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The Lost Language: an Unpublished Excerpt from The Illustrated Herbiary!

The Lost Language: an Unpublished Excerpt from The Illustrated Herbiary!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

You Belong to a World More Magical than You Realize

You Belong to a World More Magical than You Realize

What if you belong to a world more magical than you realize?

I asked myself this question over and over again during my studies in Ireland.

‘Cause, truthfully? Despite being drenched in Irish myth and mystery, I didn’t believe in magic at first. So my daily what ifs became an exercise in the willing suspension of disbelief which over the course of many months (maybe even years!) shifted my locus of knowing from my head to my heart.

So I’d asked myself What if the world is synchronous and serendipitous? What if the land is sentient and the stones have stories to tell?

I grew up in the world of the head and for a long time confused feelings with thoughts. But contrary to popular belief, the head is not an organ of feeling; it’s an organ of thinking. The brain is uniquely designed to store and sort information, to reason and rationalize. It needs feeling like a snake needs sneakers.

But I (and probably you!) need feeling. I long for the scent of jasmine blooming at dusk and the feel of linen against my skin (I know silk sheets are supposed to be the ultimate luxury but I’ll take linen’s slight nub, the washed feel of warp and weft, any night of the week). My tongue wants salt and spice and the sweet bite of chocolate, and my eyes want the soft spaces where sea merges with sky.

When I engage my senses, my heart lightens— it fills my throat, my eyes tear up, my stomach tickles a bit.

I can guarantee you I have never had this feeling crouched over an encyclopedia in some fluorescent lit library.

These thoughts were tumbling around my brain as I scribbled out the proposal for The Illustrated Herbiary three years ago. (more…)

Plant Magic, Divination, and A Special Message Just For You!

Plant Magic, Divination, and A Special Message Just For You!

An interviewer recently asked me “how did you dream up The Illustrated Herbiary?”

It all started with a blog post that looked a lot like this one!

As a writer and creatrix, I’m also noodling ways to help you engage with your inner-wisdom, your intuition, and your deep rooted connection to the collective unconscious. As a plant person and herbalist, I’m also searching for inspiring ways to connect you to the green world around you and to introduce you to the plants in easy and personal ways.

Could the plants be used as an oracle system? Would it be accurate? Would it be lush, and yummy, and make your soul sing? I decided to find out!

The results were spot on and we all had a lot of fun discussing their accuracy on social media, so I thought today we’d celebrate the origins of The Illustrated Herbiary— the Flower Power Oracle! (more…)

“A Detox Is Not a Diet” and Other Things I Tell the Woman in the Mirror

“A Detox Is Not a Diet” and Other Things I Tell the Woman in the Mirror

A detox is not a diet.

Getting comfortable in my own skin and with how I perceive my body image has been one of my challenges this lifetime. So every spring, as I come off the liquids-only day of my yearly, oh-so-gentle detox, I repeat the mantra “A detox is not a diet. A detox is not a diet.”

My inner teenager, who danced with bulimia and diet regimens enforced by both my mother and my doctor, can never be skinny enough. She looks at pictures of my raw-boned ancestors and cringes, wondering why she didn’t inherit my mother’s bird bones and Audrey Hepburn visage. (more…)