being human,  embodiment,  learning

Herbal Healing Journey

Sometimes (most of the time), we don’t see ourselves clearly. I wonder if we are supposed to. We form our identities and sense of self through everything we experience, our surroundings, our people, our histories, genetics and many other things of life. No two people are alike and no two people should be treated the same for their ailments.

My story relates to my nervous system and the ways it’s wreaked havoc on all of me. Long story short, I’ve only been diagnosed with hypertension and for over twenty years I’ve been taking a light dose of medication for this diagnosis. The problem? There is a much larger, more complex story around this diagnosis … my hypertension is the manifestation of a dis-regulated nervous system; it’s the end result of many other things going on inside. The problem is that my doctor (and most doctors of modern western medicine) are not interested in the underlying causes. Mostly they want to fix the problem with a band-aid (in my case, high blood pressure medication).

Has this medication helped me? Physically, indeed, yes. But emotionally, spiritually, mentally, no. It has only addressed one small part of the whole of me.

I have been on a healing journey for most of my adult life and I’ve made lots of progress along the way, but this past spring and summer, God stepped in in a much bigger way. God is never absent; I firmly believe this. But sometimes it’s like the stars align, the perfect people are placed in our paths and the exact right thing is presented to us in the exact right time. That was the case during this season of my life.

Out of the blue, seemingly at random, I met a vital herbalist, Tonya, who did an Ayurvedic Medical Astrology Reading for me. She told me things about myself I already knew but couldn’t properly articulate; her words landed in my body and were felt deeply there. Together, with additional help from a trusted naturopath, we addressed my dis-regulated nervous system with herbs, supplements, homeopathics and holistic practices. Over three short months, my blood pressure has decreased significantly.

But the most telling story is the story of the true me I uncovered, the me God intended before the world got it’s hands on me. In many spiritual, contemplative circles, there are teachings about the True Self and the false self. The True Self is who we are, in God, whereas the false self is the transient, self-made, ego self. We all have both; we need both. The delicate dance is to learn to live into the True Self more often.

In my case, my (dis-regulated) false self was also a lying, self-sabotaging, anxious, obsessive-compulsive quitter who often thought people didn’t like her for no real reason. Sounds exhausting, right? That’s because it is/was.

Since I started on this healing herbal journey in April, everything has changed. EVERY THING. I now have space between my thoughts. I call bullshit on the old stories. I recognize the self-sabotaging patterns and stop them before they take hold. I recognize my own innate goodness, not because of, but in spite of myself, because God is holy and God is inside me. These actions were an impossibility prior to my herbal healing path.

Is it work? Will it always be work? Likely yes. It’s the reason yoga developed thousands of years ago. ‘Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.’ Most of the time, our ailments are a direct cause of the ways our minds work, the ways we relate to ourselves internally. We must train our minds, otherwise our minds will have it’s way with us. But I’m a yogi, have been for almost a quarter of a century, and yoga could not ‘fix’ me. I needed more help.

Some people turn to medication for their anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. I have considered it for myself. I have friends who rely on and swear by theirs. Everyone’s journey is different. This is mine. If any of it resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you.

Photo by Melanie Stander on Unsplash