We Are So Blessed

“We are so blessed

   We are so blessed

     We are so grateful

       We are so blessed”

I love the Karen Drucker song I am so blessed. I change the lyrics to “We are” instead of “I am” because I know that feels right to me today. One person is not truly blessed until we all are.

There is so much sadness in the world right now. The earthquake on the border of Iran and Iraq and the school shooting in Northern California are just the latest disaster that brings my grief to the surface. Life is so precious and I want to remember how blessed I am every single moment of the day. I want to be grateful with every breath and courageous in every action.

This doesn’t always happen and instead I am overwhelmed and fearful. My anxiety rises and my breathing shallows. I consciously breathe deep and long, feeling the connection between my lungs and my kidneys. In Chinese medicine, the qi (energy) of the kidney rises up and grasps the lung qi, guiding it down to the lower abdomen. I feel my breath reach my belly and low back. AHHH! I begin to relax as my shoulders drop and the tension in my jaw releases. Another deep breath. Gratitude.

To strengthen both my lung and kidney qi and give me energy to assimilate the world, I huang qi (astragalus slices).aa7569a1like to work with the herb Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus). Huang Qi is a popular qi tonic whose virtues are not overrated. I like to add 3 slices of the Huang Qi to rice and soup stocks, along with 1 Hong Zao (Ziziphus jujuba), and 3 slices of Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula).

Huang Qi reinforces wei qi defensive energy- “immune system”), while Hong Zao and Dang Shen tonify qi, improve digestion and calm spirit.

When our qi is strong and our spirit is calm, we are able to absorb the turbid energy of those around us. We can transform anger and fear into compassion. When this happens, our words and actions will be benevolent and we are one step closer to a blessed world for us all.

For the love of plants,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Autumn Ritual Tonic

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In Chinese medicine fall is associated with the metal element. Each element has several correspondences like seasons, colors, organ systems, and spiritual entities. For metal the organ systems are the lungs and large intestine and the entity is the corporeal soul, or Po. Our Po is housed in the lungs and is a dense energy that manifests as pride, envy, greed, shame, guilt, or negative judgments when the metal element is out of balance. When we are tormented by feelings of resentment for ourselves or others, this is our Po acting out.

During fall many people also notice the arise of unresolved grief or sadness. Grief also settles in the lungs and can be felt this time of year. I always think of friends and family that are no longer here. I do rituals to honor their life and their passing.

Autumn is the season of letting go of what no longer is and what shall never be again. It is the season of impermanence and acceptance. I have trouble with that sometimes and I find my Po dwelling on the past or I become full of fear and doubt. What helps me is to make nourishing medicine that will strengthen my Qi and ground and calm my Po. I love this grounding root and bark blend. The herbs in this tea strengthen and nourish and bring me back to center. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Autumn Ritual Tonic

2 astragalus roots (Huang Qi)- strengthens lung qi

2 pieces mimosa bark (He Huan Pi)- calms spirit, moves qi

2 rolls of cinnamon bark (Rou Gui)- warms interior, benefits gate of fire

2 burdock roots (Niu Bang Gen)- nutritive, strengthens lungs and digestion

Rinse roots and bark. In a stainless steel or glass pot, simmer plant material in one quart of spring water for 20-30 minutes. Strain herbs and set aside to make another batch. Sip warm tea throughout the day to feel nourished and calm.  

For the love of plants,

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

This Land is Your Land

On this day I always sing Woody Guthrie’s infamous song, “This Land is Your Land.” Like the balladeers of yesteryear, I have lived in various parts of our beautiful country and  I am also not patriotic to our country. I am grateful to be “American” because I do understand my privilege. That privilege gives me the opportunity to see the world a little differently.

Every 4th of July I honor the land that has given so much to all of us. I remember the people that were slaughtered and disenfranchised with the colonization of America. I remember that their ancestors are still here, marginalized and still fighting for sovereignty. I remember that we are all dependent on this land, not only for our so-called freedom, but also for our lives. It is Mother Nature that ultimately provides.

Today while you are at the river or the lake, drinking cheap beer and eating hot dogs, take a minute and look at the lake. Really look at the lake, smell the water, feel the wind blowing through the trees, witness the life of the fish you just caught. Give thanks for all the life that surrounds you. Give thanks for all the life they provide.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

A Peaceful Journey

May has been one full of dramatic changes. It hasn’t just been the weather, where we have had 80 degree days, thunderstorms, hail and snow all within a couple of weeks. The shifts have also been of heart and soul.

Many of us are coming to grips with the undeniable injustices that are occurring all over the place. These horrific acts have always been happening, but now with the internet we know exactly when they happen and sometimes we even get a live feed.

We want to know what’s happening so we can try to change it. I just don’t know if our psyches are able to assimilate all the information that comes at us in newsfeeds, notifications, and pop-ups.

I know for me it is overwhelming and downright obnoxious. Knowledge is power, but a lot of what we see is not knowledge, but distraction and opinion pieces that look like real news. How are we supposed to know what is important and relevant and what is just written to rile us up.

As I sit here upset with the way things are, I remember that I can help change what I don’t like to see in the world. My place is just to remind others, and myself, that it is our relationship with Nature that will bring about the greatest peace. I just have to find peace within myself and then I will be much more peaceful and loving towards others (easier said than done!).

Here’s my Peaceful Journey Blend that I will be dousing myself with all day today, and probably the next 4 years! Remember, use organic and ethically wild-crafted herbs and essential oils whenever possible! And use those precious essential oils sparingly!!

Peaceful Journey Blend 

3 drops Mt. Shasta Lavender essential oil- relaxes NS, reduces anxiety

3 drops Clary Sage essential oil- brings clarity to thoughts and feelings

2 drops Mandarin essential oil- transforms energy

2 drops Frankincense essential oil- reduces pain and sorrow

Add all essential oils to 1 ounce carrier oil (I Love apricot kernel oil). Mix well. Put in a roll-on bottle and anoint yourself when you need clarity and relaxation.

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Springtime in Denver

Spring in Denver is even more drastic than Winter. Yesterday morning was warm and sunny and in the late afternoon we had a thunderstorm that resulted in a torrential hailstorm that lasted half an hour. I was caught out in my truck in a parking lot and I will admit it was not a pleasant experience.

While I sat there, listening to the golf ball sized hail pound the windows and seriously praying that the windows didn’t get shattered (it happened to several parked cars), I thought about how temporary life is. Moments earlier I was enjoying the sunshine and loading my new work table into the back of the truck. Now I was watching the cardboard on the table get battered all to hell as other customers hid under awnings, wondering, like I, how long we would be stuck there.

I thought about everyone that didn’t have a truck or a home to use as shelter. I thought about what if the hail were bombs and that our shelter would be an allusion, as glass and steel do not stop bombs.

Once I was home and could see the piles of hail on the shade cloth covering my newly planted basil varieties, I was once again reminded how precious life is. And again how privileged I am. I am not growing those plants for survival or for a living. I am growing them because I want to. And that is a blessing in itself.

Our privilege is our greatest strength. May we use it wisely.

With love,

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Jessica 

when energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: The Denver Post 

Aromatic Wood Element Blend

Spring seems to be in full swing here in Denver, with the days getting up in the 70’s and the nights still dipping into the 30’s. I Love this time of year! I feel the renewed spirit of the Earth, as the longer days warm me deep within my core.

For others, Spring starts getting that Yang rising! Irritability, frustration, lack of focus and burn out can already be starting for those with a Wood element/phase imbalance.

This blend really helps me when I feel tension building in my neck and shoulders or I find it hard to take a deep breath in moments of impatience, anger or worry. As always use organic and/or ethically wild harvested herbs and essential oils.

Let It Flow Blend

3 drops Chamomile essential oil (Tanacetum is great to use too, and way less expensive)

3 drops St. Johns Wort essential oil

3 drops Myrrh essential oil 

3 drops Conifer essential oil (Pinyon pine, Douglas Fir, your choice!)

Add all essential oils (play around with what you blend first- it will give insight into the alchemy of plants as you notice the change in aroma depending on what gets added together first- use the blend even if you don’t Love the smell, these concentrated plant medicines are not to be wasted) to 1 ounces of Carrier Oil like Olive Oil, Apricot kernel or your oil of choice. I like to put my blends in roll-on bottles, that way I can carry with me and use easily anywhere I am. 

I’d love to hear how your blending goes!

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica 

5 Element Recipe post

 

Chinese medicine is rooted in the knowledge that humans are cosmic beings of this Earth that are intricately connected to the rhythms of nature.

Use this blend when you need balance, clarity or harmony in your life.

Elemental Essences

Fire (Summer)- 3 drops St. John’s Wort essential oil

Earth (Center)- 2 drops Mandarin essential oil

Metal (Autumn)- 2 drops Himalayan Mint essential oil

Water (Winter)- 3 drops Pink Lotus absolute

Wood (Spring)- 2 drops Douglas Fir essential oil

Add all essential oils to a carrier oil (olive, apricot kernel, coconut) and put in a 1 ounce glass bottle. Apply the oil to your heart, head or low back when feeling fatigued, overwhelmed or out of sorts.

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Supporting Community

These days it is way to easy to disregard our feelings as some of us are overly sensitive about Everything! The news and social media have infiltrated all of our lives- and we are having trouble processing it all.

Some of us get to take a break from the real (and alternate) news, but inevitably it is going to affect us all. Turning off your computer, going on a walk in nature, playing music- all are super important to keep us sane and balanced with all the sensory overload.

What is even more important is helping out your community in whatever way that works for you. If it’s donating your time to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen- that’s awesome! If it’s hosting free or donation based yoga, acupuncture, herbal classes- that’s great!

You know what may be even better. Actually looking at your neighbors in the eye, saying hello, asking if they want to have a cup of tea, helping them bring in their groceries….the list goes on and on.

If you don’t have the energy to be active in your community, be a good neighbor and engage with those that live around you. It only takes a couple of minutes to let them know you are here if they need you.

With love,

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Jessica

In Honor of Us All

I am very grateful and inspired by the billions of people worldwide that have participated in direct action for the equality of Women, Muslims, LGBT, and anyone that lives south of “the border.” Your compassion and courage is seen, heard, felt and respected!

I am working through my own emotions surrounding those that disagree with or choose not to participate in direct action. I am also sitting with my own feelings about how far I am willing to go to continue the momentum. The blatant disregard for me, as a woman, as a human, as a being of this Earth,  is too much to just sit back and pray that “they” will change their actions.

We have to start by changing our beliefs if we expect our actions to reflect true equality. We have to acknowledge our own conveniences and prejudices if we say we really want equality for all. What does equality for all really mean? Equality for all means the end of a consumer lifestyle that depends on labor conditions we privileged would never work in. Equality for all means a living wage for farm workers that grow and harvest all of our food. Equality for all means no mines and pipelines through other peoples land.

A lot to assimilate before my transformation can begin. We are all just people, most just trying our best to make it in this world. We are in this together. How do we choose to co-evolve?

I always come back to my plant allies when I’m having a hard time accepting things I don’t want to hear. I think of Chen Pi, tangerine peel, used in Chinese medicine to regulate digestion and help with assimilation of both food and emotions. I like to diffuse the essential oil of Citrus peel when I need help digesting the realities of our world. Citrus’ ability to transform energy is not to be overlooked.

Take some time out today to notice how you are digesting the things that affect your life. When we begin to assimilate these experiences, then can they be transformed. I am with you as we shift our perspectives and paradigm.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

Change through Compassionate Action

Emotions are high as we get closer to the inauguration of a man many believe can have a huge negative impact on their lives. As a woman, I am one of these people. I do not believe he has any respect, compassion or care for me or for women in general. That being said, I don’t believe many politicians have our best interest or care in mind. Unlike some, I am not afraid of Trump or his administration. I am motivated! My inner activist is evoked, and like the the wise words of Angela Davis (thanks Greg for sharing this with me)

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change,

I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

The truth is, I know that my motivation is fueled by my anger at the injustices that continue to happen, regardless of who is president. My anger is rooted in despair, millennia of violence, rape, and systematic control. I am having trouble coping with all of this myself. Thankfully this is when I remember my allies, and let the plants soothe my injured soul.

Today my blend is simple. Intentional in knowing that I need healing, that my clarity of words, thoughts, and emotions are of upmost importance so I can sustain my energy for the cultural evolution that is coming.

Mix all ingredients in a 1-ounce glass spritzer bottle

1 ounce Spring Water (vitality of all life forces)

9 drops Clary Sage (clarity of heart & mind)

6 drops Lavender (calms mind & body)

3 drops Piñon Pine (reminds us we all came from one source, connects body to spirit)

Spritz yourself whenever you feel disoriented, overwhelmed, sad, angry, or out of balance. Allow the plants to nurture your body and soul.

With love,

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Jessica