My Natural Medicine Story

in naturalmedicine •  9 months ago

Today I'm going to share some of my story for the @naturalmedicine Contest, Win SBD by sharing your Natural Medicine Story!!.

@naturalmedicine is a new Steemit community created by @riverflows, @holisticmom and myself. We seek to bring together and incentivize quality posts detailing our lived experiences with natural medicine, including herbalism, energy medicine, yoga, meditation, food & diet, experiences in nature, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, crystal healing, and more!

This week's contest asks the question,

How has a natural medicine impacted your life?

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Photo of a Monarch Butterfly eating on a cosmos at our homestead. All photos, as usual unless otherwise noted, are taken by me.

I have been encouraged by the depth and honesty of some of these posts, notably @walkerland's post and @eftnow's video and am feeling inspired to share a story that had a huge transformative effect on my life. I have written a bit about this story, but it's quite personal so I haven't shared it with too many people. And this is the first time I'm writing it down in its entirety!

As is the case with natural medicine, at times we can have blocks to even trying it. We're taught to accept and prize things proven by science and if a thing doesn't have studies backing it or seems "too far out there" it may limit us even reaching out toward it. I didn't grow up around natural medicine and this path was one I took on my own. I had to get through a lot of fear and that is partially what my story is about.

For me as well the religion of my upbringing, a conservative form of Evangelical Christianity, also held me back from going toward some of the natural healing modalities I was attracted to. I thought about leaving this part out, but it's a large part of my tale.

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So without further ado,

Here is my story

I think one could probably say that the story began on a cold winter's day in the Bloomington University 10th Street Library.

It was December and nearing toward final's time so the libraries were packed with students cramming 4 months of knowledge into a week's time.

I had recently moved to Bloomington from Indianapolis, Indiana to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation, Conservation and Education and moved in with my grandmother, my mom's mom, for my first semester. I loved living with her and we relished our times together talking about our lives.

This cold day however was to be the end of all of that as I received a phone call from my mom who was silent on the other end. Immediately I knew something was up. My grandmother had died.

Never having dealt with the death of a close loved one or favorite relative, I took the death quite hard.

I also didn't have the skills to cope with it and, as is common in our culture that prizes happiness and getting over things relatively quickly, I didn't process or mourn her death well. It ended up haunting me in a way and living inside of me, working like a stone in an oyster shell. Over 10 years later, I don't see this as a negative thing, although then it was challenging to live through the next few years.

Many people wait for their 50s to have a "mid-life crisis". My grandmother's death acted like a catalyst in me to "ask all the questions and do all of the things I was afraid to do". This was compounded because a week before she died unexpectedly (she had sprung back after two bouts of cancer, diabetes and many other life challenges and was healthy at this point), we were having a conversation about what she wanted to do before she died. This was the stone that worked inside of me. What is it exactly I want to do before I die and why am I afraid to do it? I promptly cut my hair, acted on bicurious thoughts and smoked marijuana for the first time. I also stopped going to church, which was a major life turning point.

During this time I carried great sadness and was legitimately depressed but had never had depression before and so I struggled to function through the weight of these shifts in relative privacy save for a few friends and a private journal I kept. That was all to change on one fateful day...

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You see, my entrance into natural medicine began in a very dark period in my life.

I was in perfect physical condition, but my soul was ailing and I was a wreck. I got perfect grades and had an active social life, but inside I was a huge question mark. As I walked around campus, everyone looked sad to me and I kept questioning the meaning of life and why people even bothered to get out of bed in the morning or had any motivation to live. Everything seemed pointless and absurd, and beyond that, downright painful.

The day of change came when my friend invited me to a healing arts fair. She had a booth for our local Adventure Group and as I wandered around, one woman in particular caught my eye. I moseyed over to her booth and nibbled on the Newman O's she had at her table. Slowly I started to reveal my story, opening up in an uncharacteristic way. I broke down in a room full of people as layers of myself started to open in her warm and loving presence. I sat crying in her chair and after the rush of my story ended, I was mortified to be so revealed in a public space. I promised to meet with her for a peace circle at a nearby church the next week, oddly enough the same church my parents were married in. Immediately after I got home I had horrible anxiety, How could I go meet with this woman now? She sees me! I was terrified. This back and forth energy was to characterize my next year.

I went to the peace circle at the church my parents were married at, bringing a few friends in tow, and immediately the crux appeared. This woman was a pagan. She had stones and pieces of driftwood, tarot cards and candles, pinecones and leaves in an altar on the floor. She even had crystals! A true witch! Immediately I was at war with myself and shrunk inside. How could I reconcile this form of healing with my Christian upbringing? Witches are the antithesis of Christianity and I was stepping into the dark side even being there!! The juxtaposition was that the energy that I felt when I was with her was unlike anything I'd ever encountered. I saw myself in her. I knew her and that terrified me.

So began my battle.

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In a World of Black and White, is there room for Shades of Grey?

A literal tug of war began inside of me. I felt attraction to this woman who was my mother's age unlike anything I could explain. It was a magnetic pull. And I wrestled with it. On one side I wanted to be open to these experiences and on the other I was literally in soul-shaking terror asking if she was evil!

So I avoided her. Hell, I even avoided the entire town and went away on an internship states away at a Unitarian Universalist Retreat Center. My mind and heart were opening, but I couldn't handle the pressure. This woman, a certified counselor in her past, was also an energy healer practicing reiki, stone therapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), and a host of other modalities. Though on some level I knew I needed her medicine, I wasn't ready.

We kept in touch through email and still that stone turned inside of me. My experience at the UU center was amazing. I had mystical experiences in nature and lived with 3 other amazing women, all of us on varying journeys but coming together over a shared passion for earth care, social justice and an interest in spirituality. I found other mentors on the top of this Appalachian mountain hosting the oldest dwarf white oak old growth forest on earth and during this time my soul relaxed into the idea of joining again with this healer.

I share all of this to let you, dear reader, fully in on my journey.

Though many of you may not be able to grasp the resistance I held inside to even step foot into Alternative Modalities, this was a very real and terrifying journey for me. The blocks people have may not be financial, they may actually be waged on a larger scale. For me, my path slowly tore down the black and white thinking of my upbringing. It massaged the boundaries between "good and evil" and invited me into the nuance of life where we are neither "all good" nor "all bad". As I was breaking down the idea that there is an Ultimate Truth (as my religious upbringing engrained in me), I was discovering many other truths along the way, truths that had the power to and indeed did set me free.

I also want to say at this point that it's not mutually exclusive. People of all faiths can be into Natural Medicine. For me, it touched on elements of my upbringing that made me feel uncomfortable with it, but I understand not all people will feel this way!


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Coming Back To Myself

As the internship came to an end, I was searching for my next step.

This same woman encouraged me to go to a Permaculture Course that was held for 2 weeks every summer saying, "You'll meet people there who care like you do." That week was one of the most transformative of my entire life. I opened up in ways I couldn't believe. It was my first experience of the earth's energies rising up through my feet in an ecstatic shiver through my entire body. The energy in my fingertips was palpable. Experiencing this with many people of my own age was cathartic, enervating and ultimately life-shattering. I was never to "go back" to my old way of viewing the world and ultimately this fortnight set the stage for the next decade's unfolding.

Shortly thereafter I went to visit this woman for sessions in energy healing. It's a long lead up I realize (haha) leading to the actual practice and experience of natural medicine, but this entire story is my medicine. Our stories are the medicine of our lives. In my darkest hour I searched for people telling stories I could relate to and it's in this incredibly specific and nuanced vein that I tell my story which is the medicine itself.

The Wound is the place where the light enters you


Rumi

It was necessary for me to be completely broken down before I started sessions with her. At this point, I was 100% in the sessions. I knew my shit I wanted to work through. I knew my blocks, I knew my pain and fears, I knew the places where the light enters.

And Light did enter!


She said, "You could've spent years in talk therapy." What I did with her was much more direct, powerful, movement oriented. It was energetic. Our sessions were a mix of therapies in her "energy healing toolbox" that she had collected over the years. We talked, we tapped (EFT), we jumped and shouted, we screamed and I cried! I cried and broke down and that light found ample home in my body. She tapped on me and I could feel my meridians (known throughout varying healing modality systems like TCM, Reiki, Acupuncture and more) open up and channel energy. I had been STUCK and needed a master destucker to signal my body to flow once more.

It comes to mind that this may seem way "out there" to people reading. I will just say this, it is only out there if you haven't experience it yourself. I very much felt my energy moving, I could feel knots untying and cells reorienting. My words are a doorway to walk through if you want. I'm making claims for myself and perhaps they'll shed light for someone else. If you think it's bunk, that's okay with me!

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But ya know what, I'm going to lean into that one a little bit!! This woman was a person I absolutely needed to learn from and heal with on an energetic level!

When we met there was a soul resonance and I've only had a few others at this depth and level in my entire life. I learned from her on an energetic level and sometimes you find holistic healers like that in your life. Blessed if you do! After walking the path I did out from the black and white thinking and into the rainbow actually, not just shades of grey, I can talk the talk to do the research, make people feel comfortable by only sharing parts of my story, fit in, and share the "safer things" that are scientifically proven. But literally I have gone to pretty out there spaces and that's great. Things only become more normalized if we start talking about them and people only feel safe to go there (and please trust your own intuition on these things, not all "out there" healers are legit or have anything to offer you) if it's less stigmatized.

And especially in our culture that approaches depression through talk therapy or "the pill fix", I think Natural Medicines can be real allies in these instances.

If you are listening and interested, this next part was the icing on the cake.

She had a crystal bed!

Literally a bed full of quartz crystals that radiated energy through the crystals. After our sessions I would lay in here as long as I wanted and it cleared my energy systems. I was flying! I realized that it was a peek into my future in that my energy system still had a lot of healing to do (and this isn't a one-time thing I've discovered, but really a practice). After laying in the bed I would journal the thoughts I'd had, the visions about my future and it was my way of grounding that incredible energy so that one day I could walk into it. In this way, I stepped out of my depression and into myself.

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The images of the butterflies and flowers throughout allude to the transformation that takes place when we are on our healing journey!

This was the foundation to many aspects of my healing journey. Perhaps for another day are the next steps that unfolded:

  • Studying Reiki
  • Meditation, including long retreats
  • Yoga and breathing techniques
  • Herbalism and Wild Foods
  • More trips in nature which heals and restores me
  • Work with Naturopaths
  • Community Ritual and Circle
  • Studying & Practicing Massage
  • Food as healing
  • Natural Building (yes living in earthen buildings is a form of natural medicine!)
  • And more

My journey into Natural Medicine started when I met this very special woman, but it didn't stop there. Healing is a lifelong journey and my path also includes occasional visits to the modern doctors when necessary.

These are crucial steps that I've taken during my journey on earth to become a more whole human. Why are we here? For me, natural medicine is a large part of my path. Healing and being healthy isn't separate from who I am or what I'm doing with my life. As I mentioned above, we are the medicine and as we do the work on ourselves uncovering, peeling back layers, looking deeper, and shedding, the medicine shines like that pearl. The stone must do its work though!

My point in sharing my journey is to be transparent and SHARE MY STORY! I've never shared it in this wholeness before, especially to a loving group of interested souls that are here with me on Steemit. Thanks for being you! There is still a lot more time for our contest so please share some of your journey with #naturalmedicine if you feel inspired.

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Thank-you Thank-you @mountainjewel for sharing your story and letting us get to know you! I'm afraid as I was reading your healing journey I had to do it with a box of tissue for it bought up my story of healing from a car accident which left me paralysed and the steps I had to take to transition from my former life, pre-accident to my new life post accident. Your courage has given me the strength to tell my story and reveal some of my out there ways of healing. Bless you and may you be well and happy on the path you have taken!

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Mmm thank you for your note @porters. It's very affirming and indeed it is partly my intention in sharing so fully to encourage others to do so. I look forward to hearing your story if you ever feel like sharing it! Much love and thanks again!

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We'd love to hear your story, @porters.

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Will be writing it soon.

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hear hear!!!

I am so glad you shared your story! I appreciated it so much. I was moved so deeply while reading it. When I reached this point

The Wound is the place where the light enters you ~ Rumi

Tears had started to roll down my cheeks. The expression of that stone (I know it well) and the pearl was perfection. You share so beautifully and it always reaches me in some way that adds much to my own journey. You are a gift in my life and I treasure you dearly.

I also have to express my awe that you have had your spirit soar whilst your body lay nestled in a bed of crystals. You never cease to amaze me. The idea of it fills me with wonder.

Much love to you! ❤

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oh your comment was such a gift to me dear! we have such energetic resonance and i'm so thankful for you! your post inspired me this morning to reveal myself. a local dear friend and i have been talking about how we don't want to hide any longer. this post was a nod to that conversation and i was strengthened as i read your post this morning over my morning cuppa.

the crystal bed experience, if you can find a good one, is truly amazing. it sends the energy up through your body and literally changes your energetic frequencies. i don't think i'd "get it" if i hadn't tried it, but, like i said, i took notes! i feel like whenever our "higher selves" (or whatever you want to call them) speak to us, it's good to take note. we can literally manifest ourselves through these experiences.

thank you so much friend. i cried while i wrote this a few times and i also got teary eyed while i read your post this morning. i live for stuff like this!! XO

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

Beautiful story - thank you for opening up and sharing all of that with us.

Great that this meeting was the start of an incredible journey for you.

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Thanks @eftnow! So am I. It was a major crossroads in my life and I'm thankful for it. Loving what is coming out of this contest!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm sure your story will inspire all who read it to think deeply about what is Truth.

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That is a wonderful and well told life-story @mountainjewel. I see no difference in your experiences than with your healer than a christian feeling rebirth or a Buddhist undergoing an awakening to the present moment.

I have and still suffer a chronic illness but have recently discovered a level of peace through acceptance. This is a kind of re-discovering of Buddhist concepts which I drank in when I was young but was somewhat scared psychologically, I didn't have the space to take them on properly then. Your quote from Rumi

The Wound is the place where the light enters you

Rumi

resonated with me strongly. I have been listening to Eckhart Tolle recently which has been the catalyst for finding a deep meditative practice, seemingly out of nowhere. It could probably have been one of many teachers at this time which could have caused this catalyst but I do think Tolle explains well to the western mindset. One thing that is sticking in my mind as I type this and eludes to the quote and words in your story is that he said with acceptance comes freedom from the suffering you make of the illness in your mind. This is maybe 90% true to my cynics mind but I'll take 90% less suffering any day of the week. The truth is that simply stopping the constant angry, bemoaning, frustrated ego-ic dialogue I was having with the world and saying 'oh well, I can't change it' has removed a huge part of what was making me miserable. Sure, I am still sick (it is a long winded dietary GI issue which I have tried endless exclusion diets and medications to try and fix) but without the constant mind chatter about how I'm going to solve it, how will I make all my future plans work..... etc. I've found peace, for the first time in a long time. I'm hoping this will help in the ongoing journey to find the balance that will let me heal as I'm sure it has been accentuated by the worry and rumination. To come full circle back to Rumi's quote, it is at these times of illness or deep wounds that the mind can switch to an open modality and find spontaneous healing and freedom from the constraints of an imagined future that needs to be constantly planned for, but which in fact never comes.

Anyway, the honesty of your story inspired similar from me and I have just realized that this comment is turning into a post of it's own 😉

thanks for sharing your story

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We'd love to read your post. What a beautiful comment.

is at these times of illness or deep wounds that the mind can switch to an open modality and find spontaneous healing and freedom from the constraints of an imagined future that needs to be constantly planned for, but which in fact never comes.

this!!

So glad you've found peace, of sorts. May you find healing on your journey, and then some. xx

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definitely Raj! i can really see where you're coming from in your comment. You're right on point here.

It is at these times of illness or deep wounds that the mind can switch to an open modality and find spontaneous healing and freedom from the constraints of an imagined future that needs to be constantly planned for, but which in fact never comes.

This openness is the beginning of the healing. There are so many people that I know for whom there are no apparent reasons for their malady... in these cases, as you've done, finding that psychological peace is a fantastic first step. as @naturalmedicine said, if you feel drawn to make a post, I'd love to read it :) All of our alternative medicine journeys have merit and shed light for others.

furthermore, your situation brings up something else for me. since i was a young girl i've had a reproductive issue for which there is no solution! it's made me feel similarly to how you describe yourself in your comment. there are so many people who the medical system literally cannot touch. in some ways, i've felt like i was on my own trying to figure out my healing (Because i wasn't willing to take a pill for the rest of my life.) It's beneficial that in so many ways, I am not alone in this, but there are many people who also experience issues that doctors don't know the answers to. Some humility in our medical systems is needed, I think, and also honoring of alternative modalities for the strengths that they bring!

Thank you beautiful Wren for sharing your moment of awakening with us, you have such a beautiful way with words and your words in itself are healing. As you have said this is a life long journey and we all have so much to share and learn from one another, I am very very happy and honoured to now be part of your journey,on here and get to share in you wisdom xx much love to you beautiful one xx

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oh @trucklife-family! i treasure you so! i can feel our mirror is strong and i thank you for your affirmation and support. we are in it together and we are the ones we've been waiting for. grateful for your presence, your being, the path you walk and your words. XO

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Oh my gosh, this is EXACTLY what we mean by Natural Medicine, don't we?

Healing and being healthy isn't separate from who I am or what I'm doing with my life. As I mentioned above, we are the medicine and as we do the work on ourselves uncovering, peeling back layers, looking deeper, and shedding, the medicine shines like that pearl.

Such a beautiful post and we're honoured to get to know you a little more. For me, @riverflows, alternative healing was always part of my life, and I've never considered how it may have been confronting for someone raised differently.

What a wonderful story about how the light got in, and a celebration of all those medicines in our lives that heal us - the people we meet, the experiences that shatter us and transform us, the exploration into different knowledge pathways.

And all with that wonderful symbol of transformation, the flutterby. xx

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ah the flutterby! i couldn't contain myself taking photos last night. i was like... yeeesssss, look this way, oh that's right darling! yes yes!!

thanks dear. this contest is bringing up a lot for us all and i feel honored to be a part of it. it's wonderful to hit on a collective need to share our stories... that's really special. XO

I haven't read all the stories this thread has but it struck me that 2 strong women helped both @mountainjewel and @walkerland when they most needed it....

I also had a strong woman who got me started on the path I am on now....

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would love to hear your story! yes usually us strong women initiate one another. it's a beautiful circle <3 xo

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Mine is not so much natural medicine but food, and most of it I already wrote in my second intro:

https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@goldenoakfarm/a-2nd-intro-or-how-i-got-started-growing-my-own-food

I didn't know if I could repost it or if it would be appropriate.

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wow a very powerful story indeed! we are doing an "uncover" or dig up your old posts! you may try to submit that! are you in the discord yet? link is at the bottom of this post :) love how the kefir and other ferments are what was the missing key for you! wow! i know my body loves em too. so glad you found them.

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Yes, I did join naturalmedicine on discord. I will submit the story now.

What an amazing and honest story.

The key to natural medicine is surrendering to the slowness of it. Engaging with it opened a door for you to learn more about your needs and Values, which as you say, led you back to yourself.

People don’t get results from NatMeds unless they’re willing to engage in holistic manner — addressing mental and emotional, not just physiological.

Beautiful, inspiring story!!!!
😊🙏🏽☯️

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thank you @metametheus, it is so healing to share it in such a welcoming space with likeminded souls. It's an honor.

The key to natural medicine is surrendering to the slowness of it

Totally agree. This is one of the main differences between our modern paradigm that wants quick fixes that are isolated to one part of the body, but as you say it's also holistic. Thanks for stopping by. I am on the lookout for your story when you post it! <3

Thank you, @mountainjewel. Beautiful article. And I can relate so much. My depression was a katalisator for my natural healing and spiritual growth. My depression was my dark night of the soul. Soon I will submit my story about my healing of depression with a natural medicine. It's really nice to meet like minded souls here on Steemit 🙏❤️

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Yes! I also resonate greatly with the "dark night of the soul" concept and think of this period as my dark night- it's powerful for sure to be willing to go deep and submerge, losing aspects of who we thought we were while we emerge! very much like the butterfly process. Looking forward to hearing your story as well! We have certainly created a wonderful community on Steemit, a very rare gem in the interwebs.

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Same here! I had to die first but resurrected 🙂💪

Wow, that's a very strong and passionate story. I love all of the butterfly picks as well. On a side note in the butterfly pic on your profile header do you happen to know the name of the plant the butterflies are on. I'm just curious I recently captured a similar scene.

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Thank you @coinsandchains. I'm honored to tell it to such a receptive and kind audience. That is a Common Milkweed plant that those Great Spangled Fritillaries are on! Where are you located? We are in Missouri, although I'm guessing they're common around the US!

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Thank you, I'm in Northeast Georgia, about 5 miles from the NC line. I actually posted a pic of it here. I'm working on a post with several butterfly/flower pics. Trying to learn a little photography, I'm not real good at it, there just never seems to be enough time to get everything I want to done.

A fantastic story and sheer amazement this side about the way that a loved dead person could alter one's old way of life completely. That's the main reason why I do today what I do. You have found your true calling! Stay strong! Blessings and upvoted! @mountainjewel

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As a papillon, I am sure you understand the ethos of the butterfly rebirth ;) !! yes, what a blessing to find our callings after the dark night of the soul- sometimes we must dip down to find it. Thank you for your encouragement! <3

Wow. Just WOW. Your story is AMAZING, and your writing exquisite, in my opinion. And the pictures, both beautiful and poignant. SO glad to hear you've come out on the other side from the dark, what a wonder to have met and worked with such an enlightened being - bully for you!!! And much to our collective good fortune that you've made it to be with us.
Thank you, dear friend.
-Logan