Friday, 25 November 2016

Living truths

The heart does not have to be taught how to sense the world.

The mind does not have to be taught to acquiesce to the heart, to cede control.

They both know what to do, innately.

(There is no "they", either, but we have to pretend such divisions are real, in order to get this ball rolling.)

You know, I am so tired of being told that I am unusual, or spooky, or heaven help me, "special".

Take the way the chickadees fluttered around me in the forest the other day, for example. Had they been habituated to people feeding them (they're not), then their behaviour toward me would have been "normal" (ie begging, which is NOT normal behaviour for birds, by the way). But these were truly wild birds in an area that rarely sees humans. That they hung around me says nothing about me, what it says is that birds are curious creatures.

It is not that I am unusual, you see. It is that how humans now are - detached from the rest of the 'natural' world - is unusual for us as a species. That we have come to differentiate in our conversation between 'the real world' (human centred) and 'Nature' is a symptom of our ..

oh fuck it. Have you, my ever so patient readers, not heard me go on about this before? We've divorced from a part of ourselves blah blah blah, we have it within us to reconnect with nature blah blah blah .. yep, you've heard it.

Do you know why I really became an active, rather than armchair herbalist? Because I can't stand sick people. Not out of some altruistic desire to relieve suffering, no. It was because I had a room mate who had the worst case of post nasal drip, ever, and it gave her this gawdawful snort/cough that was just gross to have to listen to. Nothing from the doc or pharmacist worked (for long), so having all these books on herbs kicking around I decided to take matters into my own hands and fix her, once and for all. I don't remember what I ended up concocting for her (It was over 20 yrs ago). I do remember that it worked, though.

In short, I was irritated into action.

That's about how I feel these days. I am so irritated with the attitudes of certain people - yes, sorry to say so but that does include my students, as just about every single one of you is ticking me off, each in your own special way - that I'm going to have to find some way to fix the errors in thinking that are holding y'all back.

Look, this business of being heart-led, of the direct line of communication between nature and you (because it's part of you and you are part of it, blah blah blah) ... I thought we'd covered it well enough in various posts and emails but I guess not. IT DOESN'T MEAN BEING BLOODY SENTIMENTAL. This isn't that stupid movie with the blue people and the trees, whatever it was called .. Avatar? Was that it? It doesn't matter. This isn't that, it isn't anything you have seen or read in the mainstream or 'alternative' media .. (unless you're reading Stephen Harrod Buhner or Matthew Wood, which I wish you would)

THIS ISN'T PSYCHEDELIC or "shamanistic" -  Please do not talk to me about magic mushrooms or ayahausca or shapeshifting. Believe me, if you have to ask me if you're ready, you are not ready. That shit ain't helpful for most people anyway. If you can't meet nature clear-eyed and clearheaded, well you can't meet nature.

Moving on to another peeve - I DO NOT CARE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR BOWEL MOVEMENTS or those of your children, spouse, or especially, pets. That's not part of what my pastor would call my "mission field". And I find it kind of icky. I will happily discuss gut motility, and how various plant medicines can be of assistance, but spare me the gory details.

Speaking of pets - THEY ARE NOT PART OF THE (so-called) NATURAL WORLD, SORRY they don't really count - yes, they're animals, but they are no more wild than you are. Less, they are less wild than you, completely dependant upon you as they are. Yes, your relationship with them is important, likely not in the way you think, though.

PLEASE REHEARSE YOUR EXCUSES with someone other than me. It's your life. Why do you feel the need to write to me and say "oh I wish I could _____" or "you're so lucky that you can _____" and then list to me the reasons why you can't? Who are you trying to excuse yourself to, really? (That was rhetorical.)

How do you think Paul and I ended up here with this tiny house and a big back yard in an itty bitty village surrounded by vast, glorious wilderness? Money? Don't make me laugh, I was a cleaning lady and he was a computer tech. Believe me, money didn't get us here. Our hearts got us here. We took risks. If you don't want to take risks on behalf of your heart's desire, then gee, don't ask me to tell you that's okay. I don't speak for your heart.

Oh yeah, and DON'T ASK ME FOR PERMISSION TO USE CAPSULE FORMS of the plant medicines. I won't give it. You don't need it. Please do not treat me like I have some kind of authority in your life. But in case I haven't made my opinion clear about herbs in capsules, here is another way of looking at it. I never slept with strangers. I just didn't think it quite right to allow someone I do not know really really well, access to my body - ya dig? I don't see how it is any less risky to swallow some mystery substance that may or may not be what it says on the label. You must do as you see fit, of course.

Lastly, please, (I mean this kindly) do not tell me that you love me. I already know that you appreciate the time I take and that you enjoy our conversations. (As do I!) Please, know that I enjoy sharing what I can, playing games of 'name that weed' and I really do feel honoured to be able to do this work.

But I know that I don't know the real you(s), only what you allow me to see. By the same token, the persona that you communicate with is not the totality of me, either. By telling me you love me, you're venturing into the sentimental and placing far too much importance on that small piece of me that you know. When you go there, this work we do together starts to come undone.

If you're still reading, I hope you're chuckling and you know I'm just letting off steam. None of you are guilty of all of the above and one or two won't recognize anything of themselves here at all.

But here's the deal. We've been working together for a while now, and it's time to take it up a notch. While your words say you're serious - about changing the nature of your relationship with nature - some of you really aren't showing me that. Instead, you're showing me that you're looking for someone to lean on. Someone to do your research for you. Oh, and my favourite, someone to argue with. Don't ask for my opinion and then argue with me, that's just silly. Take it or leave it. There are some disagreements that we might have that can't be resolved. If we differ too much, it's time to part. That's okay, you know.

I don't ask for payment (although I do take donations) for the hours (upon hours) I've put in with many of you because by teaching, I also learn. Your unique personalities and paths lead me to look into areas I wouldn't look into for myself. That's growth, and growth is good - for both of us.

But I also have my own path, and that's what I want most of all to explore here on this blog. I'm driven to share my experiences as they happen so that others can see the possibilities available to them out there in the real world, by which I mean the natural world, where birds are curious and emerald hearts offer up their spicy roots.

If you want to follow along, that's excellent, I'll be glad of the company. But you have to walk softly in my forest, and stop dragging your medical terminology, your sentimentality and your fears along with you. This is God's big bright world, Creation, and I AM DUTY BOUND to meet it on its own terms. So don't ask me to clarify my experience in terms you understand, because that changes their meaning.

Learn to understand differently.


  1. Check. Points taken. I'll probably still defy a few commands.

    But, I'd like to comment on this:"By telling me you love me, you're venturing into the sentimental and placing far too much importance on that small piece of me that you know. When you go there, this work we do together starts to come undone."

    I see it this way. People who express those things to you are not expressing, really, that they love YOU. They are expressing that they love a piece of themselves that they SEE in YOU. If they didn't have it, they couldn't see it. Maybe we've buried it. Hidden it. Maybe we embrace it. But we "LOVE" you because we see bits of ourselves in your expression here via the internet. I mean, this whole post, all I could think was, "I love this chic." But it's because, when I get worked up enough, I get brazen like this, whereas so often I'm tempering things, softening them, cushioning them, rephrasing them.

    Have a good weekend!

    1. I think you're right Terri, about what people might mean when they say "I love you" to me. I'm sure they mean all kinds of things when it's just said in an offhand way, and that's fine (I guess)... Honestly? The syrupy, sentimental use of the word love as it's done these days just makes my teeth hurt sometimes.

      But what I am talking about above is the inappropriateness of attachment to *me*, (or who they believe me to be) that sometimes develops. It's like goslings imprinting or something and it's just not on.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

    2. Yes, that makes sense. I think I know what you refer to.