Category Archives: wilderness

Mother Nature’s Armagarden☘️of Weeds

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Hiya Hearty Tree Hugging Souls🌳 

Abundance is Mother Nature’s middle name. Her mantra. Her loving law. She blows my mind with the ongoing giving. And whether we mindlessly mow her down, pave her paradise and put up a parking lot, she sends her troops up from the depths. To shelter and shade us, feed us and breathe with us. What a gal. Cut, crush or whack her weeds, she keeps growing.

She’s made for-giving. 

Her Armagarden. To save us all🍃🌸

The weeds that our culture wages war against? I’m eating them, because they’re generously growing like, well, weeds! Can’t stop them! No work required. They’re totally tenacious and extremely nutritious. They aren’t put off by concrete, tarmac, mortar or brick. They grow right past pesticides, pollution and planetary changes. Gaia’s graciousness reminds me there’s hope, despite our copious misdeeds against Her and each other. Thank goddess she rocks the green arena.

A few years ago hubby noticed (read: complained) that I was joyfully gobbling our garden goodies, but I wasn’t helping with the maintenance. Busted. Frankly, it’s hard for me to weed. It’s challenging to bend my joints, but more than that, I feel guilty yanking out any growing thing. Who am I to decide who stays and who goes? (I sidestep this rule for poison ivy, however. Read my post here if you’ve ever tangled with that bioch.)

My weeding aversion brought on daydreams of a miraculous maintenance free garden. No tilling. No trouble. Just our Gentle Blue Giant offering a cornucopia of food – where all grows in harmony and I don’t have to argue with Eden🌎

It’s happening. 

Yellow wood sorrel – leaves, flowers, pods & stems all edible!

When I finally began Googling those indestructible “weeds” I found that a low-maintenance garden was already nipping at my heels. Dandelion, plantain, purslane, violet, lambsquarters and yellow wood sorrel (in the photo – the bright green ‘clover’ that tastes like sour apple – delish!) 

I started by adding 2 big leaves of dandelion to my morning smoothie. I braced for the bitter. But it happily blended with the banana. Next day I put in 5 big leaves. Still fine! I added a small bunch of sour wood sorrel. Awesome! I read about plantain and easily identified it (it’s EVERYWHERE.) I tentatively tasted it. Very fibrous with a slightly mushroomy flavor. I threw that in too!

Plantain leaves & tall seed shoots, all edible!

And all the while, hubby and I were still enjoying the smoothie.

I soon found a succulent weed called purslane, which I’d cursed over the years because it joyfully crawls along open dirt beds, minutes after you till the garden. I’d like to be THAT unstoppable. Purslane is another nutritional power-plant, with more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It can be added to salad, stir-fry, soup or smoothie.  

I kept adding more weeds each morning, getting increasingly excited by my low-maintenance, organic, FREE FOOD grown by the goddess. My daydream was manifesting. 

It didn’t take long before my anti-lawn-mowing campaign began.🌿

Bill was not on board. The increasingly overgrown look was worrisome. 

We compromised. The wondrous weeds got the witness-protection-program within the three garden beds PLUS the two hidden corners of the house (which had a prosperous overgrowth) PLUS I got dibs on a long patch of “lawn” alongside the house, which was making way for weeds. Everything eventually gives way to Pachamama’s powerhouses. And there is still plenty of lawn. 

That could change. (Check out this podcast from my favorite Green Diva Meg on the hot topic of lawns! I have a guest spot at around the 24 min. mark…)  

How has our society gotten it backward? We plant grass, which we cannot eat, and we water, preen, pay and spray to keep that lawn luxurious. Meanwhile we battle the generous weeds which actually feed a vital hunger. 

Recently, I was just about to pull (cringing) a tall and lanky number out of the garden. But I stopped my unconscious rampage and consulted Google. 

Lambsquarters – young leaves are slightly silvery and soft. Bigger leaves pictured here.

No. Way. It’s edible. It’s lambsquarters and can be eaten like spinach! I have a garden of it. We’ve been unable to grown spinach nearly as successfully… and that was when we were TRYING. These sweet shoots are doing it pro bono. No problemo. I swear I hear them applauding me for throwing in the trowel.

“These humble edibles are packed with adaptogens—that is, they’re crucial to helping our bodies adapt to what life throws at us. Wild foods not only retain the vitamin and mineral levels that nature intended, they also carry critical survival information in their cells. When we ingest them, the wisdom that’s allowed them to thrive out in the elements becomes a part of us.” ~Anthony William, author & medical medium

Years ago, when I studied macrobiotics, I loved the idea that we not only get the nutrition of the plants we eat, but we also receive their radiant, invisible, indestructible life-force. Awesome. These wild delights have seen many, many seasons and navigated through drought, flood, freezing, scorching & mowing, but they still thrive. The plant DNA gets stronger and it passes its immunity & resilience on to us. To us! L’Chiam. 

What did we do to deserve this Motherly care and cooperation? Just by being born into a bod, we are worthy of Her love. We do not have to toil to earn it. Creation knew we’d need sustenance and support. Even though weed shake Her off and refuse Her gifts – She’d still offer and celebrate the miracle of our life, like any loving mom. The miracle of animals. Insects. Weeds. And for all of us sweet heathens, we have a Mega-mama overflowing with love. And groceries for ingrates. 

This is purslane – leaves & stems are edible :)

This is toxic spurge

Before you leave – a note of caution – purslane has a look-alike called “spurge,” which is toxic (it causes vomiting etc – luckily it tastes so bad that people don’t tend to swallow it!) If you look at pictures on the web, you’ll be able to see the difference between the two. Both have reddish stems, but purslane has thicker leaves, like a jade plant. Spurge leaves are thin, lay flat and grow neatly across from one another on the stem. Some have central red spots. Double check and go slow. And, of course, before you start eating any weeds out of your garden or lawn, be sure you’ve positively identified them.

And then enjoy Earth’s lavish abundance!

My friend Kathy Kane sent me this tidbit – the word vegetable comes from the Latin vegetare: to invigorate. I can dig it!

We are surrounded by energetic abundance, and although some days it may feel like the cash flow is low, we’re actually rolling in the green 😀

Yours in tree-hugging,
garden-loving gladness,
☀️XOXOXO
Weenie Greenie Julie

P.S. If you’d like some guidance and cheerleading with your smoothie-making, weed-gobbling or any other healthy & happy goal you’ve been dreaming about, I’m offering a ginormous 40% off any coaching package with the coupon code soul40. Check them out here. Or Email me and we’ll set up a free call. (40% off will be reflected in the shopping cart.) Let’s fall into fall together! I know weed be a great powerhouse pair :) You’ve got nothing to lose and energy to gain. Let’s create your version of an Earthy-crunchy Eden☀️

 

 

What Tick’s You Off?🕷Death and BS in the Circle of Life  

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Hiya Radiant Renegades 

💙💚💙 I arrive at Green Diva Meg’s magical home, ready for a delightful stint of dog sitting. 10 days in the woods. 10 days of quiet. Daily walks around a beautiful lake with her devoted dog, Gracie. I get to hang with the heron and gab with the geese. A sapphire sky sprawls out before us. It’s heaven on earth. 🌳💦 🌊

Until. 

The cool camouflaged snake

A sign appears on my first walk. A snake!🐍 I feel so excited to have noticed her, wonderfully camouflaged along the trail. So much exciting life in these woods! 

Ten minutes later, my mood plummets. I see half of a mutilated snake, jaws gapping open in wide-eyed shock. Did it suffer? It’s just the circle of life, I say, trying to soothe my heart. I’ve always loved animals. But I’m pained by predators and not at home with the ways of the wild. 

The next morning, I notice one of the unique brown squirrels… and an adorable baby bouncing behind her! AW! 🐿 I watch them closely, totally enjoying their twitchy athletics. Later that day, I feel a sudden nudge to grab the binoculars and look out the front window (which I’ve never done – it’s partially blocked.) As I’m peering out across the lawn, a fox runs right into view! WHOA! 🦊 I follow the fox with my lens, feeling SO happy that I listened to the nudge. Then I notice a soft bundle in her mouth. Oh. No. As she’s running, she drops it! What the?   

Sunset on Meg’s lake

 The fox zips out of view and I swing my lens back to the motionless furball. What is it? Please not a baby bunny. Please. My heart is dipping into sadness & shock, once again. I wait awhile, but the fox does not return for the meal. I feel horribly compelled to go look. But I can’t look. But it’s right on the path where we walk. Crap. I have to look. No I don’t want to look. 

I’m gonna go look. 

I walk out across the expansive green lawn with Gracie, for comfort and courage. My eyes are glued to the spot where the sweet bundle lies. I’m braced for the bunny. 

But it’s a baby red squirrel. 

What. The. Hell! 

The circle of life… again!?!

I stare bleakly, as Gracie sniffs the adorable baby. Death makes me droop. Is the mama squirrel distraut? Why can’t I accept that death follows life?

The universe is being very loud. What’s the message? 

A few hours later, the lil body is still there. I’m hoping it won’t go to waste. 

Vulture perched above us

As Gracie and I head into the woods, there is a a loud flurry of flapping. A huge vulture lifts off the path and perches above our heads. 

All this LIFE in the woods, and Death will NOT shut up.

I text my hubby the eerie deets of the day. He sends a photo of a ginormous feather he found in our yard and writes, “it’s from a deep doo-doo bird.”

OMG vultures are circling.

Live snake. Dead snake. Live squirrel. Dead squirrel. Vulture. Vulture. Is someone gonna die??

Vulture feather (deep doo-doo bird)

I wake up the next day and find a deer tick embedded in my side 🕷 Nooooo! And there’s a bloody bull’s eye, already! ACKKKKKK! Invaded! After some pulling, pain and panic, I finally remove the beastie, but it’s black grappling hooks are left in my side. 

This is NOT fair! Nature is where I feel at home, in awe, connected, but now the glory of the Great outdoors is circling the drain! Why would the Earth attack me?

As I drive to the health food store, and talk to the naturopath, I resist the answer.

Mother Nature isn’t betraying me. My BS (belief system) is. My fears already had me circling the drain. I’m a wilderness wannabe, but I continually worry that my dwarfed body isn’t safe in this world. Vulnerable. Victim. Ah ha. I’ve become the prey I feared. My BS is confirmed! (BS would rather be right than happy.) 

Bonus BS – I have a deep distrust of the medical world, even though it’s come to my aid in the past. I DO NOT WANT antibiotics! But I know I can’t fool around with Lyme disease. I worship (and cling) to natural remedies. But I’m working to blend the two worlds, of medicine and metaphysics, without judgment.

I’m still terrified. And totally ticked. This tiny pain in my side brings old issues to the surface… and it feels like everything’s all WRONG… but maybe it’s to help me see that in the bigger picture, I’m always alright. 

Magical pond at Meg’s, early morning

At the doctor’s office, the nurse tells me she’s had Lyme’s for 28 years. As she’s leaving the room, she turns back, as if nudged from beyond, and says tenderly, “you know, ticks are a part of the circle of life.” 

My jaw drops open like the wide-eyed snake. 

“I canNOT believe you just said that,” I tell her. “That’s been going through my mind for two days!” 

“I couldn’t understand why God created ticks,” she said, “so I read up and found that ticks help clean up the environment. Like vultures. 

“No. Way.” I stared at her, gobsmacked. I feel a profound awe and relief. 

The lake where I stayed

We live in a dynamic, interactive ecosystem. It breathes through us and speaks to us, as us. Animals, water, sky, nurses and even ticks. Life and death are divine dance partners. We came here to take the crazy, complicated, courageous steps. To walk in each other’s moccasins. To dive into the dark and remember our own reflection of light. And to lovingly @#$% embrace our belligerent BS.

When we’re in deep doo-doo… it isn’t the circumstances that cause the lasting pain, it’s our beliefs about them. Fear tells us we’re alone, wounded, and the vultures are circling. The truth says we’re One with it all. We draw to our side (or embedded IN our side) whatever will bring up our BS so we can return to wholeness… and let go of the grappling hooks.

FYI I learned that ticks are a major food source for birds, reptiles etc. If we erased them (or mosquitoes, fleas, poison ivy etc…) we’d further mess with the balance of nature.☯

We already live off the Earth quiet mindlessly, and yet she’s a forgiving host. We complain about insects and inconvenience… and yet our collective footprint melts glaciers. Kills bees and trees. We’re the predators. In my tiny tick-attack, the tables were turned. Circle of dark and light.

What ticks you off?
What’s sucking the life out of you?
What fear needs to die, so something better can be reborn in you?

Meg’s dog, Gracie & the setting sun

Fighting our troubles is a form of violence against ourselves. We add to our suffering by insisting that life be other than “what it is.” When we reject what the foxy universe presents, we miss the hidden bundles that heal our inner wild. 

When the old BS is circling, our prayers are bringing unexpected answers. Take that leap of faith. Accept life with an open heart. Trust your soul’s nudges. And smile across the mysterious wilderness.
With a deep bow.

💞✨ Sending lotsa love and light,
☀💚 in the circle that moves us all,

P.S. The oldest known fossilized tick was discovered in a piece of amber in NJ (where I am, lol.) It’s 90 million years old! They must be doing something right. So let’s keep on ticking… just like they do.

 

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Photo from my favorite park and pond

Wake Up, Brave & Broken Dreamers

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Hey Wild Ones,

I recently read Martha Beck’s novel, Diana, Herself: An Allegory of Awakening, and after reading the last line, I burst into tears. My mind was undone. The magic is out of my puny reach. I am too unblissiplined. Too scared. My heart, on the other hand, was dripping with joy 💞 YES the impossible IS possible. If we believe. Somehow. Somewhen. But what will it take? More meditation? Less civilization?

If you’re a nature-loving, animal hugging, fairy following, madness making, fearfully flawed spiritual seeker who wants to save the world (or one or two wolves,) this story might be your cup of sunshine.🌎

I’m a wilderness wannabe. I watch Survivor for the thrill of imagining myself stranded with “nothing” only to discover, that actually, I have everything. I am safe. I’m supported by Life. Gaia. God. Angels. Animals. Trees. Bees. A million dollar prize.

If only I weren’t a scaredy-cat.

My body and I have battled our share of shame and surgeries. Limitations and loss. Dwarfism. Arthritis. Saggy boobs. I adore being outdoors. But I retreat to tamed parks and woods. I’d like to sleep under the stars ⛺ but I’m afraid of getting eaten alive by bugs and bobcat. How can I sweetly commune with the magical Mother Nature, the Elementals, the moon and stars, while worrying about ticks in my nether regions? Bumping into bear? Stray stalkers? 

My body (my meat-self, as Martha calls it) can barely bend over, put on socks, crawl into a tent, kneel down to sip from a clear mountain stream, squat when Nature calls, or run for a tree… When I believe in my lone “I” who “can’t,” I know that my BS is in the row boat and she’s got the oars. If you trust your spirit’s call, your body might get mauled…

When I’m able to see beyond my earth suit, my backyard BS and the world’s weariness, I imagine that we’re just temporary flesh-sicles, fractured from the Oneness. Apparently “you” and “I” wanted to go nighty-night into the most convincing (and wincing) wilderness dream – alone and separated from each other. Friends from fam. God from Earth. Scooby from Shaggy. We split into the dark so we could re-member our Campfire Light. Our Unity. Our S’mores. According to the mystics, separation is just a starry illusion. A Cosmic Selfie. A Big Family Photo Bomb. It’s for Fun. It’s for Love.

What. The. Flock.

Of. Seagulls. 

It feels so freakin’ real. Heartbreakingly hard.

I was shaken the other day by my inadequacies – the weight of ancient fears and powerlessness. I AM ALL ALONE IN HERE!

Help!

And it felt like no one heard me crying. Except the chocolate chip cookies🍪

It started with tax paperwork – my boggy brain began inadvertently fishing in fear: It’s your fault we don’t have savings. You don’t work hard enough. Next thing I know, I’ve jumped in with the Great Whites: 🦈 There’s something VERY wrong with you. You’re letting your family down. You’ll never be good enough. You smell like a sea slug. Etc.

When caught in a riptide – turn over on your back and breathe. As waves slosh over you, keep calm, relax and let the tide take you. Beach your BS like a whale 🐳 Bask like a seal.☀

Wait, trust the tide?? To take me where? I should have stayed safe on the shore!

I tend to paddle myself very hard.

The path to awakening calls us to many jagged cliffs and cold quarries. Most of us distrust the necessary swan dives. Imperfect landings. Getting caught in our own net. We tend to fight the current of trials and teachers (ingrates, partners, presidents, kids and squids🦑) which can actually deliver us from our illusions, judgment and gefilte fish.

We swim with the challenging ego, again and again, even though it keeps smearing our vision board. It’s the way we learn about our creative power, though. We’ve been given the glorious ability to choose. Focus on the fins you fear, and things start to stink. 🐟  

Martha calls the inner party-poopers and groupers, “The Furies” and that’s just how it feels when our meat-self grabs hold of the Fishing Rod. And Motor Boat. Our Meta-self watches with amusement, not at all worried about our pathetic belly flops over the side. Or those jelly fish. Of course, when we feel that lonely sting, it’s hell in water. Abandonment. Overwhelm. Up a creek without a green smoothie. Disconnection from the soul.

But that’s an illusion, too. Our humanness can’t escape our spirit. It’s part of the package. Bogo.

So what’s an earthbound sack of seawater to do? 💦 

After reading Martha’s book, I wanna move to the country, befriend wolves, gather food with woodland friends 🐿 hibernate with mama bear 🐻 and live by the lake of freedom and joy. And never pay taxes. 

Oftentimes, we creative trail blazers find ourselves feeling like salmon – a mysterious pull toward some distant, dreamy Home. It inspires us to leap out of the conventional thinking and trappings. Woohoo!  

But BS Belief Systems like to backstroke by. They swim me right past the tropical island 🌴 and then make camp in my head’s polluted harbor. The Furies shout to NEVER push off from that goddamn shore again, you idiot.

Roe is me.

After these attacks, I tend to wade in my small selfie pond awhile. Then, when I’m not even “trying,” my soul starts to float me downstream again. Phew. Soon… I just gotta see what’s comin’ round the bend. I gotta try to direct and duct tape the tides. Suddenly. I’ve lost sight of shore! I’m doomed! My hair dryer is at home! And while I’m wailing about the Great Whites, I miss the life savers. 🍄

There are a lot of us out there “trying hard” to change the tides. We tend to cling to the last clammy rocks right before we’re spit out into the abundant ocean.

Carp-e diem, my lil sea horses.🦄

Happiness is ours, when we can enjoy the river we’re riding, today. Our mind yells, hell no, it’s not enough! Our heart says, oh heavens yes, LOVE IS RIGHT HERE. We don’t have to fight the current. Unless that’s your jam, then go for it.

Otherwise rest.

Stop paddling for awhile. Turn on your back and breathe, sweet otter. Call for kelp. Trust your soul’s flow. Ride it like a mofo. And release. It’s the crack in the crab shell where Spirit (or butter) gets in. The open air allows our soul to love bomb the Furies (BS, sea-monkey mind, ego, mental diarrhea etc.)

You are a rare and precious pioneer. A game changer. A lone ranger. A fish shtick. There will be times of doubt and despair. It’s ok. It’s part of the wild earth we came to surf and turf. Together. After our respite, let’s get back on our dolphins and manatees. We ride at dawn!🐬

From my lil aquarium to yours,☀
With love and warm sandy toes 🌊💦

Julie

P.S. If you’re searching for some inspiration and super-soul-support on how to surf through your stress, email me and we’ll set up a free coaching call. Tell me what’s got you crabby 🦀 and we’ll crack through that old shell so you can shine like the sun. Let’s hold hands, like otters do, while we ride out these wavy times. I’ll be a devoted accountability partner so you can get your sh**t done. Talk to you soon, blue lagoon!

Joint Venture Opportunity: 

If you’re a self-help/spiritual entrepreneur (healer, writer, coach, earthy-crunchy creative,) my wonderful colleagues Sherry Bowers and Anne Presuel are hosting a joint venture giveaway offering lots of gifts, all geared to the spiritual entrepreneur 🎉. If you want to build your email list (and you have a free downloadable gift)  get your private JV deets HERE.  🎶 Sherry and Anne will help you through the process!

Joint venture giveaways bring lotsa new subscribers🌟 So if your work is in alignment with a giveaway like this, please join us!

Until then, hang ten 🌊