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become humus. humble yourself.
posted on Tuesday, November 30th 2010 12:30 pm

(this is part 3 of a 10-part series, a life’s journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward’s article on the subject. you can find part 1 and part 2 here.)

gail’s third step in her ten-fold path is to become humus and humble yourself. she says:

…Kneel on the earth, place yourself at the foot of the herbs, ask them for help. Tell them what you need. Do this day after day, month after month, year after year. Leave all your problems in the soil, they will be transformed, like everything else, by unseen soil microorganisms…

i can’t tell you how many times i have gone and just sat on the ground in my garden to think and be. or taken a walk back into the sassafras patch where the roses grow to just be. around here, it is extremely hard to get away from everyone and alone time is prime. sneaking off to the garden or woods is the easiest way to get this freedom. and while my main intent is for a bit of quietness in my head, the plants and earth always give me something more than i originally went searching for. hugging a tree or feeling my weight sink into the strength of the ground as the long blades of grass tickle my nose and scratch my back gives me such a feeling of peacefulness.

a slow walk through the herb garden is a respite as well. stopping to rub the leaves and breathe in the heady scent of sage or thyme or the valerian when she is in bloom. touching the herbs, tasting the herbs, smelling the herbs and seeing the herbs brings my senses alive and resets my mind when it desperately needs to chill out. through my senses they speak to me and tell me to leave my troubles with them. as i connect with them, i feel their energy come into my body through my hands, mouth and eyes. i feel lighter with each breath and more at peace with every taste. even the sting of a nettle is a welcome relief and as i go throughout my day, the gentle tingle that remains reminds me to leave my troubles in the garden.
being down at ground level is such an amazing perspective as well. while my troubles are dissolving, i discover beautiful mosses that are blooming, droplets of water on leaves and the infinite world of insects, animals and plants. beauty surrounds us but we’re too busy walking around up there to notice what’s going on down here.
for awhile this summer i was doing an experiment with laying down naked in our weed patch (we didn’t grow a garden and instead had a field of weeds that were waist high) as therapy for depression. a combination of the sun on my skin combined with the coolness from the earth was more therapeutic than any prescribed medication could ever be for me. feelings my worries and sorrows and frustrations leave me, if even just for the moment, was such a relief.
as the weather got colder, and i got busier, i neglected to do these daily time outs from my life and my frustrations and worries returned. now it’s cold and barren here and i’m not much for outdoors when temps drop below 50 but i plan to incorporate a daily walk into my routine to spend some time outside, even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes. the earth is still there and the herbs are still there, waiting for me to bring my troubles to them, even in the stillness of the winter season.


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