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Paying Homage to my Roots

Updated: May 10, 2023

After nearing 40 years I'm moving away from my hometown. Summer of 2023 my son and I are moving east to Tennessee to finally start a family life with my partner. The transitions this year have been intense with many changes. Although these changes have been some of the hardest challenges I have gone through yet in my life, I appreciate the growth and learning experiences they have put me through. No amount of money could pay for the lessons I have learned.

I'm moving from St. Charles, MO as I approach my 40th birthday. My family has moved away already and all that is left is my son, me and my business. The friends that remain are always friends no matter where life takes us. It's been a big year of transitions and change. I was able to fulfill my dream of starting and owning a holistic spa in spite of the med spa over-growth. I finally achieved the pat on the back I was looking for from myself.

I followed an entrepreneurial dream that not many people have the guts to do because it was a HUGE risk. I did it and there was a time that I didn't want to do it anymore, but I couldn't turn around because there was no going back. I was on my own, supporting myself and my son. This dream had taken a toll on my marriage too and left me married to my business working 24/7, living next door in a 1-bedroom apartment and selling my 4Runner just to make it. Other business owners warned me about living so close but I wanted to be apart of the action and help out when I could, not knowing there would never be an outlet in my life for a while. My partner and I took half a year off and spent our-lives apart while we figured out life and me deciding what is more important, a family or a business. When I wanted to throw the towel in with the business I couldn't, that wasn't even an option. Closing the doors of my dream was something I couldn't dare let happen, but the wear and tear of the constant ups and downs really got to me. I was ready to give up no matter what the consequences were.

I know it's only me that can pull myself out of a situation like that. I have the control to shift my thinking and look at this at a different angle to decide what the next step will be, we can all do this; but, of course I stayed stuck in the rut and depressed for a while before I realized this. When I had a day off by myself (not very often) I would go into the woods or walk by the river. Somedays I even went on an urban hike around St. Charles. Anything to get out of my head. Being near nature, the woods, prairies, rivers and even flood plains help me find balance and trust that I'll be ok.

For a few months I started making videos about plants that I was foraging to make herbal medicines and botanical skincare, but after that not gaining momentum I took a break. I enjoy learning about plants and how they are here to help us, but when I took a passion and turned it into a job. I didn't want to do that again so I quit making content. Was I ever going to follow through with something that would succeed in my life?

When I quit trying to force a "new" hobby I just let go and got back to my roots. Taking things day by day and learning about my surroundings in my hometown. I'm intrigued to learn how our ancestors knew what what plants and remedies to use for healing and food. Since I've lived in St. Charles, MO I've always enjoyed reading about the history of the town and how the early settlers used the fertile lands and native plants to feed their families and form their small businesses. The reason this town survived is because of our river. The river is big and could cut away the banks and create a new path at anytime, but our "Guardians of the River" stop that from happening. The large cottonwood trees, sycamores and maples hold up our banks and slow down erosion.

My childhood home backed up to a creek and also contained the largest cottonwood tree I have ever seen in my life. It kept my back yard from eroding. It served as a protector to us hovering over the house. I was drawn to this tree for 39 years and I finally said my goodbye this past summer when my parents sold the home. I'm still drawn to these trees when I take walks down by the river. Cottonwood trees are guardians of the river and to me. While I've been here alone I can trust the trees are watching and listening when I walk or paddle by (I've canoed the Missouri River many times before).

As I studied the plant more in-depth I learned so much more. Traditionally the cottonwood trees have been used for various purposes ranging from medicinal to utilitarian. The buds are often used medicinally but have also been studied in soils. Scientists have discovered that cottonwood buds can clean contaminated soil and increase CO2 in the soil. The trees have also been used to create wooden structures and canoes.

Medicinally, the buds and bark are mostly used, but some herbalists have claimed to use the leaves. Herbalists will use the bark for a decoction or used in a bitter recipe. One of the best uses for the buds when infused in oil is for sore muscles. Used topically as a salve or oil can help relieve minor aches and pains. It helps reduce inflammation. The buds are also antimicrobial which is great for a salve to help heal minor wounds and burns to prevent infection. Some herbalists will make a tincture of the buds because it is a good expectorant for bronchitis.

One very interesting role of the cottonwood is its anti-aging benefits. Its phenolic content is high in antioxidants and can help with inflammatory response and cell renewal. This makes the buds a great component in skincare. Wow, a plant that is local and an exceptional benefit to our skin?! I am in the right place all along. The tree has been nudging me all along and I happened to finally listen. To pay my homage to my roots in St. Charles, MO I happily got a tattoo of the cottonwood tree. This will always remind of me of my home and working through the challenges I faced during that time.

As I wrap up my goodbyes and secure the business with a new business partner, I'm looking forward to the new chapter of my life. There will always be challenges but knowing how to work through them is the strength. I look forward to what's next and will always be an entrepreneur but I plan to be intentionally more simple with the next spiritual quest. I will be visiting Missouri to run the spa with my business partner (and managing from a far) and to see clients. The clients and staff will be greatly missed and happy we worked together in this unique business. This summer you can find me in my South Knoxville spa, just me and with my TOP favorite services using my skincare line I created. I look forward to meeting new clients! Book here :)

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