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…)

The Stuff That Scares Us Makes Us Whole

The Stuff That Scares Us Makes Us Whole

Seven years ago, sitting with my web designer at a sweet little restaurant (which no longer exists) on a snowy November evening, I proposed an idea.

At the time it felt like a big idea, one that would take a lot of energy and resources…

But I had a little tickle in my belly telling me I was on to something. So I tentatively laid it on the table amongst the sweet potato fries and warm beet salads. It was a program called Your Wild and Wonderful Herbal Year.

Yup, it was a mouthful. And while the name didn’t stick, the program did. It’s called Witch Camp. Now, my team and I excitedly plan our whole year around it, anticipating the lengthening nights, dry leaves, and spiced cider that announce its beginning.

“Witch Camp” began as an inside joke, or perhaps an insider’s club: the women who worked for me liked to say they worked at Witch Camp.

As we came together to create Your Wild and Wonderful Herbal Year, I started to hear murmurs from my team: “this is Witch Camp!” Eventually my web designer made a stand: I can’t get inspired to work on this program when the name is so boring. It needs to be called Witch Camp. (more…)

Hive Mind: Harnessing the Power of Community

Hive Mind: Harnessing the Power of Community

Moon Gatherings. Sisterhood Circles. Business Masterminds…

Can these get-togethers really make your life better? Or are they just another to-do on your calendar?

Let’s start with a resounding YES! (hear that echoing off tall buildings, short mountains, and bouncing off the rim of your coffee cup?). Being a part of a community can make your life richer and yummier. Simply basking in the glow of connection can heal a lot of hurts.

Each of these get-togethers serve different personal needs:

✦ Moon Gatherings are about ritual. They’re a joint space to set intentions and celebrate the cycles of the moon and the seasons.

✦ Sisterhood Circles are about being witnessed, heard, and held as you walk yourself through life’s more challenging moments.

But what if you’re feeling lost or confused or alone and want to harness the power of community to help you move forward? (more…)

Facing East: Becoming New Again

Facing East: Becoming New Again

One of the most beautiful lessons the natural world can teach us is that linear time is a human construct.

In nature, time is cyclical.

Around the world, people who know this use the symbol of the circle to show how time moves. Often times this circle is designed like a compass, thus combining the concept of time and place. The seasons are etched into the outer circle, while the inner circle— the center— is the place of spirit. This type of pictogram is called “wheel of the year” or, alternately, “the medicine wheel.”

You begin in the East where the sun rises.

You become in the South where light— that outward turning, always moving, yang energy— is strongest.

You learn to believe in the West, when you finally sink, like the sun, into yourself, coming to a bit of understanding.

And when the winter comes, when you curl around yourself like a wolf in its den, you face the North. Be still, the Earth whispers.

(Of course, all this gets turned on its head in the Southern Hemisphere.) (more…)

The Sumo Wrestler & the Tree: a Tale of Inner Peace

The Sumo Wrestler & the Tree: a Tale of Inner Peace

Forgive me if I’ve told you this story before; it’s one of my favorites and bears repeating:

A few decades back, I visited my Aunt and Uncle, who were working in Singapore. It was a long flight, first to Japan and from there into Changi Airport. My body was a mess of minor aches and twitches after 26 hours in the air.

My Aunt decided that I needed the yoga cure-all and took me to her favorite class, which was held on the cool marble floors of a meeting hall inside a Hindu temple. Four long woven mats were unfurled, striping the echoing space. We lined up on the mats, one behind the other, waiting for the yogi to take his place at the head of the room. (more…)

My Favorite “Secret:” Your Life’s Purpose is Not Your Job Title

My Favorite “Secret:” Your Life’s Purpose is Not Your Job Title

Graduation is a few days away and classes are over for the year.

(Yup, this is a flashback. If Oprah ever asks if every word is true, I won’t be able to say for certain. Memories soften, get a little fuzzy, and are often sweeter in the re-telling.

Truth? Oprah scares me. I once saw her interview a memoirist and ask if every word was accurate. Accuracy and memory are, at best, fraternal twins.

But I digress…)

Lying prone on a hillside in the arboretum, the grass pokes through the cotton blanket, tickling my stomach. (This was before Lyme Disease became part of my consciousness, back when I laid on the ground with abandon, worrying only about an occasional ant.) The scent of barbecue, beer, and Johnson’s Baby Oil (yup, pre-SPF, too) overpowers the whispers of wild honeysuckle and pine from the woods below.

Conversation drifts round my circle of friends. We speculate on post-college life and who each of us will be when we “grow up.”

Before long we’ve identified two teachers, an accountant, a social worker, an advertising exec, and a P.T.A. mom. The tone is light with the sweet notes of women who know each other well, who see each other’s souls, and can fish gems of truth from the depths of self. As each truth emerges, sparkling, a bit of soul-light shines on us all. (more…)