Thursday, September 17, 2009

Self-Heal for my Birthday - and a present for you!

With the morning sun shining on my closed eyes, warming my face, I slowly shuffled the Druid Plant Oracle cards, letting them talk to me. As I slipped the cards from place to place, one of them warmed the tips of my fingers, gently asking to be read. Knowing this was the card, I put the others aside, opened my eyes and read this: Betony.

Betony goes by many names, the most common of which are All-heal, Self-heal and Stachys. In Gaelic, the plant goes by "Lus bheathag", which literally means "Life plant."

An ancient Italian saying says, "Sell your coat and buy Betony." That is a witness to how powerful and important this plant was.

It was known as a "woundwort" for its ability to stop bleeding and heal wounds - of course the Ancients would attribute any physical properties to a spiritual property as well (those smart peoples) and felt that Betony (I call it Self-Heal) also had the power to staunch bleeding hearts and heal spiritual wounds. If you were to make an infusion, you could drink it and make peace with someone you'd been arguing with. If you created a cleaning solution with Self-Heal as your main ingredient, you might scrub your house with it to be rid of marital discord. Whatever the touch-point, it does have the power to heal.

In abundance Self-Heal grows at Cold Springs. It bursts forth from shady places, reaching into the dappled sunlight around the crystal clear water. It beckons me to touch it, it beckons me to use it, and so I do. I touch it, I shake its seeds into my hand. I put a fully flowered head behind my ear. I take what it offers. If I were to have a plant that has deep meaning for my life, it would have always been Self-Heal, so it is no accident that I picked it out of the deck today.
The Self-Heal is a plant that holds, but can also let go. Beautiful, upright, radiant Betony - thank you for your lesson. Thank you for lending yourself to my life.
Today marks the time 34 years ago that my little soul saw the world for the first time. Today is the day that I said, "Hello." Today is the day that I saw my mama for the first time, after so many months of being safely protected by her body. Today is the day that my journey began in this life, with those first happy tears and kisses and touching toes and little fingers. Today is the day.
As a gift today, I am giving you another chapter of my book!!!! (please read chapter one here) Signed copies are available for $15 plus $4 to ship from me here (I take paypal, so credit cards are no problem!)
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display
qualities which he does not possess,
and to gain applause which he cannot keep.
~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 1750~


Let us say that we have before us a dusty old hat, filled to the brim with slips of paper on which are written words. Some of them are just everyday words, like “tired”, “happy”, “bored”, “hungry.” Perhaps there are a few thrown in that are more complex like “synthesize” or “demonize”. Let us now suppose that each morning, for as long as you remember, you have pulled out one of these slips of paper. Before you even set foot out of bed, you have to read this word. Once you’ve read this word, this is how you are going to feel or act for that day. You believe that this is the final word for the day. Where you got the notion, you don’t remember. But this is how it’s always been, and you believe that’s how it’s going to be.
One morning you wake up with the sun shining, and you hear a red-winged blackbird outside your window. You take a deep breath of the bit of fresh air that is wafting over you from your partly open window. You feel something stirring inside your heart for today…it feels hopeful. You’ve been on a bad streak for two weeks in a row, grabbing words like “depress” and “dysfunction” and “dastardly”…you shudder to think what today might bring.
Slowly, blindly, you reach for the hat, and as you do, you hear the blackbird closer than before. Opening your eyes, you twist your head to see out your window, and there he is. He warbles at you again and you smile. “Hello?” Your voice sounds tentative, even to you. He flies away with a soft snap of his wings, and you decide to just get it over with.
With a deep exhale, your hand once again stirs blindly toward the hat, and just as your fingers touch the slips of paper, the blackbird warbles loudly. Startled, your hand drops and the old hat flips. Off fly the slips of paper, and the fresh spring breeze pulls them right out the window.
In amazement, you stare after them. They float like snowflakes across your yard, catching in the fence and fluttering in the branches of an old Elm tree. When you’ve recovered from your shock, you realize something astonishing: how will you know what to be or do or feel today, without the papers?
Sitting up in your bed, mouth agape, you stare down at the now overturned hat beside your bed. You lean down to pick it up, and as you do, you notice a corner of white paper stuck in the hatband. Quickly, you pluck this straggler out, then look inside the hat…yup…empty for sure, just this last one. With a sigh, you turn it over to read it; perhaps there is one last bit of direction from the hat after all. What you read, you don’t believe. You haven’t had this sort of word before. It makes no sense. It is bewildering, baffling, downright maddening. How could a word like this have made it into the hat? It isn’t something you’d ever bargained for. What would make someone put this word into the hat?
You turn it over, hoping for more. This seems to be more of a post script, or an unfinished game of hang man. This should not be happening. But there it is, in bold letters: MAYBE.


How would it feel to open your spirit each morning to the possibility of wonder and delight? Each day the practical matters may be no different than the day before. But if you’ve heard a little bird say, “Maybe,” then today has potential. It might change your morning. Perhaps you wake your children for school by rubbing their backs and saying, “Welcome to the day, sweetie,” rather than yelling up the stairs. Instead of grumbling with your head down at your desk, you might step into work with a light-hearted “Good Morning.” Greet your doctor’s appointments with openness, and a mind that is ready to accept a hopeful word. No matter what the day may bring, keep in mind the wisest word in the hat, “maybe.”


Write a story about a day in which “maybe” is the watchword. How would you greet each moment with hopefulness? Write about how it would go, from the moment you wake, until you lay your head on your pillow at night.
Then write the word “maybe” on a card, and place it on your night stand so it is the first thing you see in the morning. Be intent on coming to your senses in the morning, with “it may be” on your lips. Let hope settle itself into your bones as you begin each day. I don’t intend for you to “Polly-Anna” your way through life, and no one else will love you for that either. It won’t serve you to see the world through rose-colored window-panes. Instead, be hopeful. Hope is much wiser and far truer.

(from Who Am I Really? Finding Yourself Along Life's Pathway 2009 by Katie Estvold)


Marion said...

Happy Birthday! Thank you for your gift of words. They are a timely treat on this foggy morning as the sun, somewhere beyond the fog, brightens as the day matures. Best wishes to you.

sarah haliwell said...

Happiest of birthdays to you!

Such beautiful words, thank you so much for sharing them. They shall inspire me today and for many days.

Laura said...

Best wishes for a happy birthday, my friend! This world is just a little more beautiful because of your hearte.

Birthday hugs,
Laura :)

Doreen said...

Joyous Birthday to you Katie! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful and love filled day.

Hugs, Doreen share a birthday with my dad :)

Tammie Lee said...

Thank you for visiting! Now I get to meet you and it is lovely to meet you through your blog.
I wish you a very happy birthday, may your new year be overflowing with blessings and dreams come true!

I love self heal! You have added to my knowledge of its gifts. I feel drawn to this lovely little being even more.

Your writing on 'maybe' is wonderfully charming and inspiring, thank you for giving us a gift on your birthday~

Anonymous said...

happy birth day beautfiul girl...
thank you for being such a gift to your family, all of us, who love you so very much.