Birthday Gift

The anxiety of being human runs through our soul, fiber, bone and blood, attending both the existential anxiety of death, and the more personal anxiety that rides on it, schooled even from the womb by our mothers’ mood and stress, and by the ways our infant bodies sense the ever-changing shapes and forms of our immediate surroundings.

But we are also birthed into, of, and held by the larger rhythms of the natural world, which is utterly without anxiety:

human nature, Mother Nature, inseparable.

 

birthday gift

by Sara Eisenberg

Tendrils of intelligent vitality
creep in at every pore,
embed me,
another green being in a sea
of sentient Ones.

I conspire with
plain-speaking pine,
cicadas courting with their forewings,
while the landscape whispers
in myriad tongues,
“There is no longer
in your face
the anxiety of being human.”

Nourish Your Immune System

In the North we’re adjusting to shorter days, cooler temperatures, dampness, and, for many, allergy-provoking leaf mold.

During this fall transition, herbs that uplift, warm, keep things moving in the body, and support immune function are welcome supports to self and family care.

In herbal language, a tonic herb or combination of herbs are used to optimize healthy function, restore a challenged body, and maintain well-being.

I keep a pot of this soup on the stove through most of the cold months – it reminds me of  Baby Roo’s tonic from Winnie the Pooh.

Sara’s Tonic Miso Soup

  • Chop 3 large onions. 
  • Lightly saute with a handful of Shiitake mushrooms in just enough virgin olive oil so they don’t stick to the pot.
  • Add 4 cups water.
  • Add miso paste to your taste – red miso for a hardier and white miso for a lighter flavor.
  • Add 4 strips of Astragalus root.
  • Simmer 45 minutes.
  • Add handfuls of baby spinach just before serving, stir until thoroughly wilted.
  • Remove Astragalus root before serving.

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus), a member of the pea family, is a mildly sweet and warming herb that can often be found in Asian groceries. The slices  look like tongue depressors.

Astragalus is used traditionally in Chinese medicine to nourish the body and protect it from invasion. In Western Herbalism Astragalus is used as a general tonic, to enhance immune function, especially resistance to recurring respiratory  infections.

You can also prepare Astragalus in a traditional way by baking or stir-frying it with honey and a little water to enhance its nourishing qualities.

For a more robust and heating preventive if you are fighting off cold or flu:

French Garlic Syrup

  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsps fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tb honey
  • Cover the garlic with honey, and let sit for 2-3 hours.
  • Crush to extract all the juice, and strain.
  • Drink 1 tsp 3x/day or more.

(From Anne McIntyre’s Drink to Your Health, Simon and Schuster 2000.)

Fall Rhythm Tip:

It is normal to gravitate towards more carbohydrates and more rest as we shift seasons. Give some thought to adjusting your routine to be more in harmony with the season in the best ways for you and your household.

Summer Morning Arrythmia

The texture, color and mood of our lives is often set below the level of daily awareness.

A succession of grey days, cold and damp. Or sunny, hot and humid.  Weather that invites us outside or draws us indoors for a warming drink and fuzzy slippers, invites longer hours of activity or of rest.

And we each respond to these shifts of temperature, light, moisture, the movement of air, in our unique ways.

Gusty winds of late winter and early fall challenge me. An hour of weeding on a sunny mild day can nourish me for a week.

Still, in the midst of summer, activity can also increase my restlessness, upset my rhythm, and lead me to seek out a winter moment. All the more so if I have not had my fill of quiet and rest during the cold months.

Summer morning arrhythmia

by Sara Eisenberg

a persistent garden fly nips at my bare legs.

i have more sympathy for him than usual,

i cannot seem to land, swat myself from one

temporary landing to the next,

come and go amidst summer clamor,

a fruit out of season,

pining for the winter spruce

of lower-case

calm.

A Virtuous Woman Weary

“I’m sick and tired of ____ !” 

This phrase sounds to me now like dialogue from a bad sitcom.

But there were years, decades, when I spoke them regularly as a reaction to the demands life made on me.

I thought I expected a lot of myself.

In truth, I expected more of life – of family, friends, colleagues than of myself.

With large applications of honesty and kindness, and with ample healing support, I began to perceive, acknowledge, and take responsibility for behaviors and consequences.

That is when a true and life-giving weariness set in.

a virtuous woman weary of her trade

by Sara Eisenberg

weary of:

lying down

in the bed I’ve made

lying still

unable to exhale

lying by

appearance

omission

commission

lying to

shore up

look good

avoid trouble

lying in

the interest of

equivocation

prudence

a finely rendered manual of evasive tactics

whose spine shows signs of wear,

whose pages are smudged with thumbing.

ships free.