A solid guide to protecting and strengthening our hearts and spirits by
Jenny McCartney, Medical Herbalist.
At the request of a good friend, this post is dedicated to those who are fighting for the land, it’s people, and the spiritual integrity and beauty of these things– whether warriors, renegades of the heart, mothers, lovers, front-liners or anyone whose grief-drenched heart is breaking over the culture wilting, land ravaging oppressions here and far away. These are troubled times friends, and some carry a bit more of the burden or find themselves a little deeper in this too-big-to-humanly-comprehend-immensity of it all, whether that be from the daily oppressions of colonialism, racism, patriarchy or the pain of feeling the people and land you love hurting.
While supportive communities recognize the burn-out, stress and hardship experienced by these folks, in my experience, often the heart break and trauma involved in this work, and/or social positionings, can fall by the wayside. Unfortunate indeed considering that these are folks who are, with great rawness, wound up in matters of the heart and the subsequent struggle for those things dearest to the heart. These are things that weave our belonging in the world: one’s people, community, and the land– that is, the things that mean the most to us, that draw us into action, defense, and nurturing. Much more than physical depletion and burnout are at stake, but also the spirit that resides in the heart. Thus, to give full recognition to these experiences requires a broadening of the idea of trauma, beyond physical bodily trauma, to include trauma that happens at the level of spirit and heart.
Due to our multi-feathered complexity, there are as many plant medicine remedies as there are people. So while there is no one formula for treating any experience, I’ve written the following as a loose guide.