Finding Strength in Our Root System

Finding Strength in Our Root System

Spring brings wind…
…and wind brings change.

I’ve been thinking about the wind. I’ve even re-watched a little bit of Chocolat (remember the voice-over in the beginning? About the North Wind? Yum.).

There’s a romance to knowing the names of the wind. Each name feels like a secret, sweet on your tongue. When you whisper those secrets, they open a portal to a millennia of stories and histories so that when the wind comes, and its name is spoken, unused doors creak open and the world changes just a little. (more…)

Congratulations: You’ve Changed!

Congratulations: You’ve Changed!

“How does the story end?” she asked. “Did you heal yourself with herbs?”

My number three wish, right behind ending world hunger and luring a live-in masseuse to my lair, is a life that’s that simple.

Like so many people who get involved with “alternative” healing, I started this crazy and glorious journey— a journey that, over the years, has defined every aspect of my life— because I was sick. After yet another doctor stared at my bloodwork in confusion, I decided to take my first (desperate!) step into the “woo-woo” by making an appointment with a naturopath. From there I began exploring the wilds of the Manhattan wellness community, cavorting with homeopaths and energy healers, acupuncturists and, yes, herbalists (all modalities which are now more “normal” to me than pharmaceutical medicine).

While herbs were part of my healing, they were far from the totality of it… But that wasn’t the part of the (above!) question that hung me up. I got stuck on the phrase “did you heal?” (more…)

Reaction Mode, YIKES! Sit, Sip, Breathe.

Reaction Mode, YIKES! Sit, Sip, Breathe.

“Trust yourself. Listen to your inner voice.”

You’ve probably heard this advice from your mom, your yoga teacher, your crystal-wearing neighbor, and countless people on social media (don’t get me started on flippant social media advice!).

Even if this deep intuitive connection with your inner-self flows easily when you’re on a silent retreat or doing a weekend of journey-work, it’s still hard to tap into when the dog won’t stop barking, the baby won’t stop crying, and the car next to you at the traffic light is blaring one of those ba-boom, ba-boom bass lines.

Modern life is loud: it’s hard to hear your own thoughts, let alone the quiet whispers of your heart.

If you’re thinking I don’t remember how to tap into my intuition, then I have a secret for you:
(more…)

Brownies, Bird Remedies, and Other Things That Obviously Don’t Belong in a Blog Post

Brownies, Bird Remedies, and Other Things That Obviously Don’t Belong in a Blog Post

A long time ago in a city far away…

I took a writing workshop with Tom Robbins (if you haven’t read Tom Robbins, stop reading this and go download Jitterbug Perfume. I promise you won’t be disappointed).

Since it was a while back, I’m running fast and loose with Tom’s exact phrasing. Essentially, he told us that the job of a writer is to connect disparate things, like a Twinkie and Jupiter, or the chiming of a grandfather clock and a swallow’s mad dash through the barn eaves.

This blog post may not succeed in corralling that kind of connection. In fact, I suspect it will be a bit like brownies pulled from the oven too soon— warm and gooey and yummy… but not quite brownies. If you need it all wrapped up neatly at the end, this is your chance to hop off: the ride may get a bit… elusive… from here. (more…)

Why It’s Important to Have a Toolkit for Happiness: 4 Gratitude Practices You’ll Actually Use

Why It’s Important to Have a Toolkit for Happiness: 4 Gratitude Practices You’ll Actually Use

Some people are grateful all the time.

I’m not one of them.

I tend to be a striver, an achiever, a “what’s next?” kinda gal.

For me, gratitude has to be a ritual, otherwise it only happens on the rare occasion when something completely out of the ordinary whacks me over the head with the wonderfulness of this world.

So, as a Thanksgiving treat, I thought I’d share my super-easy gratitude practices (the ones I actually do.) (more…)

The Lost Language: an Unpublished Excerpt from The Illustrated Herbiary!

The Lost Language: an Unpublished Excerpt from The Illustrated Herbiary!

A Cherokee story was told to me by a medicine man.

Native tales hold power and need to be shared in a specific way. Since this story is not mine to tell, I’ll paraphrase it for you and maybe, if you’re lucky, someday a person of Cherokee decent will tell you the tale whole, the way it’s meant to be shared. The short version is this:

A long time ago, on the land right under your feet, people understood more than we understand today. They translated the murmurings of the four-leggeds and the calls of the winged ones. The buzz of a bee had meaning, as did the glub, glub of the salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

Most important for us here and now, those long-ago people understood the whispers of the green world. The gentle twisting of flowers toward the sun had meaning as did the way the wind whistled through the slow-growth forests hugging steep mountainsides.

For reasons only the Cherokee can share, we lost our ability to communicate . . .

. . . And we have searched for this lost language ever since.

Understanding the languages of nature is a universal human obsession. (more…)