Herbs, Meridians, and Midwifery (oh my!)
Just a dash of a holistic health pilgrimage
“Stick out your tongue,” she said with levity and bit of laughter. My eyes rolled up to the ceiling, embarrassed to catch her gaze in such an awkward pose. Was it brown from the Saturday morning latte I just sucked down outside? Ew. Why was I acting all nervous? I jutted my tongue out of my mouth just as I had for doctors for years as a child, noting that the room was warm, inviting, and minus the raunchy smell of latex meeting hand sanitizer. “Ok that’s good.” She paused, scribbled something on the notebook resting on her slender crossed legs. I blushed and focused on the bookshelf with a smattering collection of titles about herbs, meridians, and midwifery (oh my!). “Trust me, we’re going to talk about a few pretty strange and intimate things. All the signs…” she continued.
Emerging from a rather successful run with traditional medicine this year, I realized I didn’t want to push my luck by inviting future hospital stays. After all, I had to go to a surgeon as a last resort, partially because of genetics, but partially because I ignored the signs, the stirs, the pains and pushed myself forward without regard. My twenties: [pressing palm to forehead in dismay… whilst slightly impressed with myself]. There’s nothing like a medically induced death to make you super aware of the little fleshy human body you live in.
I’d like to make amends.
Sitting with my new acupuncturist reviewing intake forms, it felt a bit like a twelve-step program. One where my body acted as my weatherworn sponsor — nodding, acknowledging, and pushing me towards truth and honesty with every word I said. “Preach, girl… let the truth set you free,” I swear I heard my stomach say when I shared just how much spicy food I eat on a weekly, er, daily basis.
The acupuncture regimen is part of my new holistic quest to understand every rock, herb, gem, food, pressure point, knot, alignment, tone and oil for healing that’s out there. I’m sipping herbal tea with my new best friend, Mother Earth, and she’s a pretty formidable broad. Here are a couple things I’ve learned from getting cozy and a little uncomfortable in her company:
First, some things come without a label… it’s ok, you’ll figure it out.
Driving into the mountains last weekend, I started to notice all the municipal signs labeling everything from “hidden driveways” to “Michigan River.” Mile marker, who gives a shit? Do we think that putting a label on it makes it less of a mystery? I mean, I get it — labels are helpful when we need them. Under-caffeinated the other morning, I avoided a potentially embarrassing and physically painful moment because a door (that realistically should open outward, but whatever) was labeled “Pull,” in black and silvery letters. Thanks to that little sign, a bit of my dignity was preserved.
But seriously our whole freakin’ world is labeled.
Emerging from the cozy cavern of my session, I was “acu-stoned” from the blood and energy rush. I was thankful that my little bottles of Chinese herbs had handwritten notes to tell me when/how to consume, courtesy of my Acupuncture Goddess. What the labels didn’t tell me was that releasing some pain I’d been carrying around was going to be an emotional fest for the next couple days. As shared, I’m not just doing acupuncture; I’m opening up in therapy, yoga, meditation, hikes, you name it. With years of being a student of “name that emotion” therapy, I’ve been trying not to obsessively label lately. I’m relaxing into letting the emotions just run though me whilst not appeasing them with any justifications, excuses, or numbing agents that come in other kinds of labeled bottles. This breed of emotion requires sharp senses, like a wild and free animal tearing across a wide-open field towards water on a quiet, warm night. Yes. Set that shit free.
The second thing I’ve learned lately in my holistic shift is that when we’re stagnant in negative thought, we’re incongruent with the life on this planet. This world is constantly vibrating, moving, and positively alive. I’ve learned to trade stagnation for meaningful movement, and it’s incredibly healing. Woo woo as it might sound, the vibration of the planet is expanding me from within and I can feel my capacity for life and kindness grow.
What exactly is happening?
Well, I’ve been participating in these long luxurious morning walks with Lord Winston lately. It started as the only physical exercise I could partake in, my mind wrestling with me because it wanted to go faster. Overachiever. Then I realized the city was just waking up, and I made it a mission to just slip into the rhythm and motion of the life happening around me. The only destination I’ll allow is Whittier Coffee Shop mid-walk, just about when the bitter French-press coffee-like-substance in my to-go mug has slowed to sludge. Making coffee has never been my forte. I’m good at other things.
Prior to starting the walks, my mornings weren’t particularly sacred. I’d grown accustomed to waking up to the tap-tap-tap of my iPhone, checking emails and answering everything East Coast before my East Coast colleagues even swiped a badge on their office door. The walk was obligatory, so my dog could pee. Reading articles on social media about starting your day with meditation all felt lovely… for some perfectly manicured vegan Pilates instructor in San Diego. I had emails to answer.
Until I was so injured I had no choice for physical exercise outside of walking, I was just going through the motions some mornings or full days. I don’t think I was a completely disconnected person, but I was certainly just taking most of the beauty around me for granted. Why do we do that? Why would we want to do that? Perhaps it’s because it’s not always a cakewalk.
Unintentionally or intentionally, finding a ritual that included meaningful movement in nature allowed me to reconnect with myself, and in turn, deepen my connection to my surroundings.
Just last week I was telling a friend about a bee that seriously went out of his way to meet me during one of my walks. We were winding around a park about four blocks from home, and Lord Winston decided it was high time for him to bail under a cool tree to reset his cooling system.
Quick Sidebar: Winnie is my little Miniature Schnauzer (and witch’s familiar). In times that his adorable little bearded body can’t keep up with my ambition, I apologize for asking him to incarnate in such a cute, little, and inefficient package…For it was this little cute package that attracted me that fateful day at the pound. His legs splayed out like a frog behind him, he looked up and me, wishing he was a Labrador. I’m sorry, bud.
Just then, a little bee came eye-to-eye (is that possible with how many eyes they have?). It was humming and buzzing, oscillating at a speed I couldn’t comprehend; I just felt it. He hovered for what felt like minutes, moving in four directions and splitting the atmosphere around us into white noise. He buzzed away and I noticed my body was vibrating, super impressed with his introduction. Perhaps it was the strong latte, or perhaps it was because I was paying attention and participating in a world that is constantly vibrating and completely alive. I’m told that when we’re sorrowful, healing, or in pain, we vibrate at a higher frequency. The business of being human is a lonely thing; take advantage of connecting to the planet by finding movement in a ritual.
So you’re thinking, oh great Amy Lynn, I’m going to enter a world without labels to guide me, where I’m buzzing like a bee and hugging trees. People will think I’m a freak.
Yep, and you are one. Welcome to the tribe, strange one.
Our participation in life at the highest vibrational level is necessary, now more than ever. I see a non-linear and slightly nebulous path towards spiritual growth and holistic health as a requirement for claiming membership in the human race. We’re waking up to a lot of really scary things happening on our planet right now — radical natural disasters, mass shootings, and systematic genocide. It’s overwhelming when you think about it at a macro level; paralyzing and infuriating when you strap it to your back and try to move forward. So let me offer you this: Healing our surroundings starts in own community, with our own small behaviors towards our environment and those arounds us. And the jury is still out, but maybe, just maybe, healing our little planet starts in the uncomfortably addressing how we treat our own little human bodies.
Onward and Upward, Strange One…