Do you have a garden? If you do, how do you feel about weeding? We have several gardens on our property and weeding is just part of my summer routine. I don’t really mind it at all actually – I love getting my hands in the soil and actually find it quite meditative.
Recently I have become more interested in learning about the plants that flourish so abundantly in my garden beds. It is actually quite amazing how fast and prolific some species can be and I’ve been curious to know more about how these plants are ecologically valuable, edible, medicinal or sacred in some way.
Here is a little of what I’ve learned:
- Chickweed ~ Stellaria media: This plant is native to Europe that has widely naturalized in North America. Chickweed indicates tilled, fertile, nitrogen-rich soil and is excellent raw (in place or sprouts or salad) and is also delicious cooked. However it should only be eaten in limited amounts since it can cause an upset stomach for some.
- Common Horsetail ~ Equisetum arvense: Prefers acidic soils. Externally it was traditionally used for chilblains and wounds. It was also once used to polish pewter and wood (I’m definitely planning to try this!) and to strengthen fingernails (because of it’s high silica content).
- Common Plantain ~ Plantago major: Loves disturbed areas – I seem to be constantly pulling them out of my gravel driveway. If you can leave them to mature, the ripe seed heads can be used for bird food. Common Plantain is often referred to as the ‘soldier’s herb’ because it has been used over the centuries to treat wounds on the battlefields. Roman legions also used it in footwear to prevent blisters and the leaves can be chewed and the juices mixed with saliva to be spread on abrasions, burns or bee stings.
Kind of amazing right? Knowing more about all the plants in my environment makes me feel so much more connected with nature.
So over to you. Can you learn about at least one weed you see in your garden and share what you find out with us? Head over to my Facebook page, post a picture and what you’ve discovered.
If we went way back in time and asked one of our ancestors about their connection to Spirituality they might look at us in disbelief. Before the word and concept came into being, each of us experienced a seamless connection to life and the Earth that was embedded deeply into our bodies.
That connection took the form of waking to greet the sun in reverence, drinking life-giving water, harvesting plants for sustenance, playing with thriving children, feeling the effects of the phases of the moon – all of this, permeating every aspect of our existence in the world, was the experience of Spirituality.
And even though in our modern world there is often a feeling of disconnection, each of us carries an inner remembrance of our connection to Source, and the current of transmission and reciprocity between all beings.
Just as a seed does not need to be taught to grow and become a plant, flower, fruit or tree – your body contains the imprint of exactly what is needed to be complete and whole exactly as you are. To sense that you are always held in belonging and connected to all beings everywhere through space and time.
The invitation is there. Always. Come closer to your essence. Trust that your body…remembers.
Today I want to say thank you. Thank you for being here and being a part of my community. When we come together, even virtually, we create the space and support to grow and evolve. Collectively we raise our vibration so that together we can contribute to the raising the consciousness of all. In Sanskrit the word kula means community of the heart, an intentional tribe, clan or family. Every one of you here certainly feels like my kula.
Over the past several months, my team and I have been working hard behind the scenes on a new website and some exciting offerings that will be launched soon. A few of the (free!) things we have in the works include:
- The Shakti Oracle (this summer)
- Prioritizing Pleasure Webinar (this summer)
- Embracing Shakti Movement ~ 13 Day Journey (starts September 10th)
And so a couple of quick things in anticipation of lots of new and exciting content coming your way…
1. Please make sure that my emails are not sitting all sad and lonely in your spam or promotions folder. Just drag over this email into your main folder and voila, you will find them easily when they arrive.
2. If there is anything I can do to make your experience and our community better, please let me know and email me.
And to show my gratitude for letting me show up in your inbox each week, please enjoy this short video where I lead you through the Deerga Pranayama. Watch it and breathe with me – I guarantee you are going to feel amazing!
A couple of weeks ago I sent out an email called The Fundamental Practice – which speaks to the art of slowing down. I’m curious if that newsletter resonated with you? Have you been able to be a little more purposeful in these past several days about pausing and just being in the moment?
Maybe you find that difficult to do. Maybe it is your intention, but the next thing you know the whole day has flown by and each moment was jam packed. Happens to me all the time.
So I am going share a little secret that helps me. And you need just 3 things:
- a moment of your time
- a pen
- several sticky notes
This is what you do, write the word BREATHE on a bunch of your sticky notes. Then I want you to put one on your computer, one on your bathroom mirror, one on your coffee machine, one in your car. Put one wherever you are regularly in your day.
And when you see this note, start to train yourself to take one conscious breath. 2 breaths. 3 breaths.
That is all it takes, 3 conscious breaths to slow down the sympathetic nervous system. In less than 20 seconds you can drop into a sense of calmness and presence.
Try it and notice if your capacity to slow down, even just 5% more in your day starts to happen. Take some pictures of your sticky notes and post them on my Facebook page. I guarantee the effect will be nothing short of magic.
Are you someone who is super busy, working, creating, being on and running from here to there? I’m guessing yes. In my world, time often feels like it is sped up and that there is so much to do all the time. Sound familiar?
But here is what I know. In order for you to truly connect with yourself and your essence, there has to be a willingness to slow down.
Slowing down is hard. We resist it. We often actually keep ourselves busy on purpose. Why?
In my experience, the reason we don’t like to slow down is that we actually start to feel things and recognize where we are out of balance. Where we are out of integrity. Where we are not in our centre,. Where we do things that don’t feel aligned. We start to feel the places where we experience shame. That we are disconnected from. That we judge.
It all comes up.
So that is why we keep busy – to escape feeling all of these things.
But as you and I both know, the reality is that if we don’t slow down, we can’t grow, we can’t evolve as a humans. We will never bloom into our full potential unless we are intentional about meet ourselves exactly where we are. And to do this, the basic fundamental practice is to slow down.
Right now, take a deep breath in and slowly exhale out. When you slow down your breathing, you relax the central nervous system and begin to change your brain wave state. You activate the parasympathetic nervous system which sends a message to your being that it is ok to rest. Ok to let go. Ok to open. Ok to receive.
Take a few more deep breaths – right into your belly. What are you experiencing? Can you sense a willingness to drop in and feel more connected to the world? To surrender into this moment into something much greater than you and your busy-ness? How does that feel? The present moment is the only moment we can truly be alive. It is your presence that is the greatest gift to humanity – not what you do but who you are.
I hope you can feel it – the magnificence of you simply being.
Some of you know that easy and restful sleep has been an ongoing challenge in my life – even since childhood. While I have many practices in my sleep tool-kit, I’ve been delving more deeply into Chinese meridian theory as a way to prepare my body to release and let go more fully at bed time.
On Monday I taught a Yin Yoga practice at Chinook Yoga that I created specifically for a good sleep and I would like to share it with you. Yin Yoga is a practice that helps to restore vital life force energy (known as Qi) in the body. In this sleep practice our poses apply gentle pressure along 2 major meridians – the Heart and the Gallbladder.
The Heart is known as the ‘Red Emperor’ and is the principle overseer of all mental and emotional activities, intelligent awareness and our long term memory. The Heart is said to judge our emotions which when experiencing imbalance can lead to insomnia and dream disturbed sleep.
The Gallbladder is called the ‘Court of Justice’ as this organ plays a central role in decision making. It also has a profound influence on the duration and quality of our sleep – meaning that an imbalance here can manifest in very early waking up and being unable to return to sleep.
This Yin Yoga sequence helps to restore balance and flow to the Heart and Gallbladder meridians so that we experience the ease required to fall asleep and stay asleep.
I’ve made a short video demonstrating the poses. Once you have watched the video, follow the guidelines below for the length of each pose. If you can’t fit everything in before bed, then choose 2-3 poses that incorporate both Heart and Gallbladder meridian work. Be sure to begin and end with the Healing Sounds as described.
Yin Yoga Sleep Sequence
Triple Warmer Healing Sound – 3 times
Chest Opener with Blocks (Heart & Gallbladder) – 5 minutes
Twisted Roots (Heart & Gallbladder) – 4 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Sleeping Swan (Gallbladder) – 4 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Broken Wing (Heart) – 2-3 minutes each side, 1 minute rest in between
Healing Sounds: Heart, Gallbladder, Triple Warmer – 3 times each
I’d love to know about your experience with this practice, drop me a line anytime to connect and tell me more.
Sending sweet dreams your way my friend!