Launching Hands to Hands

We are delighted to announce that the August 29 Wild Herb Day will inaugurate our new Hands to Hands project.

Do your hands become chapped in the winter? Imagine what it would be like to live on the streets during the winter. Your hands would be so chapped that they would be badly cracked and bleeding. This is the case for many homeless people in the Greater Boston area.

I live in a warm, heated home during the winter. I am only fourteen years old, but my hands often become chapped and dry. It’s painful. My father’s are even more severely chapped. For me, salve has always been the most comfortable and soothing way to handle the pain. It feels good, isn’t too sticky, and the skin absorbs it quickly enough that it doesn’t leave my hands oily for hours. And every time, after it’s gone, my hands hurt less and are less chapped. When I remember to apply my salve regularly, my hands heal.

I want to extend the comfort and healing of our salves to homeless people in our area. That’s why I am starting the Hands to Hands project, which will distribute salves to homeless people in Greater Boston.

We need your help to make this work, and our first Hands to Hands salve making project will be part of the August 29th Wild Herb Day. We will make Hypericum oil to use in this project during Wild Herb Week.

Please share and consider signing up to help us on August 29th!

MRK

Lessons from Tigers and Bears: Activism Requires Self-Care

In times that necessitate activism, we must take extra steps to care well for ourselves. The more stress we face, and the more external our focus, the more energy we need to put into our self-care to maintain balance.

One of the qigong sets that I teach illustrates this well. In the five animal frolics, each animal is a short qigong form within the larger set. Sometimes we practice one or two, and sometimes we practice all of them. The animals teach wisdom lessons through the form.

The crane stands, gets ready, flies, draws in, then looks out at the world. This oscillation between stances and moves that focus inward and gather strength permits her to fly high once she’s ready to take off. Immediately after her flight, she withdraws into herself, and then she’s ready to look out at the world and prepare to take it on once more.

What a perfect model for the introvert activist! First practice stillness and strengthen your core. Then psych yourself to engage the world. Next fly high (“When they go low…” or otherwise). Now take the time to check back in with yourself, examine and address your own needs and gather your strength. Then look out and assess what you need to do next. Practice stillness again and repeat.

The tiger isn’t such an introvert. Our tiger begins by crouching, a more active inward motion. Then, she gets ready and then pounces. She doesn’t require as much stillness as the crane, but she still gives herself two steps to get herself ready before pouncing. She is cautious and builds her strength rather than squandering it. After pouncing, she draws back, much like the crane after flight. Finally, she looks over her environment to make sure there are no predators eager to steal her prey.

We, too, need to start by checking in with ourselves to assess and take care of our needs. Then, we need to prepare ourselves before acting, especially if we plan a powerful action. After our power move, we need to check in with ourselves again before shifting our gaze back outward.

The bear moves powerfully, walks, reaches, and acts with grace and an awareness that his every move influences the environment. The moves lack the inward and outward oscillation of the crane and tiger, but still, after a period of extended activity, the bear retreats for a period of hibernation. The more heavily we move about in the world, the more critical it is for us to take periods of retreat. Likewise, after a lengthy period of rest, we need to refocus outward.

Many of us are emulating the bear in making a shift now from focusing inward on our own lives and concerns to becoming activists in response to the challenges facing our country. We need to remember to continue alternating focus between activism and self-care.

To learn more about self-care, consider joining us for our upcoming Spa Day. Find out more on our event page, too. Herbs, shiatsu, and qigong can help you with your self-care, too!

To learn more about the conditions I have worked with, click here.