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Skipping the old, discovering the new

One of the things that a commitment to the mindfulness project brings is a degree of mindfulness when one would rather be mindless (AKA :”vegging out”).  Huh?  Today Susan and I were, for the first time in weeks, unobligated to a planned  activity.  Really, since the launch of this project it seems we have been constantly engaged socially – or preparing to host friends or family.  All of it was wonderful, but it does leave us a bit behind in the project and other areas of routine living.

In the era “BTSMP” (Before The Start of the Mindfulness Project) we would have likely chosen to select some  passive process like sitting through a movie, and having someone else prepare and serve a meal, as a mode of “relaxing”.  This was now off the table of choice.

So instead we chose to focus on starting to learn a new skill – and with it tweak our usual relationship to weeds.  Huh, again?  Part of being mindful includes the relationship to place.  In this case, to the property we live on.  The homstead sits on nearly 6 acres.  When we first discovered this place, weeds of all descriptions largely held sway.

Among many fledgling desires I hold are: 1) Live in harmony with the natural world and 2) develop a first hand and practical knowledge of herbal medicine.  So instead of  heading to town for a meal and a movie we harvested dandelions.  Yup.  After recent rains we had a spontaneous new crop.  We then set about preparing a dandelion tincture.  This was remarkably simple to do.  We dug up the entire plant, washed it thoroughly, chopped it finely, put it in a jar and poured Vodka over it.  The vodka provides the alcohol vehicle for the tincture.

Katrina Blair, something of a local folk hero for the large contingent of “do it with nature” folks in our area has written an awsome book http://www.chelseagreen.com/the-wild-wisdom-of-weeds.  As it turns out, this ubiquitous plant has a noble pedigree in wild crafted eating and in medicinal herbs.  It’s medicinal value includes gentle detoxification, enhancing digestion, and easing hangovers.

We ended up following the process in chapter one of “the Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook” http://bookstore.bastyr.edu/products/328-herbal-medicine-makers-handbook.aspx to get started in this new awareness and developing this new skill.

I think the curious satisfaction of this simple task, and the prospect of opening a new awareness and facility with knowledge and skills that enrich our appreciation and connection to nature, we recognize as another real benefit of just slowing life down and being open to discovery of the new.

Share how you care – your way of appreciating the natural world.