While facilitating our Herbal Medicine Making Summer workshop recently, I was struck by how empowering it is to reconnect with knowledge and skills to care for ourselves and our families. It allows us to be more responsive to our own health needs and, importantly, reminds us how powerful self-responsibility is for supporting our health.
What does it really mean to be responsible for our own health? At times this idea might be weighted with a sense of judgment or blame, if we view any ill health as being a personal failure. But what if we could respond to ourselves with compassion? What if we could recognise our sub-optimal health as messages from our wise inner self, signalling us to make adjustments in the way we are living our lives? What would it look like if we took this kind approach, responding to our body’s needs moment by moment, adjusting our food, our activities, our approach to work and play in order to keep ourselves in a state of wellness?
When we take the lens of judgement away, self responsibility becomes instead an empowering realisation, knowing that we have the ability to listen and respond effectively to meet our own needs. Times of ill health are then transformed into times of concentrated learning, positive exploration and change. When we can flip our approach to health care in this way, then our bodies become a reference point to learning about ourselves, our beliefs and attitudes and how these are driving us in our daily lives.
It can take a significant internal shift to respond to ourselves in this way. Our modern culture does not tend to prioritise self care. In addition, many of us come from family lines that have had to work through significant odds in order to survive. This can result in a strong work ethic, but also a harsh view of life that can negatively impact the way we care (or don't care) for ourselves. It is not just our eye colour that is passed down our family lines! Do you allow yourself to take time for rejuvenation, or do you have internal messages saying that this would be lazy, unproductive, or selfish? Is your sense of self worth tied up with working hard? Bringing awareness to these beliefs and shifting those that are no longer serving us is an important part of our self healing process.
So, let's enable ourselves with knowledge and skills, and respond to ourselves with kind attentiveness. One aspect of self care we have that is ever close at hand are the herbal allies and healing foods found in our own backyards and kitchen pantries. We just need to restore this ancient knowledge and relationship, and bring that support back into our everyday lives. If this is something that speaks to you, I encourage you to come along to one of our upcoming natural medicine workshops - learn to take hold of your health care in an age-old and natural way.