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.

trillium

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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Temp job terminated

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Today I picked up my last check from my temporary holiday job. I am still processing the whole experience.

I shared the first part of my experience in the post Re-entering the Workforce.

After my hours were cut down to 10-12/wk., I began to feel confident that maybe I could do this, and began to consider staying permanently.

That decision was then made for me, when one of my managers approached me and said she heard a rumor I was leaving at the end of the month. I told her that I had planned on leaving whenever my temporary job ended, I only knew it was up to 90 days.

She informed me they already decided to keep me and made me a permanent employee, and then asked if I was okay with that. I honestly didn’t know. She went through a checklist with me,,Did I like the people? Yes. Could I handle the hours? Yes. Did I like my position? Eh…Yes. Okay then, why don’t I just give it a try. She walked away congratulating me. I had a big proud smile, but, I was shaking inside. I really didn’t know how to feel and I was scared.  I was thrown for a loop and concluded that I would just take it one step at a time, and I could still leave if I wanted.

The next few weeks the pros and cons were weighed and feelings processed.

The pros:

  1. A sense of purpose. I highly recommend either volunteering or working a few hours a week to anybody on disability if possible; because the sense of purpose is highly rewarding and therapeutic.
  2. A little bit of extra money. Though this was truer when I was working 15-20hrs/wk. When my hours were cut, I was only making $30./month more than I would be back on my benefits, and that’s not figuring medical expenses.
  3. Socializing with others. It is definitely a positive experience (yet terrifying with social anxiety) to get out of the house and socialize with other human beings.

The cons:

  1. Working was very challenging for me. It took all my energy and strength to maintain a job. I found it extremely difficult to constantly process the anxieties I had to deal with.
  2. I had to cut back down to one therapy session a week. I realized that I was going to have to put therapy on the back shelf for a few months but it was disheartening because of the increased anxiety.
  3. I was working for less money than my benefits. After figuring out medical expenses, (because they cut some of my medical) it wasn’t worth it!

Some feelings:

I felt slightly manipulated, not having been discussed to regarding becoming permanent. Then I wondered if it were some kind of corporate maneuver. My co-workers were begging for hours and yet they hired me. Why? Was I cheaper? I listened to the woes of a woman who was struggling financially because she couldn’t get hours. She had been working there for years, and the only answer she got, is that it was because of her raise. She then added that the Now Hiring sign still hangs outside, but yet the already employed can’t get hours. This made me feel bad and not want to be a part of the corporation.

Other things bothered me too. The manager that informed me I was permanent had really aggressive and poor communication skills. I had an unpleasant experience with her when she called one evening to ask if I could come in, because some one called out. I never responded, I was out when I got the message and didn’t think anything of it until I saw her the next shift I worked. She acted very angrily and made it clear it was directed to me. I never confronted her on it, though I did discuss it in therapy; because I wasn’t sure what to do.

A week after I became permanent, she approached me again offering an extra shift on the weekend if I was interested.  I told her I’d think about and thank you.

The following weekend, I got called by a different and very upset manager that I didn’t show up for my shift. I explained the conversation with my other manager and that I never said I would work, and had no idea she had put me on the schedule. That was my breaking point,,my decision maker. I realized that I couldn’t work there anymore. After weighing the pros, cons and feelings, I concluded that the extra stress wasn’t worth less money! I gave my notice a few weeks later.

had enough

I found having to give my notice was almost as challenging as asking for the job to begin with. Ashamedly, I think it’s the first time I ever left a job with a notice. I explained that there was just too much on my plate right now and that was why I applied for a temporary job. They received it well and were appreciative of the two week notice.

quit job

 

All in all, its been an enlightening experience. It was a great boost to my self confidence. I know that I am capable of more than I gave myself credit for in a long time. I now know what to expect when I do start working permanently, as far as all the cuts to my benefits, so I can plan accordingly for the hours and wages that I will need. I also learned a little more of what I’m looking for (and not looking for) in a work environment.

Now it’s back to the drawing board. I want to work on my blog and my writing. I would like to start an online shop with my daughter, selling crafts and vintage stuff. I plan to sell my old burlesque costumes. I will also return to EMDR therapy and work on my health. In the Fall, I will look for a job again.

back to drawing

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Reflections~

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Happy 2015!

Wow! I survived the holidays! I am here in the New Year!

I welcome the changes, though parts of me are dying,,,a new self is emerging.

I envision my daughter and I finally in our own place, living our lives to the fullest potential.

But…I am grounded in muck, my emotions are wild and my head cloudy.

With the winter, I find the need for withdrawal and introspection.

Knowing that in the spring, a new life will be sprouting.

This New year will reflect the person I always wanted to be~

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The following entries I wrote on New Year 2004, they still very much relate~

 

I want…a bright future, with my daughter,

in the garden, healing animals.

I want…my health, and health for my family; 

and wealth, enough to get by.

I want…to live peacefully, to be content with myself,

and with others.

I want…education, knowledge,

and for my mind to always want more!

I want…to laugh, to cry, to always be in tune with my emotions.

I want…to wake up everyday and do all of these.

I want…to smell incense, hug a tree, to pray and meditate

and to hear symphonies.

I want…to paint, draw, color;

in a book, in the air, or in my mind.

I want…to create, to imagine, to dream

and never stop…

I want…to never stagnate, procrastinate,

complain, be ignorant or non-compassionate.

I want…to see the world, to explore

to live my life the way…

I want.

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Dreams of a life

that has not happened yet.

Memories of a life

long gone.

Taunted by the mind.

Abandoned.

One path,

One person,

Solitary.

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