Just recently, I was able to attend the Traditions in Western Herbalism/ Herbal Resurgence Conference in Coconino Forest, Arizona. This was a huge weekend for me, not only because I was able to attend some of my most admired herbalists’ workshops, but I was going on an adventure ALL BY MYSELF.

With excitement and nerves, I loaded up my backpack, remembering the last time I used it was travelling around South East Asia at the ripe age of 22. What I remember most about that trip, was the freedom I felt, to go as I please, live minimally, and be so close to Mother Nature. As I left my brood (who thought I was going parachuting by the looks of my pack), I felt this enormous gratitude for having this opportunity to explore this part of the world, and most importantly, to be able to explore myself.

It took a long time to be able to unwind, feeling very aware of the fact that for the past 9 years, I have been living on an element of tension. I don’t mean to complain about where I have been, but being aware that whilst raising children, maintaining our home, going to school and starting my business, has all meant that I have been multitasking to the extreme. When I arrived at the airport, I only had to worry about myself getting through those gates, not keeping the kids together, making sure they didn’t kill each other while they wait, as best they can, in a long line to then be asked to take all of your belongings off of you, to only put them back on momentarily. If you left a penny in your pocket, you were screwed. As adults, we are more conditioned to put up with this, as glowing lovely light children, it’s absurd.

When things are meant to be, it becomes effortless, and this is how my trip came about. My sister, who just moved to Flagstaff, lives 20 minutes away from where the conference was being held. Synchronicity- and so I had to go. Being able to connect with my sister was amazing, just the two of us. Balancing that with one of my most favorite things- herbs- and I am one happy lady.

One of the talks that stuck out the most was by Kathleen Maier, sacredplanttraditions.com, The Heart as an organ of perception. During this talk, she spoke about tension and stress, and how when we once used our fight or flight response in real cases of fear (think saber tooth attack) when now we are living off of this state, becoming addicted to this cortizol release, it is the new drug. So we are jumping out of planes, extreme everything, down to being constantly connected through technology, multitasking to the max, we are slowly burning out. This stuck out, as I knew being away from my everyday life, gave me an awareness of how I was carrying this tension. By becoming grounded again, and being able to meditate, brought me back into my body, not my mind. As Kathleen spoke, she spoke truth, our minds are not an organ of perception, we cannot sense with our brain. And when we live in our head, our senses are atrophy.

What a relief, to give my mind a rest, and to settle back into my body. Scullcap, Blue Vervain and Lemon balm, have been very helpful in this, all nervines and relaxants. When I allowed my mind to rest, I was able to hear the gentle cues from my body and soul again. What feels right and what does not became much more obvious, helping to drown out the indecisiveness of the mind- the worry of figuring things out, and what if I made the wrong decision. We are supported, and knowing this, allows the tension to ease off, and the trust to ease in. We are our own healers, if we choose to listen.

After three days of learning, listening and absorbing, we took a lovely ride down 1000 ft to Sedona. Talk about powerful! Winding down and around becoming one with the red rocks around us, and ending with a swim and a water slide down the rock- what a confirmation of the beauty that is all around us. Our minds did not create this, nor can it fathom the sheer magnitude, it is beyond words. As we stood in between the rocks, watching the sun set, my heart expanded, opening to the possibilities that arise when we live within in our hearts and get out of our head.