The Innate Healer (and what to do when you cannot help)

I shivered in the cold, forced air of the dim hospital room and pulled my shawl tighter around my shoulders.  I listened to the ominous drone of the heart monitor.  He finally fell asleep.  I watched my child, now a man, lay there in the hospital bed with the flimsy covers upon his slight frame, barely covering his tattooed arms.  His dark hair pressed to the side of his face.  His brow still furrowed from pain.  My baby.  I pulled the covers up around him a bit more and held my breath so not to let the pressing tears release.  Breathe.

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I am considered an expert in my field.  I can tell you about hundreds of local plants, their medicinal properties, growing conditions, contraindications, their uses, how to prepare them, and how to heal nearly every ailment there is.  I am an herbalist, a medicine woman, a plant girl, a lover of nature, a great believer in the original medicine, and a skeptic of modern medicine.  And yet, all the herbal knowledge in the world could not help me as I stood on that cold tile floor.

“Help me, Mom!” he screamed over the phone before I got there.  He went in to the emergency room for a fever and back pain and the hospital gave him a spinal tap.  They missed.  Three times.  Spinal fluid pooled into his lower back and created more pain than my child could handle without madness.  But he was in the hospital now, so it was too late, I could not help.  Except to pull the blankets over his arms to cover the goosebumps.  To kiss his head.

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A few weeks later- last weekend- I stood by the bedside of my grandmother, whose tall, thin frame was dwarfed by the hospital bed and flimsy covers.  The drone of the heart monitor and the bustling of nurses outside the door filled the large, cool space.  My beloved grandma had fallen and just had a partial hip replacement.  Again, I could do nothing but watch her sleep.  My children came.  They gathered in the room and talked wildly, trying to catch up on events since the last time they had seen each other.  My new granddaughter was passed around.  Smiles and laughter filled the space as grandma would slowly open her eyes and look around and grin.  So much life that came from her.

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I am a healer.  We are all healers, especially women.  Any of us would take care of an injured frog, or a stranger, or try to bring life back into someone with warm soup or a hug.  Anxiety fills our chest as we feel the pain of others, see their worries, the punched feeling in the stomach when we know we can do nothing.  That is why so many of us become healers.  We have to do something. 

I have learned that the only thing I can do in cases when no one asks for my help, or I simply cannot help, is to release the outcome.  They might die.  They might not be able to change their life.  They may still have lessons to learn.  They are choosing other options.  They are their own decision makers.  They might be paralyzed.  They might…oh the possibilities of tragedy are endless.  And there we are… trying to save the world.  Sometimes we just cannot help.  Once you can release the outcome, you can then breathe and be there to give love and support or to pull the covers up over chilled arms.  We must release what we cannot control or it will control us.  Give it back to the powers that be.  We can only help ourselves and do what we can for others.

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My husband looked so pale.  A colorless sheen crossed his face as he came out of surgery a few days ago.  (It’s been quite a month, y’all.)  I had released all outcomes.  Whatever happened, happened.  But here he was, smiling dopily from the morphine drip, and a long overdue hernia surgery complete.  At home, I help him in any way I can.  He asks me for help.  I can help him.  I give him my own antibiotics and pain medicines along with his prescribed pain pills.  I make him teas for his digestion and tend to his wounds and bruises.  I am so much better when I feel like I can do something.

Sometimes we can help, sometimes we cannot.  My neighbor called me after badly spraining her ankle yesterday.  I took over some muscle healer and she was at the dog park by the afternoon.

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I feel like it is a very good idea to have some basic knowledge of herbal medicine.  Everyone should know what herbs heal wounds, fight infections, handle pain, and heal.  I currently have two books on this subject on Amazon.  The Herbalist Will See You Now; Your Complete Training Guide to Becoming and Working as an Herbalist and The Homesteader’s Pharmacy; the Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Herbal Pharmacy.

They may just give you one more outlet in which you can help yourself and others.

 

This One’s For the Girls

No really, this one’s for the girls…

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Homesteading women have many things in common.

One, we care about economics.  There is no way we could live this lifestyle if we weren’t frugal.  We rather like being creative in our endeavors to recycle and reuse.

Two, we care about the environment.  Half the reason we turned to a homesteading lifestyle is because we care about the earth and see her many finite resources being used and trash building up.

Three, we care about health.  We pride ourselves on knowing herbal remedies and leading a healthy, clean lifestyle.

Four, we are women.  Therefore we have moon cycles.

I first read about the detriments of conventionally made feminine products in the Newman’s Own Organic Guide to a Good Life book by Nell Newman.  I had never thought about the sheer cost of these items.  Nor did I consider that they decompose at the rate of diapers.  As in, our great, great, great, great, great…..grandchildren are going to be a really irritated with us!  And the bleach and other chemicals used to make feminine products could be a big reason for the many women’s issues we face today, from hormone disruptions, cysts, fibroids, and cancers.

Niki was reiterating all of these things to me when I met her at her booth at the Pueblo Holistic Fair.  I have read about reusable pads but was skeptical.  I told her without hesitation that I about bleed to death and I wasn’t sure these would work.  She smiled and said they will.  If my body is detoxing, the plastics, bleach, and chemicals from feminine products are going to make my body work harder to detox them too!  I bought a set of her Liddle Rags.  They are made of layers of soft flannel, cloth diaper material, and one side is waterproof fleece.  Snaps secure them.

Wow.  Is all I can say.  Two months of easier cycles.  Comfort.  My cervix was really hurting before.  It doesn’t anymore.  Cramping is less.  Period is lighter.  How is that possible?  Was I just poisoning myself each month?  They are easily washed and very affordable.

Her Facebook page is http://facebook.com/LiddleRags if you want to message her or see what she does.  Better health, save money, and lighter footprint on the earth?  That is a homesteading good thing!