Self-care is a lifestyle. It's not just an occasional afternoon nap or a good glass of wine and a soak in the bathtub. Although each of these are examples of how you may "treat yo' self!"
Instead, self-care is about leaning into wholeness by building trust in yourself. Embracing who you are right now — and integrating who you have been in the past — with compassion and gentleness. Forgiving yourself for past misgivings and stepping out of victimhood. It is about aspiring to be more, while unapologetically showing up as you are. When you learn to love yourself deeply, you embrace your shadow. You empower yourself by honing the skill of shining light on your trauma, transforming mistakes and hardships into fuel to manifest your dreams.
Self-care is about saying "yes" to your well-being and health. It is a commitment to life and a path of integrity. It involves saying "no" to all that which is not true for you. Being honest with yourself ripples out in waves of influence. These waves shatter illusions and shape our connections to each other and the world around us. Self-care is a practice of becoming. It is messy, it can be difficult, and it is magnificent! To know yourself. To stand solid and unique, imperfect and radiant. To live life with an increased capacity to ebb and flow with the tides, because you care for yourself.
When we embrace self-care, we are coming from a place of empowerment. We become authentic dancers and dream weavers who take responsibility in our all relationships and engagements in the world. Self-care cultivates liberation and creative expression, because when we know, truly know, that we are worthy of a life extraordinary, we seek avenues to create beauty. Beauty and freedom for self and for others. We become beacons of understanding and kindness. Pillars of resolve and impact.
Plant Allies for Embodying Self-Care
Empowerment is built on the foundations of aspiration, tolerance, transparency, positive impact, and boundaries. When we embody these pillars, we are truly self-empowered. It takes bravery to live in authenticity and self-love. But we don't have to walk the path alone. We have many plant allies who can lend assistance in learning to love ourselves enough to care for our tender hearts and the world around us.
Lilies thrive in high-altitude, rocky outcrops in full exposure to sudden shifts in weather. Unimpeded by the high winds, they dance in the updrafts. They blossom boldly in the frequent storms and temperature drops. We can look to lilies to rise above the self-imposed limitations that hold us back. They remind us that self-care requires our innate capacity to breathe and center. Ground and flow. Like the lily, we are adaptable, adjusting our trajectory towards joy, even in the face of grief, pain, and stress. Ask the lily for the strength to give yourself the care you have not received elsewhere, knowing that when we are whole in ourselves, we are able to gift the world our uniqueness. We too can overcome adversity and achieve our souls' purpose and bloom wherever we are.
Glacier Lilies – Gothic, Colorado. Photograph by Dawn Amber Miller
Pine trees are sacred to the evolution of mankind. We have even named our pineal gland after their cones, demonstrating our deep and sacred connection to the wisdom they offer us. Pine provides the empowerment of tolerance. What other teacher has shown us so much? Pine teaches us to bend, not break, to stand firm in our roots, and to persevere in the face of time, chaos, and destruction. A pine tree does not falter in its care of self, even when it is diseased or chopped. Instead, it sends signals to its allies in the fungal and root system of self, and together they reallocate its resources so that what it has is not wasted. When facing the pain of ignorance — whether your own or another's — seek pine to show you ways to endure the experience and lean into your own strength and seek support from community.
Violets grow on every continent on Earth. Violets appear dainty, soft, and vulnerable. They assist us with the empowerment pillar of transparency. They rise up through hard layers of ice and snow. They are some of the first flowers to bloom in clear-cut swaths in wounded forests. They offer their first flowers as art and healing. Their seed-setting flowers appear in autumn, barely noticed. Self-care is an internal process, and like the violet, the seeds we sow are not always the first to be noticed. But they carry spring's promise of creation. Violet's leaves support our lymphatic system, moving along that which no longer serves the body. They help us acknowledge and address the traumas we have endured. Call on violet when you need assistance in being honest with yourself about the kind of support you need to move on from a place of hurt.
Positive Impact and Boundaries: Hawthorn
Hawthorn groves stand in union above and below ground. They offer protection, shelter, and food to many forest dwellers and passersby. In hawthorn, we see how empowerment creates a wellspring of positive impact. Hawthorn berries have long been called upon to help support the circulatory system and overall heart health. Their thorns have also been used for protection. Self-care teaches us to honor the word "no" and to grow our own thorns of boundary. Partner with hawthorn when you need assistance in forming appropriate boundaries and tending your heart. Look to hawthorn to guide you in growing positive change in your community, seeking ways to uplift others and provide heart-centered alliance. Steep and share a cup of hawthorn tea while listening to the stories of the folks in your community. Resonance will be found.
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Dawn Amber Miller has apprenticed and studied across the United States of America and has received certificates in traditional and medical herbalism from the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, and the Hawthorn Institute. She is a passionate steward of the sacred realm of Nature and moves with the wildflowers, tending the rituals of wildcrafting by heart and hand. Currently she is a customer journey representative at WishGarden Herbs.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.