.  Change was coming, but it would be for the best.

During that time I jotted down each little message that came to me.  Different plants came to mind to be made into teas.  I knew the spiritual use for some of them like roses-love, hawthorn-heals a broken heart, but some of the herbs that came to mind I did not know the meaning of and looked them up to find that they had a perfect place in each tea blend.  After I wrote, meditated, and listened, I went into the old farm kitchen and made a large mug of tea using those herbs for the day.  I would feel my strength return.  I did this for twelve days.

Eight months later the pieces fell together in one seamless layout.  In one day the book was completed.  A twelve day journal that discusses spirit animals and chakras, highlights a word to meditate on, a quote, a writing prompt, a gratitude section, a place to jot down other healthful habits, places to write and dream, and a spiritual tea blend.  I carefully hand blended each tea in each tea bag and placed them all in a pretty cellophane bag, one for each book that was printed.  It took days but I knew that this journal and the healing teas with them would help others just as it had me.

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The cover of the book is a photograph of one of the owls that stayed near me during my time on that farm while this book was creating itself.  This was one of the infant horned owls that looked on.  My daughter, Emily, stayed up in a tree for some time waiting to capture this shot.  It serves as a reminder that we are not alone and that everything in the universe works together to help us on our journey.

“White Wolf’s Spirit Journal; Twelve Days of Balancing, Healing, and Energizing the Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Self” is only $25 plus shipping.  Call to order-(303)617-3370 or send a check to White Wolf Medicine, P.O.Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107 for $35 to order.  Better yet, come into my shop, have a cup of tea, and pick one up!

 

 

 

 

Setting Yourself Free (Part 4- Using Spirit Herbs for Balance)

Herbs have been used since the beginning of time to heal ailments.  Herbs are perfectly synergistic to the animal body and work amazingly all the time.  No need to patent or change or manipulate herbs into allopathic medicine, they are perfect the way they are.  Since our bodies are so complex it is important to realize and understand that many ailments may not be strictly mental or physical.  Everything is interconnected and our spirits and our outer shells work together.  So, if one is stressed or consumed by fear, it effects the pituitary gland, which controls the hormones, the lymphatic system, and the nervous system.  The pituitary gland is located on top of the head, which incidentally is where the Crown Chakra is located.  Our connection as spirit to the Creator and the spiritual realm is concentrated there.  Connecting with the Creator, having hope and faith, relieves stress and gives us joy which relieves pain and ailments.

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I have written a lot about herbs for physical healing but this piece is about spiritual healing and connection.  If you have ever seen a deceased body there is no doubt that it is a shell, an empty vessel.  The soul/spirit has gone back to it’s Source.  By keeping our connection to the much larger scope of universe and spiritual world, we keep our perceptions clear and also empower ourselves to keep our minds thinking of positive as opposed to negative thoughts.  We grow and learn on this journey.

I am writing a devotional right now that will be out this fall.  Our family’s favorite gift for holidays was always writing books.  Blank sheets of paper waiting to be filled with drawings, poems, and writings thrilled me and the children.  Still, a new journal pleases me so.  I am writing a devotional that will lead folks through meditation each day and include a spirit tea to secure that meditation with plenty of places to write and dream.

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For instance:  If I focus on the word LOVE during meditation then my tea would be herbs like hawthorn and roses which are specific to heart which protect and increase happiness.  Here are a few blends for you to try.  You can get herbs from a local apothecary or online or wild craft them yourself!  Most herbs are dried.

LOVE

1 teaspoon of hawthorn berries (heals heartbreak, protects heart)

1 teaspoon of pink or red rose petals (infuses love, mild nervine)

1 teaspoon of rose hips (anti-inflammatory, protects heart chakra)

a 1/4 inch slice of ginger (root chakra, connected to the earth, respect for all)

Pour boiling water over herbs.  This makes 2 cups.  I like to reuse the herbs later that day.  A quart a day of this tea is lovely.  My friend infused delicious honey with lilacs (one of my favorite flowers) and I use that in my teas.

PROTECTION

1 teaspoon of angelica (creates shield of protection on home and self)

1 leaf of bay (protection from evil spirits)

1 teaspoon of lavender (calmative, faith)

1 teaspoon of roses (love, heart protector)

1 teaspoon of borage (barbed, happiness inducing/fear reducing)

HAPPINESS

1  teaspoon of St. John’s Wort (named after John the Baptist, protector of spirit)

1 teaspoon of borage (joy, nervine)

1 teaspoon of hawthorn (heart protector)

1 teaspoon of lemon balm (uplifting)

a squeeze of lemon (brightness and joy)

This is our fourth day of the Setting Yourself Free series.  I hope that you are choosing happiness, releasing blame, practicing a bit of yoga, taking time to think and meditate, and I hope you will enjoy your tea today.  Tomorrow we will dream and plan and manifest!

Setting Yourself Free (Part 3- Clearing the Mind to Find Freedom)

Part of what keeps us trapped is our own minds.  Especially in our society, the urge to go-go-go and our tendencies to take on so much is detrimental to our peace of mind and our inner freedom.  We are experts at multi-tasking, multiple jobs, multiple roles, and our minds are filled constantly with conversations, to-do lists, worries, excitements, and daydreams.  Meditating is a way to quiet everything down.

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Meditation is simply sitting still and quieting the mind.  This can be anywhere, though I find it very peaceful in nature.  Sometimes my bedroom with the door closed is the best I can get.  It can be sitting cross legged on the floor or sitting still in a chair.  Getting your mind to slow down is a whole other battle.  Images and other subjects try to race around causing chaos.

Now, for just a few minutes a day, seriously, I think I meditate for two, sit still and release.  Fill your lungs completely, through your diaphragm for four seconds, hold for four seconds, release for four seconds.  You don’t have to count, just make sure you are breathing!  Focus on a word.  See that word in your mind.  Each day I focus on a word like LOVE, or PEACE, or JOY, or ACCEPTANCE, FAITH, or HOPE.  Just look at that word sitting there.  If you start to wander off mentally, just come back and look at that word.  You will find a surge of light come through you, an exhale, a breath of freedom, and you will find that word.  Whether it be love, or joy, or another of your choice.

I like to do this after I have done my 20 minutes of yoga so that I feel strong mentally and physically for the day.

Each day I have a herbal spirit tea after meditating.  Herbs are not just for physical healing, they are for spiritual and mental healing as well.  Tomorrow I will fill you in and give you some recipes.  In the meantime, enjoy your releasing.  I hope you are embracing happiness, your body and the strength it holds, and now peace of mind and clarity.  You will be surprised what simple answers come to you after even a few minutes of meditation.