Diaries of an Herbalism Student: Week 1

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While I’ve always had an infatuation for plant life – whether it be tending to the the tons of vegetables and fruits in my parent’s backyard, blending teas, or using plant-based products as part of my lifestyle, it has truly been such a gift to formally immerse myself in an herbal education.

What Makes a Practice

It sounds so obvious in this sense, but what makes a practice its absolute best is to be fully involved. Often times, practices begin from interests. Interests develop into hobbies. Yet, in this day in age with Pinterest-heavy inspiration, the Internet, and social media at our fingertips – our attention span can only hold so much before we are infatuated with the next new interest.

So how do we make a practice, a true practice?

I believe that a practice begins with the self. For what reasons are we participating in this practice, and how far are we willing to go to pursue it? To truly delve into a practice is to connect to where it fulfills us personally, and to be present and active in the actual physical and mental act of fulfilling it. We need to aware of where we are, what we are doing, and to truly find joy in this.

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My herbalism practice, I’ve come to realize is rooted mostly in growing up in the home of my parents. My family was born and raised in the Philippines – a country that mostly leads a simple life consisting of farming, mom and pop shops, and family traditions. Of course, with this native background – when my parents began their home here in the United States, it was only natural to begin cultivating the land they had acquired. They lived in a quiet suburb, with a large backyard, and growing up in this home with access to the squash, lemongrass, lemons, oranges, peppers, grapefruit, amongst many, was humbling and fulfilling. I enjoyed watching my family bring in large vegetables, glowing with pride from their harvest.

My Herbalism Practice to Be

Now, nearly 24 years later, I begin my herbalism practice in ode to both my family and my ancestral roots, to the world I come from and wish to connect to, and to utilize the gift of this Earth that we so easily take for granted. I am so enthralled more than ever now that I’ve begun a practical application to explore this passion. In this week, I feel like my mental capacity for our plant friends has grown quickly and immensely. I’ve dove head first into the botanical realm that is indeed my counterpart as a human being. In this short period of time, I’ve learned to identify (with the help of my notes) over 25 herbs both in the “wild” and freshly foraged or in-hand.

My new friends and mentors, John and Jane from the Self-Heal School of Herbal Studies and healing, are truly talented and knowledgable beings that provide me the education I seek as well as the love and support to truly evolve my practice into something more – a lifestyle. From herbal classes to herb identification walks, I am surrounded by the flora and fauna, both food and medicine, that will aid my health and well-being. Let’s say that in this stage, I am happy, I am curious, and I could not be more satisfied with where I am in the world as of right now.

Love & hugs!

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