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The Heart of the Matter

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Summer is the time of the Heart and the last few posts by me have been about how Heart energy can be expressed via joy and expansiveness. We are now entering the season of Late Summer, when things are at their peak and we are “digesting” our experiences we’ve had during this time.
Living in Charlottesville, I am digesting the experience of the one year anniversary of the alt-right event that occurred  August 12, 2017. I am a volunteer with the Botanica Mobile Clinic and several of us were on the mall the next day handing out herbal teas, essential oil spritzers and lavender sachets for anyone who wanted/needed them.  We sat up our table near where Heather had been killed and were there for several hours, talking with people and offering tea to all who passed. At the time, I was aware of the heaviness of the energy and frequently took turns spraying myself and clearing the space with rose and lavender to help with the great sadness.
It was afterwards that I became aware of how deeply it had affected me. Feelings of fatigue, sadness, irritability, difficulty focusing, lack of patience and enthusiasm for things – these all were felt multiple times a day and in varying intensity. I tried to be mindful of these feelings and let them wax and wane without judgement. That was tricky. I released any expectations of doing a lot of activities and the judgement of not “doing” things.  If I felt like crying, well, I would let the tears fall. It was not an easy time.
One good thing that came out of it was me going into the kitchen and creating an oxymel (vinegar and honey-based syrup) to help with the grief and to support the immune system. Grief can suppress the immune system as easily as stress. I wanted to help modulate that response. I made up a large batch, poured it into half ounce bottles and gave it away to any who were interested. Needless to say, it was well received. With the anniversary of that event coming up, I find myself again in the kitchen making this healing concoction.  It nourishes on so many levels in addition to calming and soothing frayed nerves. Elderberry and elder flower to support the immune system, hawthorn and rose to calm and feed the heart, and honey to remind one of the sweetness to life. Don’t we all need a reminder of that from time to time? To be able to hold both sadness and sweetness, grief and joy without yielding to either extreme is part of what we can learn to do in this life. Plants can support us in these efforts.  We only have to ask.  They give freely of their energies and their lives in return for us being good stewards of the Earth.
May your heart be strong, your mind clear and may you walk connnected to the Earth and your life.

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