January 28, 2013 @ 7:05 AM

New Year Resolutions for Herbalists


Follow me this month while I try to clear out my own chaos and get a few tips on how to get your herb cabinet and/or business back in order! January is a perfect time for reflection and planning, but also, we have time for getting things done since the rush of garden season is still a few months away, the snow keeps us at home a bit more....as does the promise of a warm house and hot cup of tea. Each day, I am going to tackle something that needs constant care or attention, but that is often left to become dysfunctional as the year goes on. Will this be the year, I actually keep on top of things? Who knows...but if not, I will repost next year!

January 28 ~ 

Be A Steward 

One of the first things I teach new Apprentices is that personal healing means nothing and may not even be possible, if the health of world at large is neglected. The other thing I tell them the first day of class is: "Family comes first"...not to neglect their family over their zeal for herbal healing. We all need to be stewards...of ourselves, our family, community, the world.

To steward means: to attend to, be responsible for. To me, everything begins with a personal attitude and posture of being responsible, and then, moves out into care of the family, your home and land, participation in the local community and attention to and help with the larger world.

A healer wants meaningful healing to occur--a multi-dimensional improvement that lasts--not simply illness to illness management. To achieve that, changing one's relationships/understanding to and of their environment is essential. We could certainly treat a client for allergies, but unless they also look at toxins in their home, habits they have, foods they eat, no true healing takes place. Many minor, nagging illnesses disappear once a change to more natural household products occurs. But there are major, chronic illnesses that can only respond to changes in the larger environment. Obviously, results would be much harder and slower to achieve, but those with "exposure illnesses" --even if personally incurable, are still healed in some ways simply by becoming involved with  attempts to change the circumstances that created their own illness and hopefully keep others from having to endure the same.

As herbalists, we stand for the plant world. Our examples as teachers concerning "getting to KNOW plants", their culture, gratitude, organic growing techniques...all get put out into the world as our students share what they learn. We also need to question suppliers of our seeds, product ingredients, to make sure they too, realize the importance of natural ingredients for health and a clean environment. Businesses do change according to consumer demands. Then we need to look at how our own footprint may contribute to pollution or a disregard of Mother Nature, in general.

We each need to be involved---in whatever way possible--- with healing the world. Otherwise, the care we put into individual healing, is less than effective.

In the Jewish tradition, Saturday was Tu B'Shevat--the New Year of the Trees--seders (meals) are held that celebrate the fruit of all trees and new trees are planted where possible, or donations made to have trees planted. This is a good way to start this year's Stewardship --replacing what has been lost of our forests (the world's lungs), planning for our own spring gardens and looking around the house for changes to make.......you don't REALLY need that aerosal oven cleaner...do you?