December 11, 2012

A Glimpse Into My Journey With The Plants

Wishing for Weeds

Dandelion, (Taraxacum officinale),
One of my first herbal allies well before
Weeds of Eden.  When I arrived,
 I discovered that  Dandelion  was the logo!

Around eight years ago today, my little fingers could be found clicking away at an old keyboard in search of images and Latin names of plants. I sat in a big black rolling chair and I tried to stay warm with the help of a portable heater. The room was dimly lit and filled with a light smoking of lavender and sage on hot coals. The pale green walls were with herb books, amber tincture bottles, plant monographs, a few small windows, and a cozy couch for tea time. This was a modern day apothecary, and I was so happy to be a part of it...a seemingly far away dream of mine that had finally come true.

This is a memory from Weeds of Eden, and herb and health clinic in Louisville, KY. It was the first incarnation of the clinic that graced Bardstown Road prior to its first move in 2007.

Myron Hardesty, Owner and herbalist, welcomed me into his herbal home in 2005. He was earning his Masters degree from the Physicians Assistant Studies Program at the University and needed someone to help during the weekdays while he was at school. It was here that I first began to study clinical herbalism outside of my own efforts.  

Say Yes!

Me in the consultation room at Weeds.
Photo taken by Myron on a
disposable was 2006,
no fancy digital phone cameras!
The day that I heard Myron say "Yes!" over the phone,  was one that I will never forget. I could not believe that I had an opportunity to apprentice with an herbalist for two years!

 I was pretty beside myself. I actually spilled an entire mug of herbal tea all over my bed after I hung up the phone. Then I laughed...

The saying,  "You've made your bed, now lay in it", came to my mind. It was a sign that, indeed, it would not be an easy task. Never the less, it was an opportunity I felt in my heart was meant to be, and a task that I was willing to face no matter how difficult and stressful at times.

At the time, the possibility of studying herbs in Kentucky seemed impossible. I spent hours upon hours researching schools along the east and west coasts of the US. Little do we know... Sometimes the path to our dreams can be right under our noses...and often come in packages different than what we might expect.

Walking the Line...Choosing Where to Land...

I was attending school full time to be a Phlebotomist. In case you don't know, phlebotomists are those seemingly evil (or nice) people with needles who take your blood and blood pressure. As my friends would say, I was a professional vampire.

At this time in my life, I was still walking a thin wire between following my heart and self destruction.  I was a
23 year old who was beginning to recognize that she didn't fit in with most of the peers her age. I had severe social anxieties because, in my heart, I knew that much of my time was ill spent.

I tried to fit in by drinking and going out, but, even then, it was always awkward. I was a nerdy girl inside with a big heart, and really...that doesn't fly so well in a world that revolves around trying to be so awesomely not yourself.

I was overly concerned about what people thought of me, when I should have tuned in to find the real me. If only I figured I had figured this out at the age of 19...well...maybe I would be less scrappy and street smart than I am today. Anyhow, Myron, and Weeds of Eden, offered a seed of inspiration...a safe place in which I could improve my life and focus on my future. 

Modern Day Apothecary

Apothecary walls: This is often where Myron and I would
 talk shop for hours. Ask him about
Mitochondria, I dare you!

Hundreds of plant medicines lined the apothecary walls in the front office of Weeds. While there, I had 42 hours a week to study client files after consultations and long phone conversations with Myron. We would geek our on pathology and diseases, physiology of the body, nutrition, food sensitivities, constitutions (patterns in body types), and of course, plants.  

We also shared conversations on the more philosophical, spiritual, ethical, and energetic of aspects of herbalism. This is the language that has always spoken most naturally to me. 

When Walking a Path of The Heart, Be Open to the Unexpected.

Myron, and I with Southwestern
Prickly Poppy (Argemone pleiacantha).
Southwest School of Botanical Medicine Field Study,
New Mexico, 2007.
I reflect on this memory of time, as it is dear to my heart. This time of year reminds me of the anticipation I had during my interview at Weeds of Eden. It was the first risk I had to take in order to leave my over-worn, doubting-self behind.

It was winter when I began my journey of truly following my day dreams of being an herbalist, a healer, an alchemist, and one day, maybe even a teacher. I discovered some unexpected tools and friendships along the way--I fell in love with aromatherapy and followed that dream in becoming an aromatherapist.

While at Weeds, I recognized the need for bodywork and energy work to aid our nervous systems and for pain management. A few years later, I became licensed in massage therapy and certified in energy work. In the long run, I  feel the most transformative bodywork holds no strict form. Loving intention, intuition, listening, and the holding of space allows so much of the healing to manifest...and healing is simply a matter of positively helping what already is.

Taking Risks to Live the Life You Dream

One of my favorite prints ever hung above the
desk at Weeds of Eden circa 2006. 
As a young girl, my mother taught me to follow my heart and dreams, no matter how far they seemed. As a young girl,  the concept left me feeling confused and at times seemed to have an opposite effect! Though, after sometime, I realized she was right, I just had to discover what tugged at my heart strings.

Since I am someone who likes to learn things the hard way, this taught me the beauty of steadfastness and persistence.

It also taught me to greatly value apprenticeships over traditional schooling. I love books, I mean really, really love books, but, I learn best through hands on experience. I have to do things many times before I feel confident in my knowledge.

It takes more time, but, in the long run, I think it is best. My need for hands on learning has inspired me to pursue additional training for 2013...I will post about those soon!

1 comment:

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