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Consider the Rose

There are amazing things happening everyday.
These times are extraordinary. 

An activist I follow under the name "Queer Appalachia" posted this today, reminding everyone that all of this momentum is making waves. It's working. 


I don’t know about you but I can’t keep up.

The news, social media, podcasts, 10 steps to be a better human lists, demonstrations, phone calls... 

My heart wants to be better, soar, grow, and yet my physical body has limits. I can get pieces though, and that has to be enough. I want to push through discomfort and take risks AND I must proceed with the kind of boundaries that fuel staying power, endurance.  

There are amazing flowers blooming now, conifers with juicy tips, and the milkweed is already starting to bud up---gasp! The green flood, a rushing river of enrichment, blesses us with more plenty that we can process. I feel pulled towards the musky fields, sultry flowers, and fungal blooming wood. My squirrel brain pops with idea kernels. What to make? What to stow away? It’s nearly a nervous tick. 

  Yet, not all ideas happen and some plants, who’ve I’ve been dreaming of all winter, I miss. We really can’t do it all. 
This is why we have community. I’m grateful for those who show up in ways I can’t or won’t and hope I can share a little bit of how I can show up with others. 

Let go of knowing it all, doing it all, and being it all. The time to avoid burnout starts now and rose can offer a helping hand. She’s one of the sexiest, toughest, protective, soothing, calming, plants I know of.  She’s a friend to those with overzealous passion or not enough; she’s devotion with boundaries. She holds pain well, you can cry in her lap and she'll sublimate your grief. She’s brilliant at self protection. She can hold the edges, thrive in sand, fearlessly face the salty sea with her silky petals while her roots reassure the land, “I’ve got you.” 

Just taking a whiff of rose can shift your nervous system from frazzled, hyped up, ready to fight (sympathetic) to calm, collected, and receptive (parasympathetic). This is key when we are asked to listen, slow down, and be emotionally nimble. 

Rose reminds me of all the soft-hearted, maternal, warrior womxn I know. My mother comes to mind, in particular. How could she otherwise do the work that she did her entire life---fight for the underdogs, for families and children embattled with mental illness, broken in crisis? She’s got oceanic compassion and a strong shield. 


Find a shield, perhaps it's a rose or another kind of anchor to help replenish you, protect you, and offer mentorship through this historically transformative moment, when we need to stay engaged, alert, clear, and capable. Hug trees, sit with plants, get aligned with a floral mentor. 



A bitter buddy, one my friend Molly and I were praising the other day, Hemlock, maybe just the impromptu rescuer of a runaway spirit some of us need right now. Bitter helps us sink back down. Sour cools our jets. Eastern hemlock tips, neon green tender bits from our pal, Tsuga canadensis, will help consolidate your energy back to center. They are easy too, you just reach out and take a nibble, like a moose or deer would (this is what Molly has been doing). Selectively prune to help other new growth succeed. Spruce tips are fair game too. Just make sure you know who is who. Yew and cedar are much too strong and toxic for trailside (or otherwise) munching. 


Another word on endurance. Rose is generous. Generously sturdy, generously beautiful, and loves to spoil her grandchildren. She doles out sweetness and nourishment. Let’s emulate this quality too. If you haven’t yet, find out what you can share, what feels a little risky, or challenging, something you can keep up, and let that be enough. 


Some resources I came across this week worth sharing, continuing with last weeks themes:


On Being Resmaa Menakem ‘Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence’ 


1619 The Land of Our Fathers  Part One  AND  Part Two


And some good news.