Oh, How Time Flies (or 20 years in Cali)

20 years today I moved to California! And my entire life changed. I found herbalism, the redwood forest, and a whole crew of people I still call family two decades later. This is my passionate plea to encourage you to Go Live Your Life. Take chances, make that move, call that guy, whatever it is; Do It!

If I wouldn’t have moved to Humboldt County, I don’t know what my life would be like now. Would I have found a teacher of herbalism that resonated with me like Jane Bothwell? Would I have gone to acupuncture school? Where would I live now and what would I do for a “living”? I don’t know what I would be like, but I do know that I was shaped by my experiences of two decades in California.

I love my life and am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel, explore and find what it is that brings me great joy. I have lived many, many places and I am happy I have found my place. Thank you to the redwoods, the ocean, the herbs, and all the people that have been fundamental for me to call Northern California home.

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.

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

Finding my Roots & For the Love of Life Spritzer (Recipe)

For the last couple of days, I have been incredibly energized and deeply motivated by my path of sharing the wisdom of the plants. Teaching at the Dandelion Herbal Center last weekend really got me in touch with my herbal roots and reminded me of how grateful I am for everything herbalism has done for me.

When I moved to Humboldt in 1997, I felt my life was totally out of control and I knew I was on the brink of some breakthrough but I was frustrated, scared and unable to handle all the transition that was happening in my life. My parents were getting divorced, I was partying a bit too hard, school was unfulfilling and I hated the south. A move was in order I just didn’t know where to go. Thankfully my boyfriend (now husband) wanted to move too and suggested Northern California. After searching between Humboldt County and Monterey, we decided on Humboldt out of how everything seemed to fall into place when we started actively looking for a place to live.

That’s when you know the universe/intuition is steering you in the right direction. I was being led to this magical place where herbalism is a normal conversation and so is the acceptance of fairies and nature beings in our ancient forests. When you are being led toward a person, a place, a conversation, acknowledge the urge and act on it. Life is too short to ignore all of the signs that are reminding you of why you are here.

Maybe it’s the coming of spring that has me all inspired and invigorated. I’m trying to reign it in a little and enjoy the yin energy of the last couple weeks of winter. It’s a little hard with the Women’s Entrepreneurial Summit is this weekend in Pacific Grove. I’ll tell you about it next week.

I’ll leave you with a forest-inspired spritzer inspired by my love of the Redwood Coast.

For the Love of Life Spritzer

Ingredients:
3-6 drops redwood, fir or any conifer essential oil
1-3 drops rose (or rose geranium)
1-2 drops vetiver
1-ounce spring water (I’m using water from the creek on my property)
1 ounce rose hydrosol

Instructions:

  1. Put water and hydrosol in a 2-ounce glass bottle with a spritzer top.  
  2. Add essential oils (you can add the Vetiver or conifer first). I prefer to add the base note first but others add the top note first).  
  3. Shake and let sit for a few minutes before you check if you need to add more oils.  

Spritz yourself as needed for motivation, inspiration or love.

Photo: Silvia Maggi

Recipe: Wild Humboldt Tea + Upcoming Events

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.”

Here are my 2016 teaching dates through June:

Saturday, March 5, 2016 – Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Roots of Chinese Medicine

Festival of Herbs Series

Dandelion Herbal Center, Kneeland, CA

Dandelion Herbal Center website

Saturday, April 16, 2016
Adaptogens
Hosted by the Rocky Mountain Unit of the American Herb Society
1710 S. Grant Street, 
Denver, CO

Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30, 2016
Classes to be Announced
Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, Laytonville, CA

Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 19, 2016
Clinical Aromatherapy; Soul Revival: Conscious Evolution
Mountain West Herb Conference, Breckenridge, CO

My website is constantly being updated with new classes, webinars and blog posts.

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.