Well, obviously, I'm not taking my own medicine, at least not as diligently as I should be. I have continued to blog and work on my novel, though I have the flu. Healers are ornery--many are their own worse patients. Be that what it may, I woke up this morning thinking about the A to Z April Blogger's Challenge and knew that for the letter "H" I wanted to write about health, healing and happiness.
I thought about my journey. How did I get here and what inspired me to take on healing? I recognize that the most outstanding inspiration was my environment, where I grew up, immersed in nature. It was also the people around me--relatives and family friends who were self-determined, doing things for themselves, and by hand. As a teenager we lived very close to the land. My Dad hunted and fished, my mother, aunts and us kids gardened, harvested, canned and then cooked those home grown foods all winter, taking them out little by little from the deep freezer. Then too, there were the times. The late 70's were interesting times. Many of us took on vegetarianism (which I still stand by), decided to work herbs into our lives, had henna parties, and even made our own yogurt. Fun times to be sure but also sad because as I recall, the epidemic of HIV/AIDS swept into many black communities and families swiftly in the 80's, with devastating impact.
Growing up, my parents were many things as they are to all of us. One of the striking features for me, was their illnesses--both suffered from serious ills. There were frequent trips to doctors, the ER and hospitals. It was frightening as a child. It left me, as the oldest child, feeling both powerless and eager to find a way to help. My first serious interest in herbs developed in the 70's when I began to investigate Native American cures for my father's illness. Then, when HIV struck some relatives and friends, I continued to try to figure out natural remedies that could help with that formidable illness. When I found that at the very least, herbs were comforting, offering hope, when there didn't seem to be any elsewhere, I was hooked.
There is a joy that comes from working with herbs. Many people across cultures use them, and they have been used since the earliest of times. Just gazing at the lavender fields and the sage shown above, renews my spirit, making me feel, if only temporarily, better.
Herbalism is something that you can study on your own, as I did, or in a certified program. When the herbs call, listen. They have much to teach us, regarding health, healing and overall happiness. They often have quiet voices. It is best to listen well.