Getting to know Nettle

Waterhouse_the_Crystal_Ball-largeShe was looking for healing. In a way she thought she should not need it any more, after all it had been so long since her parents, her sister had passed away. She took a deep breath. Long experience had taught her to listen to her heart. Her mind had lead her into trouble before.

She took a couple of more steps through the wet grass and then stopped, her gaze taking in a beautiful patch of stinging nettle growing against the hillside. It was odd in a way, to find it here. She had been looking for it for so long and then suddenly it had shown itself, after she had decided that she was not yet ready to meet this powerful herb.

Truth be told, she did not understand it. She did not resonate with it, not in the way she was drawn to rose, violet, linden and all the flowers of sweetness. But she had started looking for it after learning what a powerful medicine it was, and had never found more than a couple of plants….until now.

She slid her hands into her gloves and bent down to pick nettle tops with as much gentle focus as she could muster. She had a bag at her feet in which she dropped them one by one, her mind wandering slightly as the wind rippled through the grass, making the trees move behind her and she glanced up at the sky which was grey, wild with clouds of rain and a coming storm.

There had to be a reason why nettle had shown itself now. She felt she had been brought to this beautiful place, far away from the city, to find healing. Being here was not an act of conicidence, somehow she had felt the journey in her heart long before it happened.

Now she was here, wrapped in silence, feeling nature against her skin. She loved it. She was sinking deeper into herself, starting to remember who she was, and sometimes glimpsing who she could one day become, if she did not stray from her path, or rather if she could find the path meant for her.

Again she became aware of how tired she really was. Bone tired. It didn’t make sense in her mind, but she knew she wasn’t making it up. She did not feel like running, or even going for long walks. She would pick her nettle and return home, rest a little before preparing her soup. She always had to rest. It felt like there was a deep hole inside of her sucking all her energy.

Now she hunched down among the nettle, observing it more closely, taking in the dark green leaves, the little needles along the stem. What was it teaching her? Why would it hurt her if she chose to touch it with naked fingers? Why was it created exactly this way?

She got no answers. The only sense she got was that of power. Strong. Bold. Perhaps that’s why she had such a hard time connecting with it. The plant was everything she was not. It had an incredible presence, never apologizing for what it was, never pretending to be less or fearing to be all that it could be.

Yes. It deffinately had a lot to teach her. Her heart swelled with a newfound love for this plant as she continued to gather her medicine.

***

nettleI felt like writing a little story about my experience with nettle. My thoughts often form stories and I decided to write it down this way since that’s what I love to do.

When I came home I made soup. It turned out pretty good and even my husband liked it, to his great surprise. The look on his face when he tasted it made me laugh.

What amazed me was that I could feel energy from the nettle after just the first spoonful. It was intense! It does seem pretty powerful, and of course nourishing. I wonder how I will feel if I start including it more often in my diet, along with other wild greens.

I believe the plants can teach us a lot, if we only spend some time with them. Observe. Sense. Listen. It feels deeply magical to me to connect with them like that.

They can heal the mind, body and spirit. And I do need all of it right now. I’ve been too proud to admit it.

Nettle. A plant I never truly liked. It was one of the first herbs I learned about. I bought it dried and made infusions from it, a strong tea that I hated the taste of.

I looked for it in the wild but it never seemed to grow where I was, that is until I moved to this new place in the countryside of Norway. Even here it eluded me until one day it was just there, growing all over a field that I had passed many times. It semeed like it had just sprung up over night.

Perhaps I’m finally ready to learn from it.

I do want to have a presence in the world. I would love not to be afraid to show myself fully. I always wanted to be bold and to put myself out there, to be fiercly independant. Instead I have no voice, and I shake when I have to speak up and make decisions.

I’m tired of being stuck somewhere inside myself.

Life used to be different. I used to be different. As a child I was couragous and free. I want to be like that again.

I will definitely spend a lot more time with nettle. I’m so grateful to have found it, to know that it will nourish me deeply.

It’s a lot of fun to have access to wild greens at my doorstep, especially since local vegetables are still limited here. Summer is slow in Norway.

And forgive me for not listing the properties of nettle. I don’t feel like listing what I have read somewhere else, but I can say that it’s a powerhouse of nutrition, I have felt it. I remember reading that it has a high amount of iron, which stuck with me since I’ve been told I need more iron in my diet. I feel dizzy a lot.

Here is a beautiful article on nettle.  

Here is the recipe I followed when making my soup.

 

 

Wild Heart

 

windswept-large

She had things to do, and thought she better stay inside and finish them, but the evening sun beckoned her to come out.

When she looked up from her work she gasped, dazzled by the brilliant golden light that lit up the grass, the trees, the empty white house next door.

Behind her the water glittered silently, and she quickly slipped on her jacket, her shoes before disappearing out the door , telling herself it would only be for a few minutes.

The air was fresh and she breathed deeply, remembering that it had just been raining. It was late but the evenings were long now, stretching almost to midnight and she knew the sun would be out for some time still, even after its rays had disappeared behind the mountain.

She walked, not sure where she was going. She drew closer to the empty white house, wondering who once lived there, if they had been happy. She longed for her own home one day. The house looked lonely, yet cosy, its garden still asleep after the snow, though she could see little weeds appearing everywhere.

She stopped, unable to return back inside for the beauty of the place had captivated her. She stood as frozen to the ground beneath her, and was filled with a yearning to return to her roots, to communion with the earth, to embrace that starved, wild part of herself. She thought of herself kicking off her shoes and run quickly through the fields, into the forest, leap over little brooks and streams. Strong. Free.

The thought made her smile, joy bubbled up inside of her but she found herself unable to do it. She felt tense still, stiff as though still touched by the frost of her past, painful memories that would not let her relax.

She realized she didn’t mind so much anymore. She had been brought to this place to heal, everything that had happened until this moment had been for her learning so that she could embrace a new way of being, or rather embrace who she truly was.

 It was time to stop pretending, stop trying to be more than what she was. It was time to let go, to rest. It was Ok. She would give it time.

Slowly she began moving back to the little place where she lived, to a cup of hot tea and sweet cheese. The fresh air made her hungry. Often she would hunch down among small green things, talking to them softly and seeing if she recognized them. Then finally, with strange new leaves in her pocket, she drew back inside and returned to her work.

 

Beautiful Beeswax Candles. Give Yourself the Gift of Something Sacred

A short story

She sat by the window, a lit candle beside her and a book on her lap. Outside rain was pouring, and the night was growing closer, the evening darkness deepening. She welcomed it. She was tired. Bone tired, but at least she allowed herself to feel it, to sit with it. She could rest now, she just needed to let go, and that was harder than expected. She was holding on to so many things, her body tense with painful memories. Slowly she felt herself sinking deeper into herself, allowing the darkness to wrap a comforting blanket around her, feeling the warm glow of the candle on her face. She could rest now. 

HZVL000ZBeautiful Beeswax Candles.

Beeswax candles are sacred to me. Somehow they feel different than other candles, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I love their glow, I love that sweet scent of honey. I love the bees that worked so hard to create the wax that made them.

But there’s something else as well. I read somewhere the beeswax purifies the air when burned. Isn’t that amazing? To go with that I’ve also lately read about how bad paraffin candles are for our health, especially if we burn a lot of them.

Lately I’ve only been using candles made of paraffin. They’re cheaper and so much easier to find. While living in California I would buy ones made of palm wax at my local health food store, but after moving to Norway it’s much harder to find such things.

Though as I side note I would like to share that I discovered the loveliest little shop close by. I was surprise to find such a gem in the tiny town where I live. It’s called the «Dream Garden» and sells anything from plants to chocolate to little beauties for the home. I found scented soy candles there. It made me happy. I had been searching for something like that, and it was a special gift for myself.

I’ve always preffered natural candles, but I haven’t allowed myself to buy them because of the price. That is until recently when I read an article on just how bad paraffin really is. Also, I was reminded that beeswax burns up to three times slower than regular candles, which actually makes them quite economical!

Waterhouse_the_Crystal_Ball-large

Is Paraffin Really That Bad?

This was my question. I asked my good friend Google, and it seems that not all paraffin candles are created equal. The best thing is to avoid the really cheap stuff. The package of tea lights I have at home claims they are “clean burning” and I haven’t noticed any black smoke coming from them at all. Avoid buying from dollar stores, and look for something of higher quality. Ikea has good candles.

Paraffin is a waste product of petroleum. (I also knew this, but never gave it much thought. Maybe it was easier not to). When burned it releases toxins that we of course breathe in, which can be as dangerous as second hand smoking!

 

Give Yourself the Gift of Something Sacred

Today I’m buying beeswax candles from an online shop. Not just because they’re natural, but also because they bring that feeling of something sacred into my home. They give me more than just a pretty glow. I wish I knew how to put it into words, though I think you know what I’m trying to say. I’m all about how something makes me feel.

Other natural candles I like to buy are ones made of soy and palm wax.

I love beeswax, but if I want aromatheraphy I usually buy scented soy candles as they seem to carry the scent a bit better. I also make sure that they are blended with essential oils and not from anything synthetic. If I buy them from a local shop I always smell them first, like I did at the «Dream Garden» and found I couldn’t stand the one with the aroma of «rose», it just smelled fake, probably because rose essential oil is terribly expensive.

I’ve placed my order now. I feel a thrill as I wait for the package to arrive, though it will take a few days.

Mountain Rose Herbs has beautiful beeswax candles. 

Which things are sacred to you?

Passing Into the Mist

IMG_1856Something happens when it rains. The air gets a freshness to it that clears my mind, brightens my spirit. The last couple of days have been rainy, misty and quite magical. It’s been sunny almost every day since I moved to my new apartment and now I welcome the rain. I like to watch the little raindrops on the branches, being warm and cozy at home while hearing the wind and the torrent of rain in the distance.

Last night I was drawn into the mist. I brought my camera as I wanted to practice taking pictures for Photo Meditations that started last week. There were a lot of moments I wanted to capture. Magic was all around me.

There is something especially mysterious about a misty evening, perhaps because of all the stories about strange, enchanted creatures that hides in the fog. My mom would jokingly warn me to watch out for Tussene (Norwegian name for beings living underground) that would come out at dusk. I don’t think she knew just how wild my imagination got from her saying that. While playing outdoors I would imagine all kinds of creatures in eyeing me from the shadows.

Being outside I quickly got lost in the mist, the rain. My husband came out with me, but returned back home as I continue my journey down the road with camera in hand. Soon it got too dark to take pictures and I found myself just standing still, listening, feeling. Images from my childhood came to me, of playing outside late into the evening, sometimes with friends and having a blast. I remember being happy, careless. I did not question my right to experience joy, it was just the way things were. I remembered days and nights of rain, and deep puddles that I loved to play in. I had forgotten all about that part of my life.

I began to watch my thoughts, all those doubts and chaotic chatter. I focused in on my heart instead, trying to feel its guidance, asking it what to do. I turned my head upwards towards the rain, feeling the drops on my skin, on my lips. The air felt alive. I felt alive. I considered going home and I started to turn back, only to stop again, unable to leave that wonderful feeling that the night, rain and mist gave me. I wanted to sink into it all the way.

A car came towards me. It was my husband coming to look for me. It’s late he said as I opened the car door, you went out to take pictures and now it’s dark and it’s raining. What were you doing all this time? Feeling the rain I said, smiling and apologizing for making him worry.

 

 

 

Why Do We Fear Joy?

lamour_au_papillon-largeI don’t remember when I started being afraid of joy. But it’s true. Whenever I’m happy I tense up and I worry that it will be taken away, that something horrible will happen that I’m not prepared for.

But I’m starting to realize that those moments of joy give me strength. They give my life meaning. I think it’s about facing life with open arms, no matter what it brings us, and to feel deeply, both the love and the pain.

I’m sitting here with my cup of dandelion coffee while gazing out the window. The spring sun on the trees fills my heart with such beauty it makes me want to sing. I’m making bone broth on the stove and the sound of simmering water is beautiful as well.

Roasted dandelion root in the oven makes the whole room smell amazing. Dark and fragrant. Using my senses, feeling alive that gives me joy. I will sink into it. I won’t be afraid. No more fear. I don’t want to look back at my life and see myself in a cage of fear that I could have broken out of if only I had dared harder.

Being near my divine mother, the goddess (she has many names) gives me a feeling of great beauty. Sensing her helps me remember who I want to be. She loves me unconditionally and it makes me want to cry because I do so many things that hurt her. I feel she is teaching me how to live better, how to allow joy by not being afraid of pain.

What about you dear reader? When joy comes knocking, do you welcome it with an open heart?

 

 

Listen With your Heart

IMG_1793There are some stories we find especially inspiring. Perhaps because they speak to something deep within us, something yearning to come out, to be remembered.

I remember watching certain scenes of Pocahontas over and over again one late night when I should be working on a paper for school. I was drawn to this Indian princess who would talk to trees, listen to the spirits of nature and run as fast as the wind to save the man she loved. Of course Disney makes everything seem romantic, but I deeply wanted to have her strength, to be free and connected to nature the way she was.

 

 

I especially love the scene where she rushes to save John Smith.

 

Eagle help my feet to fly

Mountain help my heart be great

Spirits of the earth and sky please don’t let it be too late…

 

What is it about calling upon the spirit of animals and mountains that draws me so?

 

There is that magic I can’t put into words. Trees, birds, animals…perhaps they all have a meaning beyond what we see. That’s what draws me to plants and herbal medicine as well, that hidden something that can only be sensed with the heart.

 

I feel nature has a lot to teach us. Nature revives me. Being outside helps me get out of my head, helps me not feel so trapped within myself.

IMG_1800

Lately I’ve been walking into the forest, crossing a small stream and sitting down under some trees where the ground is free from snow. There I let go of all my frustration. I pray. I look at the sky, the moving clouds and the wind in the trees. I take pictures, I journal. Insights come to me like drops of water and I begin to feel better. I smile.

 

Today I daringly kicked off my heavy winter boots and felt the wet, cold moss under my feet. I’ve always been told to not go barefoot until summer, when the earth is warm once more, but I just couldn’t help myself. There is something so grounding about having my bare feet against the earth, it feels so good. I can’t wait for the time when I can leave my feet naked all the time. I think we’ve lost a great deal of happiness through our disconnection with the earth.

 

IMG_1797

Being in this new place, so intimate with nature, it’s changing me. I loved being in California, I miss parts of it, but I began to feel tired, my spirit worn from being in the city so many years. This place is so quiet. I can rest here. I’m beginning to remember who I am.

As I go deeper into nature I sink deeper into myself. I feel there is a whole new world I’m about to discover, a whole different way of being and though I’m afraid to leave the comfort of my old ways, I also feel I’m being guided.

I think I like Pocahontas so much because she is taught to use intuition. Listen with your heart. Going with that inner voice has changed my life completely for the better. I do have my doubts, but I’m surprised to feel a strange sense of knowing in my bones, when I stop to listen I know what to do.

 

 

 

 

What are the benefits of dandelion coffee?

dandelionI’ve been drinking my dandelion coffee for a few weeks now. I’ve been craving it like crazy. Spring is here, though I must admit it doesn’t seem that way when looking out the window. Snow still covers everything and the trees and bare, through I can see a few buds starting to form as a sign of greener days to come.

I long for warmer weather, but the days are still freezing. At night I’m gifted with a clear dark sky filled with stars. King winter still has his grip on the world.

I wanted to write about the properties of dandelion as I was curious about why I always crave it in spring. I read a few articles but I must admit I’m not very good at memorizing all this information. Instead I will write from what I have experienced, what inspires me and what I can understand.

Spring is a time of cleansing. It’s a time for spring cleaning, to clear out dust and dirt from our homes, but it’s also good to do the same thing for our bodies.

Dandelion is a master detoxifier. It cleanses the whole system, but especially the liver. It also helps the digestive tract work better, and is a a mild diuretic and laxative. I love that it gets things moving!

 

Benefits of dandelion

  • Detoxifies
  • Cleanses liver
  • Improves skin health
  • Mild laxative
  • Promotes urination
  • High in iron and zinc. Used in treating anemia
  • Powerful antioxidant

 

I make sure not to drink it before going to bed as it always need to use the bathroom soon after. I notice that it feels soothing on my stomach. Perhaps this is the bitter taste working on my digestion. Dandelion is actually good for several of our organs, but the liver is the one handling all the toxins we get into our bodies and needs a lot of help. I just feel cleansed after drinking it.

When the snow is finally gone and the little green dandelion leaves start , I will happily pick them and eat them. For now I will enjoy my strong dark brew from the root. The funny thing is that I don’t even like coffee, but I love my dandelion and chicory root coffee!

 

I wanted to add that it’s quite tasty to add cinnamon, cardamom and perhaps some nutmeg to my dandy coffee. Usually I just sprinkle it on top. Sometimes I add two cinnamon sticks and a few whole green cardamom pods. I haven’t found a perfect recipe yet, but when I do I will share it here.

 

 

 

 

Ayurvedic morning massage – Abhyanga

960116_spa1In the morning at the crack of dawn, or when the sun begins to fade in the evening, I retreat into the bathroom to cover my body in oil. Abhyanga is an ayurvedic morning massage that really can be done any time during the day. I’ve fallen in love with this ritual and it’s recommended in ayurveda one of the most basic practice to stay healthy.

I see it as a way to take care of myself.
Physically, mentally and spiritually.

I take some time to myself. I light a candle and perhaps some incense, sometimes I listen to music. There is also something special about paying attention to my body and being kind to it. I rub oil all over myself from top to bottom and it’s the most amazing feeling. It is so grounding, calming and suddenly I can hear myself think and feel again. I remember who I am. After I’m done I like to sit for a bit and focus on my heart or my breath, or just studying my body and bathroom in detail. Being present. I’m here. I’m alive and it’s wonderful. Then I take a shower.

At times I’ve felt like crying when I allow myself to be good to myself, to feel love. Why is it so easy to be our own worst enemy?

Some benefits of Abhyanga

  • Calms the mind
  • Gives beautiful hair
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • gets rid of toxins
  • promotes good sleep
  • strengthens the immune system

 

It is said in ayurveda that if you do abhyanga every day you will never have arthritis, or any other dry condition in your joints.

 

How to perform abhyanga

Warm your oil. A good way is to let the bottle float in hot water for a few minutes. I just leave mine in the sink while I get ready. Then stand or sit on an old towel that you don’t mind getting oily, and begin by drizzling warm oil onto the crown of your head. Proceed by rubbing oil into your scalp. It’s good to allow some time on this as it is a blissful experience. Continue to massage down your body. Go in a circular clockwise motion on your stomach, hips and especially knees. Also spend a few minutes taking care of your feet. I love rubbing oil between my toes and spending a little time focusing on each one.

Meditate for 10-15 minutes, or how long as you have time for, before showering. I also brush my teeth while letting the oil sink deeper into the skin.

Below is a video that explains how to do abhyanga.

 

What oils to use?

The most common oil to use is cold pressed sesame oil. Personally though I prefer to use almond oil as it has a much milder scent. I like to add essential oils to mine to further enhance the effects of the treatment. My favorite is floracopeias vata oil which I find to be especially grounding. Though I must warn you that the scent might take some time getting used to, at least it did for me, but now I love it. Floracopeia has a line of ayurvedic massage oils specific for each dosha (body type).

Ayurveda recommends various oils for different doshas. Sesame works for all, but pitta can also benefit from the more cooling coconut oil. Almond is wonderful for vata.

You can take a quiz to find your dosha.

 

If you’re a first time customer with Floracopeia, visit this site and type in FrostyRose to get a 25% discount!

My experience and final thoughts

Interestingly I’ve found that after starting doing abhyanga, I’ ve less cravings for comfort food. Perhaps it’s because I allow myself some sweetness through abhyanga, and that it also makes me feel more grounded and present. I can tell my body really doesn’t want potato chips or cheap chocolate. Going to bed before 11pm has also helped me eat better.

I also find it beneficial to massage my body and feel where there is a lot of tension. I can release pain that way, and be aware of where I hold onto a lot of stress.

I hope you find some time to give yourself the gift of abhyanga. It’s of course most beneficial to do it every day, or even twice a day, but even a few times a week would be excellent. Try it out and let me know how you find it. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Spring brings changes

Icy road

Icy road

Spring is coming. Can you feel it?

I went for a walk today down that icy road outside my house. The world is still covered in snow but I swear I can sense the changes in the air as well as my own body. It’s time for changes, for new things to take place.

I felt bliss while walking and would stop a lot to just take in the beauty of nature. I loved watching the sun fighting to break through the white winter sky, seeing the ice covered water and trees standing bare against the cold, the silence penetrated by the sweet music of a nearby stream (as well as a nearby construction site, but that is not nearly as poetic). It’s all so wonderful. People sometimes walk past me at lightning speed. They’ve walked this road many times before and I suspect they walk to exercise, not to behold the awesomeness that is all around them. Being able to sense the changes in myself as well as the earth, that is magic. I long for my dandelion root coffee with chicory.

My husband and I have been staying at this house for almost 6 months now. This is where we ended up after the big move from California. It belongs to family and usually stands empty, and we feel so grateful to have been allowed to stay here. Now

Our house overlooking mountains

it’s time to move, to find a place of our own. We found a cute apartment more south in the country, close to the water and overlooking trees. I’m very eager to settle down in my own little place and explore the nature and herbs there. I’m planning to go on lots of walks. I will post pictures once I get settled in, we won’t be moving until early March.

 

 

 

 

My favorite kitchari recipe

I had more energy today. And I felt inspired to cook. I got up feeling rested and put on my favorite green skirt and a top. Wearing a skirt makes me feel magical and witchy, more in touch with the flow of life.

On today’s menu was kitchari, an ancient, healing ayurvedic dish that I’ve heard much about since getting into herbal medicine. I’ve made it before, and to tell you the truth I didn’t like it. My husband hated it. But I recently came across a cooking video that inspired me to try it again. You can watch it below. You can find a link to a list of the ingredients in the video description.

I began preparing the food in awareness. My teacher once told me that if I prepare my food consciously it will taste delicious, and that seems to be true. I’ve also found that if I make dinner feeling tired and upset, it rarely taste very good.

I also listened to http://www.truenatureradio.com  and https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/ayurveda-and-vedic-living/id344774141 , which both teaches and inspires me.

I have to add that before I made the kitchari, I made ghee. For a while I avoided making ghee since I just figured I could use butter, but ghee actually taste better than butter! Not only that but ghee feeds your digestive fire, and helps to ground you. I drenched my ktichari in ghee.

My kitchen also smelled yummy after making the ghee. And the spices in the kitchari gave off a beautiful aroma on their own. For the first time I can honestly say that I LOVE kitchari. It tasted amazing. And I didn’t even follow the recipe to a tee as I used root vegetables instead of greens, didn’t have coconut and forgot to add the coriander seeds. I think it will be even better next time I make it. My husband thought it was Ok. He still prefer his pasta, but perhaps in time he’ll come around. For now it means more kitchari for me. Drizzling extra ghee on top helps pacify Vata. I can’t get enough of the ghee.

Kitchari is a complete protein since it has both rice and beans in it, and is often given to the sick and elderly since it’s so healing and easy to digest. But it’s suited for everyone. It cleanses the body and people sometimes go on a fast where they only eat kitchari for a certain amount of time to help rid the body of toxins. They say this also aids weight loss, and heals pain in the body.

I found that eating kitchari made me feel warm all over, and that it felt good on my stomach. I didn’t have problems digesting it at all, and I’m often plagued with poor digestion. I can tell my body craves kitchari and will have some more today.

I’ll end this post with another video, where someone shares their experience with being on a kitchari fast.