Know Your Yard

Mycol Stevens smack dab in his element

     If you ever get the chance to go for a hike with mushroom and native plant guru Mycol Stevens, do it!** I was lucky enough to have the opportunity this past Saturday, taking part in his local mushroom and plant walk/info session in St. Augustine. 

     We dined on wildcrafted sautéed chicken of the woods mushrooms, muscadine grapes, passion fruit, ximenia, cattail, bidens alba and beauty berries. We sipped on cold brewed sumac tea. Those brave enough tasted saw palmetto berries--known to taste of old cheese steeped in tobacco water--and nibbled on reishi. For prostate health, saw palmetto is a great aid, so be lucky that stuff comes in easy to swallow capsules today!


     There's a Native American saying that the medicine we need grows right outside our front door. Our bodies call the plants and fungi to us and they kindly respond, taking root around our lives.  The importance of being able to recognize these allies is crucial. Otherwise, they go unnoticed and we spend precious resources like our time and money on drugs and doctors, when in certain instances, we can be proactive and help ourselves to prevent  and treat disease. 
     Take it one step further and these plant helpers can be labeled as weeds and nuisances getting squirted with carcinogenic herbicides like Roundup. In turn, we do, too. We are all part of a big web and if one part is being squirted with poison, it is only a matter of time before it trickles down into us. Fortunately, we are growing hip to this reality. I recently read that in the state of California, all bottles of Roundup can be returned to any carrier store for a full refund (without receipt) because of their now-acknowledged toxicity. Progress!


     Towards the end of the talk, as we stood around a patchwork space of green, Mycol got quiet. We observed the layers of life at our feet. A native metallic-green sweat bee dusted its legs on a flower, a tiny orange and black butterfly paused on a palm frond, we picked fragrant leaves and rubbed them between our fingers. We were sweaty and our minds were overflowing and we were in awe. Mycol told us that this is the kind of native life that gets sprayed along the sides of the highway. To really see it, to appreciate it, 
"you got to slow down," he said.

"It's good to be like a kid and slow down."



**For those of you who are interested, Mycol will be co-teaching an Ethnobotanical Intensive at The Hostel in The Forest, Oct. 6-8 2017. For more info, please visit: http://www.foresthostel.com

Honor Them, Honor You



“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”   --TNH




   Our ancestors journey with us through life, not only in our DNA, but also in our current situation which is in some way shaped by their dreams and failures.
     There were things that your relatives were unable to accomplish in their lifetimes. Maybe it was an inability to quit drinking alcohol, or to stop using tobacco, or to use loving speech instead of abusive behavior, or to let go of grudges. As a capable, fresh set of eyes, you are the opportunity to transform these inter-generational burdens. As a son or daughter, you are presented with the responsibility to say "I'll do it for you, for myself, and for our future generations". Taking care of yourself helps your family and in turn, humanity. It is never too late to begin transformation.


     Periodically, I take my daughter to the cemetery to visit family.

     This most recent visit, she flitted from grave to grave, adorning different tombstones with tiny treasures.

Sharing a carrot with her great grandfather.

       We enjoyed the spacious peace.

     
     I have always stressed reverence and the graveside side-step, but this visit was different. She was showing up as the light that she is; singing, playing store, picking flowers... I watched in awe. Her freedom and love took my breath away.




     Almost every (and I dare say every single) world religion practices some form of veneration of ancestors/guides who have died. However, talking about death and the dead in America is taboo. Most of us are not used to incorporating it into our lives.  

     Through grieving and honoring legacies, health and joy arise. Besides visiting places of rest, another wonderful way to honor passed loved ones and their (your) energy is by creating an 'ancestor sanctuary'. This is a place for YOU to get quiet and practice meditation or to display objects and pictures of people you love. It nurtures your essence and can lift the energy of your home. 

      * * *
To Create An Ancestor Sanctuary:
On a clean shelf or small table place the following:
- Pictures of relatives, friends, spiritual guides/mentors, and pets that have crossed over
- A vase of fresh flowers (maybe your grandmother loved pink carnations?--hook her up!)
- Small objects that belonged to your loved ones: a piece of jewelry, a fishing lure, a paintbrush, a toy, etc...
-Religious? Items like incense, holy water, rosaries, statues, books can help you connect with your spirit and help ground your altar
-Candles (7 day candles sold at the grocery/dime store are perfect)
-A chair/cushion nearby that you can pull up and enjoy the space you have created. You have now built for yourself and your family a safe place to pray/meditate/read/drink tea/think out-loud/ etc...

       

      Show respect for your deepest parts, your roots. See what movement occurs in your life as a result.

   

 I'll end this post with a video of some powerful footage. Elephants (one of Nature's most aware mammals) paying tribute to their passed Matriarch. Notice their reverence. What can we learn from them? 




Further reading, click HERE

Touch As Vital As Milk

Touch is food. 

Without it, we fail to thrive, fall ill and/or go insane. Eventually, we die.

To babies, touch is everything. As new beings in the open world, their bodies are thirsty for tactile sensation. And when that sensation (touch) provides warmth, safety, and love, it sets the stage for a healthy life. As limited locomotorers, babies who get moved and held and cuddled receive extra input that guides them to better self awareness.

I loved the time that I spent with Jax Beach Breastfeeding Support (nee Galaxy Jax), recently. It has now been over a year since I stepped down from my role as group organizer, and I am overjoyed that it has quadrupled in size and is able to provide support to so many deserving women. Circled up with the moms, I was able to share some thoughts on the importance of touch and a few ways to connect with their nurslings. Thanks again for the opportunity to share my time and passion with you, Milkin' Honeys!

For more information about Jax Beach Breastfeeding Support click HERE





Fruit of Thy Wound




 ~ Secret Language ~

by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi
English version by Coleman Barks
         Every part of you has a secret language
         your hands and your feet
         say what you’ve done
         and every need brings in what’s needed
         pain bears its cure like a child

     Your pain "bears its cure like a child", because 
the cure is the pain.



 Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, 
what you bring forth will save you. 
If you do not bring forth what is
within you, what you do not bring forth
 will destroy you."
 --The Gospel of Thomas




 There is no place to go, no master to seek, no medicine to find. The untruth, or ignorance, is that you are separate from the world. This separate "I" is seeking answers. Ask yourself: What cure am I bearing? The truth is that you already have the answers. Allow the "you" that is material-istic to step aside and invite the you that is inner space to present itself. Don't know how? Be still. Come rest your feet and your hands. Let's listen to what is here.



Why PigPen Is A Peaced-out Brainiac

Om  = mc ^2

If you are reading this, you must be using some kind of device like a computer, tablet, or phone. Therefore, I know that you aren't doing what this brief article will hopefully rouse you to do, which is to...


                       DIG IN THE DIRT.





A recent study found that a certain bacterium living in soil,  Mycobacterium Vaccae, increases serotonin levels and neurological growth when inhaled or injested.  
More serotonin = less anxiety and fear
 as well as increased mental capabilities (namely, learning).  


Well, what do you know? Looks like we have evolved to benefit from messing around in fresh soil and sunlight!

For MORE about the health benefits of dirt, CLICK HERE


You're GROUNDED!!!

When was the last time you were grounded 

And more importantly, what was your relationship

to the grounding itself? 

Did it get you defeated or angry? 

I grounded my two year old earlier this week BIG TIME

She needed it.


Truth is, WE ALL DO.




GROUNDing, also known as Earthing, is the practice of using the direct contact
between the soles of your feet and the earth itself to stimulate healing

GET SOME "VITAMIN G" !

The electrons that are transferred from the ground to your body when you walk over sand, grass, dirt, etc. act as powerful antioxidants. Science is now showing that walking/lying/sitting/standing on or over organic surfaces lowers blood pressure, increases functionality of the immune system, decreases blood thickness, and lowers cortisol levels...and that's barely scratching the surface of all the benefits.

Our feet were MADE for uneven Earthly surfaces!
And we all know how important our feet are for wellness, right?
If not, click HERE and HERE.

Now let those two dogs out of their crates and squish some mud between them piggies, y'all!

Go Forage and Prosper

   

  The time has come for me to take matters into my own hands--

the way Nature intends and invites us to do. She drops bombs left and right at our feet. Look around you. There is good medicine EVERYWHERE.

 
 I am making products that I WISH existed.
After many years of loving a lotion but not the plastic bottle that it comes in or wanting more out of what I can find at local stores, I have begun the process of cooking up some pretty good stuff for you guys. Yesterday, I hand-collected important ingredients that will be featured in products coming to you soon!

My market:



My assistant:







Score! This is exactly what we were looking for: 

 



 We found some cool stuff along the way.

white-tailed deer skull




fiddleheads covered in lanugo-like fuzz. sweet forest babies

 And left with a bountiful harvest.



...to be continued



Confessions Of A Cellular Junkie



     As I was strapping the baby into her carseat a couple months ago, I put my iPhone on top of the car. Then I drove off. My phone, well... I've imagined it in a ditch, in the clutches of some teenaged boys, and in shards, crunched by a semi in the middle of A1A. All of those are possibilities.

I had my "LIFE" in that phone! (...Or did I???)


Notice what came next. It surprised me;

Freedom.  


Like a technologically naive grandmother, I could spread my wings and soar under the cellular radar, to a land where no calls nor texts could touch me. Like a lone mama wolf, I could curl up with my pup, tucked away in our reclusive den, without electromagnetic radiation clouding our cuddle.  I seriously considered not buying a replacement. I'll get a landline, I said. It'll be old school. Yeah. I'll be plugged into the DIRT.


 But alas, I eventually caved.

Any silly guilt aside, this got me thinking about addiction. I am a cell phone addict. iPhones ARE the new cigarettes. Just reach down and get one out of your pocket, light it up, and tune out the world around you.

They need to add a cellphone to this
Are you addicted to your cell phone, too? I stumbled across an article by Dr. Andrew Weil that helped explain WHY CELLPHONES ARE SO DAMN ADDICTIVE. You can read it here

Short story: Harvard Rats were put into three groups. One group pressed a bar and got a treat every time. The second group pressed a bar BUT only got a treat sometimes--and it was RANDOM. The third group got squat. Guess which group was all cracked out, pressing the bar nonstop? The second group. Our phones are the levers that RANDOMLY give out treats. You might check your email five times in an hour and only get an email ONE of those times. But that's enough--that random positive feedback conditions you to keep checking. Obsessively. All. Day. Long.

Must. Keep. Refreshing.
Ding!

Now we hear other people's phones going off wherever we are and are sent into a Pavlovian hunger to check our own. Was that for me?

All this cell phone business is keeping our minds active and chatty. (Not to mention feeling the slow burn of electromagnetic radiation)


Andrew Weil turns his phone off every day at 4. Do you have the guts to try that? Set the boundary and see how it feels, even if you just try it for a week. Anxiety at first is normal. Freedom might be just around the corner.


Ill sign off for now with a couple laughs, thanks to comic genius, Louis CK. * And by the way, if you are gonna put your cellphone next to your pillow at night, keep it on airplane mode!!!