Happy Earth Day everyone.   I really mean it.

Because deep beneath the designation of this holiday, the events, the greenwashing, and even the celebrations, is buried a very quiet, very sacred truth.  This truth not sexy, or shocking or hip,  but it’s ours.  It belongs to everyone of us.

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The secret is that we all deserve to feel connected to this crazy living sphere that sustains us so well.  From it (and all the elements that govern it) we receive what we need to be alive.  And so do billions of other beings.  We’re all breathing together as we go round.  And it’s a pretty profound mind-blowing thing when you think about it.

Honestly you don’t have to do anything special to celebrate earth day.  There are so many points of access–take your dog or your kids or yourself to the park, and then take your shoes off.   Remember how good that feels?

Or maybe do something nice for someone or a fellow struggling being (pick up that earthworm from the sidewalk and return it to the dirt).  Little acts of kindness are contagious and the end result is a feeling of interconnectedness.

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This past week was a rough one for our country.   One evening before bed,  my son expressed anxiety about random acts of violence.   I told him that we cannot predict who will be violent or when this violence will show up.  But we can be kind everyday.   We can be inclusive and reach out to someone we know who is lonely.   We can show love.

These simple actions over time can help someone feel less isolated and an increased sense of belonging.  And the simple truth is that we all belong to the earth, and it to us.  Not just some of us.  All of us.  Everyday.  All the time.  Not just today.

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So I’ve been ruminating on roots…inspired by their undergroundedness.

Roots are the below to what is above.  It’s deep.

In a healthy plant, the root structure reflects the foliage.  As the leaves and stems reach wide, so do the root hairs branch below.  It’s the literal, physical foundation for the beauty we witness and appreciate on the surface of things and a wonderful metaphor for these winter times.  A mirror image in the darkness.  A good, quiet secret.

Now that all the rushing of the holidays is finished, we need to rest and restore.  Most likely our nervous systems were overstimulated with travel,  parties, and tons of social time.  When all that goes away, there is a tendency to wonder “Is that all?  It happened so fast.”  Enter the root as metaphor…

A root moves micronutrients and water up into the aerial plant parts.  It’s also a storehouse that feeds the plant in lean times.

Similar to a dormant plant,  it’s important to get back to what roots us–to go back to listening to our our inner dialogue.     Really take the time to ask yourself “Did I have a good holiday?”  “Did I really enjoy that (literal or symbolic) wild airplane ride?”

The New Year is a great opportunity for coming back to the “underground” energy  that feeds us.  The pulse of what gives us our vision,  strength, and stability.

This late fall and early winter season I’ve had the very good fortune of making some amazing roots into medicine.  Both are adaptogenic in nature– a plant that works on moderating the human stress response, helping to develop stamina for life’s bumps and thrills.   Introducing the dynamic duo:

Rhodiola~Rhodiola rosea,  a northern beauty!!  Literally smells like a (rootish)   rose.  Native to Canada, Scandinavia, Siberia.  Used to nourish the lungs, and often taken to prevent sickness in said cold climates.  “Shown to enhance alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve memory and depressed mental states” (Adaptogens, Winston and Maimes.)  Beneficial for the heart, helpful for regulating blood sugar levels and compromised immune systems.  Life feels a little brighter with this plant on your side.

And then there is…

Ashwagandha~Withania somnifera:  the Hindi name for this plant, asgandh, refers to its horse sweat odor.  This fellow may stink up your kitchen (if you are processing it into medicine) but it will also strengthen your chi like no body’s business.  It is calming plant, yet perfect for perking up a sluggish thyroid gland (suitable for hypo folks, not hyperthyroid.)    Works on anxiety and nervousness.  Good for stress-induced insomnia.  I love this plant for how strong it makes me feel…just a small dose once or twice a day makes a noticeable difference when I’ve got projects and no one to complete them but me.

Both handsome roots do so much more than I’ve just given them credit for.  They are the tonics of the winter, the quiet yin heart dirt energy.  Root medicine.   I love that we can both be rooted, and take roots into our bodies.

It’s time to get deep…