POTIONS #2: NATURE MEDS
First published in POSEURS #12 - 02/2015.
My partner and I recently made an agreement about being more present. We have a good life and we love each other. We agreed to get comfortable, enjoy what we have now and worry less about how we're going to get to the next big phase in our lives. Will we still hold our future-dreams in our hearts? Yes. Will we work towards them? Yes, but by being present. Our future grows from the seeds we plant now, but the seeds can't grow if we're not here to tend them day by day. We made this agreement after spending a day in the arboretum, which, by the way, is a tree garden you guys. TREE GARDEN! A garden of trees!! (I have a special feeling for trees, they're my gods, but that's probably a story for another day.)
Anyway, the arboretum. Beautiful! Filled with trees and bushes and birds and worms and flowers and mud and mushrooms and every good thing. As we left the tree garden and walked back into the human-made world we realized how good we had felt while we were in there, insulated by nature. We're both anxiety prone people, so deep ease and relaxation are profound and sought-after states for us. While we were there I was present in a way that I'm usually not. My mind was clear and quiet. My heart was light and free to move. My breath was easy and deep. My responsibilities were still there but they didn't stick or hold me down. We bathe in the energy of everything around us and we were bathing in the energy of all those plants and wild-things. In the energy of the air and the earth even. The clattering wheel of human energy was gone and we were left to soak in the good vibes radiating from all those plants.
Plants are really something. I'm tempted to say that plants don't live in the past or the future, only the present - but I think that's a very human busy-brain notion that doesn't apply to plants and wild things. To be honest I don't really know what plants and wild things do, existentially speaking, but I like it and I try to learn from it. It's very clear they know what's up in a secrets-of-the-universe sense. And they do seem to encourage people toward a relaxed and present state of mind and body. They can remind us that we have bodies and that that is a very cool thing, worthy of caring attention and gratitude. They remind us that everything in the world is worthy of caring attention and gratitude - an attitude that obviously leads to good life decisions.
I once heard herbalist Noam McBride say (and I'll paraphrase) that the experience of gathering herbs is his medicine. That he brings back the herbs for the people who can't make it up the mountain or out into the meadow. He said the herbs mirror the energy of their place and are a record of it's healing power. I believe this. I feel it as truth in my primal self. For the vast majority of our existence we lived as hunter-gatherers with the Earth as our garden, and it was good. The plants nourished and healed us directly and indirectly. They still have that power, we just don't interact with them as much as we did then. Time spent in the company of diverse and different forms of life is a way to recalibrate our energies and connect with the universe at large, which can't do anything but help us on our way!
The whole of nature is our most vital and precious potion, let us not forget it. And, please - go out and treat yourself to it!!