Seasonal Alignment – Summer

by , on
Jun 23, 2017

Summertime, and the Livin’ is Easy…

Breathe deep, smell the flowers, listen to the birds. 

Let the timelessness of these long days sweep you away in blissful moments of joy and relaxation…

When it comes to our wellness it’s not uncommon for people to feel that summer is the glory days of good health. The weather is warm, the plants are out, there are less colds and flus and overall people seem happier. It’s the season for picnics, camping, vacations, festivals and all sorts of outdoor activities. Getting out in nature is one of the easiest and most effective ways of helping one feel better. In fact, the concept of “forest bathing” (going for a gentle walk in the woods) has been proven to show significant health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and correcting other cardiovascular imbalances. Regular walking in Nature has also shown to calm anxiety, stress, nervous tension, and improve immune function. One way the health industry sees the effects of this, is that all around the northern hemisphere, the sales in supplements drop dramatically during summer months. Only to pick right back up again in the fall when the weather shifts and flu and cold season starts up again.

What if we were able to use the energy we can feel and tap into during the summer months as a way of supporting our bodies health needs throughout the rest of the year?

This is not such a hard thing to achive, in fact we are intuitively guided to do this, as it is how our ancestors have utilized the power of summer manifestation for thousands of generations. They would make the most of the summer season and store its energy in the from of ferments, preserves, canning, drying and other means of making it last and be accessed throughout winter months.

If we are to maximize the benefits that can be found in summer months, we are best to come into seasonal alignment and live in accordance with the energetics that govern the world around us.  Our connection to the abundance available in summers manifestations will then help support our health during this season and beyond.

So as we travel down this road of Summer Health Alignment, I would first like to introduce you to the 4 basic Energies of Seasonal Alignments:4-energetic-seasons

-Spring Activation,

-Summer Manifestation,

-Autumn Accumulation

-Winter Decline

When looking at working with the seasons, it is also important for us to have a basic sense of the Fourfold landscape of Holistic Health, which it Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.

Each of these are aspect of who we are and as so, require a different type of nourishment in order to properly maintain our health and vitality.

By looking at wellness through the lens of Holistic health, we realize that it is a dynamic layering of many interactive parts.

On one hand we have seasonal alignment as mentioned above. Where finding the right mix of fourfold-landscape-of-the-self-1ingredients to take in from our outside environment is the filter for choosing our path.

On another hand we have this fourfold landscape of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves.
Our choices therefore should ideally be rooted in an understanding of how they affect each aspect of oneself. By using these filters to help guide us, we naturally gravitate to the right tools and practices for generating a long and fulfilling life.

So lets take a deeper look at these four aspects of ourselves and how they can be nourished by aligning with the power of Summer Manifestation.

Physical

Summer is the season in which we can maximize our efforts physically. The days are longer and warmer, which brings our energy levels up and can allow us to be more physically active. What we see in many cultures in hot countries is that they ideally work in 2 cycles; a morning and an early evening shift. This is because the days are too hot and the body too fatigued for strong work in the afternoon. I believe this is an ideal way to really benefit from the manifestation power on summer. With long days we can often get two shorter working days out of one. So it’s time to take on those projects you want to do and make the changes to your physical world you want to see. One of the best ways to use this extra time is to get out and grow a garden, harvest more foods and medicines from your environment, and process, preserve, ferment, or store some of this abundance for use later on. With this direct connection to the food and medicine you are able to save money in the summer, and it gives you much more healing benefits than store bought food when it is consumed at a later date.

As the weather becomes warmer, it is important to remember that the bodies ecology and energetics need time and some effort to adapt to this changes. So be careful of internal imbalances related to heat that may come up in the summer. Specifically inflammation, irritation, heat rashes, brain fog and summer fevers. Also if you are from a northern ancestry, it is likely that your body was not as adapted to heat, and so these people can have a harder time with it. Drink lots of water, practice more exercise, and sweat out those toxins and that heat as it builds up in the body. This can also be worked with by introducing cooling and bitter foods, as well as diaphoretic/diuretic plants. Favourite plant medicines for summer at our house are Elderflower cordial (video link), Digestive Bitters, Hibiscus, Gynostemma, Peppermint or Atmospheri-tea, and Green Smoothies. Some cooling foods we can add to our diets are local fruits and their juice, fresh leafy greens, avocados, cucumber, coconut, sea vegetables, and fish.

Mental

Our mental health can often become exhausted in the “dog days” of summer. Heat rises and guess what’s at the top of your body… your head! It’s common for people to feel more mentally lethargic during the summer season. Often this is coupled by the fact that because it’s nice outside we are continually distracted by wanting to get out and enjoy it. Especially when we see others around us planning their own extra curricular activities. The fact is that most of us are much less mentally productive in the summer. This is not a bad thing, it can actually be a much deserved break from the constant mental work that the modern world often demands of us. Instead, summer should be a time for action, and a time to create all of your ideas and plans that came from mentally active times of the year, such as the winter months. So if strenuous mental activity is not working for you in the summer months, don’t bang your head against the wall. Get out and do things! Be active and use that energy to build happiness and accomplishments that you can be proud of when you think back on them from slower times of the year spent indoors.

Emotional

In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that the summer is ruled by the heart, which governs the emotions of joy and has the voice of laughter. So enjoy yourself, have fun, connect with others, do things that bring more joy into your life. This is a time for merriment, a time for celebration, a time to take in all the magnificent colours and fragrance of the natural world. Get out and nourish these aspects of your life. Vibrant living starts from creating the time in our lives to enjoy ourselves. Spend time building your connections with plants, animals, people and all the life around you. There is no person or thing that will be wearing a sign on them that says friend of _____, will make you laugh and experience joy if you spend time with me. It is up to you to go out and create those relationships if you want to have them in your life.

Spiritual

Similar to Emotional, the spiritual aspects of summer are those of connection, community and celebration. Find your spiritual fulfillment in the world you build relationships with. Part of why we get less sick and generally feel happier in the summer is because we have more opportunity to build nourishing relationships. This may be with a garden and the plants you grow, it may be with the plants and animals you see in the natural world, or it may be with the people that inspire you and bring more enjoyment and purpose into your life. Take the time to allow these aspects of connection to nourish your spiritual needs.

Taking a vacation is as much about spending time with those we love and doing things that make us happy, as it is about releasing ourself from the burdens of stress and commitments that we so readily take on. Committing to less in the summer months can make us more available for joy and good flow in our lives.

For this reason I am a big fan of the “stay-cation”. Which to me means coming home early from work, or taking time off just to putz around the yard or laying in a hammock and reading a good book. Be good to yourself in the summer and the rest of your year will be rewarded with more productivity and value.

Image from The Vancouver Island Herb Gathering

My hope for you this summer is to get out and really make the most of its powers of Manifestation, enjoy yourself, laugh a lot, and connect with like minded individuals. May you carry the energy of abundance that summer offers with you into the rest of the year to come..

In Health,

Y~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Health Activist and Modern Day Philosopher. Professionally I am the co-creator/formulator of the Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Director of the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, and co-producer of the Vancouver Island Herb Gathering.
From an early age, I was raised in the ways herbs and natural medicine by herbalist parents.
My passion is sharing insight into deepening our relationship with the natural world and upgrading our collective health and awareness.
I like to discuss growing-edge health ideas and share the “Herbal Jedi” life path through events, classes, blogs, youtube videos and other media channels I work with.
As a speaker, entrepreneur and modern day reality hacker, I am an eternal optimist, and like to think of myself as dynamic, playful passionate and insightful.
My message stems from the infusion of modern and old world knowledge, sprinkled with a little of my own magic.
Links to my work:
www.harmonicarts.ca
www.wrc.net
www.herbgathering.org

Alittle about me

by , on
Jun 18, 2017

As a Herbalist and Nature Enthusiast I have spent the better part of my adult life learning ways to deepen my understanding of how to best show up in the world and integrate more harmonious ways of living that reflect the adaptability of the natural systems that surround us. I am forever a student of the world, there is always so much more to learn, share and explore…

My Intentions for this website, my work and the writings you will find in this blog:

During such turbulent times in the world, where so many of us feel lost in a consumer driven, nature deprived society. I am honoured and humbled to be part of the ever growing heart centred health movement towards holistic living and a deeper understanding of how we are showing up in the world.

If there is one thing that I hope for in my work, it is that more people question what limiting beliefs are no longer serving them and become inspired to bring more earth based and natural rhythm approaches to living into their own lives.

I know at every level of myself, that when we have a deep connection to our planet as our root, we make better decisions as an individual and as a society moving forward. In this way we are able to be the change we want to see in the world. Although struggle and challenges will always be a part of life, the disconnection from our planet, our community and ourselves does not have to be.

Some of the ideas I share will hopefully challenge your current belief systems, inspire new ways of thinking and ask of you to go deeper into what you already know to be true and in alignment with your way of showing up.

Of course as I like to say… “take it all with a grain of dulse”  You are your own wisest council, and if what I or anyone else shares with you does not ring true or feel right it is up to you and only you to choose whether you take it or leave it.

My Beliefs about the Nature of Health:

Our current state of health is a direct reflection of the interactions we have with our environment and the way we integrated them into who we are. When we look at health through this lens we see that all imbalance or dis-ease can be broken down to a root of blockage and stagnation. It is this stagnation point that is most often the cause of our suffering. If we are to follow the course laid out by the world around us we will see that blockage on any level creates stagnation, which in turn creates a cascade of friction, heat, and inflammation, this then signals pain and awareness that if not acted upon eventually leads to suffering, illness, imbalance and death.

The path to health freedom starts with acting on our pain points and digging into our awareness to find the root stagnation that is limiting us from free flowing energy. Its about getting a little uncomfortable and radically honest with ourselves and our relations. If we look at the natural world around us we see there is no room for stagnation, when things become stuck everything else moves on and passes it by, or finds creative ways to use the stuck energy as fuel for new life to thrive. The point is life doesn’t stop for anyone or any thing, we are either inflow with it our out of flow.

The nature of the Universe is one of fractal self similar patterns that govern a basic way in which this flow can be understood by all life. This relationship to all things allows life to determine via what ever level of perception it is capable of, whether it is in flow or needs to course correct. If it doesn’t course correct, new life springs out of its death.

An easy example of this flow is to look at water, it is always moving through a constant cycle of change, from rain to rivers to oceans and back again, feeding all of life as it moves through its life cycle. If we start to alter this cycle, say adding rocks to the river, the water will find ways to move around them. If we add enough rocks we start to see the beginnings of the stagnation cycle. The River becomes blocked causing eddies at first, then as the water fills the holes where the rocks used to be, it can become stagnant pools of water. If the water can’t find a way to drained in time these pools start to smell, becoming filled with bacteria, fungi and algae overgrowth. At this point the water has shifted from being in flow, to being a breading ground for advantageous species that can use the energy trapped in the stagnation. In essence the death of one cycle leads to the birth of another.

My Journey into becoming a Herbalist

My path as a Herbalist started when I was young, as my parents had created a herb school at the same time they created me. (Wild Rose College of Natural Healing)

As a youth I was quickly submerged into the world of plant medicine, going on herb walks, doing sweat lodges, and spending many hours outside learning alongside plants and the students at the herb school. Growing up we were an active family, spending many of our weekends and summers out in the natural world, hiking, camping, climbing, canoeing, backcountry skiing, etc… Over the years this direct contact with nature solidified my awareness and interest in plants and the general magic that could be experienced through connecting with the natural world at a deeper level.

In completion of High school I lived out of a backpack or vehicle for a few years exploring the world and discovering a variety of less conventional ways of showing up.   After having a daughter at a young age and realizing that responsibility was sure to become a larger part of my life I decided to settling down and enrolling in the Clinical Herbalist education at the Wild Rose College back my home town of Calgary Alberta. This program brought me a much deeper understanding for the intricacies of the body and our relationship to health and plants as medicine.  After 5 years of schooling and 200 hours clinical apprenticeship I had become a well educated herbalists and was set to start seeing patients in a clinical setting. The only thing is I yearned to get back out into the world  and deepen my relationship with the plants even more. So my partner (Angela Willard- also a Herbalist who graduated along with me) and I headed westward to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island where there was ample diversity and many new bio-regions full of mushrooms and seaweeds to explore.

As we started doing some clinical work on the coast, and apprenticing with a local herbalist, it became apparent to us that the thing missing most for practitioners was access to quality herbal medicines they could trust. So rather than working in Clinic one on one, we decided to set out on a bold new business adventure and created the Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, the the mission of “guiding the body to a natural state of harmony” . This was to be a place where people could find a full spectrum of High Quality Organic plant based medicines, including loose leaf, singles and blends, tinctures, powders, syrups, oils and more . This took us on a whirlwind journey into the hearts and homes of thousands of Canadians over the next 8 years as our business grew to become much larger than we could have ever imagined. All of a sudden our business started to double every year and were forced to move locations 5 times in 6 years. Work, work work and no play was the name of the day for those first few years.

Fast forwarding to now. I find myself in a place where the mission of deepening our connection to the natural world is in full bloom. Our company Harmonic Arts has matured in a beautiful way. Offering great products and getting behind amazing causes we believe in.  Our family and personal lives are more in balance and I am now able to offer more of myself to the education of herbalism and further my personal mission of deepening our collective connection with plant medicine and the natural world.

In doing so, I teach workshops throughout Canada and into the United States, as well as share a variety of herbal based events, elixir bars, blogs, article, and podcast interviews. We have also been fortunate enough to collaborate with a great videographer and put together over 120 herbal education videos on our Youtube Channel that are full of amazing free content and have started to create a life of their own.

My Current work related roles:

-Formulator, Visionary and Chief Strategic officer at Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary www.harmonicarts.ca

-Director and Teacher at the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, which has moved online at wrc.net to keep up with the 21st century way of learning.

– Educator and Speaker on Health related Topics at Live Events, Trainings, Workshops, Festivals, Podcasts, Youtube Videos and more…

-Co-creator and organizer for the Vancouver Island Herb Gathering at www.herbgathering.org

-Co-ordinator for the Harmonic Arts Elixir Temple pop-up Elixir Bar.

-Wild forager, Medicine Maker and Plant Activist.

Being a bit of a big picture, and visionary idea type guy, I always have a number of other projects on the go.

Thanks for Joining me on this blog page, and being on the journey with me to deepening our connection to the natural world.

Y~

Bio:

Yarrow Willard is a second generation master Herbalist. He spends much of his time sharing practices around reclaim wellness, and deepen connection with the natural world. Professionally, Yarrow is the co-creator of Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, and director of Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. As a speaker, entrepreneur and modern day reality hacker, he is highly engaging, dynamic and insightful.
Yarrows message stems from the infusion of modern and old world knowledge, sprinkled with his own magic. www.harmonicarts.ca
www.wrc.net

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Health Activist and Modern Day Philosopher. Professionally I am the co-creator/formulator of the Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary, Director of the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, and co-producer of the Vancouver Island Herb Gathering.
From an early age, I was raised in the ways herbs and natural medicine by herbalist parents.
My passion is sharing insight into deepening our relationship with the natural world and upgrading our collective health and awareness.
I like to discuss growing-edge health ideas and share the “Herbal Jedi” life path through events, classes, blogs, youtube videos and other media channels I work with.
As a speaker, entrepreneur and modern day reality hacker, I am an eternal optimist, and like to think of myself as dynamic, playful passionate and insightful.
My message stems from the infusion of modern and old world knowledge, sprinkled with a little of my own magic.
Links to my work:
www.harmonicarts.ca
www.wrc.net
www.herbgathering.org

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