Updated: Mar 17
I've always felt a connection to nature and year after year I feel closer after I spend more time learning and invoking all of my senses in outdoor experiences. Our natural surroundings are our teachers if we open and listen.
We often get caught in the hustle and bustle of life with work, family and our online community. Since pandemic many people feel the emotional stress from the demands of our society. Many of us lack quiet time, physical touch and time outdoors. These elements are crucial to our mental and emotional health. When there is a disconnect from the mind-body, possibly due to physical trauma, environmental pollutants and lack of touch, healing can't take place in the body. This can possibly leading to disease and stagnation. Since I am in the skincare industry I see when this occurs in the skin. The supporting tissue doesn't get needs met and the skin will show problems of congestion, infection, dry, oily or lack of radiance. I created my spa Birch Botanical Spa to help people by providing a physical touch as well as quiet time for the mind. When one silences the mind it gives awareness to the body allowing natural healing to take place. When the mind-body is balanced the skin is nourished, hydrated and glowing, as well as have you feeling wonderful and inspired by being calm and at peace.
The lockdown during COVID was an experience I'll never forget. I was doing well with my business and getting ready to expand with employees and services, but the pandemic stopped me in my tracks. I was mad for the delays it caused, but also scared and worried at what this was going to do for our lives and communities. I spend 47 days at my family's farm in rural Iowa. When I left Missouri in March of 2020, I was preparing to be gone for a couple weeks but those two weeks went longer.
When I got to Iowa it took me a while to calm down and adjust to life. I didn't have a job, my son didn't have a school and I wasn't sure what life was going to bring. I was thankful I have a place to stay and support from my family. I knew we'd be able to survive together on our farm for a while in a worst case scenario.
Everyday I woke up and made my coffee (yes, I'm a hippie that loves coffee, tea is for the afternoons) then ventured outside into the woods and fields to be alone. Somedays my 5 year old would come but it was often cold and long when I was out so he enjoyed staying inside with my parents. I would bring my coffee, a book and supplies to build a fire. This was my time to reflect each morning. At first I didn't notice anything different from my daily life, except I was in the woods. I made my fire, laid a blanket down and read a book. After a few days of this I started hearing, seeing and feeling things that were very subtle but something seemed different. I didn't feel like I was alone.
Was this real? What were my senses picking up? Was I starting to lose my mind? Thoughts and questions in my head seemed to be answered by the wind, feathers, plants or animals. It sounds crazy but I'd be asking a question in my mind and felt the response. Or somedays when I was upset and crying about something I'd take a walk in the woods and would be presented with a hawk feather. After a few years of finding hawk feathers on my path I realized this is a symbol to myself that I'm on the right track and things will be FINE, I feel like if the feather could talk it would say, "Jayme, just chill".
I have studied different healing modalities over the years and even traveled to visit special gurus to teach me more. Over pandemic I read all of my metaphysical books and practiced many techniques. I was a Reiki Master and also studied yoga, pendulum healing, mediumship and tarot. These are all great, but I realized I didn't need to know every eastern practice and modality to dive deeper into my own intuition. It was time alone that I needed. Time in nature.
I also brought all of my herbalist books because I wanted to get back into learning about plants. In 2012 I started learning about herbalism through an online course. I was very involved with herbs until my son was born in 2015, then I put that aside for a while to raise my baby and start my esthetic career. In 2020 I brought all my plant books with me to Iowa with a goal to jump back into plants and create a bunch of new products, teas and herbal medicine.
I was able to create a lot of herbal concoctions, but I was missing the true connection to the plant. I was using dried herbs I had purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs (my trusted herbal source), but nothing was seasonal. When pandemic started I was mad that there was not a lot of plants on the ground because it was still cold outside. I thought I needed to harvest only in summertime when there was so much to chose from. I was completely wrong, there was so much for me to learn outside. There is a reason for every season. The only constant in nature is change. Nature is evolving daily.
I started to observe the new growth in early spring because my morning walks looked different everyday. I began to notice the new growth that was taking place. The colors and shapes of the new plants coming out of the ground. This was very interesting to me. I started to slow down and watch the changes day to day. I began to journal about one plant at a time. I wrote about what I saw and observed, then I went inside to read about the plants in my herbal books and took notes. I even harvested the plants to taste, feel and smell, while I learned about all the different preparations. Plants started to get exciting! I felt confident with my new foraging skills and was soon taking my family on walks to teach what I learned.
I found myself talking to the plants as I observed them. Was I feeling like I was nuts? Yep, but I didn't care because I felt like I met a new friend in the woods. Finally someone to laugh with and talk to during this quiet time in our lives. Sure, I had family to talk to and the exciting weekly Walmart trip to look forward to, but this feeling had me taking more and more walks in the woods.
One particular afternoon I was harvesting violets for violet lemonade I planned to make that afternoon with my son, and I was having a great time picking violets all over the field. I remember being real chatty with my new nature companion while I popped the tops off several violets. I stood up and noticed a patch of clover next to me. I remember saying outloud, "ok guys, this will be fun, I've never done this before...can I pick a four-leaf clover?" Just then I looked down and it was there, right in front of my face! A four-leaf clover! I felt the magic and so special because I've never found this before in my life and all I did was reach down on my first try!
Since 2020 I have come to realize that it isn't the special modalities, text books, science, food, art, that we study to help us understand who we are, it's our connection to ourself. Nature is a great way to help find balance and grow a deeper connection to our higher self, the universe, god, our spirit guides, angels...whatever you believe and call it. Ask, pray, meditate and you will receive answers if you are open. I enjoy helping others that want to find this balance and connection. We are all on a journey to live and heal through life's great times and challenges. I will always keep learning and teaching, and know I'm never truly alone.