medicine people, new and old

As in times of old, the people went to the doctors for their ills. Yet, as time would have it, in keeping step with modern life, the face of the doctor has changed much. You see, it used to be there was a woman sitting out beneath the oaken sheath. She’d sit there all day in yonder field, sewing, milking her one goat fair, making cheese, or spinning an old yarn for the children who came by after school. It’was like this in the olden days. Whereas now, the old man you go to see in a sterile room doesn’t know your family, doesn’t have a goat or sheep and himself is harboring a cold from spending all his time indoors and is sick from false air.

‘Tis no surprise that it’s ended up in this way, my kin, but it is a shame if you ask me. With the new modern white-coat, who beat out the old hag long ago, many of the finest things about country medicine have been lost in those times, too. Many aides are lost in this sterility. Before, the midwife would come tromping over on a horse, she’d sit with ya while you were ill and she’d bring her knapsack of herbs picked from her very own garden. But now, we again have ‘em in white lab coats making medicines in glass beakers. ‘Tis nothing wrong with this, in fact, it’s an advancement in many ways. Yet, what’s fallen out in the middle of this great divide has a lot to do with bedside manner and accessibility.

You see, along with that there midwife having the keys to yer healing in her own garden, she’d share somma those seeds with you, too. And that very plant which did grow in your very garden then, was the same plant that healed ya last year. She’d’ve taught ya how to use it and so you knew that and could pass it on. It became the medicine of the house, the medicine spreading everywhere it’s needed. Try to do that with a beaker drug! No, in that way this current medical system makes us dependent.  And when someone’s dependent, it’s true that they become helpless in some way. Use to be people knew how to take care of themselves and pass on the healing knowledge, but now it’s relegated to ol white gown in his white sterile room.

The dependency isn’t doing good things for our society, you see. Yes, it saves lives and makes some a great deal better, but a lot falls through the cracks, a whole lot isn’t getting much better. And it’s this I’m writing about, this that needs a-pointing-to, cuz it’s easy to get swept up in “what is” and forget there could be somewheres better we can go. Medicine of the people, medicine of the earth, the old white coats make a fear factor about the herbs, but they’re the traditional allies of what cures.

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Day 6, How Morning Yoga Helps Me Grow

“Give me your morning. Breakfast, waking up, walking to the bus stop. Be as specific as possible. Slow down in your mind and go over the details of your morning.”

i opened my eyes. i was still laying down and i had to pee. when i did, my pee was clearer than usual. i didn’t want to get out of bed quickly, but i knew my morning would be rushed if i didn’t. i turned the shower on and climbed in, my hair was up in a bun as to not get wet. it didn’t get wet, but i lathered my body all over with bronner’s soap, scrubbing here and there and then i rinsed. after i got out, i applied my apple cider vinegar and tea tree mixture on as i have done for the last 16 days in efforts to make my skin uninhabitable to tinea versicolor, a persistent fungus thats’ on everyone’s skin, but can really take advantage during hot months or if people have weakened immune systems.

i’m happy to say that the tinea is mostly relieved of its duty to take over my skin. after putting my clothes on, i went downstairs to make my liver purification drink from Farida Sharan’s book Herbs of Grace. I discovered Farida online while reading herbalism articles and, as I am in a transition looking at possible next steps, I got Farida’s book because I was also attracted to her school in Colorado and wanted to feel her and her teachings out more before I took any other steps. I’m finding her book, which under Herbs of Grace says Becoming Independently Healthy, a great tool in doing just that. It’s a real empowerment tool with a multitude of practical recipes/paradigms to infuse healing into all aspects of life.

The first recipe I tried was for liver purification and it includes eating 4-6 cloves of garlic blended with OJ (or grapefruit juice), cold pressed olive oil and lemon juice. I actually really like eating this first thing in the morning. I’m not sure how everyone else feels about it though, as I’m in the early stages and I am literally farting out pure eau de parfum of garlic 🙂 hehe … I ate this this morning and then had a cup of fenugreek, licorice root and fennel tea, as recommended in the book to aid digestion, sooth the stomach and mask the breath a bit! I’m not sure if it’s doing that.

Next I dropped Ini off at work and continued my drive to the spot at the nature preserve. I read some of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and was inspired by the question she posed, What are you deep deep dreams? As I did my morning yoga on the platform there, I felt great gratitude for life rushing through me as I let this question rest in the back of my mind. One thing I’d like to do is to help/empower people make the changes they want to make in their life. The beauty of the morning sun, the sweet clear breeze, bird song and environment of plants and trees bristling in the wind welled up inside of me. I thought of some wisdom from Farida’s book along the lines of creating an inner environment of such peace that outward circumstances aren’t able to easily shake it.

My body started to feel long and lithe. I practiced releasing some tension in my hamstrings, which have always been notoriously tight. Today, when i was in the yoga position, Plow, I lengthened my legs and told them, I will hold this position until you stop shaking. Here’s something I wrote this morning as I recollected my yoga practice:

And I held myself there until my legs shook. I knew I could go all the way with it. My body delighted in the challenge, in the edge, in the growth. I remembered then how healthy that is for me. To stretch, to feel my ligaments met with their own tension, to hold it and breathe into it. It felt so good. It felt like life. Like the breath of life was moving into my dark places, illuminating my places of pain, fear, holding and scaredness. I’ve pushed myself a lot in life. I haven’t always had the awesome powerful love I have now (or I haven’t always known that I have it). It makes all the difference, stretching and pushing myself from my own ground, from my own center — instead of being perpetually pulled off kilter. 

I held my legs until they stopped shaking. As they shook, I said, I’ll hold you until you stop shaking. Shortly thereafter I felt an energy rise through my whole body and exit through my crown. The shaky energy left. I felt my left IT band pulsating a long bridge-like throb. My body feels strong in these early hours. The yoga, stretches, breathing are all very healing for me; I intent to continue making space for myself and the things I love.”  

Day 5: a place of health, ease & rest

There is bright sun. It is morning sun in the summer. I have arrived to the platform just in time. The platform at the nearby nature preserve, the platform that sits in the middle of the wild field. There is a mowed pathway to the wooden platform. The path is full of black eyed susans, lavender bee balm, young poplars, raspberries and, as I make my way, a red tailed hawk soars across the field near the adjoining tree line. I’ve brought my journal, a book, a yoga mat and my hat. I’ve put my sun screen on and I have an extra shirt.

It is very breezy out in the middle of this field above the plants on the platform. The sun shines through the surrounding forest creating the most lovely orange glow. Being in this space allows me to feel easily thankful and I breathe deeply as I do upward & downward dog, bend over and touch my toes and reeeeach! for the sky. I practice yogic breathing exercises and expel all the stagnant air in my body. I remember many things as I do these exercises and I am again amazed at the shifting realities of consciousness – how a change in setting, posture, stretches and deep and slow or shallow and rhythmic breathing can change thoughts, perceptions and feelings- in a term, they can change reality. The air is so fresh and I’m able to deeeeeply take it in after the breathing exercises. I feel renewed, as if I am a new person with new thoughts, a more flexible body, surround and filled by a lightness without and within.

I feel the soft yet hot morning sun glaze over my skin. I adjust my pose so my face isn’t directly in it and I continue breathing and stretching until I lay on my mat for some deep relaxation, to feel how my body has changed after all of the stretches and breathing. As I lay there in silence, the birdsong plays in my ears, along with the rustling of the cottonwood tree’s leaves. The field is a place of much activity and yet, unlike a busy city, it imparts a sense of peace. A playful rejuvenation.  This field is a tonic and I give thanks again that such places exist in the midst of cities and towns, sometimes, as in the case of this one, right off the edge of the highway.

prompt: “Write in different places – for example, in a laundromat, and pick up on the rhythm of the washing machines. Write at bus stops, in cafes. Write what is going on around you.”

 

a softening

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

people at my age just dig in further. they get more intense in a certain thing, like entrenched, which sounds terrible.

so i’d have to say it’s either you or your sister.

she goes on to talk about my sister. and her softening.

i was really saddened by her harshness. i didn’t want her to turn into this bitter person who was so controlling. cuz she’s a worrier, she really is.

i’m so glad to see her soften.

how do you think she softened?

her relationship with her husband. 


 

i asked my mom this question, as she was sitting here near me on this saturday morning, and i didn’t really have anyone come into my mind. my sister was a feisty child. at around age 8 she had a life threatening asthma attack. she almost died & was in intensive care for 2 weeks. my parents were there around the clock. people everywhere were praying for her. my family still gets emotional when it gets brought up. after that, my sister changed from a soft spoken yet strong willed princess to a sick child. she started to take tons of medicine all of the time. this defined her, as did her constant headaches & other ouchies that only grew with the years. it continued this way until she got into college and met the person she ultimately married. as my mom said, this softened her. she’s more willing to step out into the unknown with her partner. sometimes relationships can do that for people; create a sense of safety that allows them to step outside of their boxes of fear and perhaps bitterness. i’m glad to see my sister more willing to hike, play outside, explore in caves again. for so many years, the sicknesses defined her and kept her cloistered.


 

Also, in celebration of my 200th post, I’m doing 15 Days of Writing Prompts from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Join me and others for Day 2: found here. 

New blog : Natural Healing Tinea Versicolor

New blog : Natural Healing Tinea Versicolor

hey friends! i’ve started a new blog today & made my first post.

~ http://naturalhealingtineaversicolor.wordpress.com/ ~

for three years now i’ve had a little rash (composed of a fungus ~ tinea versicolor~ which exists on all of our skins, but which can get out of control on some skins & be annoying and sometimes unsightly or itchy!). there’s not a lot of clear data on the internet for how to use natural / home remedies to remedy or prevent it (and conclusive research is that it’s impossible to prevent! what?! i’m going to try to see if i can disprove that one!).

a lot of sites will say, “you can use this or that (insert natural remedy),” but don’t give real data on if it works or how to use it. so i’m creating a blog where i experiment with what works for me & this information will be shared to benefit other people. perhaps you have tinea versicolor pop up on your skin in the summertime or know someone who does – what has worked for you?

i hope you’ll come over & visit my blog or share it with a friend who would do well to connect with it/me. it’s a very common skin infection; you may be surprised! thanks! ❤ wren

A call from the earth heart: Let your actions be your song of gratitude ~~

For years I have been dreaming of some-day homesteading & it is a grand possibility that the day is here that this dream can begin in full. In groundedness. In partnership & possibility. I think the day is here that the land-based experimenting begins (for it will always be an experiment). The land beckons. The land needs me (and don’t I know how I need it!). It is continually amazing to me the things which are valued in our present culture. It is true we are divorced from the earth as a culture. Inherent in this problem is not technology (though without boundaries, this development contributes to this divide). It is an orientation toward the earth which does not value the things of the earth which are, which exist and have existed for millions of years. This is clean pure water & air. These are two things which our society treats as throwaway commodities. I remember living in LA and weeping, feeling such pain over the degradation and devaluing of water & air. As if there is anything more important. And land-use is tied up in this, too. For everywhere throughout the United States the government is funding  & subsidizing on a mass scale farm operations which are inherently damaging to the soil and water of the earth, which is our body & blood, too.

And so here, in this Appalachian homestead, to find pure water, clean air, good soil is like an unnamable gift that seemingly should be available to everyone (as it is so natural and inherent), yet is a scarcity. All over people complain of the city water and in many other countries, water is even more devastated. Yet why? How have we let it slip this far?

I am humbled to have the opportunity to caretake this land, to care for and enjoy & relish in this opportunity. Oddly enough the earth & the people groups most closely associated with life of the earth are the most often devastated. Why do you think this is? To me it seems to be because there is this greed-instict for more – an insatiable desire to dominate which has taken over people of the earth. Those that don’t have it or who don’t feed that part of themselves, who are more peaceable, less interested in expanding and taking over and who are more inherently of-the-earth up until now have continually gotten taken-over by this contingent that would seek to exploit & continue conquering & dominating. Up until now this dominating contingent has been able to continually spread out over the earth extracting resources, gaining in material wealth & therefore in control. But now the very resources of our planet, the fabric of the earth is crying out for us to listen, to stand, to call out this dominating streak, to change our ways and return to the earth. It is up to us what we will do and each of our actions makes a difference. All the difference in the world, in fact.

To have found a remaining place undamaged and into perpetuity placed into a land conservation is a dream-come-true. It is an unnamable vestige of the primordial gift humans have a right to on this planet. The gods of petroleum, the dollar, flashy shiny things like cars and new appliances, bigger less efficient spacious homes~ full of comfort and ease – these all attract the people of the earth away from this inherently rewarding life-style of tending the earth, caring for what already is. Let me ask, when will the material things ever be enough? Christmas after Christmas- or whenever!- of getting gifts- when will that one gift ever be enough? Or is there within the modern human an insatiable wanting for the next thing & the next (which is natural enough). But look at what happens if this desire-penchant is never examined or named. Everyone has plenty of things filling their homes, but what has happened to the clean air & water? What has happened to the beauty of the natural world?

Everyone is moving around so fast, maybe they couldn’t see it anyway. But has the speed & commodities of the culture taken us away from something inherent and very important to what it means to be human? I believe it has. And I believe the answer lies in returning to the earth. Returning to her rhythms, to relationship with her. Practicing listening to the land instead of placing our temporary, this-one-lifetime wills and desires into the mix. For if we do not listen, the earth is going to respond to us. She has all the gifts to give us, but if we do not start treating her with respect & loving her, the systems are going to fail. The things which we need to live (clean air, water & good food) are going to become scarce. Then the money, the car, the house will not matter. If we don’t have these very basic things, which now we take for granted, humans will not be able to inhabit this place any longer. It is time to wake up. This is a wake up call. Wake Up! Let these words impress upon you and see for yourself, from within, if they are true to you. If they are, ask yourself from within what the next step is for you. We must all begin seeing our true roots in mother earth. Enough of the divide, the divorce from her seeking only to consume. We must become active participants in the earth story. Planting, harvesting, sharing and tending. Experimenting in relationship with the earth. Then let our actions be our song of thanks for this great gift of being here.