Flower Power Tea Blend for the Summer Solstice

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It’s Almost Midsummer–The Solstice!

I have finished Herbal Basics! It is online and ready for you! If you have pre-registered, please enjoy the class. If you were waiting for the class to be completed, now is the time! In fact, in honor of the Solstice, I am offering a 25% off special to Herbal Basics for my newsletter subscribers.

I am also feeling the nudge to offer a 25% off special on my Animal Reiki Class. Summer is such a wonderful time to go outside and do animal Reiki!

Here is a lovely tea blend that is one of many herbal recipes I share in Herbal Basics. Try something fun and do a little Solstice ritual to offer your gratitude to the herbs, plants, trees, and the Earth as you prepare this tea (or any tea). I hope you enjoy!

Flower Power Tea Blend
This is a gorgeous tea that smells amazing, too! It is a great tea to sip during the work day, before bed or as a cold beverage to cool off in the summer. Children will love this tea because it is so colorful and tastes so good!

Ingredients:

2 parts lemon balm
2 parts hibiscus
1 part lavender
1 part rose petals

Blend the herbs together and store the portion you won’t be using now in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. To brew, use a teaspoon per cup of boiling water. You can make an entire pot and add ice cubes to make a cool drink for summer barbecues or picnics.

Blessings,
Angie
angie-webster-healing.thinkific.com

Herbal Basics homepage

Sweet Cleansing and Immunity Boosting Tea

0208151057This tea is great for boosting your vitamin C levels, supporting your immune function and supporting the cleansing  and detoxifying ability of the kidneys and liver. It is helpful for anyone who is undergoing a stress on their immune system, be it a cold or cancer. It can also help to support your body as you detoxify from medications you may need to take for an illness. As a wonderful bonus, it tastes wonderful, even without any sweetener, and it looks and smells heavenly.

I don’t get really technical about the measurements when I make this, so adjust this as you feel you need to for taste. The ingredients can be found in the bulk section of most natural foods stores or you can find them online at places such as Mountain Rose Herbs and others.

Sweet Cleansing and Immunity Boosting Tea

about a Tablespoon of Pau d’arco bark (large pinch)–immunity support/balance

2-3 whole cloves (NOT powder)–cleansing

about a Tablespoon dried Hibiscus flowers–immune support, cleansing

about 2 teaspoons dandelion root–cleansing, especially kidneys

about 2 teaspoons burdock root–cleansing, especially liver

Bring 32 ounces of water to a boil as you gather your herbs, roots and flowers together in a wire mesh strainer placed over a small to medium bowl. Once the water has reached a boil, pour it over the herbs in the strainer and allow to sit and steep for about 15-20 minutes. Place a small piece of cheesecloth over the top of a pitcher or a Mason jar. Pour the steeped tea through the cheesecloth into the Mason jar or pitcher. I usually brew 32 ounces more water and make a second batch using the same herbs, and then I toss them in the garbage. Refrigerate. Drink 1-3 cups a day over the next 24-48 hours.

There Is NO One Right Way To Eat–Not Even Vegan

apple-148455_640I want to share some things I have observed and learned. These things will possibly trigger some people. Hopefully they will comfort more people than they trigger. If you find yourself triggered, my sincere hope is that you might look deeply inside and around yourself for possible truth to these words. At any rate, my goal is to speak the truth and reach those that need to hear it for the comfort, in spite of any possible conflict the words may cause. I hope it will be minimal. I dislike conflict. But sometimes it’s there, nonetheless.

Food choices have become much like a new religion to many people. Oddly, these are often the same people that speak against the bigotry and prejudice often taught in religion. Many are very pushy and stringent about their diet regimes, believing it is the only way to eat and that others who don’t eat that way are doing something wrong and possibly even indecent. We probably all fall into the trap of believing our way is the “right” way. I know I have.

The thing is, when we do this with diet issues, we forget that we all have unique, beautiful, individual bodies, with their own challenges and needs. We also forget that these bodies and needs fluctuate and go through cycles. We turn off our own gut instinct. We can never tell another what they need to do with their own body. We can’t feel their body’s signals. Even if we knew every other aspect about them–lifestyle, foods available in their region, health issues, budget–we can never know and interpret the signals sent by their brain and body. Only they can do that.

Many health and spiritual teachers today promote stringent dietary guidelines, such as raw, vegan. A few of them and some of their followers become very militant about everyone following this diet, either for health reasons or for humane reasons. However, despite what they say, this diet is not appropriate for everyone.  The truth is, many people that claim to follow a vegan diet, promote it or teach it to others realize it’s not sustainable for a long period because they can’t do it all the time and stay healthy themselves. Many of them occasionally eat something not vegan or take supplements that allow them to stay healthy but are not vegan. Others binge on foods that are not only not vegan but are not at all healthy. They don’t publically speak of these things because the backlash from militant vegans would be horrendous, possibly even violent. I have had numerous messages from people telling me what they have experienced and seen.

This is unfortunate because it continues to promote the idea that absolutely everyone can eat vegan. Not true. Perhaps a good many people can. And many more can eat largely plant based. However, to eat vegan and be properly nourished, you must eat nuts, seeds and lentils or legumes. For various allergy or health reasons, many people can’t do this. For example: those with nut allergies, or inflammatory bowel disease or diverticulitis. Also , the vegan diet is very high in fiber, which sounds like a good thing, but for some health conditions, it is actually deadly.

No diet is right for every person–none. There is no need to feel ashamed for eating the way you need to in order to be healthy, whatever that is for you, vegan, gluten free, meat eater, whatever. Listen to your own guidance, your own body. Don’t follow anyone else’s lead over your own–ever. Pay attention to research and the paths that others have followed, but ultimately your own path is the only you need to worry about. If your goal is to eat healthier, learn how to eat less processed foods and you are closer to that goal already. If your goal is promote the end of factory farming, then you can do that too, even if your body needs meat, eggs and dairy. Learn what resources are in your area that will help you buy as close to that goal as possible. For example, a local dairy farmer or chicken farmer whose farm you can get to know or even a store that sells grass fed beef and organic milk. Whatever you can find near you and afford, that is what works for you. Know you are doing your best. Small steps matter and so does your health. And really, we will all be healthier if we live and let live with love.

Gratitude Opens Doors

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Cultivating gratitude helps to create a new way of experiencing the world. It actually rewires your brain to form new pathways inclined toward happiness and peace. This happens even if your life circumstances are far less than ideal.

In fact, it may be most beneficial to start a gratitude practice when you think things couldn’t possibly be any worse. It’s in those times we most need to find something to be grateful for. Even finding a willingness to be grateful will incline your thoughts in that direction.

Soon after you start a gratitude practice, you will notice a softening of your heart. You will notice things that other things begin to grow inside yourself in addition to gratitude. Compassion, curiosity, generosity and joy all increase as you continue the practice.

You will notice you feel happier, even though your situation in life may not have changed. Then you may start to notice that your circumstance do start to change—because you are happier!

Coming from a place of gratitude and happiness opens you to new possibilities that you never saw before. Along with this comes a sense of freedom in your soul that says you can take that next step.

When I began my own gratitude practice several years ago, my life was a mess. I had been ill for a long time and for a large period of that time I had been bed-ridden. I was separated from my husband and had no doubt we were headed for divorce. I lived miles away from my own family. I couldn’t work and I was so poor I often had little to eat. I was miserable, alone and struggling. I often felt unwanted, abandoned and depressed.

During that time, I heard how keeping a gratitude journal had changed the lives of many people. I didn’t think it would work for me. I didn’t even think I could do it. What did I have to be grateful for anyway?

I started very small. I added things for which I had never before thought to be grateful. I had a bed and blankets. I had a bath tub and hot water, which brought me great comfort with evening soaks. While I had very little to eat, I always had something, however small.  I had known having to beg for money in parking lots in order to have something to eat. I had a place to live, and it was safe and it was dry. I knew what it was to have no place to go and not to be safe.

When I started, I doubted I would have enough to write about for more than a few days. But as time went on, I saw more and more to be grateful for. I was tuned in to gratitude as I went through each day. My depression didn’t just lift, it broke the way the sun can suddenly break through the dark clouds during a fierce storm.

My various illnesses began to resolve themselves within a year. It was slow at first, but the relief of each symptom, the decrease of every pain brought more to be grateful for. Within another year, I found myself grateful for things I never imagined I could be grateful for.

I was grateful that I had known great pain, illness and difficulty. I began to see that these experiences had caused me to stretch, reach and grow in ways I would not have done otherwise.

I saw that each circumstance of my life had brought me to exactly what I needed in order to expand my soul. Every single thing I had ever been through gave me an opportunity. Precisely the opportunity I needed at that point in my growth.

This realization brought me back to the awe and wonder I had as a small child. I had a new appreciation for the amazing place this world is. For the beautiful way things come together, fall apart and come together again time after time. I became OK with not having all the answers, yet remained in a state of open curiosity.

Gratitude practice is not a method for making the world conform to your will. It is a means of seeing what is already available, in any circumstance and within you. It is slowly learning to not only appreciate the rain, but each individual rain drop. It is saying “thank you, you’re beautiful, I love you” as each drop falls.

How I Learned Forgiveness and Release Through Meditation

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I have always known that forgiveness is important. Forgiving and being able to allow something to be in the past is important for being able to be in the present. Not being able to forgive can destroy relationships.

Carrying the burden of anger and hate makes us toxic to be around and depletes our energy. Most importantly, it destroys our relationship with ourselves. We lose our inner peace.

Knowing you need to learn forgiveness is a lot easier that actually doing it. The person we tend to be the most unforgiving towards is ourselves. We all have a mean spirited inner voice that criticizes us for not being even more perfect than we expect others to be. It relentlessly terrorizes our thoughts.

So maybe forgiveness starts within ourselves. When we can let ourselves be human and flawed, we are more ready to offer that same compassion to others.

When I began meditating, I realized that I maliciously attacked myself every time I attempted it. I beat myself up because thoughts and emotions kept coming up. I told myself I wasn’t a good meditator and I believed I would never get it “right”.

I have since learned that I am completely normal. There is no “right” and my mind will never completely stop having new thoughts arise.

Now I use the practice of meditation to acknowledge my grasping at perfection and my human inability to achieve it. This is what meditation is. It is forgiving oneself over and over each time a new thought arises. In doing this, the thought releases and floats gently away.

Of course, new thoughts do arise. And then I get to practice being forgiving and loving with myself again. I have learned to release a thought without the condition that it not return.

When I decide to cling to the outcome by having conditions, I almost guarantee the thought will return. Instead, I lovingly understand that my mind is doing what minds do. It is not the enemy. I am not trying to defeat it, only to work with it.

Of course there are those particularly important thoughts. The “what ifs” that some part of me feels must be solved, the item on my to-do list I have neglected three days in a row or that amazing new revelation that I am afraid to let go of lest I lose it completely.

The truth is sometimes I give in to them. Especially to the amazing revelations! But most of the time it is more constructive to allow that the thought may have merit and promise to give it more attention at another time. And I stick to that, sometimes making mental appointments with myself to focus on that issue for a few minutes at a later time.

By doing this, I have learned to be patient with myself, allowing myself to have what I need and to be what I am. I am practicing forgiveness, releasing myself from the domineering voice of shame.

In recognizing my own humanness and imperfection, I have been able to be more easily in the flow of understanding the imperfection of others. Not only that, I am learning to appreciate it.

But it is a practice and as such, I must keep doing it. Sometimes we don’t practice to “make perfect” but for the sake of the practice itself. Someone dear to me once told me that life is about “progression, not perfection”. With forgiveness and meditation, this is certainly true.

As I experience human frailty in myself, I am able to understand that we are all doing the best we can with what we know at that given moment. Forgiving allows for more progress rather than demanding perfection. Meditation has taught me the importance of continuing to forgive as a constant practice, with the recognition that we are all learning our own lessons, at our own pace.

Healing Through Freedom

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This is for my personal healing. I will say all I need to say without holding back. By doing this I will make peace with my inner self, my Higher Self will be able to more fully flow through me and my true purpose in this life will be more fully realized.

My purpose in arriving in this body, in this realm was not to strive to impress people or satisfy their judgments. Judgments are useless and we can never satisfy everyone’s judgments. I will never seek to harm another and will strive to avoid harm and relieve suffering. I am through tying this to judging my own individual behavior in every move I make and every thought I think, simply to satisfy what I believe someone else would want me to be. I am especially done believing I am not good enough or whole if someone doesn’t like me, doesn’t approve of me or doesn’t think like I do. I am always whole.

I am here for a reason, just as we all are.

I will not forget that again simply because someone else does. I have no need to think exactly as someone else does. We are all unique and this makes life full and helps us grow.  I will appreciate that, not fight against it. I don’t need correcting, nor do I need to correct others. I am not misunderstanding things. I am not blind. I am not crazy, wrong or evil simply because I don’t see things as someone else does. We all see things in our own way and we grow in our own time. I will be my true self. By doing this, I will live in joy and health, rather than dysfunction and illness. I will shine in my freedom and I won’t let my fears about others opinions shadow my light.

I am a Child of Pure Spirit. As such, I am purifying myself of obstacles such as conformity, guilt and shame so I can see the Essence of the Pure Spirit from which I came and to which I will return. A Phoenix cannot rise if it never burns. I am burning the dark, heavy parts accumulated from this world, the things that build up in all our hearts and minds and collect in the cells of our bodies. As I transform these things, I am released to rise to higher, freer, more open levels. Like the Phoenix, I am freer with each burn.

I may be misunderstood at times. This may change in time. Or it may not. I am turning this over to the Universe.  I release past harm I may have caused out of misguided ignorance on my path to this point. Ignorance and fear have often gotten the better of me. My hope is that we all watch for them.

My freedom is as much to free others as it is to free myself.

My hope for all is that we all know we are whole and lovely. By stepping into my Oneness, I hope to help others understand their own Oneness. I have needed to heal. I could not see this for a long time. I see my life has gone just the way it needed to in order to bring me to this point.

My past has often been painful and grief filled. I have had to face those demons in order to expand and see every aspect of the beauty of life and all it gives. I am doing my work to recognize and heal any sad, lonely children inside me. This is my wish for the world.

I accept that I do not have control over everything. In fact, in the past there have been times where I had little control over my own living situation, memories or thoughts. Compassion, empathy and understanding of a larger picture are all things I am trying to practice. Not everyone is. I get that. But I am and I will also practice compassion with myself.

I will eat, live and work in a way that acknowledges that we are all part of the same Energy.

This includes everything. The Earth, the Universe, supports and gives us this life force energy and it is all around us—literally. We breathe it, it courses through us, we drink it, eat it, can’t be alive without it and when we die, every part of us changes into different aspects of this same Energy. It keeps flowing, eternally. It’s beautiful and everything has this. Nothing is OK to destroy or hate. It’s all life. It all flows into and from the same Source. Out of, into, from and through. Over and over.  I am in awe of it and I hope to honor it with the way I live.

Finding the Body Temple

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I love the idea of the body being a temple. The body is the soul’s mode of transportation, the vessel through which we operate, learn, grow and expand. Without a body through which to experience, our ability to understand ourselves, each other and the Universe would be greatly altered and limited. Physical form is a way for us to learn to express love and gratitude. We become humble and expansive through being here in these bodies.

Since our bodies are so important, it is vital to take very good care of them. Honor them with appreciation and love. Accept everything about your body as a gift to you. All of it helps you to perceive your soul more clearly. This includes pain. Pain is a signal. As such it helps us see that something needs attention and care. This is as essential to us as air or water. When we trust this, pain can flow through us as easily as air and water.

I am very familiar with pain and illness.

I have had to re-learn how to care for and protect my body, and to respect it. I spent most of my adult life very sick and in a great deal of pain. Many days I wasn’t able to get out of bed without help. I was chronically exhausted and had fibromyalgia and early onset arthritis. I had seizures, sometimes several times a day and excruciating headaches. This became so bad that for awhile I was unable to form new memories, so I couldn’t keep track of what I had done already, or often where I even was. I have had a total of 13 surgeries, eleven of them abdominal, one on a breast mass and one on a knee. I was 130 pounds overweight several years ago. I was depressed and felt I had no function in the world. I spent an entire summer bedridden with one health problem after the other. I had two surgeries in less than a year. I was told my spine was deteriorating and my knees would need replacements within a decade. I couldn’t walk even half a block. Part of me wanted to quit. Instead I started loving myself.

Then great things started to happen for me.

Exercise, healthy food, water and fresh air are all needed to keep our body temples functioning well. For me, meditation and regular sleep patterns have helped a great deal as well. Once I decided to love myself, exactly as I was, all the things I needed to be well started falling in line almost effortlessly. I had spent years fighting my body and my mind. I often said I hated them and couldn’t wait to be released from what I thought of as a physical prison. I fully knew that I am not my body, but I wanted OUT of my body.  Things shifted when I stopped expecting my body to be different.

I quit weighing myself, something that I did nearly every day since I was a teen. I started a journal to write down 3 things I was grateful for each night before I went to sleep. I discovered that I needed to eat gluten free. Hard as it was, I made the change. I began working out—yoga, Pilates, cardio, whatever felt good to me that day.  I wanted it to be fun, not work. I only asked myself for ten minutes each time, but I found it felt so good and was so enjoyable that I usually kept it going for 30 minutes or so. I began meditating every day for at least 5 minutes. I allowed one stress free hour before bed each night and I went to bed at the same time each night. I opened the curtains each morning and let the sun in. Soon the difference in the way I felt was amazing. I was able to discontinue several medications within 6 months. The seizures stopped and I haven’t had one since.

Then I began noticing that many of the gluten-free foods were also natural and organic. I wondered if this could be contributing to my improved health and feelings of well-being. I began including more and more organic foods in my diet. I also decided to stop eating processed foods. Initially, this was mostly because I wanted to shift my food budget more toward organic foods. There wasn’t enough money for these and gluten free processed foods.

A new culprit appeared as I continued weeding out.

I kept soda for awhile longer, though I switched to caffeine free. I noticed even more improvement in my mental and physical state. Around this time, I noticed that on the days that I drank soda with food dyes in the (orange, grape, etc.), I felt an extreme change mental change. I was anxious, irritable and wound up. I also noticed that I had urinary inflammation similar to a low grade urinary tract infection when I consumed these. These were exactly the symptoms I had hoped to rid myself of by stopping caffeine. I did several tests on my theory and realized I needed to stop food dyes also. My husband was not convinced, until he tested this out on himself and the colored sodas had the same effect on him. Things improved even more. I was down to two medications.

My weight stabilized at a healthy place. Overall I felt very well. My pain had almost completely disappeared. I still got sick frequently with infections. And I was still tired most of the time. I knew I was borderline diabetic, but I had never done much to take care of it. My blood sugar would plummet frequently, leaving me faint, shaky, nauseated and with an intense headache. I tried going sugar free, but I knew the artificial sweeteners caused me other problems. The only way I knew to do it was by going without anything sweet for awhile and then reintroduce sugar to test the difference. My energy level came way up and I noticed I stopped being so susceptible to infection. I missed sweets, but I decided it was worth it to find a way to cook without sugar.

These days, I do yoga for about 30 minutes day, most days. I eat mostly organic (lots of veggies and fruits) and gluten free. I am eating sweets more often, but I sweeten them with organic Stevia, honey, dates or occasionally maple syrup. I meditate for 20-30 minutes every morning. Most of all, I have continued to cultivate my love of life and of myself. I can’t imagine not taking good care of my mind, body and emotions as I do now.  These days, it’s hard to imagine I used to live in such a miserable state. I’m glad it’s behind me, but I am grateful for the experience. It taught me to love myself just as I am. It taught me that love is the key. Like a butterfly I have emerged renewed.

**Editor’s Note, 11/13/15: I have since chosen return to no sweets or high sugar fruits, as my body felt best eating this way, in the long run. Blog posts about this coming soon.