Sunday, August 25, 2013

Living Medicine

When I embarked on the journey of becoming an Herbalist, I didn't realize how much I would learn about medicine, myself, and life. This journey has taught me to re-align with nature, more deeply than ever before. 

Above all, I've learned how to slow down and be patient, and that it's important to listen. We are constantly guided in this life. We are always given clues, signs, and messages of what can help us be whole and well.

We just don't always see or hear them. 

Healing is more than just taking medicine. Medicine is more than taking something into our bodies to heal an ailment. Many things can be our medicine, but I've found the healing that comes from other living beings to be the most effective.

Within each disease, injury, or illness, there is more going on than something physical. If we treat a physical ailment with only a physical remedy, the healing is incomplete. I have found that the most powerful healing always seems to come from one living being to another.

Sunflowers can brighten the heart and soul simply by looking at them.
Plant medicine has taught me that "medicine" is about healing our whole being. . . body, mind, heart, and spirit. You can't partake of plant medicine and not be changed and healed in some way. There is oh-so-much-more to a plant than meets the eye. You may receive the immediate soothing relief that Plantain provides for an insect sting or bite, but her medicine goes deeper than that. Not only does Plantain stop the itching, stinging, and swelling, but she heals the skin and soothes the mind and heart from the trauma of being bit or stung. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have never gotten that kind of relief from over-the-counter first aid treatments. 

Any medical practitioner can give us medicine or prescribe a treatment, but it's the ones who take the time to carefully listen to us, delve into all our concerns, show us compassion, and keep working till we get to the heart of the problem that truly help us heal. They are relating to us as one living being to another. Our pets who curl up with us when we're ill or feeling down, blooming plants that perk up our moods, the soothing sound of a bird singing in a nearby tree, and friends who are always there for us...this is Living Medicine.

I have come to the conclusion that living beings best understand the deeper medicine needed to completely heal. I'm not saying that pharmaceutical medications and western medical treatments have no place, for indeed, they do. They provide some life-saving measures, as well as make chronic pain tolerable. I'm just saying that they are only a part of the healing picture. 

Deep medicine comes from people, animals, and plants. I've also discovered that healing can be found in living rivers and soothing sunbaths, as those natural components of our world offer life-sustaining measures to all living things. Humans are complex living beings who are connected with other complex living beings here together on this planet. We all have the same basic needs, and therefore understand what it's like to have a need that's not being met. I believe that we are born with empathy and compassion so that we can help one another and be able to open up to receive help when we need it. 

As living beings, we remind each other how to be alive and whole, and how to heal when we have become un-wholly burdened.

We honor our body, mind, heart, and spirit when we acknowledge that healing is a journey and medicine can come to us in many forms. Long-term or serious conditions take time and personal work to heal. We can be supported by family and friends, plant medicine, animal companionship, and western medical intervention along the way, and indeed have the best chance to heal with that support.

If we're not sure which can medicine help us start our healing journey, we can go outside to bask in the sun or sit under the shade of a great tree. Or snuggle up with our beloved pet or a loved one. Or bury our face in some blossoms and breathe deep. Sometimes the healing wisdom we seek is whispered to us quietly, when we surrender and allow ourselves to simply be. The first step is often quite simple, one that we have overlooked. We truly have so much support around us when we slow down to allow ourselves to receive it.

I wish you wellness and wholeness on your journey in this life. And if you need a bit of a hand, some encouragement, or a little love, know that you can find that almost anywhere. Take a deep breath, ask for what you need, and be open to receiving the medicine in surprising and gentle ways. You are loved more than you know.

Love & Light,
Sue

Lavender offers soothing and calming medicine for mind and body.

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