Change

We are all feeling anxious and vulnerable these days due to what is going on in the world, the United States, and our own community. Change is inevitable. Feeling fearful is normal. Our role is to really look at these feelings and sit with them and let them come up and be transformed into action, rituals of letting them go, or continuing to spend time with them without them possessing us. Homeopathy would call this a miasm. If we allow it to possess us it can set us up for a level of vulnerability that can make us more susceptible to distress, diseases, and depression.

I too am feeling all the above but will use a small but vital personal change that is impacting my life to suggest some supports. Yes, as some of you have probably heard, Linda will be retiring from here on March 1. We will miss her so much and as my plan is to try to run things pretty much on my own, it’s a bit frightening and overwhelming. Linda has been grounding for me when I get crazed, or irritated, or just having a bad hair day. She has the ability to calm the most anxious patient. She is able to find things in common to talk about with just about anyone and make them feel comfortable. She can organize and coordinate things so easily it is mystifying. She can answer just about any question you ask and in a way you can understand. She and I have been together so long that we laugh about requiring the other person so as we age, our memory and knowledge compliments and allows us to continue to function whole brained!!
How am I coping with this or any change? Here are a few suggestions that I have found really valuable to me:

  1. Look to flower essences – Bach rescue remedy with a few drops of walnut f. e. for change put in your water bottle to sip all day long. Consider adding a few drops of any other essence that make sense for you based on reading the definition of other remedies
  2. Look to Chakra therapy for support- I often need support with the Heart Chakra and I use an essence made by a wonderful healer I met years ago. I also do many Yoga positions to open the chest and the heart.
  3. I have a wall in my house with wonderful support emails, pictures, messages, cards from people that have sent me their love and compassionate thoughts as well as cards and affirmations scattered wherever I may need them
  4. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” Shunryu Suzuki
  5. “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Rainer Marie Rilke
  6. My book choice for all of you is AT HOME IN THE WORLDThich Nhat Hanh in which he tells us about his life from childhood to today. It is a good example for us all about surviving and thriving, living in the present moment and not turning our back on the human condition and our role to take action. Here is a man who was expelled from his country and many other countries, worked tirelessly to help the boat people, and focused on peace and love. Helping every being, no matter how others labeled them: friend or foe, man or tree, they all received his compassion and support.
  7. Look to your friends and community for love and support, be they human or nature, tangible or spiritual.

I feel so blessed to have had Linda’s support for all these years and her wisdom and guidance and I will see her go with gratitude and hope for her to have a marvelous life wherever it leads her.

I will call on my supports in the days, and months, and years ahead, knowing my foundation and each day is a gift.

With peace and love,
Pat

Staying healthy with the Seasons

Here’s a to-do list instead for cold and flu season.

First the difference: Cold vs. Flu

You can get a cold or flu any time of the year but fall and winter tend to be the time we can suffer the most. Yes, it is because we are inside more, in close contact with other people and often breathing dry, less than fresh air.

Cold Symptoms

Colds tend to start with sore throats, stuffy noses, cough and congestion. It lasts about 1-2 weeks, goes from clear discharges to colored mucus, and may leave us with a residual cough, especially if we are always indoors breathing dry, less than clear fresh air.

Flu Symptoms

The flus we think about in winter, may start and look like a cold, but usually have a fever and muscle aches, which may be severe or mild.

Conventional Medicine has symptom relief suggestions only. The flu vaccine was developed, as is true of most vaccines, because we have no “cure” for it. This is not a blog about vaccines, which I am happy to do, if requested in the future, so I leave the choice of a vaccine up to you.

Suggestions

Remember that 75% of all mortality and morbidity could be improved/eliminated with focus on the basics.

  • Make sure to get enough sleep
  • Eat good deep nourishing foods such as soups and stews,
  • Drink plenty of fluids, room temperature or teas
  • Get outside everyday
  • Get lots of hugs and kisses 🙂
  • Get some good spices in your food every day, like ginger and cinnamon.
  • Eat lots of root veggies, like beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips and cooked greens.
  • Make sure you have plenty of good fats in your diet, cold fresh water fish if you eat it, flax, chia, evening primrose, walnut, grape seed , hemp – as seeds or oils.
  • We need more fat in the winter.
  • Moisten, moisten, moisten – fluids, foods, showers, steams, nasal sprays, baths.
  • Wash your hands – do not use antibacterial soap – these are viruses.
  • Take something for supporting your immune system to stay balanced
    – the foods I suggested are already doing that.
  • Think about mushrooms, yes eating any kind is great.
  • An herbal supplement might be reishi (a mushroom), astragalus, or elderberry.
  • I love Herbs for Kids brand for all ages for good organic alcohol free liquids.
  • I love Fungi Perfecti and New Chapter brands for mushrooms.
  • Local honey – the less processed the better – is the best immune support.

Homeopathic/Herbal Remedies for the Flu

Usually a particular homeopathic remedy comes up for the way the flu is presenting each year. I have not got that info yet but there are tried and true remedies.

  • First Oscillicoccicum by Boiron works for many people.
    – A few pellets at the first sign and repeat once if no improvement or worsening symptoms.
    – If you feel better or stable please wait to take any more.
  • Belladonna is for fever with flushed skin and not wanting to be jarred.
  • Aconitum Napellus Is for sudden onset of symptoms with fear.
  • My favorite remedy for the flu is boneset herb
    – taken at the first sign 5-10 drops every hour as needed, it seems to work great.
    – It is also available as a homeopathic Eupatorium Perfoliatum for that really achy flu.
  • Also elderberry flower tea or bath is marvelous.
  • Horseradish, Garlic, and Onion steeping in vinegar works great. Put some local honey in the mix.

Conclusion

Remember most of these illnesses last 1-2 weeks and part of its benefit is to make us take a break, think about how we are eating, drinking, and sleeping, and helps to strengthen our immune system. Vaccines don’t do that. They are a quick fix and short-term relief so we can continue to eat crap, work 60 hours a week, and survive without hugs and kisses. Be well but also get sick at times. We need to exercise our immune system just like we need to exercise every other system in our body to keep it health and toned for life and health.
Love life, look at the stars, enjoy the sunrise, kiss and hug a friend, breathe. This is the way to health.

New Years 2016 – Thanks and Thoughts

I wanted to write and thank all of you for your presence in my life. I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you and you have helped me to grow and become more of the person I wish to be. I am looking forward to our future in health. And in that light I give you some suggestions to start off the New year in a healthy and joyous way:

1) Kale Black-eyed Pea soup for New Years

To warm you and deeply nourish you at this time of the year

  • Chop and cook until tender one onion, 2 stalks of celery, 2 large carrots
  • Add 1 tsp. paprika, and a bay leaf and 14 ounces of chopped tomatoes, and water or veggie broth, plus 1-2 cups of soaked black eyed peas
  • Cook until peas are tender and then add 2 cups chopped kale
  • Slight simmer and enjoy

2) Ritual Cleanse

For a ritual cleanse of the house, car, and whatever:

  • I use a sage smudge but you can use some essential oils, drumming, etc.
  • Always end with opening your front door to let in the good potential of the new year and then open the back door to let out whatever is finished, needs to be cleared out, etc
  • Don’t forget prayers, affirmations, songs, etc.

3) Be open to the wonderment of the present and it’s potential

  • One way is through books- thoughts-

This past year I read many wonderful books to support my practice and me and they reflect new paths I am exploring and how I live my life. I hope you might find some to enjoy.

  • The Fastest Things onWings (Audubon.org) – hummingbird rescue in Hollywood- a favorite in keeping me grounded with nature and flitting among the lusciousness of life
  • A Dignified Life (adignifiedlife.com) – the friends program in Alzheimers- a warm accepting way to recognize each unique person’s way of seeing life and learning from this knowledge
  • Neurotribe (Stevesilberman.com) – the history of autism which raises some important issues about a warm accepting way to recognize each unique person’s way of seeing life and learning from this knowledge
  • Being Mortal (atulgawande.com) – being present, open, and honest.
  • I could also tell you of the two big books on the Hippocampus and the massive book, just entitled The Cell
  • The Laws of Medicine (Siddhartha Mukhirjee)
  • Molecular Biology of Cancer
  • After Cancer Care (Dwight McKee –RodaleBooks.com – studied with him in Oregon)
  • Braiding Sweet Grass (milkweed.org),
  • Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster (Healfaster.com)
  • And just for fun: Laurie King’s books on the Lady Russell with Holmes.

I am an avid, passionate reader as you can tell and these are books, not ebooks or cliff notes. If any of these books interest you, send me an email for more information. These books reflect my attempt to stay current on issues, medical and otherwise, and yet to be able to bring my own unique philosophy to my use, interpretation, and meditation on these books and their subjects. This is a way to go inward and reflect outward. May some of these books touch your heart and provide you support in this year 2016.

In peace and love, Pat

Preparing Your Winter First Aid Kit

As we transition to the colder, darker time of the year, spending more time indoors and in more congested spaces, we all need to prepare, so we can prevent or easily keep ourselves more comfortable going through common winter ills. Don’t forget the immune system needs some exercise to stay healthy so it is not good to never be sick. It is how we handle an illness that is important. Winter is also the time to quiet our activities and go within to rest and restore after the busy, hot weather time of the year, when our energy is up and activity seems constant and intense.
Your kitchen should be where we begin our preparation. Soups and stews, cooked not raw foods will keep you healthy and your system running with the seasons. Spices are good for warming, nourishing and healing. Turmeric is for digestive and musculoskeletal health. Ginger is for sinus, respiratory, and digestive health. Mints are for respiratory and digestive well-being. Cayenne is for all of the above and you can add a bit to your socks or mittens if you get cold hands and /or feet. These warming, stimulating herbs/spices are also good for Seasonal Affective Disorders, which we all suffer from by the end of the dark days of winter. Make sure you have lots of oil; yes fats are great, good for lubricating our joints, nourishing dry skin and supporting our immune system and our neuroendocrine system. Coconut oil is great as it has a high burn point so it is good for cooking, neutral taste so it can be used with almost any food, nourishes our skin taken orally or using topically and even keeps our vagina moist and juicy!! Olive oil is good for keeping our body moist and our food even more nourishing for us. Flax and hemp are good for the omegas and can also be used in seed form. Don’t forget castor oil; not for internal use but will help topically when used with heat to relax a muscle spasm, release gas, and open stiff joints. Don’t forget to put some oil in your bath water to make you feel soft and luscious.

Other herbs and homeopathic remedies for winter ills:

Stomach viruses – vomiting, diarrhea, nausea

  • ginger, mint, chamomile
  • Traditional Medicinal™ – Throat Coat Tea,
  • Probiotic after each diarrhea
  • Arsenicum Album 30c as needed

Cold, congestion, cough

  • Ginger, mint, a pinch of Cayenne in everything, Turmeric, Curries, horseradish, honey
  • TM teas such as Gypsy Cold Care
  • Herbs for Kids- Minty Ginger, Viral Mix, Cherry Bark Blend or Horehound, with a Sore Throat – Herb Pharm- Echinacea Propolis Spray works great

Sore Throat

  • As above, TM Throat Coat Tea, and of course salt water gargles – put the salt in a strong Echinacea tea – gargle

Flu

  • Fever and Muscle Aches, not cold symptoms with fever
  • Oscillicoccinum – by Boiron – you only need to take a few of the pellets, not the whole tube – you can also take if you know it is in your school, office, etc as a preventive.
  • Herbally, I swear by Boneset- Eupatorium Perforatum- in a liquid herb form

Post flu/colds

  • Still feeling run down – try the spices from the kitchen
  • medicine information or homeopathic Gelsemium 30c, Herbs for Kids- Echinacea- Astragalus

Musculoskeletal

  • Arnica 30c as needed for overdoing or possible sprain/strain, if helping but not gone, follow with Bryonia or Ruta.
  • All these benefit from a 10 min. ice massage.
  • If worse the morning after and better once you get moving or with heat- try Rhus Tox. 30c
  • Topically Traumeel
  • Don’t forget your fats/oils

If you need instructions/or just for cabin fever- consider YouTube

For general support:

  1. keep herbs known as adaptogens in your kit:
    Astragalis, Nettle, Ashwaganda are my favorites
    Nettle is the most nourishing and great for achy stiff joints and muscles, for winter allergies (dust mites and molds are the most common), and helps winter hair, skin and nail issues.
  2. Keep your house moisture at 40-45%
  3. If you have forced hot air heat, keep the heat ducts clean and filters replaced
  4. Make mulled cider, a great spicy warming support
  5. Make Traditional Fire Cider:
    Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in a jar with chopped up garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish with a hot pepper if desired. Put a lid on it and shake each day for at least two weeks. Strain out herbs and put in the freezer to later add to soup. Take a swig of the vinegar at the first sign of an illness. If the vinegar is too much, you can add local raw honey to taste, which is even more medicinal as it is specific for local illnesses.
  6. Don’t forget to get good sleep, lots of good hugs and kisses, and smile. Get out in the sun every day and breathe deeply in and OUT.

HAVE A GREAT WINTER,
Pat

Measles

I have had a lot of phone calls about measles being in Pennsylvania, fear of measles, fear of vaccines, having to leave school because of not being vaccinated, etc., etc. I have also watched a lot of segments on the news about measles and read online, from ABC to NPR. I have been unable to find a report detailing the outcome of the more than 600 cases in the USA in the last year.  The warning of complications from measles are not stressed by demonstrating how many of these 600+ are hospitalized or have died. NPR did mention in horror the idea ( they never heard of this before) of a measles party.  The CDC, WHO, MMWR are all the major resources for providing this information on a local and global basis. The NJAICV is providing information to the non-vaccinating community particularly about the political environment and associated issues with the measles outbreak.

As most of you know I am a strong believer that you are your own health care provider and should be responsible for health care decisions involving yourself and your family. I do not take a stand for or against vaccines as this is not my decision. The other important reason is that there is no one single reason why people vaccinate or do not vaccinate. We are a wondrously diverse world.

I am in the unique situation of having lived and experienced most of the communicable diseases. Born in the 1950s, vaccines were just really coming in to universal use. Deaths at that time were not caused as much by cancer and heart disease as communicable diseases. Parents bought life insurance when their child was born (I had a policy taken out for me) as burial insurance. Now college funds are started at birth. It was not fear but acceptance in that time: that we all have a certain time on this earth and birth and death both exist as part of the cycle of nature.

First, vaccines do work. Second, there are risks to vaccinating and there are risks to not vaccinating. This is not a black and white, positive and negative issue. These issues fall in the every shade of gray arena. There are no easy answers and there are no permanent answers. When your junior in high school may not be able to finish his year as he will not be able to attend school due to being unvaccinated and being a potential risk to other students, what is his biggest risk? Is it the stress of the vaccine or the stress of missing school which he loves, excels at his work and cannot afford to fall behind at this time? When a family for the first time is going to be able to travel to visit relatives that they have not seen for years due to war and migration as refugees, will they vaccinate their children as the camp has multiple communicable disease outbreaks or will they not go as the vaccines are required for entry into the area? If you had a 2 month old who had a lot of issues of breathing and then nursing  and there is a possibility of behavioral/development issues and you really are not sure what they are yet, would you get Hep B, Rotavirus, Polio, Prevnar, HIB, Dtap at this visit?

Lots of shades of gray.

The homeopaths felt that the fever diseases (not cancer and heart disease) were what helped to exercise our immune system (if you don’t use it , you lose it). The challenge of these communicable diseases were important for future health and well being. I am more concerned about the health of someone who tells me they never get sick, then for someone who has at least one “good” illness a year.

Steps to decision making:

  1. think about or write down how you see your child, their strengths and weaknesses, their highs and lows, and family and cultural history
  2. research the “disease” that is a source of fear, for yourself or those that make/develop the vaccines – yes, I do believe that not everyone who is in the vaccine business is just out for your money and power. I do believe most of them truly believe in the benefits of their work
  3. research the vaccines – make sure you truly look at research from both sides of the controversy
  4. are you blaming the vaccine, the manufacturer, the additives, preservatives, the expression of the disease – scarring, brain changes, bacteria or virus manifestations (remember my belief is learning to live and learn from all our neighbors on this earth)
  5. think about how you would feel/manage your child or you, getting complications from the disease and/or the vaccine.
  6. Try to be as objective as you can. Often gathering all the info, sitting with it and then putting it away for 24 hours before you look at it again. No decision is set in stone. Things change.
  7. What are the “positives and negatives” of your decision for yourself, your child, your environment, your community, your world – be thoughtful
  8. Recognize your purpose and intent
  9. Embrace your decision
  10. You are wonderful and have done a very good job

IN PEACE,
Pat

Preparing for Winter

Preparing for Winter

Here are suggestions for a first aid kit for winter use

  1. Fire cider which is made by families throughout the USA and really introduced by Rosemary Gladstar – the ultimate herbalist – is traditionally made by chopping up ginger, garlic and horseradish with some cayenne in apple cider vinegar- allow to steep for 2-4 weeks. Take a sip/teaspoonful when you started feeling off. If you must you can add local honey, not imported, to make it sweet for you or your children. Fine for all ages, EXCEPT UNDER ONE YEAR. You can strain off the herbs and eat them or use them in cooked dishes.
  2. Honey – local – good for keeping mucus moving and thin, good for general immune support, settles the tummy, and can be put on cuts or burns. It should be local and raw. Good for all ages over age one. You can steep just about any herb you would like your family to eat. Warm the honey slightly in a warm oven and place the herb in the honey so it all steeps together in the oven for at least an hour.
  3. Essential oils are great for loosening congestion/ coughs- thyme, stopping a cough at night- Vicks® with eucalyptus on the bottoms of your feet, calming and for headaches- lavender, easing achy/sore muscles- rosemary, for example. Put a few drops in your favorite oil and massage into the troubling areas.
  4. Herbs for aching in the muscles and bones with fever is often helped by Rosemary in the bathwater or Boneset- eupatorium perforatum- can be used herbally or in homeopathic form. Gelsemium homeopathic remedy for dull, dopey, and droopy feeling.
  5. Herbs for keeping you healthy and helping with indoor reactivity to life physically or emotionally at this gray time of the year, think nettle leaf, St. Johns wort, or bacopa leaf. The last two will keep your moods more even and interpersonal interactions more level if this is an issue for you around the holidays.
  6. Water therapy is very helpful this time of the year. Bathe with your favorite essential oil or bath salts for congestion, dryness, and achiness. Teas and soups with warming spices like cayenne, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, ginger and sage are great water therapy, as is a steam or shower. Foot baths are also great.Yogi tea has many choices and can be put in a bath or steam as well as making a great warming tea. Bone soup is particularly needed this time of the year. But the most important are root vegetables to warm and nourish the core, with a bit of kombu and/or miso for the extra deep support.
  7. PLEASE no detoxing or cleansing until spring. In a previous blog post I spoke of being part of nature, not the controller or owner. Please pause and be thoughtful. We are part of the cycles of life and we need to respect and cherish this. Winter is time to go inward, to reflect and nourish gently. Spring is for cleansing. The winter ills are doing the cleansing that is appropriate- that is what coughs, mucus, fevers, and baths and sleep are. If you feel there is really something wrong that you need to fix, you are still caught in the medical philosophy of drugs, and vaccines and outside intervention by medical personnel. Look within. Sit with it. Why do you need to go through this experience that you just want to cleanse out.
  8. Here are some homeopathic remedies:
    • Pulsatilla – congestion, may be yellow, stomach ache and needing you 
    • Nux Vomica – the same, but grumpy rather than weepy 
    • Bryonia – dry cough with tickle, headaches, pain in chest with cough 
    • Antimonium Tartaricum – rattly cough 
    • Belladonna – fever with flushed face/limbs 
    • Aconitum Napellus – sudden fever, hysteria, panic 
    • Arnica Montana – physical injury, overdoing with the snow shovel
  9. Gentle stretching, tai chi, walks or yoga – keep things moving and circulating

Notice that I have used no medical terms in this blog – this is the best way to help yourself this winter. What is bothering you? Describe it. That allows you to know if you need heat or cold, moist or dry, sleep or activity. Listen. Let your body teach you. NO books or websites or practitioners can do this as well as your own body.

Enjoy the winter – breath in the fresh air, make a snow angel, smile at the cardinal in the snow, and hug your friends, family, and a stranger. Share.

 

Respect for All Life

Every day I am reading a new article about the bacteria or virus that is causing some dreaded disease, either a new one or an old one that scientists have now decided is caused by one of these critters. I see people every day that want this critter killed and then everything will be fine. Unfortunately, rarely does that happen.

Bacteria and viruses are the most ancient creatures living on this earth and lived here long before we existed. So many inhabit our body and serve vital roles that we would die without them. And yet we all see them as the enemy. We are very prejudice in our attitude toward them as we continue to live in the belief that we are the best and the brightest and this earth is for us, this universe is for us.

I want to suggest that maybe if we shift the medical paradigm to embrace all life in the universe as due equal respect and focused on co-habitation and mutual existence, maybe we could not always be fighting with these critters and seeing the world only in good and bad, black and white, positive and negative.

First, focus on you. What makes you feel joyful, nourished, and balanced? This is what all ancient healing systems feel is the focus of health and joyful living. This is cultivating your vital force, your core vitality, and by nourishing and supporting it, your life will be full of health and you are less likely to get ill and if you get ill, you will return to health more quickly and completely. Make sure you get enough sleep/rest, walks in nature and exercise, lots of hugs and kisses, and eat food that blooms in your mouth and water that tastes alive. Feel full in every way after you eat or play or sleep. Touching hands, bodies, food and water touching tongues and the throat and the smell and texture of life keeps us healthy and balanced and complete. Smile. Do some mindfulness meditation as recommended by Thich Nhat Hahn to be in the moment of eating, or hugging or walking. Say a blessing, thank the spirit of the food, and the spirit of the nature intelligences as the Maya practice.

Second, focus on you and how you interact with the universe, your world, your home, or your community. What have you done to keep its vital force nourished and supported? Look at supporting the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, to help the rivers and steams and the bugs and snakes and bacteria that are vital to their health. Become a member of Arbor Day and help plant trees. Contact Wild Ridge Plants to grow some native plants in your yard for the butterflies and bacteria and viruses that we need to keep our small area of the universe balanced and thus help the greater universe, as we are all connected. Read a book that takes you out of your comfort zone on how you see the universe and viruses and bacteria. Check out Stephen Buhner’s book Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm if you dare. Read some ancient Ayurvedic philosophy, the oldest medical system on this plant. Use homeopathy, not based on medical diagnosis but based on holistic support of your vitality.

Third, sit with a plant, a bug, a worm, a slug, any of the blessed creatures on this earth and hang out with it for a while, focused only on it. What does it “see”? How does it feel? What does it know? How do we know that our perception is right and its perception is wrong? Maybe it has it right and we have been wondering without truly knowing for a long time. Consider this when you are told you have a virus or a bacteria or a spirochete. Fear, anger, and negativity interfere with healing.

If bacteria and viruses and spirochetes have lived on this earth forever and learned how to adjust to survive and live, why can’t we without destroying everything around us and our own health and well being by taking chemicals that destroy the very nourishing liquids and foods, air and soil that we need to survive and live.

Live with life.

Spring Cleaning

YES, it’s finally spring, a time of renewed energy and a time of out with the old and in with the new. This is a time of rebirth and renewal. So lets do some cleaning.

  1. Baths are great for this. Use salts, Epsom, sea, baking soda, with a bit of whatever essential oil you like. I like clary sage. Immerse and enjoy.
  2. Give away or donate at least 3 things in your room/house that you do not need/use any more, big or small, it does not matter.
  3. Clean one place you have not cleaned in at least a year, inside or out. Yes, we all have a place like that.
  4. Learn at least one or two plants in a clean spot in your yard that you can eat. Spring greens are the best cleansers out there. Wild onions are easy as are garlic mustard. I am a firm believer in eating your weedies.
  5. Make a great spring soup with left overs from the freezer and/or fresh from the farm market- local is best.
  6. Get a minimum of 3 hugs a day, not those little token hugs, but the big cuddle bear hugs.
  7. When you see the first flowers, crocuses, daffodils, spring beauties, forsythia, or whatever it may be in your yard/area, make sure you tell it how beautiful it is and thank it for its spring manifestation and the joy it brings you.
  8. Take three long deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting the breathing out be as long if not longer than the breathing in. You have truly now become one with spring.
  9. Do all of these or one of these as often as you want as long as you want.

SMILE   😎

Transitions

We are moving through the transition from winter to spring with each day becoming a bit longer and each night a bit shorter. Stores are beginning to carry spring plants. Garden seeds are appearing. Catalogs contain flower seeds to shorts to swings.  Spring and fall tend to be major transition time with shifts in temperature, wind, sun and rain. Usually I talk about things to do to make these transitions easier but I have to point out also that these apply to all the shifts particularly in temperature, we have had through the past few months and particularly the past few weeks.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with shifting of any kind around you, physical, emotional, or spiritual is that each of us has a core vital force that supports us to be and feel stable. This is your vital essence: who you are.

Check in with yourself from time to time as all the wisdom you need to stay healthy is within you. The things that help us feel grounded are the same things that help us roll with the punches. For me it’s getting outside every day no matter what the weather. I dress in layers, always with wool socks through the winter and this time of the year, and a hat, with mittens rather than gloves. I have a scarf around my neck and a coat that goes down and covers my butt. I can always take a layer off or loosen some buttons but I also know to dress one day in a t-shirt and the next day in a winter coat does not allow for health transitions for my body or my psyche. I drink warm fluids and eat cooked food this time of the year.

I do not change this routine until the air has a feel of softness that comes in the spring and the temperatures are not so wildly fluctuating.

The spring and the fall for me are times to gently transition and can teach us if we just pay attention. Plants do not all of a sudden disappear. Leaves do not all of a sudden disappear. Slow and steady changes/transitions are good examples from nature for us.

Spring greens, wild ones especially are magnificent to waken the juices but keep us grounded also. Fall root crops do the same for that time of the year. Greens tend to be the last of the harvest in the fall and the first in the spring.  Little by little they appear in the spring, and in the fall we have less and less to harvest. Think about what this means in terms of amounts we should be eating.

Balance and grounding with the examples of nature as our guide should be practiced in every aspect of our lives and we will stay happy and health, joyous and at peace.

Nature provides us with herbs whose focus is to help keep us balanced. The early spring greens fit here especially nettle greens, dandelion greens, violet greens, and mallow. These are full of vitamins and minerals, but also help us do a gentle detox and get the spirit moving to assist in maintaining health and cleaning out any dust that has gathered in the corners, before winter and in the spring to get us moving.

Think of the rhythm in your life that keeps you balanced every day: yoga, tai chi, lemon and water, sleeping with your dog, taking a bath, singing, praying, sitting naked in the sun. Keep these alive. Nourish yourself so you may be full of health and may in this way keep yourself and your community healthy and balanced.