The Warrior Within

I’ve been wanting to start a spirituality/herbal medicine/life blog for a few months now. Fortunately for me a lovely friend offered for me to write on his wordpress account for free. It’s been over a month since he gave me the account and I am finally just going for it. The first one. The “just fucking do it” one.

I figure warrior is a great concept to start with. Warrior energy is hair on fire, soul cast to the wind, fueled by the lightning of love and pain to take action towards a greater good. Despite all odds we take action. A fire is lit within us and it burns through our fear. Our fear that weighs us down to a place of inaction and apathy.

In these uncertain political times many of us live with the knowledge that we are existing within a broken system. Via social media we are bombarded with the knowledge of all the personal and planetary destruction that is happening. Each new piece of knowledge hurts and it cuts like slicing open a freshly healed wound. A wound that is layers of scar tissue from being opened and closed so many times. I talk with my mom about these things and she says to me that it was so different when she was my age. There was no internet and the people lived in a sort of blissful ignorance just due to the sheer fact of there being less accessible media. She told me she feels empathy for our generation being raised with such a global consciousness.

The Zen Buddhists speak about the duality of life. That for every light there is a dark attached to it and vice versa. I believe this quantum friction is the very glue that holds existence in to form. If we apply that principle to the millennial psyche it is beautiful because we truly do have so much more information. Anyone at anytime can access information about whatever they want. There is so much freedom in that for us. It is also very painful to see and know about so much about the struggles happening in the world today. So much of it feels out of our control. We see it, we feel it, but we don’t know what we can do to help make it better. Somehow buying eco-clean dish soap just doesn’t seem to cut it. At least not in my world anyways.

There is a duality between apathy and warrior energy. There is so much information on the internet.   I personally feel a calling to educate about herbal medicine. That is the warrior seed inside my belly. It wasn’t that long ago that people knew all the plants that grew around them. They knew if they were food or medicine or if eating them would kill them. It is my belief that the destruction of our planet to feed the consumptive Western lifestyle is deeply tied to a disconnection from the earth. We buy our food instead of growing it ourselves. We take pills instead of using plants. In my mind, if our disconnection from the earth is destroying the planet then we need to re-connect to the earth to help save it.

The voices in my head tell me “There is already so much information out there. There is no point in you writing a blog about herbal medicine. You are not going to make a difference”. Oh the tendrils of apathy, how they taunt me so. But you know what? I’m finally pissed off enough to not care about failing. I am furious about the polluted oceans, the clear cut forests, the dead Great Barrier Reef and all the endangered and extinct species. I am also enraged about all of the sick people. I am enraged about the sickness inside of myself. I have done enough research about the economic and political history of the current global structure to know it was designed and developed to make a few people rich based on the suffering of people, the animals and the environment. So I’m pissed and I am grateful that I am finally at the point of doing something, taking some sort of action in an attempt to make a difference. Oh the delicious fire of warrior energy, how I love thee!

So on the subject of an initial blog about herbal medicine and warrior energy I want to talk about Stinging Nettle or Urtica Dioica.  Years ago, when I was first struggling with depression following a car accident I took some weekend herbal workshops. The instructor told me to get barefoot on the earth and consume as much stinging nettle as possible. “Nettles, Nettles, Nettles!”, she would say in her sing-song voice. She told me that nettles contain warrioress energy and they would help me.

When we are looking at the healing that plants provide us we can look at it from a variety of perspectives. There is the energetic plane, the spiritual plane and the scientific or physical plane. There are some herbalists that believe in the spirit of the plant as what causes healing. Others are more focused on the plant’s energetics (hot, cold, stimulating, calming etc). Yet others are more clinical and focused on the biochemistry of this molecular compound or that molecular compound found in the physical plant interacting with the human biochemistry. Myself and others use a synthesis of all three. That same herbalist who sang warrioress energy towards me also taught me about the complete biochemistry of how nettles work in the body.

“Nettles, Nettles, Nettles!”. Stinging Nettle is a plant that seriously has the science to back up the claim of warrior energy.  Physically, it is so choc-o-block full of nutrition you could survive on it. It even contains protein! Stinging Nettle has more iron in it than spinach. Iron is a mineral. Some holistic healers and medical people have theories that mineral deficiency is a huge cause of disease in Western Society.  Although we have unlimited food at our fingertips, a lot of that food is deficient in nutrition due to processing and huge scale industrial farming techniques. It’s a thing. You can google it. Nettles are rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and chromium (all minerals) and Vitamins A, C, E and K.

I really do love that science is proving the stuff that people just knew years ago. I like that these plants were used safely for thousands and thousands of years, long before science and the microscope came in to existence. Old-time herbalists recommended nettles for healthy and beautiful hair. It was also common knowledge for pregnant women to drink nettle tea. It makes sense that nettles are so full of nutrition they would cause hair and babies to grow healthy. They were given to people who were weak and pale and tired to make them strong. This could be that these people were actually anemic and nettle is so rich in iron it cured the anemia. Today they still cure anemia too, by the way.

Medically Urtica Dioica has compounds that tone and heal the adrenal system. The adrenal system basically refers to our kidneys, our adrenal glands (which sit on top of our kidneys) and our pituitary gland in our brain. This body system is what causes the fight-flight-or freeze response in our brains. Nettles are great for people who have been stressed out for a long time and are totally burned out. Nettles also will make you pee. In medical land, this is called having diuretic properties. Nettles can be used to treat gout and arthritis because of this action. Nettles offer up healing for the reproductive system too. Nettle root is a tonic for the male prostate and can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of PMS, menopause and other menstrual problems like excessive flow and very painful menstrual cramps.

Stinging Nettle is called Stinging Nettle for a reason. The plant itself is covered in tiny stinging hairs. Almost like armor for the plant. In legends and myths warriors and warrioresses wear armor. Sometimes when we are connected to our warrior or warrioress selves we have to get a little sting-ey to stay focused and get shit done. If we are too soft and squishy and passive nettles can help us to have a bit more edge, a bit more piss and vinegar and fortitude to stand in our own truth.

Medically those little stingers also have power too. They act as an anti-histamine and it is known by medical and folk herbalists alike that nettles are great for sufferers of seasonal allergies.  Old time herbalists taught about hitting the skin of painful and swollen areas on the body with nettles. The stingers cause blood flow to come in to the area and break up the swelling and inflammation.

Nettles also have a cleansing action on the liver. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is considered the organ associated with anger. Maybe there is an association there with warrior energy and the liver. I do believe that it’s all connected, whether or not we have the capacity to see all the connections is a completely different story.

Pretty amazing little plant hey? One of the most amazing things is that they grow so abundantly in wild and domestic areas. Such powerful medicine is all around us in abundance. Nettles like to grow near water. They can often be found near creeks and wetland areas. Like I said earlier, some plants can kill you. For safety, make sure if you are harvesting a wild plant you absolutely know that it is the plant you are after. You can definitely purchase them from a herbalist or wildcrafter in your area. Sometimes you can find it at the farmer’s market too.

It just baffles me how we have come to be an entire society that generally, as a whole, knows jack shit about the natural world growing around us. The return of this knowledge is important. It just makes sense to me on a deep intuitive level.

Mostly the way I use nettles is in the form of tea or herbal infusion. You can also use young nettles in place of anywhere you would use cooked spinach. I have made nettle spanakopita, nettle lasagne, even nettle cabbage rolls. I am pleased to report that all were delightfully delicious.

Some plants are more medicinal, some are more used for nutrition. Other than eating nettles, we can make nourishing herbal infusions to get the power packed nutrition from them. To make a nourishing herbal infusion fill a jar 3/4 full of dried or fresh (chopped) nettles. Pour cold or hot water over the nettles to fill the jar. Stir and cover with a sealed lid. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Strain and drink. It tastes purely like green plant water but it’s worth enduring for the health benefits. You can add mint to make it more palatable. I give credit for this technique to Susun Weed, an amazing herbalist.

To make nettle tea, I use about a tsp of nettles for each cup of water and I definitely add mint to boost the flavor. Place the herbs in your teapot, pour hot water over and let steep for 10 minutes.

There is a lot going on with existence today. It is mighty complicated and some days the world is mega overwhelming. So many of us feel a deep pain for the earth. The revolution may or may not happen with riots in the streets. The revolution will happen by everyday people getting informed and consciously making choices in their lives to no longer buy in to the lifestyle choices that are destroying the planet. If you start using herbal medicine as a part of your personal revolution not only will you be helping to save the earth you will feel healthier, stronger, and more vibrant while you do it. So go forth and be your warrior self, whatever that looks like for you. Feel the fire and just go for it.

Resources:

Coursenotes- Wild Roots Herbal Learning Center

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: Rosemary Gladstar

Healing the Wise Woman Way: Susun Weed

http://www.wildcraftforest.com

Check out these awesome youtube channels:

Susun Weed and Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary

 

Ages Heh?

Holy smokes it’s been ages hasn’t it? There always seems to be something holding me back from writing… I think it’s called life or something of the sort. I guess when it comes down to it there’s always room for an excuse not to write and just as many to write! At the end of the day I see an excuse as just that… an excuse whether it be good or bad.

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‘Quick take a picture of me in the supermarket’

So wanna hear what they are? no… yes? well if you want to get through this post you’re just going to have to read through and maybe you’ll get caught up with what’s be going on :). Alright let’s start the list… I’ve been spending tonnes of time with this girl I love oh so dearly and here’s the kicker her last name is Bacon and she’s vegan… figured I’d get that out of the way, I’ve heard most of the jokes and she’s heard probably 20 times more of them then I have!

I’ve moved… twice but that sounds a little crazier than it might actually be haha. I originally moved up a floor in the current house I was in which wasn’t too bad, other than that spiral staircase that could have been used in the medieval time to stop troops from charging up the tower… let’s just say Zombie Apocalypse golden zone place to live! Downside, well it’s 4 floors up from the outside. The second place I move was a little tougher… we had to take everything down that zombie proofed staircase down three more flights of stairs through the snow and into the moving truck. After that it wasn’t too bad getting everything into our new place other than a semi slippery slope down the side of the house that in time was turning into an ice slide. It took 3 good days to fully get out of the old place but we did it!

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Packed up for the final move!

I have a few other endeavours I’ve been working on but due to some semi conflict of interest I’m going to keep that on the downlow until next blog ;)… guess that means you’ll have to subscribe to find out what it is ‘muahaha’ (my attempt at an evil laugh).

Other than that I guess my girlfriend and I are trying to watch all of the ‘Once Upon a Time’ episodes. Quite an interesting twist on the traditional stories I was used to as a child… cool side note we have the book with the Brothers Grimm short stories that tell their own side of the story as well!

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Our new room!

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My lovely girlfriend’s dog who is now living with us as well!

I’ve been a bit overly distracted from getting back to my writing so I’ll be posting what I have so far with some much needed updates in the next few weeks!

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Halloween with my love Harley & Joker

“Not a day goes by that you can’t choose to better yourself”

Changes to Come

Assault on the Chief 2015x-1

The World right now is in an interesting state to say the very least. I believe that there’s been so many major historical events that we catalogue from the Pyramids, the Crusades to the discovery of fossil fuels… but what about now? I think we’ve reached a point in history where we will either be in the books forever… or even sad to say, never. Our lives have come to a point where what we decide to do and how  we choose to live could decide the entire fate of our existence. I’m not talking about earth’s existence… she’ll be around for a while, but rather the survival of the human race.

To deny climate change would be to plead complete ignorance; the changes in weather and our ecosystem as a whole… Yes the earth has been heating and getting set for another cleansing but it wasn’t due for… give or take another 55,000 years.

As humans we’ve learned to use logic over instinct and as much good as it’s brought us, it’s also showing us the paths in which we are sending ourselves, and that’s the path of self destruction… and in many different ways! Technology is amazing but our societal norms consist of constant phone gazing, disconnection with people despite being more connected than we’ve ever  been before! I find our evolutionary traits require eye to eye contact physical care and affection. An exchange of words over a screen can be powerful but it doesn’t touch the energy and connection the voice does when it touches the ear.

The day we discovered the use of fossil fuels we essentially began a launch into the future, surpassing technology jumps faster than ever before and continuing so. Really think about the societies we’ve built, dreams pursued but at costs we didn’t stop to think about or even potentially have realised. But I wouldn’t blame only fossil fuels on climate change, I mean there are many other factors but I believe the major one is our species and that we’ve moved ourselves into/ created an environment we haven’t evolved for.

Talk about stimulation… it’s everywhere. You have electric signs, flashy cars… non flashy one, clothing, but we also have cell phones and computers and consoles. I mean the list goes on, mind you we can “handle” the stimulation.

Take a moment and think about the people who go camping for a weekend and you hear ‘I feel so refreshed, I was so relaxed‘ you know? Something along the lines of that. That’s because biologically that’s our natural environment… we’re meant to be out in the woods experiencing fresh air and a place our mind can take in the natural wonders and simplicity of such complex organisms brought together as one.

Camping

To me our race are meant to be in small groups/ tribes. Think about Metropolises, the amount of social issues, illness and corruption there is and I believe it to be because of our loss of connection. We are surrounded by so many more humans but there’s so much less contact. Bands of people and very small towns, even at this time people know each other and connect with each other better than anyone else. Big cities people drone on by, in tribe like culture you are more likely to be accountable for your actions and the emotions of those you affect; I’d bet the emotional affection and stability in a small community is extremely high, as you see all the people around you become something as you do yourself.

Now I am 100% for renewable lifestyle and living to it the best you can but this isn’t what inspired me for the article, it’s the huge issue of Syrian refugees. There’s been a lot going on and it was kind of filled with msc information that was hard to see what the whole issues were. Our earth’s climate reached a point that caused a drought to eliminate millions of farming jobs, cascading crowding issues and social instability. All these things created an overbearing turmoil and essentially collapsed of a country.

This brings me pretty much to what I’ve pondered on a few times in the past couple of weeks/ months. As much as there’s disaster all over the world and I am by no means downplaying it, as it does pain my heart to see such tragedies and not be able to offer every bit of me I possibly could. I think Syria really brought my attention to it; maybe the gay liberties movement was the beginning or women’s right to vote or even men protesting to be topless at beaches in the early 1900’s…? Right now though… it’s really seeming like these Global calamities are bringing humanity together unlike any time before. I could possible see it as being the beginning of a new Golden Age. The sadness and horror being taken in and cared for globally,  people who never had the chance to help, beginning to offer spaces and compassion for those suffering in these misfortunes.

It kind of bums me out that it takes precious lives and souls to make us come together as a world, but at the same time it excites me that people are taking the prominent step to making this world a better symbiotic place.

Connecting

There’s always something you can do… it doesn’t even have to be much! You could smile at someone or open a door… maybe instead of rushing in traffic you offer someone space to pass ahead of you. Every actions of caring you spread to this earth can have everlasting effects that you may never see; You could be the difference of making someone smile and completing his interview with extra pizazz, or make her feel confident because a stranger smiled at them and she later met her twin flame. Basically that’s my rant and if there’s anything to take out of it… know that your kindness could change the world big or SMALL.

You may have been given a destiny, but it doesn’t mean you can’t choose how to live it – Justinn Parkinson

Peace

What is Success?

What is success… such a loaded question if you ask me. I had recently read an article talking about my generation (Millennials) starting to “set back” their career to enjoy life more.

I’ve talked about this topic with a few friends of mine as well, so what is the meaning of success? I guess in all reality there is not specific definition… well I mean if you look it up it’s something along the lines of:

1. The favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours; the accomplishment of one’s goals.

2. The attainment of wealth, position, honours, or the like.

But I mean inside of you, what do you feel success really is? To really sit down and think about it can really make you ponder some inquisitive things. Here in the Okanagan you can see it really holds different values for many people. I see individuals with “Alberta Money” who buy huge homes on the cliffs or on the water, they have big boats and lots of toys to go with them… yet they only use it two to three months of the year. Sadly that’s their image of success is work very, very hard for most of the year and then play a little (I’m sure they play hard but compared to their work I view it as little). Don’t get me wrong some of these individuals love this and it works for them, but I couldn’t imagine spending the majority of my life working for such little enjoyment/ fulfillment.

Is it money, "things"?

Is it money or “things”?

What do I see as success in my life? To start the less stress in life the better! But ultimately making a few really good friends, having a couple nice things… even then good company trumps material goods. I want to do things now when my body has the ability to recuperate after doing some crazy sport or trip or hike, I don’t want to wait until I retire before I start to enjoy my life. The experience I have are worth more than money can provide to me.

Is it being in the moment?

Is it being in the moment?

I read an argument about someone who’s an architect and that he’d spent a few years in school and another couple interning and is now in a job he enjoys working 40 hours a week, and will be able to enjoy himself before he retires because he worked hard. I applaud this person for his determination and enthusiasm but not everyone has the patience to do these things (Is financial security that really matters?). Does this make us lazy? Hardly, everyone has different ambitions and goals… and some of us just don’t have the mental capacity to break our backs for 8-10 years to finally start having fun and enjoying life… some of us want to live now because there may not be a tomorrow.

Moving to British Columbia I think was one of the best things I had decided to do, the people are such inspiration to grabbing life now and making the best of it!

Look from one generation to the next and see the contrast from Ethics to Fashion and Ideologies… they change constantly. I’d say every generation dating back hundreds of years think they had reached the best point in humanity, and that how they live is the way to be. Maybe each generation was right in their own respect but we are ever evolving intellectual creatures and will continue to change our values for many years to come.

Is it friends and special connections?

Could it be friends and special connections?

I originally wanted to talk about how I see success and what it means to me… but as I continued to write I just want to inspire others to stop for a minute and think about what success means to them. It might be a happy family, secure job, lots of money… or a life filled with amazing adventures with little to no money. There’s always something you can change in your life and never be afraid to do it… but it’s okay if you are, because change is strange 😛 but your happiness is more important.

Success can take time and determination; my slacklining is a great example, I have people tell me how amazing I am (I know I have much further to go)… It really is very humbling because I can still remember the first day, the second, and even the third; I would get up and fall, and fall, and fall again. All I wanted to do was just stand and walk! If you’re going to be scared, you’re better off being afraid doing something new than the same old thing!

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Is it doing something you love?

Success is what you make of it, if you’re not happy change something… it may not always about the best job or the most money, but to me success is what brings you the most joy in your life without the sacrifice of your smile.

Be happy in what you do

Be happy in what you do

If you’re interested in writing a guest article, don’t be shy and leave a comment or email me at Justinparkinson89@gmail.com