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How it all began...

I should probably start at the beginning and talk about how the Herbs came into my life. Three years ago I moved to Nashville, Tennessee from rural Chatham County, North Carolina. Suddenly my life was urban and busy and not the peaceful country life that I had been used to. I had closed my business of twenty years as a decorative painter and designer and I sat very still and uncomfortable for a long while wondering what that "next thing" for me would be....?

It was winter time and I walked into a neighborhood tea shop to see what they were all about. I had just had my fiftieth birthday and along with that came subtle signs that my body was changing and I was hearing nudges that I may need some help with those changes! As it happens the tea shop became an integral part of my journey.

At that time the High Garden tea shop was located on the corner of my street. I went there a lot after yoga classes to have a cup of herbal tea and chat with other patrons. One day I asked Leah Larabell, the owner, if she could recommend something for me to take to ease the hot flashes I had been experiencing. I explained that I didn't want to go to a doctor and be put on hormones or drugs, I wanted to use natural remedies. She sent me away with two bags containing dried Oatstraw and Nettles and the title of a book by Susan Weed, The Menopause Years.

I ordered a copy of the book and my whole world transformed as I read each chapter, wide eyed and inspired! Turns out I know precious little of how the female body really works. Everything taught in school or from my mother was not entirely accurate. There was a whole new way of interpreting the natural rhythms and cycles of a woman and more importantly a whole new way of embracing the menopause years.

I began making my oat straw and nettle infusions every day and I drank them both religiously. Within a couple of weeks my hot flashes were gone and even now, three years later I experience none of the discomfort. Very occasionally I'll feel a mild one coming on and I think of it now as a power surge~~!

While in the tea shop one day Leah mentioned that a Native American Medicine woman, in fact one of her teachers and mentors, would be teaching a class that month on "Herbs for Women". I signed up of course and was excited to attend the class. Lisa Bedner, owner of Pipsissewa Herbs, had me hooked from the first class. That's where it all began....three years ago I knew very little about plant medicine and the healing ways of the Native Indians. I have always had a flower garden, created one wherever I lived, regardless of whether I owned the property or not! In our last home I spent twelve years cultivating a perennial garden, a proper English one with roses, despite the searing summer temps. I had a little knowledge of essential oils and could recognize and name a handful of wildflowers and plants but did not know of their medicinal qualities.

As I began to delve deeper into this work I became obsessed by it. I was ordering books, taking classes, cultivating my postage-stamp-sized urban back garden into a medicine garden that became lush with herbs and flowers within just a few months. I enrolled in an on-line class with Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in NC. That changed everything for me. Everything! It changed how I thought about every little thing that I encountered in nature, birds, animals, the wild, the sky, the earth and in the garden. It wasn't that I hadn't noticed these things before it was just that I hadn't realized my "connection" to it. I suddenly found myself on a new path that filled me with a passion and a desire to learn that I had not experienced before in my life, not even as a painter and artist! It felt like work I had done before, knowledge that I already had but needed to re-collect. Something that was inside the core of my being and I could not hold it in any longer.

I trusted that a new door would open for me when I moved to Nashville but I had no idea how wide the opening would be! Once I let go of my old self and the identity I had attached to my "old" and known skills, I was able to receive and follow guidance that led to an entire new pathway. Through this opening so much has come forward. I now have a new tool belt that holds no paintbrushes or masking tape, no scrapers, trowels or sponges! Instead an array of new tools; plant medicine, flower essences, crystals and stones, Shamanic practices, astrology, sacred geography, dowsing, animal totems, not to mention the actual tools for working in the garden and connecting to the plants. I have also been studying and using the Tarot for many years and I trust its wisdom and influence daily in my practices.

I have studied and developed a strong connection with the Native Indian way of life, I have learned so much from them through books and their teachings. The energy around them is very strong for me here in Nashville. I didn't feel it where I lived in NC but I feel it here. In future blogs I shall go into more detail about my story and how one thing seems to have lead to another. The saying is true....."All that you are seeking, is also seeking you".

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