Update: Graduation&Restoration

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Wow! I did it! I actually graduated and am now an herbalist! I fantasized about sharing the journey along the way; but, my life was spinning ever since I began my plant journey in April. I was swept up in a tornado of magic, self discovery, and the growth and pain that accompanies it.

With the very first drumbeat of opening circle at orientation class, something deep within me stirred, emotions welled up and burst forth in my heart. I knew I was home. I had returned to my sacred self. The part of me that carries inner wisdom of healing, intuition, and magic.

The journey along the way only continued to prove this path I had begun. Our very first class we learned about flower essences and herbal extracts/tinctures. I sat in the rain next to a plant and ‘spoke’ with it for a good amount of time. Then I asked for it’s essence and proceeded to make medicine with it. I unlocked the part of me inside that believes in communing with nature.

I am amused by the irony that years ago, a state psychologist evaluated me for a program that offered permanent disability assistance. There was a question that asked if I believe flowers talked to me. I had a really hard time knowing the right thing to put down. I honestly thought, of course they do, just not in a language we are familiar with; but, I knew if I wrote that, they would think I was more crazy than I’d already been labeled. So, I simply wrote no. I smiled remembering my mother and how she taught me EVERYthing had feelings and how magical she made my world; but, I was too broken to find it on my own at the time.

I was soon to realize that I am no longer as broken as I thought I was. The fact that not everyone graduated, made me realize how capable I really am. I found over 110 plants in the wild and pressed them for my materia medica. I completed 60hrs of physical labor in the gardens, where my deep love for the plants blossomed even more. I made it to all but one class, made herbal products and kept up with piles of homework. Then I successfully presented my final project with a 17pg paper!

As the course proceeded, I came head to head with every inner saboteur that lied within me! Every self doubt I had seemed to manifest in some sort of way. Either chaos surrounded me, grief enveloped me or good old fashioned panic attacks that kidnapped my breath and logic. There were times my heart pounded and pain radiated in my arms convincing me this was it, the big one! I should just give up, I can’t do it, I am not good enough…With every step, I pushed through another personal barrier.

With every barrier I crossed, I built a deeper relationship with the plants, nature and myself. Much to my surprise I developed relationships with the staff and classmates too! With my social anxiety I never dreamed of being able to be comfortable in my skin long enough to make (shall I dare say), friends! Wow!

I waited 18 yrs to take this apprenticeship, and I now know that I was there exactly when I was supposed to be, with those particular people in that moment of time. We helped each other through and now share a forever bond and journey. Though our paths may be separated, the goal is the same. To use our gifts and of nature to help heal ourselves, others and the planet.

This course gave me my mojo back; reconnecting me with not only the magic of my mom; but, helped me find my own unique magic that I never believed I had. This journey renewed my relationship with nature and helped me heal myself and offer healing advice to others. It gave me a community, a tribe, a home. 

What now? Restoration!

As much as my enthusiasm wants me to race off and begin again, I have finally respected the value of rest. I am tired and worn.

The weekend before my graduation I had a reunion with some girlfriends to celebrate one’s 50th birthday. It was a wonderful time and a beautiful realization that while we are no longer the ‘hot thangs’ we once were, we are indeed incredibly beautiful in a wise and empowered way. It was the first time seeing some of these women in about 25 years! I was deeply grateful that I had come far enough to attend.

Then, my final presentation and graduation was an all day event, that my best friend and my daughter shared with me. An incredible ceremony that left me in simultaneous shock, contentment and elation.

The weekend after my graduation, I was in Pa for a huge family reunion, which had its pros and cons. The joy of seeing us all together, for some of us it has been many years, crossed with the emotions and stressors that are expected with holidays and mental illnesses, depleted my system, and I became slightly ill.

These were three life time events all back to back. I learned that even good emotions are overwhelming and I am at a point of much needed resting and regrouping. Nurturing my health with herbal remedies and taking time to process all that has occurred. 

My car is broken down and I am not sure how to get through the month; but, if it’s one thing I have learned, is that I WILL make it! I am taking advantage of down time and catching up on cooking and cleaning. Two things that went mostly undone for a long time now. 

Last winter I started my antidepressants to prevent seasonal depression. This winter, I am using herbal adaptogens and nutritive plants to sustain balance. I have found a tiny bit of inner peace that take all my effort to maintain. Yoga helps. I am trying to stay grounded with herbal roots and root vegetables. Staying in the moment and returning to writing are my focuses. 

I am so grateful that I have this blog to come home too! I want to share details on everything I have learned. I want to tell you about my experiences, my conversations and even my crazy dreams that I had along the way. I want to put my knowledge to use and make some medicines and self care products. I want to revamp my blog and then begin to share ways that will help my readers heal too!

My course may be over but another journey begins ❤

Right after some well deserved restoration! 😉

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Grief and Anger

My dad’s one year memorial just passed. Unresolved emotions makes it hard to let go.
I feel stuck in my grief and realize the “daddy’s little girl” in me, will be sad forever.
What about the rest of me?
I feel sad my father and I didn’t have more of a relationship.
Habitually I passed right over anger.
I don’t want to be angry at myself, I don’t deserve it.
I’m not mad at daddy, it’s just sad we didn’t connect more in this lifetime.
This is the bullshit I tried to feed myself.
I also fed myself a bunch of carbs and washed it down with a big glass of wine.
Thankfully, I have grown to be self aware enough to recognize my emotional eating and drinking as a sign something was wrong. Stuck in the thickness of grief and anger. Literally and figuratively constipated. Unable to release.

In therapy, I found my elusive friend again, anger.
Yes! I AM angry!
I put my daddy on a pedastal. He was my superhero.
I needed him too much to be angry. I was too afraid to be angry.

I’m angry daddy! You chose booze and women over your own children!
Then when you were sober, you chose pride and expected us to take the blame!

I have always focused on the beauty and forgave the ugly in people.
I suppose it was a coping skill. How else would I have survived being abused as a child?
Or repeatedly raped? Attacked? Abandoned?
It was a handy coping skill to help me accept the horrors that have happened to me; but, it’s a faulty tool. You HAVE to acknowledge the bad, ugly and horrific. If you don’t, you end up in relationships with people who hurt you, let you down, mistreat you, or worse. 

I am so fucking sick of picking out the good in people and ignoring the bad! I want to see people for who and what they really are! Only then I can judge if they are healthy for me.

Thanks daddy for this lesson.
In finding my anger for you; I discover that I did NOT deserve to be abandoned. It wasn’t my fault. I don’t need your approval.
I am liberated.
I do NOT need to demean myself in my relationships with men just to feel worthy, or to keep them by my side.
I don’t need nor want negative attention.
Allowing grief and anger to come in helped me grow.

I am still angry with you; but, I also am grateful for the times you did show up.
When mom was sick, when she was dying, and at her service.
You were there. Real and feeling. Loving and supporting.
I love you for that.
I treasure the night of my brother’s surprise 40th birthday party, and you showed up. We were all a family for a brief moment in time.

I love you daddy for what you could do and did do, and it’s okay for me to be angry too.
I am sad. I am angry. I am grieving. I am letting go…

 

My Plant Journey has Begun

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I have finally begun my Herbal Apprenticeship at Misty Meadows Herbal Center!! I first heard of this course through my NH Employment caseworker. My daughter was a baby and I was in a program that helped single moms receive education needed to get back to work. I told him I was interested in Alternative Medicine and he mentioned he knew a woman, Wendy who offered some classes on herbs. He was going to mention me to her and see if he could work something out; but, shortly after that, President Bush cut the program. I tucked the aspiration in my pocket and went back to dancing;

After sitting on that goal for all these years it is enthralling it is finally a reality! “The Spirited Herbalist” “A plant guided journey to self” is the title of the course. Orientation was April 9, and I knew something magical was happening the moment there was drumming and a song to Mother Earth to open. I found it hard to hold back tears as deep primal emotions arose within. It stirred memories with my mom by the campfire, singing, and drumming. It made me feel connected to the Ancestors.

Class time is 8:45am to 5:30pm one weekend each month through November, and 10 practicum hours a month working in the gardens. In between classes we have to find, identify and gather plant samples, on our Plant ID list. It is quite the task. My first reaction was frustration, and negativity. I thought what the hell am I paying to learn if I’m just given a book and a list of plants to go find? Then it immediately dawned on me, Oooh! THIS is the journey part!

A journey it is too! I was feeling so much pressure gathering school supplies and trying to find plants that I knew nothing about. The feelings of self doubt grew strong. I felt like I wasn’t finding anything. I wondered if there was a late bloom because of the snow. I couldn’t even find a dandelion at first! One afternoon, I was extremely stressed out; I stopped at a thrift store for a glass bowl needed for the first class. I had planned on going to the woods at school to surely find what I needed; but, instead I locked the keys in my car. Of course my cell phone was in the car as well. I managed to borrow a passerby’s cell to contact a locksmith. Three hours later, I was back in my car. It was too late to go to the school, so I headed to a park with woods. I walked two hours in tears. My feet hurt, the bugs were biting me and I didn’t find one thing on my list; but, I was in nature, and it was healing. I dried my eyes, surrendered. and called it day. As I was leaving, I saw this beauty hiding near a murky swamp. For some reason, I felt better, hopeful.

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I posted the picture in our classes Facebook group and asked what it was. I shared that I stumbled upon her at the end of a very hard day and she cheered me up. I found out it is red trillium, also known as birthroot, and endangered. I felt honored and blessed that it presented itself to me.

Later that night, I messaged my faculty advisor and told him I was extremely overwhelmed and I wasn’t finding anything and didn’t understand why. The only thing I did know is that I am meant to be in this class and so I know it will work out. It was really hard for me to send that message, I felt like I failed and I was embarrassed. He messaged me back and was extremely supportive and encouraging. He said that if the Universe thinks I am ready then that should be an encouraging thought right there. He said it was perfectly normal to be feeling the way I did before first class. Then he offered to go on a plant hunt together at the school. The relief calmed my whole body and tears of joy were released.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. I can’t force finding plants or my relationships with them. I can’t neatly schedule it in and expect results. It is an unpredictable adventure. It’s absolutely mandatory to shed preconceptions. I have to put myself in a calm and centered space. I put out an intention and a message to the plants before I search. Sending love to them and gratitude for their lessons in advance. Suddenly, I found plant samples right at the apartment complex I live in!

The exploration of plants, spirit and myself have only just begun. It has returned me to a very sacred part of myself. A part that I used to only believe I could achieve with my mother’s guidance. I had my first weekend’s class on Mother’s day weekend. I mourned my mom as usual; but, I felt some contentment and peace in knowing I am doing something she would be very proud of. I am discovering my own mystical potential.

I believe there is a synchronicity to the timing of events, especially life changing ones. I am beginning to understand why the Universe had me wait almost 18 years. The spiritualistic lessons I am learning and experiencing I may not have been fully ready for until now. This is and will continue to be an extremely powerful awakening!

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New Season, New Moon, New Beginnings

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Happy Spring everyone! Though snow is in the forecast for NH tomorrow, I can feel new life stirring around the corner.

It was an extremely drawn out winter for me. If you read my last update, then you know, between bed bugs, breakdowns and trips to the hospital, there wasn’t much time for myself.

No time for self means depression. Depression is inevitable for me in the winter; but, this winter was especially gloomy.

That’s behind me now. Spring is here, even though it’s taking it’s time to show.

There was a new moon this past Monday. Perfect time to set forth a new attitude.

New season, new moon, new beginnings!!!

Next month, I will be starting an herbal apprentice course. I have wanted to take this course for almost 18yrs. So, it’s a big step. I am terrified, but the kind of fear that comes when you feel deep inside you will change.

I will definitely keep you posted on my progress.

Speaking of keeping you posted…I feel terrible that I haven’t blogged much.

I am so proud of myself that I finally started this blog and managed to hold onto it for a couple of years. I am always thinking of things I want to write about; but never make it to fruition.

With Spring’s renewal I renew my dedication to my blog. I vow to spend more time and effort into my blog and my writing.

I have finally made it to the point where my mental illness can no longer hold me back.

It may stop me in my tracks. It may take a day from me here and there. It may even break me at times; but, it can not stop me.

Everyday I begin again.

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Rape Trauma and Vaginismus

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I have been waiting to heal from my hysterectomy before beginning EMDR therapy again for my rape traumas. I have been putting it off because I know it’s going to be difficult work. It feels scary and dark. There are big chunks I don’t remember and EMDR will take be there to retrieve the fragments of my memory and emotions. Like it did to retrieve the abuse from my grandmother.

I have endured these horrible traumas early on in life and then spent a lifetime burying them with alcohol and drugs. From being a young teen into my early twenties, I was often sexually assaulted and raped. There is a large history of abuse that I have to visit.

Despite my fear, I recognize how necessary it is to heal. slide_32

I want a healthy life, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and sexually. These traumas need healing in order to get to where I want to be.

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I shared in my post Preparing for Surgery, that I had I come to the awareness of my vagina clenching as I read about the vaginal hysterectomy. I made the connection that I have often clenched when threatened, whether it was a pap smear exam or making love.

I googled ‘psychological trauma to the vagina’ and found vaginismus.

Vaginismus is a disorder that occurs when the muscles around the outer third of the vagina contract involuntarily when vaginal penetration is attempted during sexual intercourse.

There’s not always a reason for vaginismus. The condition has been linked to past sexual abuse or trauma, past painful intercourse, and emotional factors. 

I have clenched so tightly it feels like I am bruised. It is very painful and I surmise it is associated with the trauma of being raped and forcefully entered on more than one occasion. I believe it is why I have recovered a little more slowly with my hysterectomy and the ablation I had last year.

If my body is holding that much trauma still, I can only imagine where else those memories lurk.

Healing is hard work but so worth it to get to the other side,

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Healing with Hay House

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Today is my 6 week surgiversary. I’ve been discouraged and fighting depression. I am not healing as quickly as I would like; but, I know it could be worse, and I’m grateful it isn’t.

With even slight increased activity, my vagina pain returns and I am extremely fatigued.

I spoke with the doctor’s office this morning and they reassured me it is all normal.

During my downtime I have been watching inspirational videos from the Hay House 2016 Summit. They have released free videos and audio lessons for the past three weeks and will for one more week.

I have been healing with the great teachers, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Esther Hicks.

It has been such a wonderful help in keeping me from depression.

I wanted to share some links with you all, and hopefully they will bring healing to you too!

Here are the videos I have watched so far:

The Shiftwith Dr. Wayne Dyer:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/the-shift

You Can Heal Your Lifewith Loise Hay:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/you-can-heal-your-life

Who is Asking, Who am I, with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/who-is-asking-who-am-i

Wishes Fulfilled with Dr. Wayne Dyer:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/wishes-fulfilled

Great Expectations, The Law of Attraction in Action, with Esther Hicks:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/great-expectations-the-law-of-attraction-in-action

Here is a link to the main page of the Hay House Summit 2016, where you can download a free ebook and have access to 25 videos and audio lessons each week:

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/learn

Enjoy ❤

Post-op Update

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It’s been a little over four weeks since my complete hysterectomy. I am finally seeing the finish line, even if I have to crawl at a snail pace to get there, I am hopeful.

I have been returning to my daily activities slowly.

My third week was my first without anyone staying with me to help. I found that just cooking a meal and scooping the cat box had me wiped out. Then I’d cry because I couldn’t do more. Not sure sometimes if it’s depression or menopause. I have had several hot flashes and I’m crying a lot. Then laughing and crying in the same spell, kind of manic.

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The rest of my third week, I assigned myself only two chores per day so to not overwhelm myself. I returned to driving too which was surprisingly exhausting. At the end of the week, I suddenly felt like I was punched in the stomach and I had severe pain for a few days. I took pills and took it easy.

My fourth week was a lot better. I could do just a little more each day. I returned to therapy. I made it to my appointment at the pain institute for my neck. They ordered a MRI. and asked me to get cleared for physical therapy from my surgeon. They also said I’d need a steroid shot. I haven’t really processed any of it; because I am just focusing on healing from this right now.

I celebrated my fourth week surgiversary by taking a nice bath and gently wiggling into a pair of jeans. Getting into them was a challenge due to swelly belly. Yup, it’s a thing. The term “swelly belly” (Latin term: Swellibellicus) is a HysterSisters word that refers to post-op swelling of the abdomen. It is caused by trauma to the abdominal tissues, gasses used during surgery, and/or fluids collecting in the tissues due to trauma during surgery. The jeans only lasted an hour as I was very uncomfortable; but, it felt good to be out of the sweatpants.

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HysterSisters is a great website. If you can’t guess by the title. It is a community of women who have been through or are going to have a hysterectomy. It’s been very supportive just to know I am not alone. It also has a ton of information.

These past few weeks my pain severity has lessened.  I am still very sore and being careful as to not pull anything as there is still much healing going on inside. The past two days were my first pain pill free days. It feels good to get to this point.

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I came across my discharge paperwork while puttering the other day. I finally read it. I read about my procedure and cringed, as it explained that my uterus was dissected into pieces and pulled through my several incisions. I cried again.

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What a trauma my body has been through. I feel really emotional about it. Not just the surgery; but, the years of pain before it. The realization that my body was sick and needed love and healing. I have been doing some soul searching and sacred womb work, which I will share in another post.

Tomorrow is another post op appointment. I will probably be cleared for lifting more than a gallon of milk and vacuuming, and hopefully physical therapy and some yoga.

I am very sore, tired and menopausal; but, my life is slowly and surely returning to me. ❤

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HysterSisters: http://www.hystersisters.com/