How to Play Hooky from your Life for a Day

Jump into a mental exercise with me for a moment.

Imagine all of your duties and responsibilities for tomorrow suddenly vanished, and you were left with a whole glorious day to yourself, free to do or not do whatever you please. No animals or people you have to care for, no to-do list, no job to go to, no chores to do, no need for any kind of productivity, nothing at all that must be done.

What would I do?

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I would begin by waking up when the sun wakes me up, instead of waiting for some horrible beeping sound to jolt me out of a lovely dream. I’m an early riser naturally, so this might just mean waking up to the hint of the sun at 5:30 or 6am, but doing so by my own choice instead of by an alarm can sometimes make all the difference in starting the day off on the right foot.

Then I would spend some time stretching, showing care for my body and preparing for being active throughout the day. Note that I hardly EVER do this, this is just what I would like to think I would do if I had the time and no obligations to be anywhere or do anything first thing in the morning.

Then I would gather eggs from our beautiful hens, and make myself an amazing breakfast along with some hand-blended Echinacea and Yarrow tea, with some Rose Hip and Ginger Elixir stirred in. Cold weather preventatives, dont’cha know.

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After eating I would pack up a basket with food and supplies for the day, finding a willing friend (or four) to come along, and I would head up into the mountains for a day of harvesting wild herbs. Some of the most valuable medicine for chronic and minor conditions comes from nature. After all, that is where we began making medicines from in the first place, before labs started making synthetic ones! And who can turn down a fun-filled day of hiking?

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Of course, if the day were truly free of duties, I would be sure to drive slow on my way to said hike, and take the leisurely and pretty route through some amazing scenery. I might even stop on the side of the road a few times for no reason at all, just to look around.

I would look for my many herbal friends, this time of year including stinging nettle, dandelions, salal, willow, and so many others. I think that spending time with the plants in nature, learning not only to identify them but also to see how they grow, is what turns an aspiring herbal medicine-maker into an accomplished and confident herbalist.

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Oh, and cheese—I would be eating lots and lots of delicious goat cheese, havarti, aged cheddar, and so on. And of course some warm homemade bread. Because we’re talking about the perfect day here, right?

All the while, I would be getting in an amazing range of movement, through the exercise of hiking and climbing and reaching and breathing the mountain air, and would be improving my own wellness before I even think about making therapies with the plants! How amazing is that!? Who needs to be a hamster on a treadmill in a stinky gym when you can walk about in the freshness of nature like we were meant to do.

I would probably try to fit in some fishing on this wildcrafting excursion, not because I need to but because I love to fish whether I catch anything or not. Although, I have been known to catch a mean salmon when they’re running.

I would draw my day to a close with a bonfire full of good laughs, good food, good friends, good stars to gaze at, and so many dreams of the future. Dreams of the future are the currency of the inspired, and I refuse to ever stop dreaming about where this life will take me.

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What about you?

If you had a day all to yourself, with zero responsibilities, what exactly would you do and who would you spend it with? I feel this is an amazing mental exercise to help you realize what you actually could be doing with your days, rather than what you feel you should be doing with them.

You’re never going to be on your death bed wishing you’d worked more hours at the office or mopped your floors cleaner or kept your kids dressed as cutely as the neighbors, but you just might regret not going for more walks with the ones you love, not telling someone how you really felt about them, or not spending enough time enjoy the beauty of nature.

Try closing your eyes and taking this mental journey with me. See what you learn about yourself that you didn’t already know. Maybe your deepest desire is to spend your perfect day with a person you wouldn’t expect. Maybe you never get to see them. Maybe you should give them a call. Or maybe your longing is to spend your perfect day right in your own yard, tending to it. And maybe you never do. Maybe you need to step out your own back door.

Let your dreams do the talking.

-M.

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Resources:

Here are some amazing Nettle recipes to get you excited about the harvest season that’s just getting started!

Nettle Pesto Recipe (from my amazing Herbal Mentor, Suzanne Jordan!)

Nourishing Nettle and Root Tea with Lemon

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How to Eat and Sleep

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“Food to a large extent is what holds a society together and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences.” -Peter Farb

Having something to eat which comes from a farm in your county, or which was baked for you straight from a friends’ kitchen, or which was plucked and delivered to you directly from your neighbors garden, is a reminder of all that is still good and right in the world.

In our light-speed, invasive technology times, we spend so much of our time in “higher levels of thinking.” Our minds are so wrapped up in that strategic planning meeting I have this week, or how to solve that massive leak which is slowing down production, that we don’t take anytime these days to reflect on our most important and basic of choices: those which predicate our survival.

What we will eat (whether grown ourselves, purchased for $.99, hot, cold, local, petroleum-drenched from round-the-world-transport, nutrient dense, deep-fried to an inedible state, etc.) and where we will find shelter (whether built ourselves, purchased pre-fab, dug into the ground, covered with a tarp, expensive enough to drive us to bankruptcy, free, etc.) have become an afterthought.

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These two basic tenets of the continuation of our species have now been relegated to the realm of these who are “backwards,” “old-fashioned,” or don’t have “real jobs.” Because of course, all the people intelligent enough to have a serious job should not be bothered with such low-level decisions and instead should feel righteous in their weekly (or perhaps daily) flashes through the drive-through at McHeartDisease, their favorite fast-food restaurant. Not to worry about changing their diet to save their life, because we have doctors who can write lovely prescriptions to take care of that. What’s worse, so little time is left after these ultra-busy, lightning-speed work weeks that those we love the most often get little of our time, and such warm traditions as a meal shared have become relics of the past.

I would argue that making decisions for food and shelter which honor our health, our relationships, our planet and it’s resources, are in fact very high-level and important decision making processes, some of the few which prove our species is willing to work together with all the others for the good of all. Or as some might say, it proves that we take seriously the charge to be stewards.

Not just stewards of our clients’ accounts, our cubicle, our schedule, our ladder-climb, or our persona, but Stewards of this Earth.

Forget about making the culturally-cool decisions and letting the other decisions be made for you by Monsanto, the USDA, the Real Estate brokers in your area, your Boss, or anyone else for that matter. Make the decisions that are right for you and your family. And just a hint? Start by valuing the opportunity to make the most basic of decisions: for food and shelter, and make decisions in those areas which you will be proud to tell your grandchildren about.

-M.

Notice Life’s Beauty

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” –Ashley Smith

Glass Art by a local Seattle artist on display at Pike Place Market
Glass Art by a local Seattle artist on display at Pike Place Market

These are all just photos of everyday, usual moments from my life. They were each taken along the street, or on a hike or a walk. We pass by moments like this every single day. Have you walked past a beautiful moment today and missed it’s beauty entirely?

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Beautiful wildflowers we saw on a hike in the woods near Liberty, WA

Life is too beautiful to be ignored because you’re in a rush. Life is too beautiful to be passed by because you have more important things to do than stop and enjoy a flower or a sunset.

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Sunset at Chamber’s Bay

 

Stop yourself from rushing past. Today, try to enjoy at least three beautiful moments in all of their fullness. Even if that means you actually step away from your cubicle and walk outside to take a break. Even if that means you take ten minutes for yourself when you get home from your day instead of stepping right into cooking, cleaning, or more working.

Notice the beautiful small child.

Notice the beautiful kind eyes and the smiling face.

Notice the strength of the wind and the warmth of the sun.

Notice the beauty today, and revel in it.

-M.