“kids these days”! or so i’ve heard. we can’t connect. but are we, ourselves, connected? to anything? why do we wonder that we can’t connect to our children when we can’t connect to ourselves. they are imitating our own dumbass behaviors, and we are not showing them our best side.
can foraging bridge that emptiness, the hole in our hearts? the hole in our families? does a family-either a blood family or a chosen family-build bonds by watching television? by playing farmville, by catalog shopping or by microwaving burritos? or does a family build a strong foundation by roaming the woods and neighborhoods together, searching for plants or fungi, identifying insects and birdsongs?
i want to be open-minded and say-oh, hell a family can build bonds around reality tv. but my heart says no. because, my friends, out there in the woods it is a holy sacrament. eucharist means thanksgiving, and tasting the forest is a sacrament we can all share. flesh of my flesh? fungi IS the actual fruit of the actual soil, no leaps of faith needed. making or own medicine is a connection you will never find at the store. growing our own food feeds both body AND mind.
have we humans somehow evolved, in only 2 or 3 generations, out of our foundational need, our desire, our instinct, to forage for or own food? have we somehow evolved into a technological mindset which does not value touching, smelling, feeling the source? NO, we have not. the need is still inside of us. even with our brains held captive by modernity the communion is still valid.
becasue why would god, however you view them, not be in the fungi, in the insects, in the soil and muck and plants and stone? why would spirit not be found in a forgotten piece of woods where old TVs, underpants, loising lottery tickets and beer bottles snuggle with wild goldenseal, beautiful trilliums and rotting logs? why would the earth’s energy suddenly become unavailable to all people?
answer: it has not. the earth and its gifts are all around us and we CAN return at any time. we CAN choose to see what is all around us. we can choose to celebrate what is under this pavement. we can, right now, get off our asses and look behind the strip malls and dumpsters and see the spirit of renewal in action, pollination, turning of the wheel, rejuvenation, plants protecting soil, earth breaking down someone’s discarded undies, dogs eating dropped doritos, bees on “invasive” knotweed and pigeons bathing in puddles. it’s a clusterfuck celebration and it’s the foundation we can build our lives upon.
we can go to the taco bell drive-thru-again!–or we can finally choose to participate in the animal-vegetable-mineral magic that spends all day trying desperately to get our attention, taking moments away from safety and away from antibacterial panic hell to let reality in.
and, friends, reality tastes good.
the family that forages together, stays together. May 19, 2013
“kids these days”! or so i’ve heard. we can’t connect. but are we, ourselves, connected? to anything? why do we wonder that we can’t connect to our children when we can’t connect to ourselves. they are imitating our own dumbass behaviors, and we are not showing them our best side.
don’t be an herbal enabler~! April 8, 2013
Have you ever had a client come in and ask you for help with foot pain? “I need something for my feet! They hurt every time I wear these shoes!” Or indigestion-”help! Whenever I eat hot weiners I get terrible indigestion. I need herbs!” Do you give them something? Do you give out salves for skin fungus? “Herbal antibiotics” for colds? Alleged Fat burning herbs to lose weight? If so, you may be an herbal enabler.
It’s OK, I understand. It is very common to want to help others! But in order to really kick ass, it helps to treat underlying causes. If someone gets foot pain from high heels, they don’t need a salve. They need flats. If someone wants palliative care for their ulcer but can’t/won’t deal with stress that induces it, they need support and a nervine, not just “ulcer tea”. If someone gets recurring infections, they may need air flow or movement rather than an “antifungal cream”.
We do ourselves and our clients a disservice when we let them off the hook too easily. When we don;t ask questions, when we “don’t go there”. Dudes, it’s time to go there. Insomnia? Ask about mommy issues, exercise, food, sexuality. Light pollution, safety, dreams.Talk about sugar, talk about screen time, talk about fear and shame, talk about classism and racism. Relationships. Addictions. Trauma.
It’s time for us to say : Hey, maybe you don’t need a salve for that rash? Maybe you need to take a daily walk, solve a longterm problem, switch to cotton underpants or as herbalist Rebecca Altman geniusly calls it “tree time”. Outside time. Earth time. A notebook and pencil, a chair in the shade.
I am not saying we should withhold palliative care and force our clients to conform to our ideas of what is up. Quite the opposite, as we sometimes must palliate as a step towards something else. But that is all-a step, not the end.
We as herbalists have a responsibility to ask questions, to be obnoxious if needed,(and it IS needed) to observe and point out patterns, to explore those places where it hurts to go. We need to do our job, as problem solvers, as jesters or as shapeshifters, a job that is as old as dirt but is now mainly filled by a few remaining great comedians.
It helps noone to abdicate our responsibilty, it is a copout to hand out some cream and see ya later. We CAN tell people “you are beautiful”. We can tell people “I hear you”. We can point out that the emperor wears no clothes, that they are not insane, that they are not “toxic”, that the pain of this world is real, that they CAN let go. That we are all in this together and hell we’re all stardust anyway, so Gimme a freaking hug.
We can point out the relationship between having a great ad and your product being crap, between fancy packaging and actual content. We can talk about the follies of Dr Phil, Dr Oz, overmedication, New age bullshit, pubmed, repression, “some guy on the internet”, the “last 10 pounds”, and expensive green cleanses. We can dive into the places where fear takes us, and come out better for it.
For like it or not we are on the fringe. It’s called alternative medicine, so act like it. Be the alternative. Be flexible, Ask why. 1,000 times. Kick some ass, my friends, stop waiting around for a certificate or someone else’s approval and dive in, ask questions. and don’t be afraid to hear the answers.
brand new magic miracle weight loss herb! March 25, 2013
I am staggered by the sheer amount of claims out there for a magic health bullet. But even more so in the area of weight loss. There is a willing team of marketers working day and night to exploit our self-hatred, our body shame, our total confusion about health and our overwhelming desire to be “saved” from ourselves. This is NOT a holistic approach to health or weight loss. There is no magic weight loss herb. There is no combination of exotic supplements that is going to replace exercise. And why would you want to? The health benefits of exercise extend WAY beyond weight loss to cardiovascular health, stress reduction, community building and muscle building. There’s no community in a bottle of raspberry ketones, my friends.
So how DOES one lose weight then? I would argue that emotional work needs to be done. A long, slow process for some of uncovering our excuses, our misconceptions, and our addictions. That’s right, I said addictions–we are hooked on convenience, distraction and crap. No magic pill will get your ass out of a rut, it must be fought for. And fighting is the key-do you see yourself as a warrior, an athlete? I didn’t. How easy it was for me to live all up in the head, to seek comfort and avoid confrontation with reality. But the connection of body and mind is so abundantly clear and amazing that it can no longer be denied.
And there comes a point in life when one must say fuck it. When we have to FEEL the fear, to push through the crap that we cover ourselves up with like a blanket, go and go and go until you feel your burden lifting. Mom didn’t love you? Dad called you fat? You don’t have the “right” outfit?You couldn’t run the mile in high school? You really really like cheese? Let it go. Give it up.
Oh, there is pain involved. There may be tears, and pushback, and exhaustion. Bring a hankie. But one day you may just realize that noone gives a hoot if your arms are jiggling in Zumba!tm class, and others are so high on their own endorphins that they don’t even see you, and suddenly all that crap that held you back seems very insignificant. There is no feeling as empowering as finally asking oneself “What the heck was I so afaid of?!?”
It’s about taking our power back from advertising, from bullies, from judgement, from our own or others’ ideas of “perfection” and feeling, for real, what the body can do. Taking pride in our muscles, in our booty dances, in overcoming obstacles-both literally and figuratively! Feeling the wind in our hair and the sweat in our armpits and finding our own inner peace. Movement is medicine! It can help with many many common health problems-from digestion to insomnia to stress to poor circulation–which we currently throw buckets of pharmaceuticals and “natural” remedies at.
Herbs will NOT fix your repression, pills will NOT give you determination, supplements will NEVER address self loathing. 100 Dr. Oz shows won’t take your fear away. Action will.
And there are barriers–class, race, gender, disability-I understand the challenges our society places in front of us. Poverty. Junk food. Stereotypes. Accessibility. Seek and destroy barriers whenever possible. True wellness is not a “diet”, it’s a way of life. Movement, emotional processing, relaxation, vegetables, music, fresh air are all tools for us to use. Mantras can be helpful-mine is currently “I HAVE NO EXCUSES!” So build your own toolbox with what works for you! Ditch the grapefruit and the supercleanses, toss the hydroxycut and the magical bioslimmer fast and easy crap.
Seek and destroy, baby! It’s time to take our power back from those who wish to exploit us-for their own financial gain. And damn, girl-have some fun and shake that thang while you’re at it.
winter wellness for the mind February 28, 2013
Ah, winter– on its way out here, sort of, over the next 6 weeks. And I do love spring. But I don’t want to see winter as something to get rid of. It is a valid expression of the earth-cold, rest, snow, ice and darkness have as much of a place here as sunny days and daffodils. But whether one can accept winter as a part of life or spend all day whining about it on facebook the reality is that many humans need extra support in winter. In order to keep ourselves healthy in body, mind and “other” the self-care program is extra important.
So. What are some ways that this herbalist would work towards wellness in the depths of late winter?
1. Take vitamins! Especially vitamin D, daily. Magnesium is fun too.
2. Nourish oneself deeply. I eat a lot of warm foods in cold weather. It’s 50 degrees in my house, you couldn’t pay me enough to eat a cucumber right now. I am a huge fan of braises and roasts, all slow cooking, bone broths and slippery noodle soups, spicy stews and big breakfasts.
3. Sleep. I value sleep very very highly. It is important-rest, dreaming, recharging.
4. Exercise. I am a person who spent 30 plus years thinking of myself as “unathletic”. I was chosen last for ALL team sports. I can’t catch a ball and don’t really want to. The thought of playing sports makes me literally burst into tears. I also don’t look like an athlete. Kind of the opposite- I am very short with a rounded hourglass body shape. I look like a librarian and spent years all up in my head acting like a librarian. But secretly I AM an athlete-we all are. I spend at least an hour hiking nearly every day. It is only a very recent human development to decide that some of us are physically active and others are not. We were made to move and it feels really really good-endorphins of course, which contribute to mental health. But hiking is a time to think and process too. Walking, swimming, yoga, nearly all sports and workouts contribute to mental health in many ways by giving us the time and space to just be, to meditate or think or just ROCK OUT!! Plus, my ass looks great.
5. Outside. Though indoor exercise has a lot of benefits, going outside is vital for my mental health. I will go out in almost any weather, except for hail or very damaging storms. I am not a fair-weather-friend to nature, I love nature in every form. I enjoy visiting with a tree throughout the seasons, watching for new spring growth or bud swelling. Looking at the same mountain every day in every different type of weather is also very healing. Fresh air, varied terrain, bird songs and clouds all contribute to my mental health plan. And, if you’re into that crap, the intangible quality of grounding is something I can only get by going outside. It’s just being part of something, making connections, being out in a wild and uncontrolled space, feeling the earth under my feet, it feeds me in a way no manmade structure ever can.
6. Talk. Winter is a holding-it-in kind of time, and it is wonderful to think and mull. Writing is a nice way to express that stuff. But occasionally getting a good bull session in can do wonders for us. When we ask for support and provide that support to others it is like setting down a heavy pack after a hike. AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. It is amazing the things that come up when we feel safe and let go. Sometimes I didn’t know the cause of my malaise until I am deep in a discussion or writing session and a little chunk of shame from 20 years ago shows up. Oops. Learn to let go and move on.
7. Herbs. I should mention that adding herbs on top of seasonal depression or just a winter funk is somewhat pointless if you don’t commit to greater self care. Herbs are magic, but they don’t take the place of common sense. That being said, I do use herbs in the winter-I love lemon basil on dark days with or without rosa rugosa elixir. I drink linden tea in the evening, I always love scullcap, I keep my milky oats tincture handy and I also like lavender tincture. I put warming herbs in coffee like cinnamon or nutmeg. I cook with rosemary on chicken or in shortbread. I eat bunches and bunches of parsley. I eat buckets of garlic to keep myself healthy. It is also a nice time for me to experiment with tinctures I’d made the previous summer, to press out tinctures and make new tea blends, simmer syrups and soak in an herbal bath.(see “I’m not an athlete” for why I need to do that!”) It is an experimental time, with few garden duties and time to plan out next year’s seed purchase.
8. Lovin’. I find sexual wellness to be a great contributor to overall wellness. I am not going to go into great detail here about the role of orgasm in mental health but let me just say ALL of our body parts need attention.
9. Sensory input. I play music that cheers me up, seek smells that make me happy, make my bed with soft sheets that comfort me. In the summer it is easy to feel moss under bare feet, smell flowers and get sun in our bodies. But sensory input is important all year and it is helpful to remember to feed all of our senses. Revel in a hot bath, roaring fire, birdwatching, dog patting, soup slurping.
10. Education. I see winter as the time for unlimited interlibrary loans. I read about anything that interests me, right now I am reading about barefoot running, wilderness navigation, butchery, competitive rose gardening and the history of Barbie. I am taking a class on herbal first aid and listening to pema chodron audio talks. I read the newspaper, devour seed catalogs and magazines, and enjoy proofreading. Self education is something I value highly and learning new things keeps me feeling balanced and happy.
We all have our own strategies for dealing with difficult times. I find I really enjoy feeling great and doing what I have to do to stay great. But of course wallowing in self-pity has its own value at times. I think, if I have one piece of advice to sum up my winter wellness strategy, it would be: Don’t just lay down and die becasue it’s kinda cold out. Take your time for introspection, take your sleeping-in and snuggling, and balance it with getting up off your ass and moving, challenging, creating and connecting.
portrait of the herbalist as a fly in the ointment February 5, 2013
In the vast world of plant medicine, which is difficult to define and harder still to contain, indivuduals must find their own roles. To be an “expert” on all plants is like being an expert on every single planet in the entire solar system-absurd! Impossible! Yet one could seek to be very very good at first aid, nutrition, botany or teaching. I, however, am not. I am not particularly good at writing monographs or nutritional counseling. I suck at making formulas and keying out species. So what’s my niche? Questioning everything.
I did not become an herbalist to sell stuff, to make friends or to be nice. I got into herbalism becasue a giant green hammer was pounding in my brain, leading me outside and into the arms of the plants. I am a fly in the ointment and I have learned to stop fighting that role and embrace it. I am the drunken bridesmaid of herbalism, the elephant in the room, knocking stuff over and crying at inappropriate times.
I question becasue I believe herbalism is an explosion, a compost pile, hot inside, constantly growing and changing, expanding and making a mess. I believe herbalists are red wrigglers eating crap and giving back black gold,and I believe the transformational possibilites are endless.
We can choose to embrace this or not, and neither is right or wrong for everyone.
But should we give simple answers to simple questions? That is up for each to decide, but I believe mostly no-we may do a disservice to others by asnwering oversimplified “what’s good for x” type questions. This fly wants to teach you HOW to learn, not what to do. I do not want to make a sale or make friends, I want to push people a little, to make folks think–I myself have been offended by words that later, upon reflection, changed my life.
Often we are taught to never rock the boat, to give short answers, sound bites and polite euphemisms. School, work, institutions, “check this box!” Well, fuck that! Are we trying to spark people, to change the world? Or are we more concerned with offending someone? Are we more afraid to challenge others and ourselves?
Herbalism is not an ossuary. There is no one master list where we look up this for that. Herbalism is a bullet train full of green revelers, hurtling through space, a dynamic and evolving force. herbalism is resistance, resilience, evolution. We are artisans practicing a craft-practicing for life-never mastering. For an artist can master painting a still life, over and over, 3 pears and a vase of flowers until it’s perfect. But every single living thing is different and awesome and every herbal interaction is a dance between herbalist and plant medicine, between client and herbalist and between plant emdicine and client. We are painting a volcanic explosion not a still life.
This is beautiful and exciting as well as sometimes frustrating, but we must accept that there is no easy answer, there is no box to check off. I reject the marketing schemes and the lifelong indoctrination that we can fix things easily and simply with pills.
So our craft needs the cheerful, the positive, the nice and the linear. Our craft needs all of you wonderful people who choose not to alienate or offend others, all of the different styles and all of the choices. But herbalism also needs the obnoxious, the questioners who poke at life with a stick to see what happens. Herbalism also needs to get shaken up sometimes, to crack our minds open and see what comes out, even if it is messy and challenging, hilarious and painful. That is one of the ways we learn.
winter is wonderful! January 24, 2013
aH, WINTER, time to huddle in front of the fire complaining about how life sucks, right? NO! Winter is a great time to get off your ass and go for a hike.
Hiking is 90% of my mental health care plan and I sure as heck won’t let a little thing like “one degree temperatures” stop me from being well. Attitude goes a long way–We are not victims of weather-we need to learn how to coexist with the earth and that means all of it. We don’t just get to live here when it is 70 degrees and sunny, people. We are here on earth every darn day from birth to death and we can take the opportunity to know all different types of weather.
Winter is beautiful. I hear folks say “everything is dead” but really that’s bullshit. Just because a plant isn’t flowering doesn’t make it dead. Are you dead when you are resting? And hey-what about lichens? ferns? mosses? sheepsorrel? evergreens? mullein? celandine? ajuga? garlic mustard? HELLO! You have to get down there on your hands and knees and look!
We have created highly unrealistic conditions indoors, with temperatures which do not in any way reflect the reality of life. The disconnect is shocking. I saw 2 different humans outdoors in pajamas yesterday. The high was like 7. I was cheerfully sweating in my thrift store coat and wool socks.
And I value a feeling of accomplishment. I value building character. I don;t wish to avoid discomfort at all costs, and I question how our culture constantly gives us messages that our comfort and convenience are more important than
our character! Additionally, we would benfit from feeling responsible for our own wellness, and both exercise and outdoors time contribute immensely to our well-being.
So my advice is get yourself appropriately dressed and motivate to get outside and move, check out the amazing ice and brilliant sky, keep moving and soak up a little sunshine. The best way to really feel grattitude for the warmth we have is to feel it deep down in your bones… coming in from the cold!
Ear infections: natural support January 14, 2013
So, otitis media–the common ear infection. It is very common in children and not unusual in adults. It is the number one reason for antibiotics prescriptions in the US and costs 3-4 billion-yes, billion-dollars each year to treat in the us alone. WHY?
Ear infection with no complication can be easily treated at home by a caregiver. And the world of standard medicine is beginning to see this. Many studies have been done in the past 10 years or so. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics, a VERY conservative group, is suggesting the “watchful waiting” approach-where the parent keeps an eye on the child or on oneself in case of worsening while treating the illness at home. Wow!
WEb MD, a bastion of meds and alarm, recommends using garlic/mullein ear oil at home. The New York Times says “Most cases of acute otitis media do not require antibiotocs”. Harvard Medical School says “80% of children with acute ear infection will get better without antibiotics.” Well, then! maybe it’s time to stop the madness, eh?
I have personal experience with ear infections. All of my kids have had at least one. I myself am prone to ear troubles, and get an ear infection each winter. I also have dealt with ruptured eardrums, which also usually resolve on their own.
I do not recommend an emergency room visit for ear infections. My personal opinion is, I don’t think a doctor’s visit is needed at all for an ear infection unless there is a secondary complication, an underlying condition or it goes on for more than 3-5 days.
So how does an herbalist Mama treat herself and her family? Lymphatics. Heat, rest, time. Good food. This is a situation where I will use an otc pain med. A few of the treatments I use:
1. Ear oils. If there is no rupture in the eardrum, a slightly warmed ear oil can be droppered into the ear. The gold standard is Mullein flower and garlic. Some folks like alder, willow, aspen or another anti-inflammatory. This should be done every few hours, cotton balls can be used in the outer ear to keep it al in there. You can make this oil yourself!
2. Heat. When my daughter told me she received ice for her ear pain at school I shuddered with horror. Heat is soothing, moving and brings pain relief. I use a hot water bottle but any kind of heating device can be used. Additonally, keep ears and head warm and dry. WEAR A HAT! even in the house if needed. Keep your neck warm too.
3.Pain management-contrary to popular opinion I am not against all otc medcines all the time. There is a time and a place for using acetaminophen or nsaids to reduce pain and inflammation. I use them sparingly but ear infections can be shockingly painful. However, be sure not to mask pain altogether, we must know if the condition is getting better or worse, or if it is resolving itself.
4. Herbs-I use frequent high doses of lymphatics in tincture form such as Cleavers, Calendula flower, Violet leaf, Mullein leaf, Alder bark. My intention is to support the body’s natural healing process. In the case of a ruptured eardrum I used a more intense approach, with frequent high doses of Alder, fresh Echinacea root and 1 part Calendula flower alternated with a tincture of Elecampane root and goldenrod. This is a short term protocol as it is quite drying. I love to use Monarda fistulosa here, and Propolis, Linden, California Poppy. I also like lymphatic massage, high doses of vitamins C and D, medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitake, simmered broths and soups with ginger and garlic and a drink of warm water or Elder flower tea with raw honey and raw apple cider vinegar. I can’t say enough about supporting our own healing process with nutrition–cut out crap food, sugar, milk if needed and nourish yourself through the illness.
5. Movement-gentle exercise supports drainage and healing. While I do NOT recommend doing vigorous exercise with a severe ear infection due to balance issues I have found movement to be a great way to support healing. Do what works for you, but don’t automatically lay on the couch for days moaning “IIIIIIII’m DEEEEEAD!” if you can help it.
And, of course if the infection does not resolve with natural treatment there is no shame in getting some help. Antibiotics can help in severe or prolonged cases, and we must remember not to judge. It’s hardly a radical view to recommend this wait-and-see approach when the staid aap suggests it and many studies support it. I strongly recommend taking basic responsibility for our own healing in non-emergency cases. I believe that to transform our ideas of healing we need to watch it happen! And to observe the body’s own healing power which is a truly wondrous thing. To have faith in our own abilities and to cultivate patience and observation skills. And, ultimately, to view the doctors and hospitals as AN option, not THE only option in dealing with our well-being.
in praise of the fever dream December 26, 2012
After a hot hot hot spruce bath and some linden/elderflower infusion I find myself in bed, floating through worlds, my bones burning and my mind drfiting up and up. Alternating between hot and cold with one sock halfway off I am dreaming and tossing about, waking occasionally to feebly reach for water or a lymphatic tincture.
It’s a fever dream, and I’m giving my body space to heal itself. After getting the un-fabulous advice, at a party, that “sudafed and benadryl are good for sinus infections” I find myself musing on what we—mothers, healers, our culture–have given up. If we pop a sudafed-tm-every time we fall ill we are denying ourselves the opportunity to build our OWN knowledge about the human body. This fever is giving me information about myself. It is giving me words and phrases, showing me my fears and my strengths.
I believe that it is part of life to fall ill, to feel our blood ice up and our brain catch fire. How else can we know what is possible? How can sudafed teach us what healing means?
And every time I hear folks ask me what they can do to avoid illness I tell them that illness is an opportunity. Some of my favorite healers are seekers who see illness as a learning experience. Our wisdom is hard-won and comes from hands-on experience which sometimes gets messy. Illness teaches us how to support healing, how to get out of the way of healing, and puts the knowledge and the feeling into our own hands, puts the power into us. Popping wal-mart echinacea pills every day is a suppressive technique. Taking unnecessary medications (natural or pharmaceutical) to suppress symptoms is not “healing”.
I find my best healing comes from movement. Moving the lymphatics, moving mucous, moving stuck energy, activating digestion. Allowing the fever to do its’ job inside of us.
Because all of life is a learning opportunity. Hot weather is an opportunity to feel hot. Cold weather is an opportunity to feel cold. Discomfort is a gift which gives us the chance to learn what tools we have, as humans, to help ourselves and to support our bodies’ natural processes. We are so eager to dry humidity and make ice less slippery that we never understand what humidity feels like, or what slippery really means. We do not KNOW hot or cold. We do not SEEK to know.
The way that we are giving our own power away harms us, and our children too. It rewards people and corporations who will give us comfort at any cost. Those who can learn to accept some basic discomfort as a normal part of life will be prepared for whatever may happen. Allowing our children to feel a fever’s heat and chills is a gift which teaches them not to fear their bodies.
It is my wish to ride my fever like a surfer, accepting the fear, facing the mortality of my body. Because more so than those without fear, it is those who feel the fear then do it anyway who build power and wisdom. Neither sudafed nor benadryl will give a speck of wisdom or empowerment to us, and they will never teach us about our bodies capacity to heal itself.
NOTE: this was scriblled on my bedsite notebook during a fever. if that is what YOU consider “medical advice”, fine. however, it should be clear that i do NOT intend this to be medical advice!!!!!!!!
violence stacked up December 17, 2012
Is the violence that this nation was founded upon a curse that is now haunting us?
In the forms of the bullshit we call “entertainment”-worms in our hearts and minds. In the forms of our actions against each other, sexual violence, physcial violence, murder. At our feet, constantly, is a debased relationship to the earth. Can anything be solved-ever-without recognizing that?
How can we possibly expect to fix this state of affairs with laws? Murder is already against the law.
We are reflecting generations of history now, history that was swept under the rug. Rape of people and land. Stolen bodies. Lynchings, hangings. Labor struggles. Children fed into looms, Women fed into factory fires, men’s bodies buried underground in mines forever.
If we fail to grapple with our own history and our relationship to the earth no law will prevent our children from opening fire upon each other.
If we fail to notice that our media is ultraviolent, manipulative, hypersexual, debased and fraudulent we will continue to pour it on ourselves like gasoline.
If we continue to send our people to fight brutal wars and kill others we will never, ever know peace in our hearts.
If we cannot recognize that humans have a need for healthy outlets to express ourselves, and that sometimes our expressions are seen by others as “violent”–but that has its place–this energy will keep exploding on us.
If we cannot stop treating animals and plants like objects which we deserve to treat like shit we will not be able to form healthy relationships with them.
If we do not deal with issues of class, race, gender, sexuality and religion in a way that spreads tolerance and awareness of others’ needs we will live in little boxes that crash into each other and make a mess.
I will never give up hope in my heart that this IS possible, that we can do it, and that someday we will all look around and realize that a better world is worth the work.
ass affirmation December 13, 2012
all that junk inside your trunk?”
-Black Eyed Peas
Oh, yes, time for our daily affirmations:
‘I am a good person’.
‘I deserve love and cash to flow into my heart. And stuff’.
‘I’m beautiful!’ ‘People love me!’
That’s cool. I’ve got nothing against affirmations. But I prefer a different type myself. People say that where thoughts go, energy flows. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But I believe that energy flows where pelvic thrusts go.
Yes, my ass is the channel through which I receive the blessings of the universe. Bear with me people, this ain’t dirty talk. I just see ass-shaking as the kind of Chakra alignment I personally need. I wasn’t raised with the blessing of ass shaking, quite the opposite. My biker family gifted me with the ability to shoot stuff, drink beer and write satire. All lovely, but my ass, well, it stayed still for too long.
I always thought I could start shaking my ass when it magically became perfect. When my ass resembled that shit they shake in music videos, which has a snowball’s chance in hell of happening. I was shy, embarassed, awkward.
And then one day I’d had enough! I wanted to shake my ass, goshdarnit! Enough fear of looking like a spaz, enough of my stupid mental block! And I did it.
Because affirmations are in our heads. Yes, it is nice to think positively, to love ourselves intellectually. To make lists of all the crap we’re grateful for, and meditate on lovingkindness. To me, the ass supercedes all the intellectual baggage. It is the seat, the root, the hump–and moving it literally grounds us in earth. It calls up the energy like tai chi. An increase in sexual expression, body acceptance, reproductive health, digestive stimulation can all follow.
I had always thought “ass” was funny, a metaphor. The butt of all jokes. But I have realized that it is quite real. Yes, medicinal ass-shaking is as old as dirt. Dancing is worship. Dancing is belonging. Dancing is exercise, stimulates circulation, builds muscles for childbirth, posture, sexuality and endurance.Take 2 crunks and a bounce and call me in the morning.
“dear goddess, we made this great beat just for you
as an offering, can you feel us now?”-Saul Williams
The earth wants to feel your stomps and sighs, your thrusts and whirls more than your endless chatter.
“Now you can use reiki to assist in magnetizing infinite blessings into your life”
-Laurelle Shanti Gaia
Yes, you can use reiki. You can buy motivational magnets.
You can arrange all the furnture in a way that creates prosperity. You can light a million candles, turn on all of the battery-powered essential oil diffusers and cloud the house with nag champa.
Or, you can thrust, shake, wiggle your liberated ass towards connection and enlightenment…for free.