“To create angular momentum, you can either spin a really big flywheel with a lot of mass slowly, or a smaller one very fast.”-Michael Vatalaro
I recently received an inquiry from a client about their laundry list of inputs, with the intention of adding more. It is a frequently asked question, actually. And my response to this is not “hey, take this!” It is actually “hey, let’s get rid of all that baggage!”
I am an herbal editor.
I think what we remove is as important as what we add.
I don’t think we are suffering, collectively, from a lack of supplements.
In this particular inquiry, the person was using/had recently used both pharmaceuticals and many popular “natural remedies” including Oil of Oregano, Grapefruit Seed extract and Colloidal Silver. These products have the power of promotion behind them, with hellish fear-based testimonials like “She was dying until she used the micro-particle colloidal silver!” and “We felt that God had led us to this information!” They are sold as forbidden cures that the government is attempting to pry from our extremely healthy hands in order to enforce BIG PHARMA HELL.
Anyway. I digress.
My suggestion is to get rid of all this crap. Forget about padding your “word count.” Like an editor, remove all the chaff and create something workable and elegant that makes sense. Because formulation is an art. Make each ingredient count.
I believe we can free the statue from the stone, if the statue is your ideal herbal protocol and the stone is an entire apothecary.
Believe me, I enjoy excess. I love a Victorian parlor filled with fainting couches, ornate gilded mirrors, murals of cherubs and mermaids, and 1,000 layers of velvet. But who is going to dust all of this crap? How can you run in that heavy dress? Some beautiful things are heavy and can hold us back from exploration. We can love excess, yet see that we don’t want to live inside of it every day.
Simplicity in formulation is like the small boat which can change course very quickly, steer around obstacles and adapt to input. The small boat formula is adaptable. The large boat gets stuck or hits icebergs.
“We have another chance to navigate, perhaps in a slightly different way than we did yesterday.”-Jeffrey R Anderson
The great herbal formulator is an artist and a navigator.
What do these 2 paths have in common? An ability to see patterns. An ability to make connections that others are not making, to respond to your observations. And the understanding of balance, of the aesthetics of a protocol. When we are at sea, we must do more with less. Less but better, that is. Every drop of fresh water counts, every lime and chunk of hardtack. In design, the negative space is as important as the line. Holding back is as important as adding more.
And both are about seeing. Seeing things as they truly are. Seeing things from a different angle. Observing with your eyes, but with your whole self too.
So we can ask ourselves:
-What is the goal of this suggestion or formula or protocol?
-What are my reasons for using a “kitchen sink” formula or protocol?
-Is this plan clear or confusing?
-is it actually realistic and achievable?
-Are we building people up or overwhelming their systems with this input?
-could we do this with less?
-is there anything I can take away?
-are my claims ethical and truthful?
-Am I selling something that replaces rest, movement, nutrition, or tension release?
-am I making the best use of my skills or relying on excess products?
-are there any ideas that I can let go of?
One can sail smart or one can sail strong, and the leakier the boat the faster we need to sail. There may be a place for the quick and dirty protocol, or the last-ditch bailout. But ultimately i think embracing simplicity, specifics, problem-solving and UN-treating may help herbalism as a whole to move forward and create exciting new paths.
It is the space in-between, and allowing for that, which creates the room for bodies to fill in the gaps. And that is what herbalism means to me–the body healing itself, supported by plants. Light enough to travel.
“A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind.”-Webb Chiles
And I believe a formulator is an artist whose medium is the plants.