Ritual of Return
We humans crave connection like oxygen. Connection to the ground, to ourselves to our loved ones, to our environment. To feel true connection we must be willing to be vulnerable and open to the world around us. The latin root of the word vulnerable is vulnerare "to wound."
This is the double edged sword of connection. We must be willing to be wounded and feel pain if we also wish to feel joy, bliss and love.
When we block ourselves from our pain we also block ourselves from our joy. We lose connection. We numb out. We cannot have one without the other, no matter how much we wish we could skip the painful emotions that also connect us to each other. (If you haven't checked out the Vulnerability tedtalk by Brene Brown, check it out!)
My path as a human and entrepreneur is to be guided by my desire to live in connection. With you, with myself, with the leather and materials I use, with the plants I make salves with, with the people I employee.
Every year I return to the Colorado mountains where I grew up to connect with a landscape that feeds my soul. I'm heading there this next week and cannot wait to reconnect with the wild medicinal wild plants that I incorporate into foot soaks in my classes, Sacred Sole Salves for your feet, and tea for your heart.
Native Americans refer to plants as "The Standing People." They acknowledge that the intelligence of plants is equal to humans, their language and life cycles may be different from ours and we may have to learn how to interpret what they have to say and offer.
Our desire to understand the language of "the other", be it a plant, an animal, a new land, a new friend, is to seek connection.
Plants have so much to teach us about connection. About staying rooted, following the light, trusting how things grow, both in us and around us. I'm honored to be a steward of their wisdom and offer it to you in the foot soaks and salves that I make.
The consciousness of plants (excludes trees or shrubs) is invested in the future of the plant, not as an individual, but as a species and a genus. If we look at how plants reproduce its fascinating to realize that most plants will never get to be surrounded by their offspring. They produce a flower, that turns to a seed and at that peak moment of fertility they are also dying. The life of the parent plant is often long gone before it's seed even begins to stir into embryonic life deep within the soil. If we compare this relationship to humans we can see that a plant is like the great great grandparent of its offspring.
As humans--with luck--we live to not only see our children, but our grand children and even great grandchildren. It can be hard for us humans to think beyond our own generation; to follow the life force beyond our own lifetime, let alone our great grand children's lifetime is not something we are taught to do. The plants, on the other hand, are constantly in this state of consciousness. This is how they survive. They are the great great grandparents of their offspring. They never get to see them, but they give all of their life force and faith to the germination of that seed. If we so choose, we too can be the great great grandchildren of these plants. We can ask them for their guidance, to show us how to create the future before the present has died. We can learn to cultivate a Future beyond our future. This is how Cathedrals used to be built. Over multiple generations. I think it's quite remarkable and beautiful that both plants and these shelters of spiritual worship share this multi generational consciousness that asks us to think of a broader sense of Life instead of one lifetime.
To enter into this consciousness we must accept death on some level.
To be connected to the life/death/life cycle puts us in accord with nature, with our humanity. To know that when I take the life of the plants I harvest, I am also receiving their medicine is to understand that death is a gift too. And to choose wisely when we give and take life.
The deepest healing I experience through my relationship with medicinal plants lies in the pilgrimage of return. I've been visiting certain places to gather specific wild plants for many years now. Returning to these wild cathedrals of flora to offer my thanks, and ask for their guidance and life force is a ritual I will never forsake. To take life and know what one receives through that death is to know gratitude. This is connection. To enter into relationship with the pain and the joy of life and death and choose to participate with intention, cultivating beauty around us.
May these Sacred Sole salves serve you on your journey to connect with what matters most to you. May they soothe any wounds that are caused by the inevitable pain that comes from choosing to stay open to life. May they open you up to more joy, bliss, adventure and love.
With love and gratitude,