Below our sidewalks, between our cities, and surrounding us more often than anything else, is earth. The elements, its laws, and all of the sources of our life.
Reacquainting ourselves with it can be transformative. Though in a different way than we most often think about transformation. Rather than a makeover, there can be a remake from within. Rather than applying more layers, we can rebalance, which allows whatever crutches, shields, props or guises we were relying on, to fall away. We can shed and emerge gradually, or dramatically. Consider it an uncovering of our true selves. A transformation into yourself.
INSIDE-OUT: The most important transformation occurs within. Feed yourself well and you’ll find yourself becoming more healthy.
Eat plants. Aim for at least one meal a day that is ALL vegetables. Eventually, consider making the vast majority of your meals vegetables. If you truly want a transformation, a plant-based diet will do it. It’ll change your body, brain, and lifestyle.
Rely on plants as remedies. While understanding root-causes is way more important that treating symptoms, sometimes we really do just need a remedy. In those cases, look to herbs for healing. Earth makes some potent medicine.
OUTSIDE-IN: As you simplify your routine, I challenge you to appreciate your natural self. Observe the whiteness of your eyes and rosiness (or evenness) of your cheeks as indications of how healthy your body is. Allow your skin to breathe. Allow yourself to do the same.
Start oil pulling. This ancient mouth-washing practice is an excellent way to start your day. It’s detoxifying, immensely beneficial for teeth and gums, and creates a few minutes of quiet-time first thing in the morning for you to reflect on whatever you like.
One of my recent clients saw a dentist for the first time in six years and after one look in her mouth, he was ready to begin oil pulling.
How-to: Swish 1/2 tbsp in mouth for 15–20 minutes per day, a couple of days a week. Do not swallow. Do smile.
Switch to plant-based beauty products. The fewer and simpler the better.
Try jojoba oil as an all-purpose moisturizer for body, hands, and hair. The structure of jojoba oil closely resembles our own skin’s oil, making it easily absorbable and helpful for healing by bringing our body’s moisture back into balance.
MIND OVER MATTER: For any change to occur, it must first start in our minds. Tending to your personal environment can help initiate that change. From routine to reminders, plant-based scents can assist in quite actually changing your state-of-mind.
Create the space: When absorbed as scents, fragrances affect our brain’s limbic system — where memory and emotion are housed — resonating in our physical state of being. Maintain perspective by creating a routine that includes reminders of your relationship with nature (e.g. saging, burning cedar, sleeping with mugwort).
Carry reminders. Natural scents aren’t just perfume. Essential oils, for example, are plant extracts that your body absorbs through scent and skin. Find a favorite or two, keep them with you, and use them in the ongoing process of metamorphosis that is life.
Along the way, when something arises that challenges you to run, hide, fight, flight or quit, try taking a deep breath instead. Consider the air you’re breathing, the ground beneath your feet, and the support of the Earth all around you. Let it encourage you help you be your best self.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS