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 

Wild Humboldt Tea Recipe

Among the old-growth Redwoods of Northern California, my herbal journey began in the late 1990s. Having thousands of acres of ancient forests to explore, my primal self was awakened.  

I wanted to live off the land, eat wild foods, wildcraft herbs and make all my medicine. And so I did that blissfully for years. Then a desire to become an acupuncturist came over me and I completed a four-year master’s degree and passed the licensing boards. I opened a clinic and worked closely with my community to provide much-needed healthcare. Seeing clients and helping people heal themselves is the most rewarding experience, but I knew I had to share the wisdom of herbalism and Chinese medicine with as many people as I could.

And so I left the comfort and shelter of the wilderness to live in Denver, with views of towering downtown buildings instead of majestic forests and Mother Ocean. It is now easier to teach at conferences throughout the US and abroad, and I have the opportunity to work at Colorado School of TCM and Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism.( Not to mention I now actually have consistent, high-speed internet which was hard to get anywhere I lived in Humboldt County, Cali.).

I know it was the right decision because everything has fallen nicely into place since I moved here over a year ago. This year’s teaching schedule is filling in nicely and I have the time to both see a few clients and continue to work on my herb book, “Plant Songs.”

This week I’ll leave you with the tea that made me fall in love with herbalism and our plant allies. It is a delicious and nourishing tea that will leave you feeling more than satisfied. Stay wild!

Recipe: Wild Humboldt Tea (wildcrafted with reverence)

Ingredients:

Handful of fresh nettles

Handful of fresh violet leaves and flower

Handful of fresh plantain leaves

Small amount of fresh dandelion leaves

Small amount of fresh prunella flowers

Instructions:

  1. Infuse all ingredients in the sun in a glass quart jar. 
  2. Infuse one to four hours or overnight on a full or new moon if desired.  
  3. Strain herbs out or be like us herbalists and strain through your teeth or just eat the herbs too.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

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 

Being Compassion: The Wood Element

Ahhh, Spring is here! Equinox always brings me to tears of joy as I witness the balance of yin and yang on our planet and feel it harmonizing within me. Winter is damn hard for many of us, and Spring bring us a renewed sense of hope and positivity. The longer days gives us that solar energy everything on Earth needs to thrive. Spring is the time to start bringing your wintertime musings and dreams from the visionary world into the material one. Understanding the nuances of the Wood element can help you with those manifestations.

I wanted to introduce you to the Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, as it represents Spring, and the generation of new life, new energy, and new ideas. The Wood element/phase has gotten a negative wrap (like an ethereal concept of the manifestation of life on Earth can be negative!) with people saying “when the wood element is out of balance, one is angry, inflexible, bossy, violent, loud and rude.” All of these qualities can be attributed to Wood out of balance- but one very important quality of Wood is often not talked about. The Hun- our ethereal souls.

The Hun are described in different ways but many texts say the Hun are three benevolent, 3vin-sagescompassionate beings that guide our actions, thoughts and dreams. When out of balance, the Hun are restless and can become frustrated, relentless or de-motivated. We can help balance our Hun by leading a more simple life. Eat foods that are easier to digest (knowing your constitution is key to good health because appropriate foods will differ between people), minimize the alcohol and drugs, take a deep breath in times of stress instead of spiraling out of control. These can be life changing moments when you just took one minute to care for yourself instead of going down a road of negative emotions.

Spring is the time to eat those tender, young greens! Dandelion, burdock, violet, nettles- all are sprouting right now and inviting you to take a couple nibbles of their new growth. Try it! You may just like it- and your Hun will love you for it!

May the blessings of Spring bring you renewed energy, compassion and insight into why you chose to be here, right now, with all of us.

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,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

 

Open Up & Let Hawthorn In

Everyone wants to be cracked open. We experiment with drugs and psychedelic substances to blow our mind wider than we even though imaginable. We play football, skydive and speed in our cars for the excitement of the rush. We watch death and destruction as entertainment and participate in violent computer simulations until the domestic violence and world wars of our reality no longer bothers us. We obsessively check our social media status to see if we’re liked, followed and adored. For those addicted or crippled from these activities, they know what they’re doing, yet they can’t stop. We all hear the voice inside our head that says, “stop hurting yourself; you’re better than this; get off the computer and go outside.” It is in the stillness of nature or in those quiet moments between sleeping and waking we hear our truth being whispered back to us.

When I envision a person cracked open it is a red -faced cartoon character with his head blown open like a volcano erupting. He is not necessarily angry, but there is so much pressure (social, financial, marital) that just like a volcano, the only way to release the build up is to explode. Some erupt with anger, others destruct with gambling, drugs, TV, food. It is when we are incapable of digesting one more thing where Hawthorn comes in.

Hawthorn berries relieve stagnation from sluggish digestion, transforming turbid energyhawthorn and reducing plaque in the arteries. The leaves and flowers of hawthorn have long been used as a cardiac tonic, regulating heart beat and reducing pain. Regular ingestion of Hawthorn will strengthen the body’s ability to physically digest fats, while also helping the mind/soul digest unprocessed emotions and stress.

See for yourself. Make an infusion of Hawthorn leaf, flowers and berries to sip after a heavy meal or when you are having trouble digesting something you have seen or heard. Allow Hawthorn to clear the turbid energy from your body. With this clearing, comes the opportunity for the heart to blossom just a little bit more.

With love,

JessicaBakerPic

Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Hawthorn Art by: Robert O’Brien

plant rituals

Refocus Through this Offering to the Plants

I have been a little reluctant to talk about my upcoming projects, as I have not been exactly clear on what my goals and intentions for such projects. As I develop more clarity around my purpose it is obvious that educating about the sustainable use of herbs and essential oils is of utmost importance. As consumers, it is our responsibility to assure the viability and availability of our plant medicines are here for future generations.

As I develop more clarity around my purpose it is obvious that educating about the sustainable use of herbs and essential oils is of utmost importance. As consumers, it is our responsibility to assure the viability and availability of our plant medicines are here for future generations.

I hear people using excessive dosages of essential oils, with a “more is better” attitude, without taking into account the large amounts of plant material it requires to make 1 ounce of essential oil. In many cases, one to two drops, diluted in a fat-based substance, will do the trick. Use wisely, and with a thought to sustainability.

I also want to encourage bringing ritual back. We have lost ritual in our societies and I think it’s important to have reverence for the precious life we are blessed to have.

Today I diffuse essential oils of:

Lavender (organically grown)

Clary Sage (organically grown)

Palo Santo (from dead trees only)

as an offering of gratitude to the plant spirits as they guide me on this journey of life.

Reflections on the Mountain West Herb Gathering

IMG_0316I cannot say enough positive things about the Mountain West Herb Gathering.  As with any conference there are bound to be unexpected hiccups but my experience as a teacher and attendant was that it was not only a well organized event but extremely heartfelt as well. I’m already getting excited about next year’s gathering.  Thank you Amanda Klenner for putting on such a welcoming event!  Check out her monthly herbal publication Natural Herbal Living

As someone new to Colorado, I am also happy to have met more local herbalists!  Every class I attended was wonderful, but my favorite had to be Healing the Spirit: Using Plants, Song and Prayer in Modern Herbal Practice, with Shelley Torgove and Monticue Connally.  I am glad they are both in Denver so I can learn more from them.  Deep healing occurred in the space created in their class.  There is nothing like singing with the plants!

IMG_0338My favorite part was to see (hear, taste and feel) new and old plant allies.  The mountain yarrow and horsetail looks so delicate and tender compared to our North Coast varieties.  I have found the mountain plants to be smaller, but packed full of vital energy due to their ability to thrive in such harsh conditions.  And the conifers!  I got to taste and smell the differences in some of the pine, spruce and fir.  The medicine in these mountain plants are strong and give us the gift of resiliency.  So needed at this time.

I leave you with a simple tasty tea that can be easily harvested from many places around the world.  Just make sure the trees and flowers haven’t been sprayed or are close to a heavily trafficked area.

Conifer Rose Tea IMG_0181

1/2 cup needles of your favorite evergreen (pine, spruce, cedar, cypress, fir, redwood)

1/4 cup wild roses

1/4 cup wild blackberry or raspberry flowers

Make a sun infusion with needles and flowers for 2-3 hours.  Strain out herbs and drink deeply.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Happy Summer and Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica