Wildcrafting - Why do wild spaces matter?
I believe that humans need wildness to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually. It feeds our wild spirits our wild thoughts. It reminds us of the ebb and flow of life. That like mother nature, we all have a time of brightness and growth and a time of building, resting, and darkness. Mother Nature is playful and invites us to be playful with her. If you are wondering how to find that playfulness again, hang out with some kiddos and watch how they engage with nature, digging, turning over rocks looking for bugs, picking dandelions and proclaiming they look like sunshines, or when they go to seed, then they are fields of wish sticks! The delight in their eyes when they find a field of wish sticks is amazing to see! Join them, blow some dandelion seeds and watch how they lift and soar through the sky and ride the breeze.
My children and plants are my favourite teachers of how to live a good life. They have so many lessons to teach us. Often more than we have to teach them.
The transformation that can happen when you see your surroundings not just as something to look at and admire, but as a place of healing, as a keeper of medicines, and a source of enjoyment and playfulness is profound.
Why do I wildcraft?
I believe that when we wildcraft with intention and with reverence to the plants and the planet, a mind-shift can happen and it leads you to a more fulfilling life one that is connected to the earth. It's intentional living, regional living, and sustainable living. When we wildcraft, we can become the protectors and advocates for mother nature and the environment in which we live. Because when we do, a forest or a meadow, becomes not just for gazing at or for the occasional stroll or bike ride, but they become contributors to community wellness and I think that is profound and worth doing. For me, it is one of my favourite things to do with my children. It ties us to our region and to the seasons watching plants growing and learning when to pick them and for what is valuable knowledge. It reminds us that plants are growing and changing all the time in response to the sun, winds, their soil conditions. When we check on the plants throughout the seasons, these plants become our dear friends that we get to observe how they grow but also interact with them.
One of my favourite herbalists who has taught me much about the wisdom of nature and engaging in plant magic once said,
"When you consume the nourishing plants where you live, the plants in turn nourish you where you live." Robin Rose Bennett
Let that sink in for a moment. It's a doozy. Can you picture the mind-shift that could happen in your body when you see the plants around you as there to nourish you and that they delight in doing so? Plants love us and want us to thrive and survive! In fact you could say our survival is dependent on plants. Without them, we can't live on this planet. Their in breath is our out breath.
MINDFULNESS EXERCISE - BREATHING WITH THE TREES
Next time you are walking in the woods or maybe even in your backyard where you have a large enough tree you can lean against try this activity.
Find a tree and sit comfortably at the base of the tree with your back to the trunk. Cross your legs or leave them out in front of you, relaxed. Make yourself comfortable. Feel the ground beneath you and acknowledge that you are sharing the ground and space with the tree. Once you are ready, close your eyes. We are going to imagine we are breathing as one with the tree. Each time you breathe out, imagine the tree breathing in your air in through it's leaves. When you are breathing in, imagine your in breath as when the tree is giving a big sigh breath out. Count your breaths as 4 or 5 seconds breathing in and hold for 5, then breath out for 5 and hold for 5, then breath in for 5 and continue on like this for 5 minutes or longer.
Tip: This is especially wonderful to do with a flowering tree in the spring. The aroma is a delight to the senses and the heart.
I have found the experience so grounding and a magical way to connect with the plants all around me on a deeper level.
Let me know if you try it out!