Dancing the Threshold

 The great Celtic philosopher and poet John O'Donohue wrote and spoke of the sacred threshold in human life between the visible world and the invisible world. The visible is what we see - furniture, cars, art, animals, trees, other faces... The invisible world is the unseen forces and energies that include some of the central realities and needs in the human life - breath, wind, sound, imagination, beauty, love... In order to live a life of interiority, he said, one must learn to dwell in both worlds or skillfully dance between them and value the learning acquired in each equally as ways of knowing.
   We need both worlds. The visible brings the world to us. It helps us find our direction. When we dwell too long in the visible world we limit our connection to the invisible, and our minds create myths of deprivation, lack, and smallness. We get trapped by the story that our source of energy, abundance, and belonging somehow lives outside of us. Our modern world has a general lack of respect for the invisible because the visible has become and remains the principle human source of information about the world.
   My "normal" was recently blessed by a couple of days with the ocean. Time immersed in nature always reminds me of this threshold. The visible world offers me the entry point to the invisible world. I see the ocean in its vastness, in its magnanimity, and then I feel. I hear the sound and I feel the wind and the stillness inside of me and I am reminded of our connection. 
   This is where we practice yoga asana - in the threshold. We move in the visible body, align visible bones and engage visible muscles and then we are invited in. The visible becomes the shoreline of the invisible world. We move with our breath, we align our energy, and we engage our interior space. We begin to listen to the guidance that is always being transmitted from our inner knowing and align our actions with that. The dance of this threshold is throwing us into awakening and surrendering simultaneously and it is here where we cultivate our greatest kindness, compassion, and respect for ourselves and all of life.
   In my contemplation this week I have been asking a few questions... Where am I getting hijacked by the visible? Where am I no longer seeing it as the shoreline to the invisible invitation? How am I proactive in the ways that I metabolize the visible? How can I surrender more into the ways the invisible world informs my life?

Quoting Rumi - "we've been walking in the surf holding our robes up, when we should be diving naked under, & deeper under..."

Wild Pesto Magic

Wild Pesto 

This might drive a few of you nuts...the recipe that follows requires your willingness to explore, play & create. I eyeball EVERYTHING, taste the magic & mix until its to my liking.  I invite you to do the same. 

Step 1: Gather your greens

  • my faves: chickweed, garlic mustard & dandelion greens 

  • I always add kale & basil or cilantro 

Step 2: Clean your greens & add to food processor
Steph 3: Crush a few garlic cloves & a handful of almonds, walnuts or pine nuts & add to food processor
Step 4: Pulse & scrape the sides; pulse & scrape the sides...etc.
Step 5: Once the mixture is good and chunky slowly pour in olive oil or your favorite oil (i'm sure there are plenty of oils that could be lovely)
Step 6: pulse in pecorino romano or parmesan cheese  &/or lemon zest (optional)
Step 7: Serve. This pesto can stand on its own as a spread for crackers or can be added to any recipe that calls for pesto!  Add salt & any spices to taste.

Meet Burdock - the burly bear medicine

We are in transition. Now is the season of change from winter to spring that we have been waiting for. Nature is not linear. She does not transition in an even and smooth trajectory from one season to the next. She pulses, spirals, and stumbles along the way, but she keeps moving and continuously arrives. During this time we are called to support ourselves in compassionate and nourishing ways as we too are transitioning from the darkness of winter into the time of rebirth and renewal. 

  Call on burdock, Arctium lappa, the burly bear medicine to cleanse your way into spring. The name Arctium is derived from the Greek arctos, "bear" and lappa is from the the Greek "to seize". Llap is also from the Celtic work for "hand". Burr is from the Latin burra which means "wool" and dock labels its large leaves.
  The most common traditional uses of this herb are as a "blood purifier" used to clear the bloodstream of toxins, as a diuretic to promote the production of urine, and as a remedy for many skin conditions and complaints. Native American, Western, and Chinese herbalists have used the roots and seeds of this plant for centuries! 
   Burdock is a slow moving but deep and thoroughly acting herbal remedy that offers us internal metabolic seasonal transition support. It is energetically cooling and wildly strengthening as an alterative - helping our kidneys, liver, and digestive organs to function optimally. Burdock increases the secretion of bile to support digestions of oily foods, increases the liver's processing of lipids and supports the distribution of those lipids to the skin, hair, tissues, adrenals, and hormonal system. It is said to calm worry, jealousy, resentment, and aggression.  
   My favorite way to enjoy the benefits of burdock root is to prepare a decoction. Bring 1 ounce (by weight) of the dried root and a quart of water to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for another 30ish minutes. Strain and enjoy or put it in the fridge for later! If that's too much work, you can pick up burdock root tincture at most health food stores and dose 3-60 drops 3x/day. 
   The fresh plant can also be enjoyed. It is a biennial plant, meaning it takes two years to complete its life cycle but various plant parts are used at different stages of its life. Burdock root should be dug from a first year plant in late summer and fall or from a second year plant in early spring. The stalks can be harvested and eaten (after a good deal of preparation) from a second year plant. Be sure you are wildcrafting well away from roadsides and areas that have been sprayed as burdock roots can easily accumulate toxins. Often fresh burdock root can be found at health food stores and international markets to throw in soups, stir fries, or grated and steamed in a salad. 

Happy Burdock adventures! Let me know what you discover!

Nutritive Nettles

"Discipline is remembering what you want." - David Campbell

   Simple and potent, this quote has been with me all week. Alignment. Clarity. Boundaries. Willingness. A big part of this transition into spring is remembering to align and realign and continue to align in each moment with your "why" - the purpose behind your actions, your driving force, your inspiration or devotion. Get clear. Create boundaries. Be willing to see yourself in all of the ways you are (and are not) showing up to create what you want. 
   This week, I offer you a small amount of knowledge on the vast nourishment of nettles.  May it serve the way you awaken your discipline and remember your "why".

Call on stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, the awakener to nourish your way into spring. Stinging nettle is a nutritive tonic that offers us a plethora of readily absorbed key vitamins, minerals, and critical trace minerals. You'll be hard pressed to find a plant more dense in nutrition, not even blue-green algae according to Susun Weed. As an alterative, nettle increases energy and ease in the circulatory, immune, endocrine, nervous, and urinary systems. All of our systems function more efficiently and effectively with regular use of nettle. It is an awesome kidney ally, a diuretic, and an adrenal restorative. It invigorates us from the inside out through feeding and cleansing the adrenals and plugs us into a storehouse of energy we didn't know we had access to! 
   Use nettle regularly to nourish your skin, hair, and nails, tone your respiratory system, stabilize your blood sugar, activate pathways of detoxification, restore your mood, and to bring dormant energies to life. Call on this ally for help cutting loose old patterns and conditioning to make space for new ways of being, seeing, and connecting. It can be a great teacher in this way.
   In tribal and celtic lore, nettle is revered as the threshold guardian between life and death. Ceremoniously, Native American men would rub nettles on their bodies in fishing, whaling, and seal-hunting rituals to provide strength, protect against weather, and mask human odors. Stinging nettle is seen as a protector bestowing courage on those who carry it - especially offering protection to land and crops from early spring hail storms.
   To benefit from the vast nourishment of this life-enhancing tonic prepare it as a nourishing herbal infusion. Pour a quart of just boiled water over one ounce (by weight) of dried nettle leaf. Cover your infusion and let it steep at room temperature for at least 4 hours but no more than 12 hours. Strain and enjoy or put it in the fridge for later consumption. Drink 2-3 quarts per week and open up to the abundance of energy and nourishment you are feeding yourself.

Happy nettle adventures! Let me know what you discover!