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a lesson from burdock

Posted 6/3/2016 1:31pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

I'm not a very bright woman. I'm stubborn and rebellious, and it takes me a long time to learn lessons and process things.

However, I am humble. I will take a lesson wherever it presents itself.

I have finally realized this is why I do farm work. For three hours yesterday at Healing Spirits Herb Farm, collecting burdock seeds, getting covered in the prickly seed heads of that tenacious plant; burdock and I had a conversation. We talked about my father, Mr. Tenacious Himself, the blood from which my anger, my stubborness, and my inability to give up, comes from. My father is the reason I am so strong, and also stubborn. He is the reason I rage sometimes, but also where my creative fire comes from. Scot-Irish and German is a strong mix; races of people who literally survived by their courage and fire they held inside, alone. Ask me about my history and I can tell you a hundred times that my ancestors , against all odds, survived.

This is what we carry in our blood. But there is a price to pay for all that strength. The other side of such strength is anger, and stubborn pride. My father's family, farmers since agriculture began, is famous for it.

I was angry for two days before speaking with the burdock. I couldn't put my finger on where my anger was originating from, only that I was feeling a sort of passionate rage, the type you feel in every cell of your body. I had been processing some long forgotten traumatic experiences, but the rage seemed to be coming from deeper then that. Even during yoga class, I nearly burned with the anger I felt inside. The deep relaxation was anything but for me. I lay on the floor, seething with anger.

The burdock plant bit into me sharply with its' barbs. They grab at you, like rude children. The burdock is a detox plant, a liver renewer. It draws out poisons and toxins of all kinds, including toxic emotions. The burdock is also a survivor; it can grow in all kinds of environments, with lots of water or little water, in terrible soil or rich soil. It puts down deep deep roots to make up for less then tolerable conditions.

I felt the burdock pulling my anger out of me. The burdock detoxed my mind and my spirit, as I struggled with it. At one point, I felt compelled to say out loud to the burdock "thank you, I will help you any way I can." I felt that the burdock said back "f*** you! I didn't ask for any help! I live and thrive all on my own.." I realized this is the type of attitude I have; I have it deeply embedded in me to be strong and never ask for any type of help.

Plants are excellent teachers because they don't interrupt the internal work being done. They never give us any guru bulls**t or any advice at all, actually. They let us work on our own stuff, rage, yell, cry, laugh, whatever needs to be done, and yet, they are a conscious presence, holding space with us.

I think the work I did with burdock may have saved me from future cancer. It may have saved me from an autoimmune disorder. When we let anger build up in our bodies, it literally destroys us. Anger keeps fluid from flowing well through our bodies, nourishing our cells. I don't think it is too far fetched to say that plants heal us from the outside in. The time we spend processing in the woods and fields, with the plants and trees, will save us painful hospital stays in the future. This is truly what I believe.

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