Red Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) compared to Heal All (Prunella vulgaris)

Red Dead Nettle

Red Dead Nettle

The plant on the bottom front of the pile in the photo below is from my yard and is called Red Dead Nettle, like the plant in the photo above.

The first time I saw this plant in my yard I became curious.  Was I seeing the little plant that is so great for healing called “Heal All”?  I looked up Heal all online and could see this little plant was obviously different . . . but still looked similar in my opinion.  Plants can be so difficult to identify without a name to use for looking it up!!  Finally I searched Heal All look alikes, and there was my little plant!

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Red Dead Nettle is my little plant’s name.  Yay!  I found out what the plant was!!!  –Unless you have tried to figure out what plants are when you or your friends don’t know, you have no idea how difficult it can be, so I was thrilled to have found out this plant’s name so easily–  Now I could look up more about the plant in my yard.  Is it edible?  Is it medicinal?  Turns out it is both.

Red Dead Nettle is not a true nettle and does not sting.  That is why it is called “Dead nettle.”  Red Dead Nettle is a member of the mint family.  Some of the other common names for Red Dead Nettle are Purple Dead Nettle, Lavender Dead Nettle, Purple Archangel, and Velikdenche  (according to Wikipedia).

Heal All

Below are two photos of Heal All.  Another common name for Heal All is Self Heal.  Heal All is also a member of the mint family.  Heal All is both edible and medicinal.

When we were camping a couple summers ago, one of our party got a nasty infection under her big toenail when she was injured.  Her toe was swelling and very painful.  We made a poultice of Plantain (a drawing herb which brings the infection to the surface of the skin) and Heal All (good for any healing).  She said the poultice stung like the dickens but she kept it on for awhile.  By morning, the infection had come to the surface and could be cleaned out.  One more application a couple days later, when her toe began swelling again, completed the cure!

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Thank goodness for these gorgeous plants that voluntarily appear for our benefit!  Plants are such a God given gift!

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Glorious Dandelion!

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen as gorgeous a dandelion as this one right here. A volunteer in my small raised garden I’m grateful this enormous dandelion showed up. Hopefully the seeds of this huge plant will spread all over my garden, Providing me with lots of super nutritious greens.

There are many dandelion look-alikes. According to what I’ve read, there are no poisonous look-alikes, but it’s good to know when you have the real thing. Some of the look-alikes here in Oregon, called cats ears, are very bitter. 

Probably the best way to tell a true dandelion is to look at the flower and it’s stem. The stem will be hollow with white milky substance oozing out when it is broken. There will be only one flower to a single stem and the stem of a true dandelion does not branch as many look-alikes do.

Dandelion flowers are edible as well as the leaves and the roots. Some people roast the roots and make a hot drink out of the ground roasted roots.  I personally have only tried the flowers and the leaves. 

I find the flowers very pleasant to eat raw and I put the leaves in my smoothies. I have read that these are some of the most nutritious greens on the planet.

I simply love how I can walk into my yard and find wonderful things to eat without having to do any work at all!

Spring Greens

I wonder . . . when our ancestors spoke about spring greens, did they mean these?


No need to wait for your garden to come up when you have plantain, clover, dandelions, and heal all look alike: Purple Deadnettle – Lamium purpurem (also edible).  Also in this bunch are a few greens I kept covered with a sheet over the winter to keep them from dying: celery tops, parsley, beet greens, and thyme.

These will be thrown into my smoothie this morning, to which I will add wild blueberries from the freezer section of the grocery store, frozen strawberries, frozed sweet cherries, banana, water, and a can of coconut milk. Yummy!

This combination will probably fill my blender and produce four large glasses of smoothie which I will save in the refrigerator until I drink them, one at a time. Probably will last me a couple days at least.

And the greatest thing is the wild greens have much more nutrition than your average garden greens!  Most people don’t realize that dandelions are one of the most, if not the most nutritious green vegetable there is!!  The yellow flowers are edible too, as well as the root can be used for roasted root tea (haven’t tried that yet though).

Finding Our True Heroic Selves!

Healing is all about digging deeper and deeper and looking into the shadowy corners to shed light on everything and create healing.  Today I did some more digging.  What I found may resonate with someone out there.

I woke feeling stressed again.  “Why do I feel stressed?” I wondered.  “Time to focus,” I sighed.

“How am I feeling?” I asked myself.

“Afraid,” I said.

“Why,” I asked.

“I’m afraid I will fail,” I answered — but there wasn’t much power in it.  I knew that fear was pretty much healed.

I set that fear aside and asked, “OK, good to know.  Aside from that, how am I feeling?”

“Afraid.”

This fear was a little stronger.  “Why am I afraid?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I will succeed.”

I’ve heard this before too, I thought, but I  continued, “Why am I afraid to succeed?” I asked.

“Because if I succeed, people will expect me to keep doing what I succeed at and I will be stuck.  I will be expected to keep doing it and I won’t be able to focus my life on anything new.  I’ll be trapped.”  This has been an issue before in my focusing.

As I pondered this answer I realized my fears are based on the belief that I  must do what other people say I must do, like continuing to perform certain actions if I am successful in them. Bringing this into the light allows me to see that although that may be an ingrained notion, it is not really true and I can begin to let go of that belief.

I asked, “How can I heal this?” but nothing came so I asked, “What more can I learn about this?”  I received this answer — which came in bits and pieces: “In the past I have had my ruts, my time constraints, my health issues, my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, my feelings of depression, my feelings of being stuck.  These feelings and ruts have given me excuses to fail, or at least, excuses to not excel.  These feelings would rescue me when someone would badger me to do things, or blame me for not doing things, or yell at me for not doing something I didn’t have the time or energy for, or for something I didn’t even think of, or didn’t have the desire to do, or the intention to do.  They were my hiding place from someone elses’s abusive demanding controlling behavior.

In learning more about this fear of success I realized that in succeeding I would appear to others to be competent, capable, able, strong, and my excuses and ruts that I hid in before might not protect me anymore.

I also realized that without these familiar ruts, that I have lived in for years, I would struggle to know who I am, where I stand, what my perspective is.  I would feel lost without them.  I would be floating free without a harbor.  I understand clearly now how people identify with their wounds, their illnesses, their pain, because I clearly see how I do.

One of my teachers, Malcolm Ringwalt of Earth_Heart, explained the personality as post it notes inside of a light bulb.  When we are born we are like a light (the filament) with in a clean bulb, seeing the world as it is, our pure light shining out through the clear bulb accurately reflecting back the truth.  As we begin to interact with the world around us we gain experience based on our limited perspectives and begin forming opinions and shaping our “personalities”.  We make little notes and post them on the inside of the bulb that is our interface with the world, and our filters begin to be created.  (Scared of the loud dog.  Like the pretty flowers.  Don’t like Needles!  Kitty soft but scratches.  Man with beard mean.  Lady with brown hair gives cookie.) Each experience creates a post it note and each post it note taints the new experiences.  We become so used to our space within that bulb and our perspectives, we have a difficult time seeing anyone else’s perspective unless we have an experience like theirs.  Then we can write another post it note like theirs.

People on a spiritual path are attempting to poke holes in those post it notes, over and over, until eventually they begin to see glimpses of the world as it really is.  Sometimes in meditation one can poke a hole and get a glimpse.

Focusing is a type of meditation that allows us to look closely at our post it notes and begin to understand why we put them there in the first place, and help us peel them away little by little, or poke holes in them.

The first time Tom Brown Jr. had our class do the focusing meditation he had us out there in nature peeling back the layers of feeling for 45 minutes.  Focusing over and over for 45 minutes was excruciating.  It was work.  After I peeled back each emotion I couldn’t imagine there would be anything more to find, but there was.  I would get distracted and forget I was even doing an exercise, but when I remembered I would force myself to continue, after all, I wanted to get my money’s worth.    Looking for each new emotion was not an easy task, especially the deeper I got.  But I kept it up and I got to a place that completely surprised me.  I saw myself for who I really was, underneath all the emotions, the drama, the feelings.  I saw myself as pure energy, fearless, a warrior, and as a glittery core of energy going up and down within my body.  I wept uncontrollably at the beauty of myself because I had no idea I was anything like that! I also saw my accomplishments hanging off me like dead whitened logs.  I realized when I saw them that they were not a part of me at all, but just a residue hanging there; that the only thing that was me was this energy that was alive and was me.

I will be eternally grateful for that glimpse.

Even when Tom called us back to class I couldn’t stop crying.  I would have never guessed I was anything like that.  So today when I realized that I was afraid to let go of those ruts I was hiding in, of helplessness and incapability, and afraid to let them go because I wouldn’t know who I was, I remembered that meditation.

Why not hold onto the me I saw in that meditation?  That is the real me after all.  That is who I really am.  I can let go of my old crutches.

I believe we each have that incredible strong and powerful self under all the pain and suffering.  Curiously the painful experiences are for our growth if we can figure out how to use them for that.  I encourage us all to peel back the layers and learn from them.  Find and work to become the amazingly powerful people we really are.

I have to be gentle with myself because years of living in the rut is not an easy habit to break.  I have known for years who I really am but I still find myself in fear and that’s OK.  I simply have more to learn from those lessons.  I am still learning as I explore the layers between who I really am and the surface where I am confused and conflicted.  So please be gentle with yourself and with others you encounter on this journey toward self discovery.  We are all in this together and are all in different places along the path of total recovery.

Do Ya Ever Just Not Wanna Get Outta Bed? “Focusing” Will Tell You Why.

That’s how I felt this morning.

I was rested but just didn’t want to face the day.  There was nothing pressing I had to do for anyone else, but I felt stressed and awful!

I decided to do the focusing meditation Tom Brown Jr., my teacher at Trackerschool, taught me, to separate the individual emotions that make up the mix of emotions we experience.

The method is this: While in a quiet place, alone, preferably in nature, you ask yourself in the most loving, non judgmental, kind manner, “How am I feeling?” and surrender (to surrender is to go to nothingness, no thought, no image, no agenda and see what comes to you) to the first emotion that presents itself.

If you get, “Well, I feel just fine,” then say to yourself, “Yeah, right!  How am I REALLY feeling?” and surrender to the real answer.  Then ask yourself, “Why?  Why am I feeling this way?” and surrender to the answer.  Then you make note of it on paper if you like, or in your mind, and set it aside in your mind.  Next, say to yourself, “Aside from that, How am I feeling?” and surrender to the answer.  Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?”  Make note of it, and set it aside in your mind.  Then ask yourself, “Aside from those, how am I feeling?” and surrender to the next emotion or feeling that comes to the surface.  When the emotion or feeling presents itself, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?” and make a note of it and set it aside in your mind . . . and on and on.

If at some point you get nothing in return, realize there is some reason you are not allowing yourself to know about that layer, which is just fine.  Say to yourself, “OK, good to know,” set it aside and go on to the next layer.

When Tom had us do this, he gave us a full 45 minutes on this exercise.  I got distracted a lot as I went deeper and deeper, and had to struggle to bring myself back to the exercise.  He told us, “When you think you have gone deep enough, go deeper.”  This exercise is VERY healing and helps you to see what is contributing to the mix of emotions which are affecting you right now.

–If you go deep enough, you may find something completely unexpected that will change your life.

The emotions that are affecting you now change with time.  Each day will probably be different, but you may find some consistencies too.

When you are finished with the exercise, there is more you can do with it.   Tom taught us to go through the list and ask yourself, “Which one of these emotions is the most powerful right now?” and circle it and put a 1 by it.  Then go through the list and ask, “Aside from that one, which one is most powerful or  most important right now?” and circle it and put a 2 by it.  Do this until it feels like the most important ones are circled.

If the ones circled are positive emotions you can ask, “What more can I learn about this?” and surrender to an answer.  The answer may come in an image, a feeling, an emotion, a complete knowing.  You can ask again and again, going through layers of learning about this positive thing.  You can do this about individual emotions or about the group of emotions.  I think doing both would give the greatest understanding.

If the ones circles are negative emotions or feelings you can ask, “How can I heal this?” and surrender to an answer.  This question can be asked again and again until you feel you have gotten what you need for help in healing.  You can do this about an individual negative emotion or about a group of negative emotions.  I think it would be beneficial to do both the individual emotions or feelings and the group for the greatest understanding.

Back to my exercise today . . .

The first layer showed me that I was feeling very frustrated — because I had too much I wanted to accomplish and not enough hours in the day, week, month to accomplish everything, and I felt a pressure or expectation from myself but also because I believed others expected things of me.

The second layer showed me I felt calm, relaxed, not worried — because none of that is really important

The third layer showed me I was angry, roaring, holding up the rafters of my house, wanting to break it to pieces!  Not caring if I died!  — because of my frustration and bottled up anger from past things.  (In my dream interpretations, my houses seem to represent my life.)

The fourth layer I felt like a quiet, small, amber red, elliptical shape, and very happy to be alive — because that is more real, that is more the essence of my true feelings.

That was all I needed for today.  I realized the second and fourth layers were the most important and powerful ones for me and to let the other ones go.  To do things as I can, with joy, and not worry.

We get trained in life to focus and stress on things that are not really that important in the long run and that can cause a great deal of internal strife!  Realizing how wonderful it is to simply be here, experiencing everything, can make such a difference.

If you want to read more about my first understanding this because I remembered how I felt when I was coming to be in the physical world, click here.

What Colors Excite You?

I LOVE COLOR!!!!

Color makes my heart sing and my good feelers bliss out.  Whenever I see some color combination that rocks my world I do my best to get a copy of it on my computer with a screenshot, on my cell phone camera, or in a scrapbook if the photo is in a magazine.  I love that I can take screenshots of images I find when I am working online.  There are so many beautiful pictures that have been shared in one way or another.

All the photos above were screenshots online.  I also have spiral notebooks which I use as scrapbooks for magazine photos I love.  Over the years I have collected several notebooks of magazine cutouts.  One is of home decorations I love, one is of Christmas decorations I love, one is of plants, one is of flowers, one is of clothes, one is of “pretty things”.  These are fun to look at when I am relaxing; or looking for inspiration for art, or sewing, or scarf making, or whatever I might want to create.  I even found looking at my favorite photos of colors or beautiful things, can bring me up out of a less than happy mood.  Occasionally I have taken my scrapbooks, when I am tired and feeling down, and leisurely gone through them.  I found that looking at my favorite pictures again brought joy and love into my heart.

There must be something about the vibrational frequency that makes some colors so healing to a person.  Just like music, colors vibrate.  Colors affect us more than we may realize.  You probably have favorite colors, colors that make you feel good when you look at them.  I obviously do.  That is probably why I love painting and sewing and making things, because I like to chose my own colors and create things with them.

When I was young I thought it was odd that we couldn’t see more colors.  It seemed that if we could see some colors, why would there be a limit to them.  I knew there were more but we just couldn’t see them.  I wondered about all the colors we couldn’t see.  I used to try to put two colors together that, when placed next to each other, almost made me think one of the colors was a new one I hadn’t seen before, because when it was next to that particular color it seemed to look different.  I used to look for colors that were mixed in such a way that I wondered if I was seeing a new color that no one had noticed before.

Lately, when I paint of make something with fiber, making a recognizable image just doesn’t do color justice.  I prefer to let color and texture speak for itself, without any distraction.

Wahls Protocol : Day 15, Rationalization

Yesterday, after days of low energy, I had had enough of feeling tired.  I had my grandkids here, asking to help me . . . no . . . begging to help me so they could earn video game time.  I decided I really just needed to eat some chocolate so I would have enough energy to be able to direct their energy toward productivity.  It was one of those ox in the mire moments.  So I ate my chocolate — the bar I had hidden away to use for medicinal purposes only — and I’m not sorry about it.

Today I called my doctor’s office to get the results of my last blood test to see if my thyroid medicine was doing any good.  I have been trying different ones for almost a year now.

“Well,” they said, “it has been helping, you are closer to normal.”

“But I am not in the normal range yet?” I asked.

“No, but you are getting closer and the doctor said to continue with your medication as prescribed,” the lady in the doctor’s office said.  “In about 6 weeks we can get your blood rechecked.”

“I’ve been taking this dose for three months now,” I pointed out, just in case she didn’t realize it.

“Oh, yes,” she acknowledged after looking at my chart some more, “I see that you have been on this dose for three months already.  Hmmm.  Well, the doctor said you should continue on this dose.”

“Does it accumulate in the body so the longer I take it the more normal my hormones are?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think so.  You’ll have to ask the doctor about that when you come in again,” she hedged.

I said, “Ok, I guess for now I’ll just have to eat chocolate for energy.”

She didn’t seem to know what to say to my smart aleck remark and got off the phone with a quick, “Ok, goodbye.”

In all honesty I have to say I am glad I was able to get so much done today and yesterday.  I couldn’t have done it without my old friend chocolate.  After the work was done and I was relaxing, I felt happy.  I remembered hearing people say that chocolate is an anti depressant.  I have to agree.  Maybe that’s how people who drink coffee feel.  I understand much better now.

So my rationalization, for now, is that eating chocolate when I need the extra energy is ok until I figure something better out.  Melanie has something for me to try: some herbs and seaweed and lots of other good stuff.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Having children who can teach me is so wonderful!