Happy Birthday to Me — The Power of 40

February has always been my favorite month, mainly because it’s my birthday month. On February 4th, I will turn 40. Four has always been my power number so I’m excited to have the energy of four all year. It is also a little overwhelming. Forty has been an unconscious milestone in my life since I was a little girl, when I thought, “Where will I be at 40?”  

I am happy to say much of vision has come true. In my young mind, I was an entrepreneur, maybe a writer and I would live a life of adventure and travel — all of which was true! I didn’t know herbalism and healing would play such a pivotal role in creating who I was to become. I love the path I have chosen for myself. I honor myself for having the courage to continue the journey. I welcome you all to celebrate who you really are and strive to live your authentic self.

Today we celebrate Imbolc/Candlemas and honor the goddess Brigit, the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft (alchemy). She is associated with the elements of fire and water and represents the return of the warmth of the coming spring at the end of a long, cold winter. Honor Brigit with a candle that you burn with intention while you write a poem that honors your own spiritual journey.

In parts of Africa and around the world, the Yoruba Orisha (Yemaya) is the mother goddess of the ocean and all of life. Honored in various ways in diverse cultures, she is associated with all water, the Moon and protects those out at sea. Honor Goddess Ocean and do your part to ensure plenty of clean water for the future. As Richard Branson recently tweeted, “2016 has to be about building resources & regenerating the #ocean — nothing less will do.”

As you patiently wait for warmer weather and longer days, stay as present as you can to relish the last month or so of the restorative nature of winter. I’ll leave you with a tea that honors the duality of dark and light, yin and yang, and water and fire. As always, use organic ingredients when possible.  And always know where and how your herbs are sourced. It is up to us herbalists to educate about true sustainability of modern herbalism.

Sol & Sea Tea

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp dried calendula flowers (represents the sun, Brigid)
2-3 tbsp dried horsetail (represents water, Yemaya)
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon peel (brings warmth back to the ming men fire)
Very small amount of honey (to taste, nourishes yin)

I can’t end without honoring, Sid Vicious. Today is the anniversary of his death (RIP Sid). We have all lost loved ones to addiction and violence. Enjoy every moment of your life. You are here. Now. It’s an honor to be alive.

Share a Cup of Kindness this Year (And Learn to Make One)

With the last few days of the holy days season approaching I look forward to what 2016 will bring to the world. Believe it or not, 2015 was a yin year (Yin Green Wood Sheep) when the energy is more subdued than a typical yang year. This year is a Yang Red Fire Monkey year (beginning February 8th) so let’s use the last month of our yin to build our reserves and nurture our spirit for the active year ahead.

The yin energy of 2015 brought me the opportunity to step back from my private practice to have the time to attend several herbal conferences and learn from people and plants that inspire me.  I accomplished my goals of  completing several videos as well as my book proposal.

One of my favorite people this year is Tim Ferriss. I love his term “new rich,” which means those that value time and experiences more than money and material objects. He has some great tips on how to work efficiently to have more free time to enjoy life.

In 2016 my goals are to finish my book, “Plant Songs,” teach more CEU’s, and spend as much time as I can with my husband Chip. In 2016 I will also be way nicer to myself and let go of the negative speak I tell myself when I’m not living up to the standard I have set for myself. The fire element is associated with the heart, so a fire year is a great time to love yourself and share that love with others.

You are capable of achieving whatever you put your energy towards. What dreams will come true for you in 2016? I’d love to hear what you are excited to bring to the world! If one of your goals is to open or build your business, here is one of my videos that may be of help to you or someone you know.  

I’ll leave you with a delicious tea to share with loved ones on New Year’s Eve or to keep you warm on any cold winter night. The tea is inspired by the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne and honors both the friends of the past and the future.

Share a Cup of Kindness Tea

Ingredients:
3-4 tbsp chen pii (dried tangerine peel)1 cinnamon stick
3-4 tbsp hawthorn leaves, flowers, and berries
3 tbsp rose petals
1 tbsp rosemary
2-3 tbsp hibiscus flowers
1-ounce lowland Scottish whiskey (option to honor Scottish lyrics)

Instructions:

  1. Decoct/Simmer chen pi and cinnamon stick in two cups of water for 15 minutes.
  2. Infuse/Steep all other ingredients (except rose) in two cups of water for 15 minutes.  
  3. Add rose petals to the steeped ingredients the last five minutes.
  4. Strain both the decoction and the infusion and add liquids together.  
  5. Add a shot of whiskey to each cup if desired.
  6. Add honey to taste if a sweeter taste is desired.

May the new year bring more peace and austerity to all living beings on our beautiful planet.

Recipe: Spiced Cider in Time for the Winter Solstice

Today brings the Winter Solstice, a time of introspection and renewal as we once again welcome the lengthening of days. Solstice is one of my favorite holy days and I find comfort and warmth in knowing that slowly the days will catch up to the night.

Like many of you, my year has been full of changes that have been both overwhelming and amazing.

LiaandFaunaThe most heart warming occurrence is the birth of my niece Fauna Jessette Sunshine Schneider on Dec. 3, 2015, at 3:03 a.m. Much to the surprise of my sister Lia and her husband Scott, Fauna came a couple of months early because she just had to have all the auspicious threes in her birth chart and the adventurous nature of Sagittarius was beckoning her to enter the world. My heart melts just thinking about her!

Another great thing that happened was I finally have my Blurbs on Herbs video series on YouTube.  I also have a free business video to share with you. As soon as I have the approval from NCCAOM, I will also share my three videos I have for sale for those that need your Acupuncture CEU/PDA. The first month the videos are available I will have a 20 percent off sale on all 2016 classes (live and distance learning).

I hope all of  your holy day celebrations are filled with love, laughter, and good memories. Try to keep the drama low and the compassion high as you sit down with friends and family the next couple of weeks.

Here is a spiced cider to warm you on cold winter nights. It is also great with a shot or two of brandy added. As always, use organic ingredients.

Recipe: Spiced Cider

Ingredients/Instructions:
1 to 2 grams hawthorn berries
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of clove
A handful of orange peel

Simmer all ingredients with apple juice for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, sip and enjoy.

 

Recipe: Holiday Compassion Chai Latte

I have just returned from visiting my family in Georgia and I feel as full as the tonight’s moon.

I’m lucky to have a family that loves and supports me no matter how different I may be from them. It is comforting to know that I can always count on them to be there for me when I need to laugh, cry or vent! Take the opportunity to call a loved one and tell them how much they mean to you.

With the holidays approaching, emotions can run high as we mourn the loss of those that can’t be with us or stress out over gifts that we may not be able to afford to buy. This season, let’s focus on the gift of our presence instead of the store bought gifts that promote materialism over togetherness. I know I would prefer a walk in the woods with a loved one over another knick knack that ends up being donated to goodwill in a year or two. It’s time we prioritize what is truly sacred to us rather than buy into another holiday that is guided by consumerism rather than spirituality or faith.

The only way we are going to change the world is to have the knowledge and courage to live in a way that is going to actually be sustainable for every living being on our planet. This year, make gifts for your family infused with love and good vibes. Or, donate to a local homeless shelter or food bank instead of buying gifts. If shopping is something you enjoy, buy coats or shoes for families that can’t afford it. Spread joy in little ways like making a warm meal for the homeless people you walk by every day. The spirit of the holiday should be one of caring for all life!

I want to share with you a spicy and sweet chai recipe that will warm your heart and increase your compassion for yourself and others.  While you drink this tea, envision love spreading through your entire body, allow this love to penetrate deep within your soul. Spread that love to every being that crosses your path!

Recipe: Compassion Chai Latte

Ingredients:
2 tbsp dried cinnamon bark
2 tbsp dried fennel seed
2 tbsp dried cardamom pods
2 tbsp dried rose buds
1 tbsp dried clove
1 tbsp dried orange peel

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.  
  2. Add 1 to 2 tbsp mixed spices to 4 ounces water and 4 ounces milk of choice (coconut, almond, dairy).  
  3. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes on low. Strain out herbs.
  4. Add honey to taste if desired. Sip and feel the warmth spread through your body and soul.

Let gratitude and compassion fill you completely.

Explore the World & Enjoy this Recipe for One World Tea

I have just returned from a family vacation in Alaska and British Columbia. Since I was born in Alaska, I have been wanting to get back there for years.

Helpful hint: if possible, go to Alaska! The scenery is magnificent, the locals are friendly and the native art is a must see. A highlight for me was seeing glaciers in person.

As my Dad said, “See the glaciers while you can.” Unfortunately, that’s a true statement. I saw the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau that according to a local, had receded greatly since he moved there in 1990. He was actually surprised at how much it had receded since he had been there just a couple years ago.  

It is imperative that we recognize, accept and change much about the way we live so we have the biodiversity for future generations to enjoy. And not just enjoy, but to have the ability to thrive as we have done.On a positive note, we have the resources to create a truly sustainable world if we really wanted to.  I am encouraged that we will come back to our senses and treat Mother Earth (and ourselves) with the love and respect we need to heal the planet.

While there, I found some local huckleberry tea, handmade herbal salves and ethically harvested chaga tincture. I was so happy to take home some herbal treasures to add to my medicine kit. I saw “Devil’s Club” for the first time growing wild by the side of the road from Anchorage to Whittier. Traveling and learning about different cultures feels me with such joy! Seeing them use the same herbs as I do always remind me that we are surrounded by our plant allies and they are an integral part of our survival and evolution. I encourage you to get to know some of the plants growing in your environment. You’ll be surprised how many are commonly used around the world.

With our global community in mind, I share with you a simple tea recipe inspired by some of my favorite cultures:

One World Tea

Ingredients:
1-2 tbsp hawthorn leaf & flower
1-2 tbsp Shan Zha (hawthorn berry)
1-2 tsp Chen Pi (aged tangerine peel)
1-2 tsp linden flower
1-2 tsp fennel seed
1-2 tsp cardamom seed
1-2 tsp rose petals

Instructions:

  1. Simmer the Chen Pi, Shan Aha, cardamom and fennel for 10 to 15 minutes in a quart of water.
  2. Turn off the heat and steep the rest of the herbs for 10 to 15 minutes.  
  3. Strain herbs.  

Drink throughout the day and give thanks for the opportunity to celebrate the culture and from around the world. As always, use organic and ethically harvested herbs

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Photo: San.ounette