Tag Archives: happiness

Wapi’ Yechi :: Tonic Herbs for Balance + Harmony

pejuta win (herb woman) via sodahead

In the wise way of the Native American people, the concept of wapi’ yechi, or bringing a person back to balance, is deeply rooted in the way of medicine. The herb woman (pejuta win) administered herbs and contacted animal or ancestral spirits to heal a sick person.  It’s amazing that curing is equated with balance. The concept of restoring balance is inherent to herbalism, while modern allopathic medicine unfortunately has forgotten this wisdom.

We hear and talk about STRESS all the time, but really when you stop to think about what it actually means, it becomes a little less … stressful. Stress is whatever causes the body to be pulled away from balance. The nature of life is change and therefore no one can escape stress. When stress gets the best of us illness (imbalance) occurs. However, there are herbs that help us cope with stress and restore balance … wapi’ yechi.

Tonic herbs are masters of balance, like Libra. The secret to their gift is that they are dual-natured, like gemini; they contain opposite groups of constituents that each carry opposite signals to the body. The body then chooses based on “specific hunger” which action it needs, based on the situation at hand. For example … echinacea is a tonic herb that has the ability to BOTH lower white blood cell count or raise white blood cell count. If a person has LOW white blood cell count, their body would interpret the echinacea as a white blood cell ENHANCER, and vise versa!! (Specific hunger is the idea that the body is wise and knows what is best for it, such as a child with a fever craving a cucumber…knowingly or not the cucumber cools and reduces fever! This happens all the time, but the important thing is to listen to your own body. Cravings are a whole other story….) This is an amazing interaction between plant and body that reflects our oneness with all of nature…they have this unspoken understanding that transcends the need for specific drugs or “instructions” from us!

Our bodies and the plants are truly partners in healing and harmony.

It is somewhat hard for us to understand that many herbs can have two opposite effects on the body, depending on what is needed at the time. Perhaps that is because modern medicine focuses on solving one problem in the body at a time. Not surprisingly, this approach always causes many side effects, because this method only furthers the IMBALANCE in the body.  A people’s medicine reveals much about the way of life and beliefs that govern daily living and perception of life. It seems that modern medicine ignores the concept of balance and makes it foreign to us. Using tonic herbal formulas daily is a proactive way to “fill in the gaps” of our current medical model.

Tonic herbs are always non-toxic, dual-natured, suitable for long-term use, and restore balance to body systems that are under stress. They don’t need any instructions, just take them and they will work WITH your body to fix what needs fixing. Here are some tonic herbs:



licorice root




passion flower

milk thistle




yerba mate …. these are just a few! as always feel free to message me with questions or help finding the right tonic herbs!

Trust the inherent wisdom of your body and the plants! Tonic herbs are like tune-ups for your body. Even if you don’t feel sick or imbalanced, or you aren’t sure which systems are off balance in your body, you can revive the age-old practice of taking tonic herbs everyday for optimal health.

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Herbs of Renewal

The holy day of Yom Kippur is on the horizon. Just beyond the starry sky, the cloak is lifted, the sky is split, and the cosmic white light is revealed. All new energy, all new hope. The universe is at the edge of a new dawn, as the past is let go in a collective sigh of relief, a collective cry, a cry of sadness for what’s been given away, a cry of joy for what is to come. The white light guides us and comforts us, reminds us of our primal essence, our unfaltering cosmic identity that never can fade, never can fail. The individual journeys all cross each other’s paths in some way, at some point in this whirling wave wind of time. Looking at the physical plane, we see the change in the seasons, the high energy rush of Autumn comes flying in with a gust of wind. Autumn is a poem of renewal and death, of loss and rebirth, or the story of our lives. Inside each of us a heart that never ceases to beat plays the music that calms our souls as we walk sometimes alone sometimes unsure sometimes misguided in our belly bearing existence. But there is always something there to remind us who we really are. The white light is inside and never fades. This day emerging honors the white light eternally. Renewal is where all the parts of life and death meet, and make color on the white light.


via green spirit

Herbs for Renewal

milk thistle – the herb of renewal. it contains silymarin, a unique component that protects the liver against free radicals and toxins. a happy liver means a happy immune system and a happy whole person free to live fully.

ginkgo biloba – a 200 million year old tree that gets blood flowing to all parts, bringing the waters of life to the brain, hands, feet, and everywhere where a fresh supply of energy and blood is needed.


milk thistle via herb companion

yarrow – the official wound healer. it physically stops bleeding and repairs tissues, and spiritually it also helps to heal wounds and create healthy boundaries to protect against harm. it tones the liver and flushes out toxins – renewal.

wormwood – a bitter that is truly sweet. it’s believed that wormwood’s bitter taste is due to this plant’s absorption of human suffering and injustice of the world. a true healer, it removes bitterness from inside us and restores peace and self-love.

cleavers – superb lymph cleanser that breaks up lymphatic buildup and toxins which would otherwise lead to cysts/tumors/infections/etc. treats external manifestations of stagnation (skin disorders) internally.

bitter orange – native of China. it is a “CHI” energy tonic that releases energy and gets stuck things moving. vitamins A B C. the building blocks.

fo-ti-tieng – the Chinese Herbalist Li Chung Yun was rumored to live 256 by drinking this tea with ginseng every day. (He also only ate vegetables that grew above ground, drank mineral water, and remained calm at all times.) Fo Ti Tieng contains Vitamin X, which energizes and rejuvenates the brain, nerves, and endocrine system.

citron (etrog) – one of the four species used on the holiday of sukkot (feast of tabernacles). It is said one who suffers from eye pains should gaze at a citron for healing. This fruit stabilizes liver function, helping to let go of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and fatigue.

Other RENEWAL/REJUVENATING herbs : dandelion, plantain, sarsaparilla.

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5 Ways to Love + Pamper Thyself

via Cute Kittenz

These days, it seems the fundamental act of truly caring for one’s self (spirit, mind, and body) has been somewhat lost and forgotten amidst the whirlwind of modern life. Our fast paced lives combined with the disintegration of time and space barriers that once meant less scattered living leaves little room for a most important part of well being: uninterrupted, unforgiving self-care rituals. For the sake of world peace, love and pamper yourself.

1. Devote an amount of time each day (or at least each week) to yourself. No phones, no interruptions, just you. Use this time to clear your head, think, dream, and just be. Play music, read a book, take a walk, or simply close your eyes. If you can, establish a ritual that carries as much importance as a meeting for work. I used to treat myself to a cappuccino every Friday morning at my favorite cafe in Prague. Even 5 minutes of solace a day can work wonders.

2.  Listen to your body. If you are craving a certain food or feeling like you need that cat nap midday, don’t immediately shut out the notion. Too often the body is trying to tell us what we need but we are too busy to listen. When to give in and when to resist? A rule of thumb is if you can readjust your priorities without shirking responsibilities, indulge.

3. Tap into the healing power of scent. Aromatherapy is a proven practice with powerful effects. One way is to take an herbal bath. Add 5-10 drops of pure essential oil of chamomile, lavender, and neroli into a warm bath. The heady aroma will transport you to another time and place. It’s amazing how simple and effective this age old pampering technique really is.

4. Respect and tune into your dreams. Sometimes dreams are more important than reality. They can reveal our fears, hopes, and the parts of us that need some love and care. Make a dream pillow with lavender, hops, chamomile, roses, and mugwort – the dreamer’s herb. Before sleep, ruffle the pillow and take in the scents of the herbs. Keeping a dream journal can prove invaluable over time and are often the door to our deepest, wisest selves.

5. Honor your spirit and body. Be grateful for the blessings you do have and make a conscious effort not to dwell upon perceived flaws or shortcomings. A good friend of mine who is a master of positive thinking and believing in herself once taught me a lovely little technique for evoking self-praise. She chooses a letter and thinks of words that inspire and empower her. For example, if the letter is “C” she thinks of creativity, compassion, and courage.

In all, pampering and loving yourself is a matter of listening to your own inner voice. Trusting yourself and your wisdom. Inside each of us there are unique needs and passions that when honored bring about sincere joy and well-being. Wishing you happy pampering.

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Cherokee Wisdom: Two Wolves

via Andeole

A wise old Cherokee chief sat with his grandson one starry evening.

“There is a fight going on inside me,” the grandfather said to the small boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

One wolf is cruel. He is fear, anger, envy, greed, self-pity, guilt, lies, false pride, self-doubt, and baseless hatred.

The other wolf is good. He is love, peace, acceptance, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, hope, gratitude, and self-respect.

The stars twinkled above and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves around them. The grandfather gazed at his wide-eyed disciple . “This very struggle is going on inside you – and inside every other person in the world, too.”

The grandson pondered this strange idea, and soon became worried about the fight of his two wolves. He then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief looked up at the rising moon, glistening in its sky of blue, and simply said,
“The one you feed.”

Adapted from Pearls of Wisdom 

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Creme de la Creme: Favorite French Films

Rainy summer days provide the perfect backdrop to cozy up and indulge in the sultry world of French cinema. In her lovely book Entre Nous: A woman’s Guide to Finding her Inner French Girl, Debra Ollivier suggests a few of her favorites, and I’ve taken the liberté of adding in some of my own. So make like the french women do; pour yourself some vintage wine, slip into something comfortable (but stylish too, of course) and let yourself be whisked away to a world of irresistable romance and intrigue with these classics:

Les Mistons via Play it for Me Sam

1. Les Mistons (the brats) directed by François Truffaut, 1957. Truffaut was a pioneer of French New Wave, a style of film that celebrates the little details in life, urging us to see beauty in the seemingly mundane. This is a short film about a group of boys who have a crush on a beautiful young woman and their boyish attempts at winning her attention by making mischief for her and her boyfriend.
2. Amelie directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001. Originally titled The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain, this popular Romantic comedy is full of whimsy and that same New Wave style of Les Mistons. It follows the childhood and early adulthood of the charming Amelie Poulain, the shy and often misunderstood waitress at a local cafe. When she hears about Princess Diana’s demise, she decides to devote her life to doing good and becomes an undercover match maker and guardian angel. Amidst all her caring for others, Amelie gathers the courage and the friendships that lead her own destiny, too.
3. Babette’s Feast directed by Isak Dinesen, 1987. Though this is a Danish film, I include it here because it tells the story of a renowned Parisian chef who moves to Denmark and becomes a housekeeper in the home of a strict Lutheran family. In a shocking meeting of two very different worlds, Babette is forced to tame her exotic cooking skills in exchange for the simple (and bland) ways of her puritanical employers. The twist is when Babette manages to convince her hosts to let her cook a full blown French meal for them, including “Potage à la Tortue” (turtle soup) and rum cake. Ultimately, both sides learn an unexpected lesson about life and living.

Babette’s Feast via Renew Theatres

4. Milou en Mai (Fools in May) directed by Louis Malle, 1990. Set against the backdrop of the revolutionary labor strikes of 1968, this film is about a wealthy family who find themselves reunited in the French countryside for a funeral. At first, the relatives argue about the inheritance while tensions flair for the revolution that threatens their bourgeois way of life. But since the whole country is on strike, the cadaver cannot be buried, and they are forced to remain together in the country. The film explores social and interpersonal issues as the family must face the changing times and reevaluate their priorities.
5. La double vie de Véronique (The Double Life of Veronique) directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1991. Some say that each of us has a twin soul in this world, and that can go for both romantic partners and friendships. This film explores twin flame concept and follows two women from different countries who share a mysterious bond that transcends time and space. It reminds us that “if we’re not living with a truly sensual appreciation of everything around us, we’re not really living at all.” (Debra Ollivier)
For more fabulous French cinema, see Time’s 100 best French films.

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