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

Change Comes From Within Blend

There’s a lot of energy in the air with many people feeling overwhelmed, sad, or angry at what is happening in our country. Monday’s solar eclipse also has some people excited and energized, hoping that this event will shift our paradigm and perspective. Maybe it will, but I think it’s going to take more than an eclipse to change the politics and beliefs of our citizens. It is going to take standing up for our beliefs and giving to organizations that are working towards ending oppression.

This week I know I need something to nourish and relax my nervous system, while giving me the energy to stay active to create the changes I want to see in the world. This essential oil blend has been helping me tremendously. I hope it helps you too.

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lavender- to reduce anxiety and fear

3 drops Frankincense- to ease heartache and grief

3 drops Clary Sage- to bring clarity to thoughts and actions

Add essential oils to 10 ml of carrier oil (I love olive or apricot kernel)

Put essential oil blend in a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Apply to heart chakra, third eye, or anywhere else you desire. Don’t wait until you are already overwhelmed or emotional. Use preventatively to help you stay calm, clear, and collected.

With love,

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 

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

 

Plant Medicine to Soothe the Soul

Many of us are experiencing an underlying tension that has us reactive and sensitive. I know I have had to be very conscious in my language and actions because much of what I was saying wasn’t coming out as eloquently as I would like.

The politics that enraged millions of people into action has begun to settle into our beings and has created fear, depression and anxiety. The hope that many carried for almost a decade has been replaced with despair, anger and apathy. I feel all three of these things on an almost daily basis.

When I’m in a space to recognize my feelings, thoughts and behavior I can transform these overwhelming emotions with love, understanding and compassion. I am able to take myself out of this moment and remember that this is only a blip in the evolution of consciousness. Sometimes we need to feel betrayed, afraid, and pissed off-if those are the only things that spur a leap in our own humanity.

As always I utilize our ancestors, our plant allies to bring me back to a sense of peace,
calmness and compassion. This winter Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has been a daily friend, strengthening my Wei Qi (defensive energy) so I elderberrycan deflect some of the negativity and retain my own vital life force energy. If you’ve been getting colds/flus frequently, I highly recommend starting the day with one tsp of elderberries steeped in a cup of hot water. Berries are generally simmered, but I find elderberry to work wonders as just as infusion. Some species of elderberry are toxic, only use sambucus nigra or

Our aromatic plants are always important to help us move out of a feeling of discontent. Artemisia-tridentata-close-up-e1396654925527The strongest essential oil I am working with right now for clearing out what feels stuck, opening the lungs, and activating my crown chakra is Big Mountain Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). The aroma of Big Mountain Sagebrush is overwhelming for some, but I love it. It smells similar to chaparral or creosote, and it is just as healing. I recommend one drop on the top of the head. You will be surprised at the insights that will come to you.

To deepen your exploration with herbs, join me and other experts for a free online event March 20-24! RSVP at no charge: The Plant Medicine Summit

With love,

jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows 

Elderberry credit:  Roger Butterfield

 

 

 

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,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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

Turn Intentions into Action

It has been years since I’ve written out new years resolutions or intentions. I’ve had them of course-goals and aspirations that I work towards and start to feel guilty about if I don’t achieve them. This year I am done with this type of thinking. I am going to be kinder to myself. I beat myself up way too much and I’m beginning to notice the impact it has on my psyche and my health. I also notice how my negative self-talk effects those around me.

If I judge myself for every little thing- dirty dishes, unmopped floor- then of course that perception is going to spill out to those I love. It also means I’m going to judge the important decisions in my life too- my book should be done, my essential oil products should be out by now, I should teach more, see more clients…etc. Instead of degrading myself I’m going to celebrate the act of doing. I’m going to credit myself for just having the courage to write, create, teach. And I call in the strength and community to help me with the things I can’t accomplish alone.

We can’t do it alone. We need our friends, family, and community to help us achieve our goals and keep our intentions. Surround yourself with those that really support you.Your setbacks and your successes will be championed by those that love you. Be gentle with yourself-but also put yourself out there, go out on a limb, ride that edge-the rewards are infinite!

With love,

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Jessica

When energy flows, wellness grows

Photo credit: Getty Images

Solution for the Holiday Hustle

Herbs and essential oils are some of my favorite allies to combat the stress of the holiday rush. Instead of stalking the malls, I choose to walk among the conifers that have been here for millennia. I inhale their resinous aroma and instantly breathe deeper. Evergreens, like redwoods, pines and firs are some of our oldest ancestors, and their resiliency is transmitted to us, simply by being  in their presence.

I share with you one of my favorite blends for honoring the vitality and strength in all of us.

Holiday Hustle Spritz

2 ounces Spring Water

5 drops Douglas Fir (or conifer of choice) essential oil

4 drops Clary Sage essential oil

4 drops Mandarin essential oil

2 drops Spearmint essential oil

Add each essential oil separately to the spring water, blending thoroughly between each one. Pour mixture into a 2-ounce glass spritzer bottle.

Spray as needed for energy, inspiration and grounding amidst all the holiday madness. Inhale and appreciate that it’s necessary to take time to slow down, breathe and relax.

If you find yourself stressed out, contemplate on what you are getting caught up in. If you are worried about what to buy someone you love, know that your friendship and love are the greatest gifts you can give someone this holiday season. Your presence is all they truly desire.

With Love,

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Jessica

Retreat to the Trees

As we move deeper into the dark time of year, instinctually we know to slow down. We feel the need to go to sleep earlier, sometimes ridiculously early for me, as it is pitch dark by 5pm and the coziness of my bed is overwhelming as the cold darkness engulfs me. But the hustle of the holidays is counter-intuitive to our natural urge to hibernate, retreat and restore.

Instead of spending time indoors, nourishing ourselves with slow cooked stews and teas, we run around mad buying gifts and preparing for endless parties and indulgences. A lot of this energy can be fun as we gather with friends and family to celebrate the holy days around the world. All the running around and monetary stress often lowers our immune system as we resist the wisdom of our bodies. Something archaic within us knows we should be home resting with a warm tea (or toddy!)

To honor this instinct in me, I’ve gone back to my home in the Redwood forest on the coast of Northern California. I feel the need to withdrawal to the seclusion of the forest, innately drawn to the rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, where I have always felt at home. This year, more than most, I know it’s necessary to be in my comfort zone during the darkest month of December. I need to stay balanced, nourished and insulated instead of hurried, frazzled and distracted with extraneous seasonal events.

This time of year I need to be on tree time. On their time I can slow down enough to hear these ancient beings remind me that even with all the intensity and seemingly insanity in our human world, there is also an immense beauty and connection that surpasses any injustice we witness on our minute mortal scale. I am reminded that we have worshipped and communed with trees for millennia, as our Solstice and Yuletide rituals, and Christmas trees still emulate. Being in an ancient forest is my way of celebrating Solstice, the return of the Sun.

How are you honoring these dark holy days before the return of the life-giving Sun? I will for sure be humming my own version of O, Tannenbaum and sipping a warm conifer cider.

Photo credit: k-k.club

5 Companies for Conscious Shoppers

The consumerism of the holiday season really bothers me. I mean Really bothers me. Too much importance is put on buying stuff that people don’t want or need and for those that can’t afford to buy for their children, much less their friends or co-workers the stress is unbearable and unnecessary. Although I make as many gifts as I can (stay tuned for my free e-book with lots of fun holiday recipes), I also like to support businesses that really care about people and the planet.

Here’s the list of my top 5 companies to support this season:

Carry The Future stands in solidarity with refugee families worldwide by personally providing humanitarian aid to ease their journey while creating meaningful opportunities for global volunteers to be a collective force of action and hope. They donate baby carriers to refugees that are forced to carry their children for countless miles.

United Plant Savers mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. Become a member and receive at-risk plants to propagate in your area.

The Holistic Cannabis Academy is a cannabis education, training, and business-building platform for holistic-minded practitioners about medical marijuana and its integration with other healing modalities. Give the gift of education and empowerment.

 Together California blends an insatiable lust for color, fun, and forward thinking, Lily and Benedict want to encourage fashion lovers and the fashion industry itself to be their best while still looking and feeling gorgeous. Out of their mutual respect for humanity and planet earth, Together is committed to provide clothing that is equally high-fashion and high-­tech. All products are created with the safest and most sustainable manufacturing techniques available without sacrificing style; these methods are reflective of the thoughtfulness and positive change that our current cultural and physical climate demands. Their designs and styles are unmatched, as is their commitment to sustainable fashion.

Samadhi Yoga is my favorite yoga studio in Denver. For those that live elsewhere, choose a locally owned studio in your town. Your friends will love you for it!

Photo credit: Website of Carry The Future

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.

Getting What You Want & the Tea of Tropical Bliss

We all have those moments that redefine us. Those moments that push us out of our comfort zone and bring us to an awakening, an epiphany that seems so obvious we can’t believe it didn’t dawn on us before. I’ve had several of these the last 20 years and it is those moments that have gotten me to where I am today.

Where am I? I’m in a sweet little casita overlooking magnificent Banderas Bay. I’ve been talking about restructuring my life to work while I travel and this is the year that I move that dream into reality. This blog post is the manifestation of that dream. So are my online CEU classes that are now approved and soon to be up on my website for sale.  

It is an illusion that we can’t have the life we desire. It is an illusion that kids, work, and bills bind us to a physical location. It is an illusion that we are meant to work to pay bills and then die with regrets.  The truth comes to light when we have the courage to stop running and to just sit with ourselves.  

Ask yourself what you really want out of life. If it is the corporate job, house on the hill and new car, that is awesome. If it is to drift with the wind on a sailboat in the Caribbean, that is awesome, too. I say, there’s no judgement, no remorse.

I was recently thinking why I am writing a book on herbalism, why I write this blog, why I teach classes on herbalism, aromatherapy, and Chinese medicine. The answer is simple. It makes me happy to write. It makes me happy to teach others about our herbal allies. It brings me great joy to be a messenger of the plants. And that is why we are here folks — to be a beacon of inspiration to all those that cross our path. We are not here to tell them “my way is the right way.” We are here to witness others fully live their path and encourage them along the way.

My hope for you is what I hope for myself — that I am able to feel the beauty and grace in all my adversity and come out the other side blissful and content and that I can be a grounding loving force in the chaos that surrounds us and that I can help others see the greatness in themselves and in our communal home we call earth.

I’ll leave you with a tea inspired by the sunrise and sunset over the Pacific. As always, use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Recipe: Tea of Tropical Bliss

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp hibiscus flowers
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1-3 tbsp fresh lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Boil fresh ginger in two cups of water for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and add Hibiscus flowers. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain herbs and add lime juice to the tea.
  3. Add honey to taste if desired.  

This tea is delicious warm or iced (normally I don’t say drink teas iced unless it’s an extremely warm day, you are in a tropical paradise, or I’m talking about southern sweet tea).

Love yourself enough to fully live this life.  Even if you think you will have another one, that is no reason not to be present with this one.

When energy flows, wellness grows.