segue to spring


We’re leaving the deep and inward time when the energy stores are collected in the roots of nature and feeling the shift into green things that surface.  Here in southern Colorado we had mid-seventy degree weather yesterday and nearly a foot of snow and 30ish degrees today.  Spring is a vibrant and wild time and can make people crazy!  If life has felt stuck in ennui it is a welcome celebration to feel everything bursting to life after hibernation, but if life has been a bit overwhelming, this season can bring angst, irritation, frustration and on up the scale from there. 

Consider some time with nature to bring harmony.  

If you feel depleted and worn thin, lay awake at night in perseveration, tend toward overexcitement and then crash, it might be good to continue with some root medicine.   Some of my favorites were discussed earlier this year, see ginger, dandelion, also consider dang shen, dang gui, ginseng, huang jing, and turmeric.  If you would like more specific guidance where to start with your home herbal apothecary we can create a custom constitutional herbal formula for you with a phone consultation or office visit.  

If you feel like you just came out of the cave and need to burn off excess energy it can lead to a tendency toward cranky frustration in absence of proper venting. Please use this energy if possible to become more active than was comfortable in the winter, preferably adding some time outside.  As physical beings we need light, sun, fresh air and grounding. Grounding means touching the Earth without a barrier between you and it: hug a tree, take off your shoes and stand skin to ground, dig in the soil with your bare hands.  Research is proving that our physical touch to the planet is required to be mentally and physically well.   Fascinating studies show drastic decrease in inflammation quickly after the body grounds (see Tour de France results when grounding methods are used for injury; grounding and cardiovascular health; grounding in the treatment of colic; grounding for relief from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; the list goes on as the inflammatory process plays such a part in most diseases and chronic pain patterns).  We cannot ground through insulated shoes, buildings or vehicles. 

I know we want there to be some elaborate story around what creates health but many things are just simple: be with nature, eat of it, drink of it, “kneel and touch the earth,” join your community garden.  

Some of my favorite springtime herbs: nettles, milk thistle, raspberry leaf, hawthorne.  And don’t forget to start your culinary herbs in pots: dill, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley and chives. Though these herbs are not as medicinally powerful as some of the less-tasty, they are all antimicrobial, antiviral and according to much research, anticarcinogenic.  Use them flagrantly!


Most community supported agriculture (CSA) farms are currently taking membership.  Please consider supporting your local small farmer who is using chemical-free growing methods, or prepare now to grow your own food and herbs this summer to whatever degree your are capable.   I have found that the closer our relationship to where our food grows the more consistent we are in consuming a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables.   

Let thy foods be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates 


Lastly, if you have opportunity to test your D3 levels with your primary care physician, I highly recommend doing so as you can more effectively supplement if needed before the summer months when you might get adequate sun exposure to synthesize D on your own. Optimization requires some monitoring as D3 is fat-soluable and can build up to toxic levels if overconsumed.  Keeping adequate stores is an important component to good health.

more dandelion 🦁


Dandelion root is a free source of good medicine and can be found in most parts of the country.  
Before you overlook this powerful, abundant medicine, consider the superpower of a weed.  Weeds are hardy, difficult to eradicate and overall more willful than most gardners.  When a weed has a healing capability, and most do, they tend to be more resilient than their foe.  Please see my prior post regarding weed harvesting safety.

Almost everyone is familiar with dandelions and they are an easy and fun place to begin wild harvesting. Bear in mind that extremely toxic, cancer-causing chemical poisons are readily obtained from any home and yard store in this country, banned by many other countries, American policy hasn’t caught up with the science yet. Avoid any dandelions that have been growing in a place where herbicide or pesticides or even many commercial lawn fertilizers have been used. After that, go wild!  

home apothecary

I learned about the uses of dandelion, (taraxacum) by the Chinese name: pu gong ying. This revered medicine was first written about hundreds of years ago in the Tang Materia Medica and is still used widely in the modern world.   

The root of dandelion is bitter, slightly sweet and cold. Because of this it is often roasted and then brewed as a coffee substitute. In general, our American diet is very lacking in the bitter flavor which is one of the reasons I think we gravitate to coffee. Because coffee can be overstimulating to many, roasted dandelion root is a great non-stimulating alternative that still offers that robust flavor so many of us crave. The bitter flavor in Chinese food theory correlates to the heart. If you are a person who seeks out coffee when you are feeling anxious and then feel overly stimulated and often worse, it is worth considering you might need the bitter flavor to balance the energies of your heart. A wonderful Sufi poems tells us to match the rhythm of our heart with that of the beloved. This, it tells us, will yield peace.

 When our heart organ needs balancing we will naturally crave the bitter flavor. Add overstimulation of a strong coffee and everything seems to get worse. Go out in the back field and dig up some dandelion roots to slow roast then grind and brew, and everything feels right as rain.  
Dandelion comes to mind when I need to cool heat, resolve toxicity and facilitate urination (great also for treating painful dribbling issues). This herb has a downward directing energy. 

It can eliminate hard abscesses or nodules that are internal (and/or the fresh greens externally).

This is also one of the first herbs I might try to brighten vision and reduce redness or swelling in the eyes caused by toxicity or upward rising liver heat. (In the Chinese system, dandelion enters the liver and the “liver opens on to the eyes.”)

Dandelion is a great herb to try if you are feeling slightly toxic digestively from too much food, drink or a wild, wild life.  Also consider it for balancing hormonal patterns especially where lumps and swelling might be an issue.

dandelion tea

I love dandelion.  In this winter season when the life force of nature resides dominantly in the roots we can be comforted by a moderate intake of roasted dandelion root tea.  

root medicine | dandelion root

for food and medicine

It’s easy to renew your connection with the Earth’s abundance, beauty and essential health.  Though you may not remember being a wild forager, there is not a child I have ever met who cannot identify this one.  

dandelion wishes

I’ve often wondered if the dandelion is one of the most overlooked medicine sources in our own back yards. In many places around the country this amazing plant is considered an annoying weed. Yet all parts of dandelion are edible and loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants, and life-giving nutrients. There are many ways to use this source of free food: herbal jelly, dandelion honey, vinegars, oils, wine, and salad greens, but for this wintertime commentary to come, I’ll focus on the root.  

Before you step out into the wilds of your back yard or elsewhere to pick weeds for lunch, there are a few precautions that you should know:

  • Only harvest weeds that you can positively identify as edible. Keep a field guide on wild plants to reference before you actually consume your harvest.  
  • Avoid picking weeds close to areas of runoff, roadsides, or areas that you do not know if they have been treated with poisons.
  • Do not harvest from areas that may have been contaminated by animal feces.
  • Positively know which part of the plant is edible and discard the potentially toxic part. 

home apothecary


self-sufficiency will reduce suffering 

Something is happening in the medical industry in relation to our population that is similar to the concept of peak oil. There is a viable theory that demand will at some point outpace supply.  

In the very near future there is reason to believe that even if you can afford a bed at your local hospital, clinic, or facility, there won’t necessarily be a trained human being who can care for you.  

This has everything to do with the population boom right after WWII when somewhere between 65 and 78 million babies were suddenly born over a very short span of time in the United States.  

This particular population is referred to as the baby boom generation and if you are a product of those wild times then the concept of home or folk medicine is of particular importance to register as primary health maintenance often becomes less and less easy to just ignore as we age.

But regardless of generation, many things prompt us to seek medical attention and it is important to understand there are still only so many trained medical staff in this country and they are already overwhelmed with the workload they are carrying.  

Population surges combined with limits to trained medical personnel require that we give some thought to home care.

Though most households at one time could manage the elemental health needs of its inhabitants, folk medicine has become a lost art.  

When I speak of folk medicine I am referring to the traditional medicine practices of alleviating suffering in a home or community setting by people who hold no extensive degree of formal medical education, aka: most everyone, for most every household and neighborhood. These basics are as vital as knowing how to feed ourselves and are becoming even more so as the access to healthcare diminishes.

It is becoming essential household knowledge to learn how to use food and an herb or two that you can readily find, as well as few basic techniques that can be performed or administered with things you would already have on hand. 

Folk medicine is a concept that is somehow being lost in the modern outsourcing shuffle. I must politely recommend that your household maintain some basic skills and supplies if not solely for the preservation of your budget but as a tribute to survival and the alleviation of suffering.

To read about ginger root check out my last post. 

wish medicine


In the meantime I leave you with many well wishes for health and vitality!

root medicine | ginger root

young ginger root | sheng jiang

Ginger root is a powerful healing medicine and is usually easy to find at most quality grocery stores.  (Please be mindful whenever purchasing roots of any description that they are from the most clean source you can obtain.) There is a way to use ginger root with almost anything and I encourage you to explore recipes that will expand your understanding of where and how you might get more of this amazing root in your diet. Very simply, you can make tea. Clean the root with a soft brush, slice it thin or grate it, then put it in a cup of boiling water to steam for 3-5 minutes. Drink as it is or add honey, citrus, spices such as cardamom or cinnamon or anise, something savory like dill or spicy like cayenne and it might become your most favored beverage. I love to use ginger root flagrantly. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, aids in digestion, promotes intestinal health, I can go on forever. If you don’t know what to try, try ginger (unless you are allergic or inordinately hot or dislike the flavor) it is worth giving it the first shot to cure whatever ails you. Even if you are hot, young ginger can often bring down a fever (where more aged or dried ginger can bring warmth to cold conditions.)

ginger root mother | gan jiang

The version of ginger root that we use in Chinese medicinal formulations is known as xi xin in the dry powder form and sheng jiang in the fresh young root form, gan jiang is the ginger mother which is tougher, hotter and and more dispersing | asarum, Chinese wild ginger. The very best quality of the thirty different Chinese species is considered to be wild crafted from the Liaoning province in the north. Chinese ginger is very powerful and tends to be used in smaller doses than one might of a root bought in the produce section of the stores in America. If it has been powdered, around 3 grams maximum. Ginger enters the channels of the lung, heart and kidney. It relieves pain and reaches the head, lungs, bones and joints to disperse wind, cold, dampness and phlegm. Typically we will not prescribe this form of ginger if there is profuse sweating in deficient conditions or headache. In the Chinese Material Medica ginger can be found under the category “herbs that release the exterior.” We prescribe it regularly to treat common cold patterns, relieve vomiting, indigestion, nausea, flu, unblock urination and relieve pain. In the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Material Medica, sheng jiang, fresh young ginger root, “unblockes the clarity of the spirit.”  

additional note of interest

According to the famous poet Su Shi and the celebrated natural philosopher Shen Gua, in their eleventh century compilation Fine Formulas of Su and Shen, combining green tea leaves with ginger root in equal parts can relieve travelers dysentery and vomiting. I have used this combination successfully when I did not have access to other remedies and find it absolutely invaluable.  

digging

joie de vivre


There is a place on the exact opposite of our globe.  As children we set our expressions to serious and would dig in our sandbox intent upon reaching China.  Somehow hunger or the elements would always end the project or occasionally we learned there was an offensive bottom to the sandbox.  Feeling ripped off, out in the orchard we’d gossip about the conspiracy and hatch plans to find a spot in the garden, ultimately unsuccessful when chased away by some adult authority.  

I haven’t heard yet about a kid who made it to the other side of the world by digging but I do know a lot of us who never lost our curiosity for things that might solve the great mysteries that weren’t readily apparent within our own bubble.

Today the internet can take us to China in a fraction of a second, as well as nearly anywhere else on the globe, and then even out, far out, into the stars where we can watch the cosmos in a constant state of renewal,  birthing baby stars. Times have changed and still the mystery exists: how to live?  The French chose their current dialect not because it is the most easily learned but because it is the most beautiful. They have a phrase called “joie de vivre” that I think of often. Like trying to dig to China, I still haven’t succeeded in finding an American equivalent for this notion. We don’t understand the concept and the most reasonable translation we have is “joy for living,” which does not remotely capture the French sentiment.  

Equally, is this concept of longevity.  In Okinawa (among other places on the globe) there has been an extraordinarily high population of people who live to be one hundred years old and beyond. Remarkably, they don’t just exist in a coma-like state at some institution, these centenarians live- they are active, they are mentally clear, they are physically capable.  They are engaging life.  

My family, many of them, died quite young, not much older than I am now. For several we could see it coming, for a few, it was just tragic accidents.  I still haven’t figured out how to dig fast enough to escape the lightning bolts of fate, but as for the others, I have learned things that could have changed everything. When it involves choice and free will, we truly can alter our experience of existence. We really can choose the joie de vivre.

What is our greatest wealth? Health. What is our most essential currency? Time. There are plenty of things we can buy, and plenty of services we can pay for that will help, but what it really comes down to is perspective, attitude, application and translation. We live in a culture of consumption– once thought of only as a disease term, we now readily identify ourselves as consumers, not citizens. This complicates our notion of health.  

We must dig deeper into the mystery now. We must remember our curiosity. Believe me when I say I know for sure, the clock is ticking and this one needs to hit the top of the priority list every day: Health. What am I going to do today to cast my vote for wellness? If I pretend I’m not voting it doesn’t change the fact that I am.

Great book, Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, he tells of his crash with death then wrote this book of how he made himself return to thriving. I love this kind of motivation. Positive and intentional, he tells us his personal recipe for wellbeing. He calls his recipe a “habit-stack.”  

So each day, on the top of the to-do list should be something that casts your vote for health. Something that peers into the joie de vivre and dances with it, something that addresses your own specific complaints in a positive orientation…then the rest of your priorities.  

People tell me this kind of “habit-stack” would not allow them time to do anything else. I believe that sometimes, depending on how far down that other kind of hole you’ve dug, say five, five and a half feet, that might be true. I say, “so what?” I say this with great, heartfelt compassion, “so what?” If that is what it is going to take to not go to an early grave, or worse, being debilitated beyond any reach of the joie de vivre, then what are you going to choose? I get very quiet and pensive when I know what is happening is a choice but I just can’t figure out how to crack into that mentality that the overculture has effectively brainwashed into our people.  

This is why I write. I want to share what I have learned in researching and practicing the medicine rooted in world knowledge and about the real human people who have saddled the riddles and live, really live well, often to 100 years old or more.  

This year I am completing a home care manual for you to use as a reference book. There was a time when most health contributions were administered first and foremost from our own kitchen and by cultivating a healthful lifestyle. Most (not some) common ailments were effectively treated at home. As the medical “industry” becomes more and more unaffordable for the average household I have recognized the dire need to return health to the people.  I will be educating through classes, coaching and blogposts as I compile the reference guide and welcome your feedback as to how I can better help you learn and implement health promotion and the joie de vivre.

Horseshoe Lake, CO

root medicine 

The Ancient Puebloans called the moon that has just arrived “moon when all is gathered in.” The Puebloans were among the people native to the land where I now find myself. I am wondering, if like the name they called this moon, you have been feeling the need to “gather in” like I have.    
……
I have been on a journey that has now spanned nearly two years. The archetype of “the seeker” has ruled my guiding stars and I’ve navigated in spirals combing not only through the many parts of my own life but through the many landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. I have been looking for something I could not begin to name and as you know it’s not easy to hit a target you cannot see. This has not necessarily been a journey my eyes could interpret, though the beauty I have witnessed could inspire a lifetime. This journey has instead been an intuitive process of listening with my deepest heart. I have been listening for things words could not tell and though I was nearly ready to give up what was beginning to feel like an insane process, I knew when I had found what I was seeking at last. And I also know what it has cost me to find it, which was everything.  

What I mean by this is when you find yourself at that crossroads, what it requires is to make a full decision. If you choose, (though you don’t have to, you can wait out your life there at that in-between) but if you choose, that gateway demands that you leave behind what you thought was true, what you called yours, what was familiar and in most cases from the point of my own observation of others and my own experiences, who you thought you were and all your baggage too. If you think you can take it with you, it might be that you will quickly be stripped of it on the other side of that threshold, or you may find that you must put it down for the sole reason it is heavy. Be willing to take the empty-handed leap into the void. But let me tell you, it is better if you do that without expecting there will be a net to catch you, that could happen, but the notion is superfluous. If you’re going to leap you have to do it not knowing what is there, you have to leap with the only thing you can really take with you, and most don’t know what that is until it’s done. Don’t have time for all of that? I have learned that I don’t have time not to. Maybe something else is true for you. Or like I said, you can stay at the in-between for what we all consider forever if you choose. But if you decide you must know what else there is to this life, then you’re going to have to figure it out as you go and leap without waiting to know what comes next.  

Perhaps you have arrived somewhere after all of that already and find yourself now contemplating what to do. The Ancient Puebloans named this moon “moon when all is gathered in.” This moon tells us what nature’s wisdom knows: gather your life now, take stock, nourish yourself effectively through these long days of harvest work. Start sleeping a little longer as the hours of light dictate and shake off all your leaves. You might need to let go of all of those things you were so excited about in the spring and turn that vitality over to your roots.  

With this seasonal shift we are moving into root time (when vitality retreats below the surface). Gather and store root vegetables to cook with and consider root medicine too, especially if you’re feeling anxious, tired or weak. I’ll be including a list of some of my favorites here soon. You can order dried root or tinctures medicinals from my office or purchase them from a quality herb shop. Quality is very important when you use roots in food or medicine as they have the capacity to sponge up not only vital and obscure nutrients but also all kinds of toxins. By incorporating quality roots into your diet this autumn and into the winter you will be doing a lot to nurture your body, mind and spirit. In meditation give some thought to this concept of what cannot be seen below your surface but from which you draw so much for the force of your life.   

“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” -Ancient Proverb
🌑🌘🌗🌒🌓🌔🌕
Wishing you may find harmony with nature in this season!

root medicine | root food

young ginger root | sheng jiang


I studied a beautiful martial arts while still in graduate school. For many years I practiced with the sensei that was constantly bring us back to the first kata, which is the first form that was considered the foundation of all forms of martial arts. Since having the privilege of this way of learning it has occurred to me at many life transitions that the returning to the basic form is life yielding, a way to bring one’s life back to the mindset of experimentation, renewal, and vitality.  

My sensei would simply say, “again!”

It seems our culture is somewhat counter to the first form of life so it is easy to lose it and fail to go back to it again and again. At least for me it seemed there was much, too much cluttering it to even know what it was. It took considerable time and effort to reunite with this vital, essential root which I now understand is the base of all wellness, the base of all that life is nurtured from, it is what we call essence.  

What can we do to nourish our essence?  
Root medicine. Root food. This is the root season in the north part of the world, a time when winter is settling in and the life forces of plants and trees go deep. Dormancy is occurring. Our teacher inside nature educates about life to anyone willing to observe in a state of curiosity. If we want to live well, this is the time to gather it all in to the core, the root and the unseeable places. 
Though the light is returning, we are in the early days of winter, and more than “doing,” this is a time to turn inward, a time for “being.” It is the space from which visions will grow, a time of dreaming without acting. 

root medicine | root food
Food is medicine, and one of the most direct ways to alter health. It takes energy either way. It takes energy to be sick and it takes energy to procure really quality food specific to each individual person, which is something one has to learn through trial and error. There is no one diet to fit all. We are all unique. Even in each person what might be a great food in one time or season, is not in another. Written over the entry to the Greek temple of Apollo at Delphi in the first millennium BC were the words “gnōthi santon” (know thyself). This is foundational, root wisdom.  

So to begin, learn by trial and error what is the most powerful food for your body, then make sure you feed yourself with it the majority of the time. In this season, consider experimenting with various root vegetables, the closer to home they were grown, the more life force they will hold for you when you consume them. Soups, stews, steamed and fermented root mixtures are a good place to start in the cold months. Consider getting to know your local farmers if you cannot grow your own food. There are not only many things to learn from your locals but often they will plant crops specific to your needs. It is a great way to support others who are dedicated to the local healthy food movement. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups often do autumn planting and can offer you a fine selection of squash and roots into the winter. Buy extra and store it if you have a cool dry place in your home. Visit the closest farmers market you can find in the summer and ask about autumn shares. Good food can be much about thoughtful relationships and mutual support. I cannot emphasize enough how vital it is to support our country’s local small farms. If these go away, our foundations will certainly be questionable!

fermented beets | beet kvass

So start there, find quality, whole food year round. A current experiment sitting on my countertop is beet kvass. Normally beets are too sweet for me to have any remarkable quantity at one time. Kvass is made by a fermentation process that eats the sugars to produce a fantastic probiotic rich juice that will in turn fortify gut flora. It is such a rich and beautiful color and the fermented root adds compatible flair to most any dish. In these colder months it seems to take closer to seven to ten days to ferment the beets but in the warmer months it can be done in just a few days and can be kept in the refrigerator up to a month or more. There are many recipes on line for fermented vegetables and beet kvass. I am particularly partial to the recipes and advice in her book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  

root medicine | ginger root
I want to start my compilation for you with one that is easy to obtain in any quality grocery store: ginger root. There is a way to use ginger root with almost anything and I encourage you to explore recipes that will expand your understanding of where and how you might get more of this amazing root in your diet. Very simply, you can make tea. Clean the root with a soft brush, slice it thin or grate it, then put it in a cup of boiling water to steep for 3-5 minutes. Drink as it is or add honey, citrus, spices such as cardamom or cinnamon or anise, something savory like dill or spicy like cayenne  and it might become your most favored beverage. I love to use ginger root flagrantly. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, aids in digestion, promotes intestinal health, I can go on forever. If you don’t know what to try, try ginger (unless you are allergic or inordinately hot or dislike the flavor) it is worth giving it a shot first to cure whatever ails you. Even if you are hot, young ginger can often bring down a fever (where more aged or dried ginger can bring warmth to cold conditions.)

ginger root mother | gan jiang

The version of ginger root that we use in Chinese medicinal formulations is known as xi xin in the dry powder form and sheng jiang in the fresh young root form, gan jiang is the ginger mother which is tougher, hotter and and more dispersing | asarum, Chinese wild ginger. The very best quality of the thirty different Chinese species is considered to be wild crafted from the Liaoning province in the north. Chinese ginger is very powerful and tends to be used in smaller doses than one might of a root bought in the produce section of the stores in America. If it has been powdered, around 3 grams maximum. Ginger enters the channels of the lung, heart and kidney. It relieves pain and reaches the head, lungs, bones and joints to disperse wind, cold, dampness and phlegm. Typically we will not prescribe this form of ginger if there is profuse sweating in deficient conditions or headache. In the Chinese Material Medica ginger can be found under the category “herbs that release the exterior.” We prescribe it regularly to treat common cold patterns, relieve vomiting, indigestion, nausea, flu, unblock urination and relieve pain. In the Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Material Medica, sheng jiang, fresh young ginger root, “unblockes the clarity of the spirit.”  

additional note of interest
According to the famous poet Su Shi and the celebrated natural philosopher Shen Gua, in their eleventh century compilation Fine Formulas of Su and Shen, combining green tea leaves with ginger root in equal parts can relieve travelers dysentery and vomiting. I have used this combination successfully when I did not have access to other remedies and find it absolutely invaluable.  

salutations to solstice 

the new year begins


The picture above is of a place in Ireland called Newgrange, it was built around 3200 B.C. and has a tunnel facing the sunrise that runs to a main chamber where a small window bathes the chamber in solstice light for 17 minutes a year. This is an example of how important solstice was to humans who once lived in alignment with nature. The structure has 97 enormous stones and covers an acre of countryside. It is mind boggling to imagine the amount of effort such a structure would entail even with modern equipment.

If I had to pick only one holiday to celebrate a year, it would probably be the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of light for the year in the Northern Hemisphere. I love it because it marks the time in nature when the days that follow bear more light, the greatest darkness has passed.

It is not only the traditional belief system of the Asian cultures that hold Nature at the center of their life-promoting cosmology, though that is what attracted me to becoming a scholar and practitioner of its medicine. All of the traditional cultures and traditions of the world people are rooted in living in harmony with nature and its cycles. The ancient Indo-European people known as the Celts, for example, share roots of the celebrations we observe around our modern holidays in the United States.   Celtic philosophy holds that all life begins in darkness where the quiet, nourished potential takes fortification. Central to this concept is the foundational importance of dormancy.  

Nature is my medicine and source of wisdom – – for it to come through me well, wholly, safely, I have to practice what I believe. I feel compelled to do experiments on myself before I suggest them to you. So I have set out to explore the world nature traditions that explain the Yuletide and see if I might find a way to integrate the life-bearing principle of dormancy into a modern world. The Celtic tradition says the vitality of life propagates only where we are able to be like the seed, honoring the necessary dormancy for the beginning of our annual cycle where we nourish and rest before we attend to the outward actions. Nature tells us to pull our energy into the roots and consolidate all efforts – – to focus and see the essential, the elemental. This makes me think of yet another value of meditation – – to practice dormancy daily inside a world where it seems the common philosophy is that we exist to race, always.

Nature is a force more powerful than civilization and when our wise people were still able to be heard over the cacophony of our psychologically adolescent culture, the winter holidays were times to be mellow and relaxed together, tucked into safe places where we could pool our resources, share fire heat and light. It was a communal time of deep spirituality and heartfelt desires for comfort through the cold and dark that can threaten the survival of a seed before it reaches that time when the darkest soil warms and signals it to take action and start reaching for its goal, the sun.

The foundational philosophy of my medicine rests on the principles necessary to produce longevity. How can we live not only long, but well? The philosophy states that we do not need to deteriorate physically or mentally as we age. We must practice, more consistently, the deepening and fortifications of our root, then ‘there is no reason to fear the wind.’

This is an activity. It IS “doing” something. This is the season to nourish our roots through calm, sane, quiet, contemplation, rest, conservation of resources, mindfulness and spiritually enriching activities. One of my favorite teachers would simply say, “calm down.”

This season I hope you will begin anew in a way that will let you thrive. I hope you will put to your fire whatever it is that you are ready to release in order to make room for the vital. I hope you will choose a way to create a sane welcome to the new year. May you be able to rest. Just rest. This is a secret to the mystery of longevity. I will be practicing this secret this season. If you would like to engage in your own dormancy experiment, please feel free to utilize my blog commentary that is to come regarding powerful root medicine (under a separate category called ‘root medicine’ where I will post herbal home care, food, lifestyle tools and books that fortify (and hopefully inspire) for wintertime dormancy.  

May you be rich in health and love!  

-Marissa