I love to sit with the plants these days, and yes, just sit. A renewed practice that I have brought into the now, remembering what it is to slow down, and just be. My life, as farmer and herbalist, and I am sure many of yours too, doesn’t really allow for this, does our society even allow this? Motherhood paired with Herbalist has shown me that it is vital for my wellbeing, to do this. To be slow, to simmer, and marinate in the calm of a moment. Having one of the grandmas just down the street gives me time each week to do this, and what I am loving is that meditation is coming in a different form now. It doesn’t have to be formal, no candles or even my meditation pillows, just a place where I sit and watch the breeze blow the flowers and leaves, watch the birds in the wind, and how they land in the fields. It is glorious, gorgeous, strange and somehow perfectly familiar to be ‘meditating’ in this informal way now.
Before the frost, I was sitting with chamomile, I planted a whole bunch, so I have an entire row filled with it. The variety that I seeded in this particular row is German Chamomile. It forms a thick mat of foliage at ground level, and the flowers shoot up off of the ferny mat of leaves. I can walk on it barefoot; it is like carpet with the coolness of the earth below it, divine. The scent wafts up with each step, and that calming sensation that chamomile is famous for settles into my cells. I spent quite a few afternoons during these slow moments I have, to just be with this natural mat, and the scent of fresh chamomile.
It was one of the last warm days this year, the frost was on the forecast, and so I sat. Listening, breathing and admiring the space that the far gardens had become. Perennial greens, marshmallow, elder and yarrow bordered the space, late carrots and beets thriving amongst the herbs. I felt the whispers of the plants and beings of the unseen, subtle realms begin to stir. Forgive yourself is what I heard. Forgive yourself so you can forgive others.
This was around the time of the headlines of turmoil in the middle east. My herbalist heart had been heavy with this news from the newest war, and I had been cursing the people who pin humans against each other for their own gain, then the ones that choose a side, justifying killing of others in the name of peace. How does this even make sense? How can these humans JUDGE the other? How can these people ACT and speak in these horrible ways? How dare they…
In this moment, with the whispers of chamomile, I realized that I was judging them for the judgements they were making. While I sat wondering about how someone could do those unspeakable acts to another, I was hurting for things I had done or had allowed to be done to me… “Forgive yourself so you can forgive others and release judgement…” the spirits of chamomile finished their message.
Is this why we keep ourselves up at night? Sleepless? With worries of the day, the year, our lives? Worries of the acts of others, how we did or didn’t act toward them. How they acted was so terrible, and we are so righteous to point it out. I hear so often of these sleepless nights, and experience them often too, those nights when our minds are spinning. Yes, chamomile whispered, “Forgiveness of your human ego, and reactions to this human life. Forgive yourself where your ego has been in control… and you will release the judgements of others, forgiving them in the same moment.”
This act of forgiveness isn’t as easy as just saying it. The act takes US, not only looking at how we judge another, but also, what that mirror is to how we judge ourselves for the same ways of being, just human. When we explore OUR ways of being that we secretly loathe, unconsciously really, we find the pathways to forgiving another. It is always inside of our own hearts, first, that we must look to find peace and love for all.
Does chamomile help us in this forgiveness process? Indirectly I feel, it can. Thinking about this from the energy of calming our nervous system, the chemical reaction that this favorite sleepy time herb has to offer. We get the nourishment and spiritual healing our physical bodies need; deep sleep and rest give us more than just energy to tackle the day. This kind of rest offers spiritual healer drive so that we can relax into the truth of what needs to be healed inside of our hearts. Indirectly, chamomile is offering her spirit of calm so that we can calmly nourish the spirit of our hearts.
When there are years stacked on years of stuff that clogs our hearts and minds from truly seeing ourselves, it isn’t an easy ‘thing’ to tackle. Energies of plants like chamomile, valerian, California poppy and cat nip, even skullcap, help to alleviate the hold our human ego has on experiencing the healing that needs to happen for this self-forgiveness to take hold.
Chamomile asked me to look at how I was judging others while I was wondering why others are judging others to justify killing. When I was able to take the time to acknowledge this difficult thing, as I pride myself on being an open-minded, kind and loving human, me dear chamomile? Judging? No way! But it was true. I was holding judgments toward many groups of humans. AND it was an internal war I was fighting with myself, from the history of this lifetime. Places I had taken wrong turns and acted poorly toward myself and others.
Looking into those places, while I sat on this bed of chamomile, was where the tears welled in my eyes and the true feeling of forgiveness washed over me. On the other side, I can, now, empathize more deeply with both sides of the sides of this terrible human situation we hear of, and remember that all of this is reflecting upon the entire collective. The more we, as individuals, DECIDE to heal instead of pass judgement and turn our backs on one another, the more these human experiences will become less and less prevalent in our society.
It just takes a slowing down, a pause in our days and our weeks, to be still. To sit and listen to the hard things that come through our heart space, from our guidance, because true guidance will always challenge your human ego. When your guidance from Creator asks you to look in these cracks and creases of your heart, I am here to encourage you to do it, face and see the darkness, because when you pour your light in… less darkness is taking up space on this place we call home, and somewhere, someone else is doing the same thing.
Messages from the plants are more than just how the chemicals alter the internals of our bodies. This is the science behind the herbs, the subtle messages are how working with nature helps us to shift our lives on a deeper level. This is the whole picture of what nature based healing, and the earth’s healing truly is. The calming of the physical paired with the introspection of the spirit. The only question left, at the end of this, is; are you ready to take the leap to whole body and earth’s healing…?