Changing our Minds

“I regard all neurology, everything, as a sort of adventure.”-Oliver Sacks


Anxiety underlies a million un-well moments.

Feeling trapped within ourselves. Can’t sleep, can’t let go. Tension unmanaged. Easier to shut it down than explore it. Easier to build a wall than dig in. And we don’t have a shovel, anyway.

Or do we?

Can we change our minds, our selves, or are we who we are and that’s it forever?

There is great comfort and great danger in saying “this is who I am.” Self-Acceptance is a joy. And yet so is the empowered breaking down of self, the loving self-examination,  the active dissolution of our story for the purpose of seeing  another possibility.

And so it is with understanding our anxiety–how can we accept it while seeking to release it? How can we break free of it, while also seeing that we ARE and ARE NOT the feelings we have? And what IS it, anyway?

To start with, we can view our mind through the lens of neuro-plasticity. How can we use the inherent adaptability of our brain to create change for ourselves? How can we identify the connections we have made that are not working for us, the narratives that are harming us, and build new ones?

When a cart drives over the same road many, many times it makes ruts. We can change the road, we can change the cart, we can get out and walk.

How can we build the belief that we can cope with life’s stresses and act on that belief, over and over, until it becomes true? Build new paths?

And can we see this as an opportunity, rather than just one more crappy thing we have to check off our to-do list?

Years ago, I was cleaning out a shack in the woods and came across someone’s scribbled notes from a Permaculture conference. One phrase stood out to me:

“Bare soil is in agony.”

Meaning, to me,  that when we are managing land, leaving soil uncultivated is our way of inadvertently asking “weeds” to take care of the problem. We can prevent this by cover-cropping after the harvest. It gives back nutrients to the soil and prevents the “weeds” from colonizing, maybe also providing forage for pollinators too.

We are the soil, and we are the farmer. Anxiety is the weedy plants that appear in the absence of a cover crop. **Dear weed-lovers, I apologize for dissing weedy plants, allow me this metaphor please.**


I don’t believe that we will ever eliminate all anxiety, nor should we. One weed doesn’t spoil the farm. An occasional burst of worry is warranted, especially if we did indeed leave the oven on, forget to pick up cat food or fail to save the planet. Anxiety is a perfectly normal response to being an animal in this world. But, like weeds, it can quickly take over, push other things out of the way-like joy and rest- and steal all of our Nitrogen.

OK, so how do we shift this?

It is a lifelong process of unraveling and re-raveling, examining our narratives and finding our place within an admittedly f-ed up culture, and working our asses off. It’s about believing in possibility. And it’s about asking a lot of questions.

I’d like to share a few strategies that have worked for me, to get you started. I take a harm reduction approach: Every action that reduces the harm is worthwhile. Strategies are our cover crops and we cobble together those that work for us into a system of successful coping that turns into who we are.

-Use neuroplasticity. It is exciting to realize that the brain is not static, but dynamic. Your body is dynamic. Your systems are dynamic. Your stress response is dynamic. There is a lot of potential in this idea!

“Capacities of resilience are innate in the brain, and develop in interactions with other resilient brains.”-Linda Graham

Essentially, coping with stress is something we can get better at! The stress response is like a muscle we can exercise. Our brain can forge new connections. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections throughout life. So talk to your brain. Tell it “I made this association, and I can destroy it!” Tell it “Hey, we are forming new connections! Isn’t this great?” And then do it.

-Use the pharmacy within. Remember the experiment with the rats who could press for cocaine? Your body is the rat’s cage. Press the lever and your brain will release your own innate drugs. For free! (kinda.)  The point is, Chemistry is real and can be used to our advantage. To learn abut your levers, check out the book Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Loretta Graziano Breuning for a basic introduction, Spark by John Ratey, and/or look up neurotransmitters.


-Use mindfulness. Ah, yes. The easiest and yet the hardest. Self-awareness. Asking questions of ourselves. Who am I? Is this me? Does it matter? Does anything? Mindfulness is bringing awareness to our lives, it is meditation, moving meditation, body scans, mantras(see below).

-Breathe. It is a  bit of a cliche, but breath truly is a powerful tool for centering, for re-embodiment and for getting into the moment.  Breathe deeply, breathe consciously, breathe ecstatically. I know there is a lot of New Age writing that says “you are breathing wrong” and it’s accusatory and obnoxious. Just ignore that. You are choosing to find your best breathing because you want to, not because you”should”. You forget, and you return to it, over and over. Breath is something that is always there for us to discover.

-Use mantras. So mantras can be cheesy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make ones that work for us and use them as we see fit. It’s just self-coaching, and it’s useful. I have a few of my own, but I  also suggest generating one or a few that are specific to you and your needs. Remember it, or write it down and carry it around with you.

For me, mantras are not magical thinking. They are not the self-delusion that we create our own universe, or that we are affecting the world with our thoughts, attracting money or lovers or vibes. They are self-coaching for the purpose of shifting our perspective and getting unstuck from feedback loops.

My current favorites are:

  1. “What if there is no problem?”-from a meditation by Loch Kelly
  2. “You are letting go beautifully.” -from a class with Jill Miller
  3. “I have everything I need right now.”
  4. “Just be curious.”-from a talk by Pema Chodron
  5. “I’m plasticizing!”

-Avoid triggers. I hesitate to mention this, as I believe that ideally a resilient self can take on triggers and keep going. But while we are working on anxiety reduction, it makes sense to identify what increases our anxiety. And in the case of traumatic roots of anxiety, we need to make our own decisions about how much avoidance we need.  It’s not about hiding from our problems but from actively choosing to reject the aspect of our culture that seriously suck and contribute to  unwell states.

SOMETIMES IT’S ACTUALLY  NOT YOU THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

For me, I noticed that a lot of media was a trigger. If I watched Law and Order I was more likely to feel like a potential victim. We don’t always realize how we are internalizing messages. I try to avoid television, over-caffeination, big box stores. You might have different examples. I have been able to challenge some anxiety triggers though, and I do suggest that over a  longer term if resilience is a goal.

-Use movement as an outlet. I don’t believe that the  opposite of anxious is calm. I think calm can be over-rated in our culture. Suppression. Sit still. Don’t disturb anyone. Especially for ladies, “keep calm” seems to be this holy grail that we medicate ourselves into. We get stuck in stillness. Well, F that. What if we are too calm, too still? What if humans need to bash things, run up hills, pick up something heavy on occasion? We do. I think our bodies need a challenge and I strongly suggest we provide one. Seriously.

-And then there is the other movement. Wandering around. Time in nature! Walking meditation. Foraging. Dance. Swimming. Gardening, even. whatever helps you get into the healing “flow state”.

-Body stuff. The body and mind are connected, and can’t be looked at as 2 separate things when dealing with anxiety.  Try active release of tension via fascial release, bodywork, movement practice. (such as yoga)Try to find where you store tension and let go of it in whatever way works for you. Rolling it out, maybe. It’s about noticing. Notice what creates tension for you. Notice where it goes. Notice how you feel about it.  How about alignment? Are you in a prey posture? Are you grounded? Do you feel sturdy, connected to the ground? Expansive? Strong or weak? The body is in conversation with the mind.

-Use systems thinking. Have you ever gone to take a photo of someone or something, and realized you were cutting off the head/roof/Grandma/sunset/etc? And you took a step back, or used a wider lens, to fit more of the picture in? That.

It is gaining a wider perspective on something, consciously, in order to fit more into the frame of yourself and see things better.

-Ask questions, or Kondo yourself. Marie Kondo is an infamous organizer who wrote a book about getting rid of basically all of your stuff. Which I found a bit iffy. But her strategy of thanking an object for serving you, telling it “You don’t really serve my needs now” and letting go of it is a great metaphor here.

We can ask ourselves:  Is this narrative working for me? Is it true? Is it my baggage? How is it helping me or harming me? Can I let go of it? Can I let go of it and float, freely, off into a wonderful place? Can I keep it light enough to travel?

And we can ask what defines us, what limits us. We can ask ourselves

“What would it look like to emerge from this anxiety?”

-Build resilience into the system. Humans are adaptable, resilient, amazing beings. If our self-conception is one of resilience, we may behave differently than if we live in a frame of brittleness, brokenness, victimhood or distraction.

Resilience, in this context,  is building up our emotional immune system. A flexible, adaptable ecosystem is more able to handle the inevitable challenges and fix itself.

We can tell ourselves that an unresolved problem is just a problem waiting to be resolved. Or we can tell ourselves that we ARE our unresolved problems. See the difference? Operate from a place of flexible inner strength, and no person or event can take that away.

-Use herbs. I saved this for last on purpose. Herbal allies have a place in supporting our struggles. But the work is soooo much broader than just “taking something”. I will share my favorite herbs to help with anxiety–Milky Oats, Blue Vervain, Skullcap, Rose and Bitters. And of course we have a lot more, plus nutrition and micro-biome, to support this shift. The right herbs depend on the person, the place, the goals.  They get us through. But it’s my opinion that herbs are of limited usefulness here without a broader strategy.

I’d like to leave you with an exchange from my favorite detective, Hercule Poirot and his crime-writer friend Ariadne Oliver.

“What do you think?”

“I think, Madame, that I take the little walk.”

It’s a journey, this undoing, this rebuilding, this long letting go. It’s a lot of  little walks. We change our minds by changing our minds, every day. It is learning to balance ourselves, to hold multiple truths inside of ourselves, to forgive and to hold accountable. But believing in the possibility of a better self is the first step to achieving it. As Pema Chodron says, “The power is in the seeing”, and we start by seeing our anxiety for what it is, and seeking to dissolve it, over and over, every time it comes up on us, every time it pops up out of the dark spaces, every time it threatens to hold us hostage to ourselves. It gets raw inside the struggle. It happens to us and yet it IS us, and that is a powerful visual that leads us to seeing a path out of it, maybe the only path out of anything, which is right through it. Keep digging!

*And remember, if you are in a place where help is needed, there is never any shame in asking for it, seeking it out.

Someone, Give me a Sign! Part 1

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The other day I ran into a bear. Literally, I was running along  and flushed a little bear out of the nearby underbrush and up a tree. It was very exhilarating, and I deeply appreciate the experience. However, someone later told me it must be a sign, it must be “good bear medicine”. Is it?

I did a little research and found a huge industry based on animal spirits and signs. {note: all are actual quotes from the internet.} Apparently any animal “calling” to us is a sign. “Every animal has significance.” “We all have animal guides.”

Apparently “we are drawn to an animal because they are drawn to us.” “There are no coincidences.” “Many times animals enter your life to help you overcome difficult transitions.”

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“Dogs stand near the road to get my attention.” “If you’ve had more than one [animal] bite, consider this a Spirit sign.” “When birds fly into my glass door there’s something I need to look at.”

“Every single feather that you find is a sign.”

OK. I want to believe in signs. Theoretically, I want to believe animals are dropping dead in order to give me what I need. I want to believe that everything that attracts me is due to vibrations that all conspire to support me.

But HOLY HELL is that a human-centric, egocentric and delusional model.

Seeing a bird in your yard might mean that you have bought a bird feeder and filled it with bird food. It might mean that you have grown a lot of plants that attract birds, such as Asters, or live near a lot of habitat that birds like, such as water, birdhouses, or little safe areas that they can hang out in. Seeing a dead bird might mean that you have a cat or live near one, or that the bird had a disease. Are the flies on the dead bird a sign? The maggots? The vultures? The bacteria that breaks it down?

Seeing a feather might mean that you keep chickens, or a neighbor does.

Seeing a bear in your yard might mean that you have some very juicy garbage and the bear is hungry. Or maybe he’s going to provide his spiritual signage to another person, and your yard is a handy shortcut.

I believe there could be some confirmation bias involved in this process. We choose what to see as signs and what to ignore. A hawk is a spirit guide, a pigeon is a nuisance. A bear is blessing us, a mosquito is ruining our evening.

We can’t take every darn beaver as a sign from the Universe while failing to see every plastic shopping bag stuck in a tree as such.

And yes, I saw a bear on Friday, but then I saw an empty can of Chef Boyardee ravioli and a pair of rumpled underpants while hiking on Sunday.

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But honestly, I believe it IS a sign. All of it. It is a sign of engagement. A sign of curiousity. A sign that I went outside!

It is a sign that the world is terrible and beautiful, dangerous and nutritive, raw and confusing and complex, and that we are in it, we are of it, not just observers.

Sandor Katz says “Sustainability is participation” and perhaps it applies to signs, too.

Intuition is participation. Signs are participation.

Relating to animals, plants, minerals, this could be a sign that you are participating in the world around you. Interpreting the world around you. Devoting your time and attention to observation. And this could potentially be a beautiful process, a way to feel supported.

And humans have been using animals in our stories since memory began, observing them, using animals to inspire our movements, our identity, our sexuality, our ideas about power and art and spirituality, and that is a sign of our amazing imagination.

Or it could be a sign that you are shockingly egocentric, extremely careless, unable to apply critical thinking or so caught up in wishing for a sign that you can’t see that we are animals too, that our power animal just might be the bacteria that really wears the pants in this relationship and that we can’t just pendulum our way to liberation….

Ultimately, of course, we can choose to interpret everything we see through any lens we choose, consciously or not. If choosing a power animal gives one good feelings, what is the harm? I honestly don’t know, and I feel like I have more questions than answers. But for now, I am going to laugh to myself about my vision of the bear I saw telling all of her friends about how I was a sign, a sign that humans are running around in yoga pants and OMG you shoulda seen her face when I ran up the tree.

You’re welcome, MS. Bear.

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If this schlock is clean, I’d rather be dirty.

Perhaps you have seen the word clean thrown around a lot lately. It is having its moment, again. Heck, clean living hasn’t enjoyed this much popularity since the graham cracker saved us all from masturbatory hell!

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There are a lot of books on Amazon such as Clean Food, Clean eating, Eat Clean, Live Well, Oh She Glows (eyeroll), Clean Food-Amazing Body, Pure Food, Food Rules and Clean Start. There are products too: a Clean Energy patch, Clean Energy Pills, an Amazing Miracle Cleanse And Runa Clean Energy drink.

Fun Amazon fact:  people who bought these items also bought a family-size box of disposable latex gloves. Infer what you’d like from that information.

So this brings up two of my very favorite issues. What is energy and what is clean. The energy piece makes me wonder why we have this cultural expectation that we are all supposed to live in this energized cheerful positive hell, never stopping or napping. It is a depleted state which is based on delusion. Real energy comes from rest, nourishment and a movement practice.

There is nothing inherently better or “cleaner” about using a caffeine patch or Guayasa tea for energy compared to a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

“Clean, focused, balanced energy”…sounds like buzzword bullshit to me.

Now, the deeper issue is what is clean. The whole concept is based on our viewing ourselves as dirty, as broken. Because CLEAN implies that what is not clean is therefore  DIRTY. Religious concepts of original sin, body pollution and pleasure-phobia have seeped deeply into our culture to the point where we often don’t even see them. We tremble in fear of being dirty in any way, from body odors to buttholes and go to extremes to avoid what we see as germs.

The result is a judgmental, holier-than-thou approach to diet and a bonus to the book industry.

The result is a heck of a lot of “othering”.

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So now all these things have been labeled as dirty: meat, grains, coffee, spices, sugar, salt, processed foods, alcohol, GMOs, all non-organic foods, cooked foods, alliums.

These foods make you less spiritual, less sexy, less glowing, angry, lusty, fat, stupid, un-evolved.

I think it is time to talk back to the overuse of “clean”, people.

I think it is time to admit that we are all dirty, and we like it.

We are setting up a binary that doesn’t exist. There does not have to be labels of clean and dirty on people, on foods or on your colon. We don’t have to put others down in order to raise ourselves up.

I do support all people in making healthy changes. I support your spiritual practices, your weird-ass teas and label-examinations. I support choosing sobriety, if needed.

BUT.

Let’s not let the marketing people manipulate us into judging each other as dirty. Let’s not loathe our own body parts and processes. Let’s not forget to delight in a sweet, sticky, meaty, lusty, sweaty life.  Let’s not hate ourselves for choosing a shot and a beer over a nasty-ass raw green juice on a hot summer night.

If we are the people being marketed to, if we are the people being represented by these products and concepts then it is up to us to say HEY, WORDS MATTER!! It is easy to dismiss words, to decline the debate. “Oh, words don’t matter.”

But they do.

There is no magical level of cleanliness that will save us from ourselves, no pure space that lives above marketing and critical thinking and debate, and perhaps that is for the best.

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Get Boundless Energy with Herbs!

IMG_1915There seems to be a dearth of energy in the world today. At least you would think so if you spend 5 minutes on the internet or browsing “health” magazines at the bookstore. There appears to be an unlimited amount of products that claim to give us energy. How can we make sense of this? Is it really possible to create more energy by taking a pill or drink?
Let’s see what we can find…
“Insanely healthy energy!”
“Fat just falls off!” (WTF)
“7 Top herbs for an energy boost!”
“Nettles can give you as much energy as a cup of coffee!”
“Heavier foods use up more of our ‘digestive fire’, leaving us a little lethargic!”
“The culprit may well be a virus lurking, unidentified inside our body!” (They then suggest oil of oregano to destroy it.)
“Parasites are a hidden cause of fatigue!” (According to a ‘master herbalist’)
There are some creative products out there like:
Diet aid and energizer capsules
Peptime stimulant 357 magnum caplets (Hey, kids, what time is it? Pep time!)
Extreme power plus dreamlike weightless diet pill energy lose weight product (thanks, ebay)
Herbal energy plus (plus what?)
Fat burner 4x plus energy (“effortlessly melt away belly fat!”)
Thermogenix fat burner
Isogenix President’s Pak
And then we have chile peppers, grapefruit, nuts, green tea, adaptogens, juicing, bee pollen…
Ugh. First of all, any product can claim that it increases energy. This is one of the most vague, unmeasurable claims in the known universe. (Note that my claim is also unproveable.) But seriously, any person can say it. It’s like a creepy code. How can it be disproven? This vagueness is so perfect for marketers who prey upon our schlubby misery.

Just use testimonials:
“Oh, I never knew I could have so much energy!”
“Oh, my energy levels are through the roof now that I finally found the right combo of grapefruit and Chiles and Garcinia!”
This energy could come from the fact that you just blew 50 bucks on that bottle of pills and your confirmation bias insists that you feel great because you don’t want to feel like an idiot who just wasted 50 bucks.
Or from the way that humans respond to novelty. Every time you start something new it feels energizing because new things excite our ancient brains.
So, what is energy anyway? Where does it come from? What is wrong with just having a regular ol’ amount of energy? Why do we feel like we must constantly be bursting out of our blouses with this mysterious energy stuff?
And what are they REALLY saying?
In my opinion, gaining solid healthy energy is more about taking away what is not working than adding products to produce more. Stop wasting the energy you do have with worry and bullshit. Sleep like your life depends on it. Nourish the hell out of yourself, deeply, and if you are out and hungry but can’t find kale and marrow bones, just eat what’s there and move on–because worrying that you ate a donut takes energy!
It takes a lot of energy to repair our body, consider how your body mechanics, posture and fitness level are giving you energy or taking it away.
Oh, and it takes energy to hold onto years of trauma and anger, it takes energy to repress unresolved emotions. So let something go.
Avoid any expensive product that is “as good as coffee” when coffee is cheap, tasty and widely available.
And avoid EXTREME energy plus 5,000 type products like the plague. Why?
-Insomnia. Not much produces a cycle of true exhaustion like relying on energy products.
-Pyramid schemes. Some of these products want you to go on and on about how great you feel, then sell it to your friends.
-Fat-Shaming. Losing 2 pounds will not magically make you happy. Looking at these shaming ads will just make you feel like you’re not good enough. And they often suggest extremely restrictive diets combined with caffeine pills. Great idea. Not.
-Side effects. What else is in there? Do you really need one million milligrams of every mineral every single day?
No. But clearly absurd claims of endless extreme energy sell products and move magazines.
Can we explore our feelings about energy a little more deeply before we attempt to fix it by shopping? Can we take note of our desire for a quick and easy solution to a part of life that is just a reflection of deeper issues? Can we accept that levels of energy do ebb and flow, naturally, not just through the day or week but through the seasons and the years? Can we see that we cannot Ginseng our way out of a hole that needs our attention, that anything that sounds too good to be true is probably NOT true, that the vague hyped-up claims are ethically questionable and actively obnoxious? Can we grasp that different people have different speeds to operate on and most, unless causing serious life problems, are not “bad” or “good”? Can we insert some critical thinking into our lives, and ask questions and look a little further beyond the label or advertisement? Can we create a conversation around this issue, and shed a little light on a system that attempts to push us too far, into a system that makes us feel like we aren’t good enough as we are?
I like to keep my energy slow and steady with a movement practice, active release of body and emotions, engaging in a creative pursuit, spending time outdoors, eating mostly nourishing foods, using occasional vitamins if needed, using caffeine sparingly (i.e. not all day every day), limiting soul-sucking energy stealing interactions when possible and adjusting my expectations according to season, wellness level and need. And ultimately I draw my energy from a sense of inner resilience. From not being knocked down by every little thing. From building strength in body and mind, slow strength, quiet strength. It is not flashy and it is not glamourous. It is real.
A little dose of reality can go a long way in speaking back to this marketing-created delusion.

"Someone bring me a Cappucino, stat!"
“Someone bring me a Cappucino, stat!”

Body Resolution 2015

Well, a year ago I resolved to chuck my pajamas and spend more time with nothing on.

I have to report it has made an astounding difference in how I see myself. We don’t know how much comfort we’ve taken in hiding until we stop.

I have been on a life-long body journey, with the goal being total acceptance of all that I am–which is imperfect yet compelling.

"Screw it. I'm fine"
“Screw it. I’m fine”

Funny story: in my quest for information-gathering I bought my first-ever scale and decided to weigh myself regularly. It worked for  a few months, if giving me a number can be said to “work”…then it started to give me 280. Hmm. It then switched to weighing me in at 10. As in 10 pounds.
So I tossed that out and I now get out of bed each morning, check myself out in the mirror and say “Lookin gooood”
Whatever, it works for me.
I have NO “ideal weight” in mind. I just don’t care. I have an ideal number of logs I can chop in one day. I have an ideal amount of time I can run, weight I can lift. I have a movement practice.
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So, as the year turns, I am deepening my nudie resolve. I am continuing to re-inhabit my body, the only one I have and the only one I want. I don’t regret any past version of my body, whether it was “better” or “worse”. I have faith in my body. I consider my body image in the context of culture, family, DNA, history. My body is part of the history of the world–and the future of the world too.

stupid euphemisms!
stupid euphemisms!

Yes yes yes I will work on my weaknesses. Yes I will run up a hill or lift a heavy weight…because I LOVE it, not as punishment. Yes I will squat but I do it because I want to be mobile for 100 years, not because I feel “bad” about my rear end.
And while I’m at it…I love you and your flaws too. Cause when we judge others’ bodies we are really expressing how we feel about our own.
Sometimes the real weight we need to lose is the weight of never being good enough.
Of never being worthy.
The weight of our own repression, shame, fear and layers upon layers of dread.
So this year, I resolve to give less of a shit what anyone else thinks of my body, slowly but surely, becoming more and more of myself with every wrinkle and grey hair that comes along.
It's the journey
It’s the journey

My favorite herbalist books…aren’t herbalist books!

One of my absolutely #1 most frequently received questions is “What are the best herb books?” And for awhile I have tried to have a mental list of my top few to share, cause, you know, I do love books. BUT. I have noticed, as time goes on, that more important to my learning has been resources other than herb books. Varied resources make well-rounded people. It is all too easy to get into a place where we are just reinforcing our previously held beliefs rather than challenging them! S
eeking out critical thinking resources, movement and alignment resources, food books, magazines, blogs and classes and online or IRL conversations are examples.
By no means do I want to toss out every herb book, as I do believe in references. What I am saying is, they are a beginning, not an end. They are old news–and old can be beautiful…or inflexible.
My very favorite “herb book” is a giant binder stuffed full of my favorite printouts from websites, blogs, class notes and online articles. This includes writing from some of my favorite herbalists like Jim McDonald, Kiva Rose, Renee Davis, 7Song, Paul Bergner, Rebecca Altman, Sean Donahue and David Winston-and more-curated by myself and organized in absolutely no reasonable order at all.
I also print out my favorite Plant Healer articles and keep those in a binder.
I printed out the VCIH journal and suggest it.
I print out AHG Journal articles.
I print out my own classes, blog posts and pieces of writing to refer to at times.
I rip articles out of magazines and stash those in a binder too, so I don’t end up with stacks upon stacks of magazines. (hoarder alert!)
I keep books and resources about critical thinking handy, as I believe that knowing how to research critically is more important than having every plant and illness memorized. I look at printed words as a “maybe” rather than as “if it was printed, it must be true”.
I also suggest books about movement and mobility, as I do not believe in fixing problems with herbs that could be fixed without. I am a rabid promoter of movement-as-medicine and I find anatomy and physiology to be a fun afternoon read.
Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers is one I refer to often. I also appreciate alternative anatomist Gil Hedley. (look him up!)
My very favorite resource for movement information is Katy Bowman and I strongly recommend her website http://www.Katysays.com and her books-I refer to Alignment Matters often. She has recently started a podcast too, which is fun for you busy types.
I am a big fan of http://www.Mobilitywod.com and the book Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett. I have a big stack of fitness and movement books, magazines and blogs that I refer to often such as Tabata Times, Breaking Muscle, the CrossFit Journal and I like the New York Times wellblog.
I am a fan of MovNat and the primal movement movement–from the book Original Strength to EvolveMovePlay.com to Mud and Obstacle magazine and Trail Runner I looooove the many resources out there for human movement outside of freakin Planet Fitness!
I’ve recently enjoyed the Liberated Body blog and podcast too.
I also like food resources, and I have a stack of delightful cookbooks and food books. There are some up-to-the-moment magazines such as Paleo that I seek out regularly and I love the book Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger.
Food is a big part of our overall health and there is an amazing amount of bullshit involved in the marketing, availability and discussion around food. So again, I say “critical thinking!!!!”
I also like to read about Science, Psychology, Biology.
I admire the author and psychiatrist Gabor Mate and I suggest his books In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and When the Body Says No. I take an interest in trauma and how it effects us, as well as religion and spirituality.
I enjoy learning about the history of health and health care, attitudes towards health and wellness in other places, cultures and times and the history of our use of plants and plant medicines.
And finally, I find books about life and philosophy to be important. I believe herbalists are called upon to be leaders– in whatever style works of course, and I believe self-reflection and dealing with our own crap helps us to be better listeners and helpers. In NO way does this mean herbalists are not just as wack as other people–but that ideally we are working on it in order to lead, teach and serve. So I read and think about leadership, teaching skills and philosophy.
Since you made it through, I will indeed share my very favorite herb books:
The Earthwise Herbal 1 & 2 by Matthew Wood
21st Century Herbalists by Jesse Wolf Hardin
Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman
Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore
Invasive Plant medicine by Timothy Scott
Herbal Therapeutic by David Winston
Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook by James Green

Blue vervain
Blue vervain