Much of Earth emerges from winter through warming temperatures and the melting of a snow blanket. The climate that kept plant life asleep underground since autumn begins to lift its cooling breath, inviting new life to return. First stirrings of plants’ energy for renewal begins well beneath the surface, where the eye cannot observe but where we trust that it occurs.
All of life mirrors itself, “as within, so without”. Throughout life’s journey, our minds and bodies reflect a similar process of awakening beneath the surface, long before our logical mindfulness notices the shift of energy and the subtle changes occurring.
Physical imbalances also reflect a process that begins on an energetic and related biochemical level, long before outward symptoms and functional changes come to our attention. Cellular changes are affected by habitual lifestyles and environmental factors, as well as the energy of our various relationships, thoughts and emotions.
Subtle changes in bodily functions occur quietly over time, so as to go largely unnoticed. These changes may be dismissed as unrelated to one another, when they occur within varied organ systems and habits, including sleep, moods, libido, metabolic changes, blood pressure, and random inflammations. Yet, they are often tethered uniquely to a composite of factors.
During these subtle changes is the most ideal time to intercept with natural measures. This early stage is when the body is challenged with nervous system changes, related biochemical demands on the endocrine system, and the resulting need for hormonal adaptation to sustain life.
In working with herbal medicine to determine the cause of physical dysfunction, I pay attention to the details of individual medical history, acute or chronic symptoms, and onset and/or progression of imbalances. The patient and I also explore how personal situations can generate obvious and subtle – quite powerful – thoughts and emotional reactions. We inquire far beneath the surface where outward symptoms can be observed. We pause to reflect on the events, thoughts and emotions that existed before and during the onset of imbalance, even if they may seem to be insignificant to the patient.
What fascinates me about my work is that each case is an intricate mosaic of medical history, personal history/relationships, varied symptoms and dynamic energies/personalities. Along the journey of working together with a patient, I understand more and more nuances that are quite profound in the manifestation of an illness. Many subtle details continue to be revealed over time, adding rich textures to my understanding of each person with whom I am graced to connect.
Not all plants are ideal for every individual, no matter how fantastic the plant’s medicinal properties may be. This is why it is wise to seek a knowledgeable, methodical approach. “Natural” is safe when used with reverence for the gentle strength of plants to heal, clinical mindfulness of contraindications and herb-drug interactions, careful plant selection, and understanding of the pharmacological sciences as they apply to the individual’s medical history.
You can awaken from winter slumber with mindfulness of Self, and begin your own healing, by inward reflection. Stir the awareness of energies beneath the surface to uncover subtle influences upon your sense of well-being. Be mindful of subtle functional changes that don’t resonate with feeling your best. Recognize your emotions and reactions to situations and people in your daily lives. It begins with the energy within, to emerge with new life.
Tami Bronstein is a Medical Herbalist, qualified with a BSc in Phytotherapy (Honours), at the University of Wales (UK). She is available throughout the USA and internationally by phone/video consultation through her private practice, Sundance Wellness.