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  • Wednesday, February 26, 2020 9:06 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Natural Approaches to Bladder Infections... the Wise Woman Way

    ~ Part One ~


    By Susun Weed



    Step 1: Collect Information
    Bladder infections are also known as cystitis, urethritis, and UTIs (urinary tract infections). When bacteria grow in the bladder, the resulting infection usually causes symptoms such as: a burning sensation during voiding, overwhelming urgency, frequent but minuscule urinations, incontinence, bloody urine, and pelvic pain. Up to 25 percent of bladder infections in post- menopausal women are silent or symptomless.

    Bacteria enter the bladder in three primary ways: when feces are spread to the bladder opening (such as wiping from back to front after toileting), when the tube leading to the bladder is irritated or bruised (as from use of a diaphragm, pelvic surgery, or prolonged/vigorous vaginal penetration), or when there is an in-dwelling catheter.

    The thinning and shrinking of reproductive and bladder tissues that may occur in the post- menopausal years contributes to bladder infections in older women, as does lessening of vaginal acidity.

    Sometimes tiny ulcerations appear in the wall of the bladder; this is called interstitial cystitis (IC). Some of the remedies in this section are contraindicated for women with interstitial cystitis.

    These remedies are substantially the same ones that delighted and aided the readers of my first book: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

    Step 2: Engage the Energy
    • Flow, flow, flow. Head off that bladder infection by drinking a glass of water hourly as soon as you feel the first urgency or burning. It is tempting to stint on drinking if you find yourself unexpectedly incontinent, but don’t. Bladder infections only make incontinence worse.
    • Urine is ideally neutral to slightly acidic (pH 5.8–pH 7). Very acidic urine (below pH 5.5) encourages infections. An established infection gives rise to alkaline urine (pH 7.5 or higher), which causes stinging and burning. Test your urine with pH paper at any time except first thing in the morning. Cranberry juice lowers pH; vitamin C raises it.
    • Cantharis is a homeopathic remedy for scalding urine.

    Step 3: Nourish and Tonify
    • Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) contain substances that kill bacteria and make your bladder wall so slippery that any escaping bacteria can’t latch on and thrive there. Unsweetened cranberry juice (or concentrate) is the most effective form. (The sugar or corn syrup in cranberry cocktail-type juices and cran-apple juices can feed the infection.) Drink freely, at least a glass a day, up to a quart/liter a day for acute infections unless your urine’s pH is already low.
    • Pelvic floor exercises help prevent and relieve bladder infections, too! Try this one: After urinating, close your eyes, relax, breathe out, and see if you can squeeze out an extra dribble.
    • An overgrowth of vaginal yeast may be irritating your bladder or urethra. Eat one cup of plain yogurt 4-5 times a week.


    ~ Part Two ~

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:16 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Wise Woman's Journey to Nepal







    Dear Sister, dear Auntie, dear Grandmother,

    Have you ever dreamed of encountering the goddess in real life?
    Would you like to visit the "Happiest Country in the World?"
    Keep reading and let me help your dream come true.

    Last year I met Lata Love, a Nepalese woman, who asked me if I wanted to go with her to Nepal in 2020.  I said "Yes!" I will go in November.
     
    "OK," said she. "Now get some more women to join us. I have visas for thirteen. And visa are very difficult to get, so that is the most that can come."
     
    Are you one of those ten women? (Justine and Monica Jean are already signed on to go with us.) Read about the trip below.


    In addition to the usual visits and activities, Lata will take us to special gardens, markets, and perhaps a pharmacy or apothecary, too. With Lata's native's insider information about what to see and where to go, my ability to attract plants and plant people wherever I go, and my daughter Justine's skill at finding fascinating places in strange lands, we guarantee you will have a rich, rewarding, and nourishing time if you join our Goddess Tour in the Roof of the World.

    Let us reweave the healing cloak of the Ancients together.


    Many thanks.
    Green blessings.
    Susun









    Contact Lata at 424-254-4208
    lata@latalove.com
    www.Latalove.com

  • Friday, February 07, 2020 12:08 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Festive Pomegranate Cordial Recipe



    It looks good. It tastes good. And it gets the hormones flowing. Watch out party!!


    Freeze one whole ripe pomegranate for 2-3 hours. Cut in half with a sharp knife.

    Then cut in quarters.

    Remove seeds and arils (the red part) and discard the peel and membrane.

    Freezing does make this step much easier but it also makes it juicier, so have a bowl of warm water handy for dipping your hands into, and keep the counter wiped, as pomegranate juice can stain.

    Choose a jar slightly larger than you think you may need for the amount of pomegranate you have. Fill the jar no more than ¾ full with pomegranate arils and seeds. Add 100 proof vodka. Fill it to the level of the pomegranate, no further.

    Then add 9-12 tablespoonfuls of sugar to the pomegranate/vodka mix. I used evaporated organic cane juice. But any sweetener could be used, including maple syrup, agave syrup, rice syrup, or honey. (Probably not molasses or buckwheat honey.)

    Shake shake shake. Shake your cordial. The sugar does not want to combine with the vodka, so shake, shake, shake. Having Kwan Yin bless the brew helps, I am sure.

    Label and date. Continue to shake every hour or so, until the sugar finally dissolves. This may take several days of effort.

    Your cordial is ready to drink when you are, but the longer it sits, the better it tastes.

  • Friday, February 07, 2020 10:51 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    THREE TRADITIONS OF HEALING
    by Susun Weed






    There is more than the choice between modern Western medicine and alternatives. There are three traditions of healing.

    The Wise Woman tradition, focusing on integration and nourishment, and insisting on attention to uniqueness and holographic interconnectedness, is another choice: a new way that is also the most ancient healing way known. A way that follows a spiral path, a give-away dance of nourishment, change and self-love. "Trust yourself."

    Alternative health care practitioners usually think in the Heroic tradition: the way of the savior, a circular path of rules, punishment, and purification. "Trust me."

    AMA-approved, legal, covered-by-insurance health care practitioners are trained to think in the Scientific tradition: walking the knife edge of keen intellect, the straight line of analytical thought, measuring and repeating. Excellent for fixing broken things. "Trust my machine."

    The Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman traditions are ways of thinking, not ways of acting. Any practice, any technique, any substance can be used by a practitioner/helper in any of the three traditions. There are, for instance, herbalists, and midwives, and MDs in each tradition.

    The practitioner and the practice are different. The same techniques, the same herbs are seen and used differently by a person thinking in Scientific, Heroic, or Wise Woman ways.

    Thinking these ways does lead to a preference for certain cures. The Wise Woman helper frequently nourishes with herbs and words. The Heroic savior lays down the law to clean up your act fast. The Scientific technician is most at ease with laboratory tests and repeatable, predictable, reliable drugs. But still, the practices do not conclusively identify the practitioner as being in a particular tradition.

    The intent, the thought behind the technique points to the tradition: scientific fixing, heroic elimination, or wise womanly digestion and integration.

    You contain some aspects of each tradition. And the three traditions are not limited to the realm of healing. The Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman ways of thinking are found in politics, legal systems, religions, psychologies, teaching styles, economics. As the Wise Woman way becomes more clearly identified, it opens the way to an integrated, whole, sacred, peaceful global village, interactive with Gaia, mother, earth. As each discipline spins anew its wise woman thread, we reweave the web of interconnectedness with all beings.


    Pages xvi-1 Healing Wise

  • Friday, February 07, 2020 9:58 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)


    The Spirit of Simples
    by Susun Weed
       




        What is a Simple?


    A "simple" is one herb used at a time. A "simpler" is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations.



        Why Use Simples?

    Most herbalists I have met -- whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America -- use herbs in combinations. Simplers, like myself, don't. Why?

    Because I believe that herbal medicine is people's medicine, I seek to make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples, interactions are simple to observe, and simpler to avoid. Because empowerment in health care is difficult, I want to offer others easy, safe herbal remedies: and what could be easier, or safer, than a simple?

    When I was just getting started with herbs, one thing that confounded me was the many choices I had when I began to match symptoms to the herbs that relieved them. If someone had a cough should I use garden sage or wild cherry bark or pine sap or mullein or coltsfoot (to name only a few of the many choices)? One way out of this dilemma was to use them all. I made many cough syrups that contained every anti-cough herb that I could collect. And they all worked.

    As I got more sophisticated in my herbal usage, and especially after I completed a course on homeopathy, I began to see that each herb had a specific personality, a specific way of acting. I realized I couldn't notice the individual actions of the herbs when they were combined.

    It felt daring at first to use just one herb. Would wild cherry bark tincture all by itself be enough to quell that child's cough? Yes! Would mullein infusion alone really reduce a person's asthmatic and allergic reactions? Yes! Would sage soaked in honey for six weeks ease a sore throat? Yes! Each herb that I tried as a simple was successful. They all worked, not just together, but by themselves.

    The more I used individual herbs the more I came to know them as individuals. The more I used simples, the simpler and more successful my remedies became. The more I used one herb at a time, the more I learned about how that herb worked, and didn't work.

    When we use one herb at a time, we come to know that herb, we become intimate with that herb. Just as we become intimate with each other by spending time one-on-one, tete-a-tete, simply together, we become closer to the herbs when we use them as simples.

    Becoming intimate with an herb or a person helps us build trust. How reliable is the effect of this herb? When? How? Where does it fail? Using simples helps us build a web of green allies that we trust deeply. Simples help us feel more powerful. They help abate our fears, simply, safely.

    Using one herb at a time gives us unparalleled opportunities to observe and make use of the subtle differences that are at the heart of herbal medicine. When we use simples we are more likely to notice the many variables that affect each herb: including where it grows, the years's weather, how we harvest it, our preparation, and the dosage.1 The many variables within one plant insure that our simple remedy nonetheless touches many aspects of a person and heals deeply.

    One apprentice tinctured motherwort flowering tops weekly through its blooming period. She reported that the tinctures made from the younger flower stalks had a stronger effect on the uterus; while those made from the older flower stalks, when the plant was going to seed, had a stronger effect on the heart.

    Using one herb at a time helps me feel more certain that my remedy has an active value, not just a placebo value. Using one plant at a time, and local ones at that, reassures me that my herbal medicine cannot be legislated away. Using one plant at a time allows me to build trust in my remedies. Using one plant at a time is a subversive act, a reclaiming of simple health care.

    Combinations erode my power, activate my "victim persona," and lead me to believe that herbal medicine is best left to the experts.



        From Complex to Simple


    Take the challenge! Use simples instead of complex formulae. Let's rework some herbal remedies and get a sense of how simple it can be.

    The anti-cancer formula Essiac contains Arctium lappa (burdock), Rheum palmatum (rhubarb), Ulmus fulva (slippery elm), and Rumex acetosella (sheep sorrel). Rhubarb root has no possible use against cancer; it is a purgative whose repeated use can "aggravate constipation." Slippery elm bark also has no possible anti-cancer properties and has no doubt been added to counter some of the detrimental effects of the rhubarb. Sheep sorrel juice is so caustic that it has been used to burn off skin cancers, but it would likely do more harm to the kidneys than to any cancer if ingested regularly. Leaving us with a great anti-cancer simple: burdock root. One that I have found superbly effective in reversing dysplasias and precancerous conditions.

    A John Lust formula for relief of coughs (2) contains:
    Agropyron repens (witch grass)
    Pimpinella anisum (aniseed)
    Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice)
    Inula helenium (elecampane root)
    Pulmonaria officinalis (lungwort)
    Thymus species (thyme herb)
    (murillo bark)
    (3) Chondrus crispus (irish moss)
    Lobelia inflata (lobelia herb).


    • Witch grass has little or no effect on coughs; it is an emollient diuretic whose dismissal from this group would leave no hole.
    • Anise seeds are also not known to have an anti-pertussive effect; although they do taste good, we can do without them.
    • Lobelia can bring more oxygen to the blood, but is certainly not an herb I would ever add to a cough mixture, so I will leave it out here.
    • Licorice is a demulcent expectorant that can be most helpful for those with a dry cough; however, I do use it for a variety of reasons, among them its exotic origins and its cloyingly sweet taste.
    • Lungwort is, as its name implies, a pectoral, but its effect is rather mild, and its place in the Boraginaceae family gives me pause. How much pyrrolizidine alkaloid might it contain?
    • Thyme, and its more common anti-cough cousin garden sage, contains essential oils that could both quiet a cough and counter infection in the throat. A strong tea or a tincture of either could be our simple.
    • Irish moss is, a specific to soothe coughs and a nutritive in addition, would also make an excellent simple.
    • But it is elecampane that I would crown. It is not only a specific to curb coughing, it counters infection well, and tonifies lung tissues. Several small doses of a tincture of elecampane root should quiet a cough in a few hours.


        Simples are fun. Give them a try.

        Footnotes:
        1. Among the many variables, I have especially noticed that the tinctures that I make with fresh plants are many times more effective than tinctures made from dried plants. My elders tell me that preparations of common plants growing in uncommon places will be stronger as well. Many herbalists are aware of certain areas of their land that nurture plants that are particularly potent medicines.
        2. John Lust. The Herb Book. 1974. Bantam.
        3. Note that this formula, as is frequently the case, contains an "exotic" herb which Mr. Lust does not include in the 500+ herbs in his book, nor does he give us a botanical name for the plant, leaving us literally unable to prepare his formula as presented.



    Study with Susun Weed in the convenience of your home! Choose from four Correspondence Courses: ABCs of Herbalism, Green Allies, Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition, and Green Witch - includes audio/video tapes, books, assignments, special mailings, plus personal time.


    Learn more Here

    Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.

    Susun is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her six best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world.


  • Friday, February 07, 2020 9:09 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)
    Study Herbal Medicine and the Wise Woman Tradition with Susun Weed



    via Correspondence Course




    Video courses are lots of fun. I enjoy making them for you. But they do not allow me to have a personal relationship with you. And I really have little patience with online courses. I prefer to help you learn and offer support for your individual herbal goals via correspondence course.


    There are many advantages to taking a correspondence course.


    My correspondence courses offer one of the easiest ways to interact directly with me and learn how to use plants simply and safely. Each of my four courses includes three hours of my time: talking on the phone and writing to you, answering your personal questions about yourself, your health, your family, your pets, your garden, and the world in general. This alone is worth more than the price of the course.


    “Better than an apprenticeship, because I can continue my work and my life while studying with Susun.”


    My correspondence courses are ideal for those who want to learn herbal medicine at their own pace, with my loving guidance. Each course includes your choice of $100 worth of free audio-visual materials: MP3 files, CDs, and DVDs of my talks, workshops, and presentations. Your choice from a long and lavish list covering scores of topics including Talking with Plants, Menopause, Elements of Herbalism, trances, songs, and much much more.


    “This course changed my life, my family, and my entire community for the better. Thank you!”


    My correspondence courses help you explore green blessings wisely and effectively. Each course includes one or more books to aid you in your studies. And a free year of my mentorship program, where you will have access to new recordings of my classes, new videos, and other special materials. And, as a bonus gift, all correspondence course students who have paid in full, may take 50 percent off of any 3 one-day workshops with me at the Wise Woman Center.


    “I appreciate how practical and specific you are, while still leaving room for fairies and playfulness.”


    My correspondence courses never expire, and there is no time limit on your participation. You can put down your course for years and then start again right where you left off. Or zip through it in a few months. You learn at your pace, at the time that is best for you.


    “Upon completing the envisioning project, I knew I had to be a midwife. That was four years ago. I am now a midwife and ready to start on the next project of my Green Witch Correspondence Course.”



    My correspondence courses are not lessons to learn, but invitations to explore and experiment, to experience hands-on, to taste and touch and smell and be part of the life of the plants and the planet.


    My correspondence courses are done in real time, via real mail. There is never any pressure. No deadlines. Nothing that you are required to turn in. The projects can be done in any order. You can write to me regularly or erratically. There are no grades. I am happy to comment on your work and answer your questions. And I will give you a graduation certificate when you are done.


    All correspondence course students are welcome to participate in my monthly zoom meeting for as long as they like.

     

    Go to WiseWomanSchool.com and Choose Your Course

    • ·         ABC of Herbalism: Enjoy a double-length course including 52 herbs, dozens of conditions, green ally assignments, and lots of herbal fun. Includes six herbals
    • ·         Green Witch: Attune yourself to plants, the planet, and your own divine self. Includes two herbals
    • ·         Green Ally: Spend a year or two focusing on one plant. One student wrote a doctorate on what she discovered about diatoms as a result of this course. Includes a field guide.
    • ·         Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition: Learn how to recognize and use the Three Traditions. Work with the Seven Medicines. Includes Healing Wise and my new book Abundantly Well.

    Pay in full for your course and get your project booklet, your book/s, your audio-visual materials, and start your talk time with me right away.


    Or, start any course for only $50 and make monthly payments. You get the entire course with your first payment. All of the projects. All of the affirmations. All of the instructions. All for $50.  The supporting materials come to you as you make further payments. 


    You will be able to download your entire course at once if you wish. I will also send you a course booklet and supporting materials in the mail soon after I receive your registration.

  • Thursday, January 16, 2020 1:22 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Burdock Stalk Marinade

    by Susun Weed




    Preparation time: An hour to set it up to marinate, plus 10 minutes just before serving. Serves 15-20.

    • 4 cups/1 liter burdock stalk
    • 2 cups/500ml green beans
    • 1 c/250ml mushroom slices
    • 1 tsp/5 ml dried thyme
    • 1 tsp/5ml dried marjoram
    • 1 tsp/5ml dried mint
    • 1 cup/250ml olive oil
    • 3 Tbs/45ml herb vinegar
    • 6 Tbs/90ml tamari
    • ½ tsp/3ml garlic powder
    • 2 c/500ml cherry tomatoes
    • 1 cup/250ml black olives
    • 8 Tbs/125ml fresh chives
    • 8 Tbs/125ml fresh parsley


    * Soak and parboil burdock stalk pieces. Cut beans in half and cook until tender. Mix mushroom slices and dried herbs in a large bowl or jar with warm beans and burdock. Combine oil, vinegar, tamari, and garlic powder. Mix well and pour on. Let marinate in a cool place all day or all night. Add cherry tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs just before serving.


  • Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:40 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Skin Issues


    Hello Susun!

    I hope today finds you well. This is a tough one. I have whitehead acne, that manifest in different sizes and do not pop. My dermatologist is unable to keep them from coming back, and digs them out with special needles. All his little chemicals are
    unable to stem the tide. Now I have many tiny ones all over my face.

    Please help if you are able. I'm so tired of living with these.
    thank you


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Hello,

    There are several herbs you could try.

    First, spray yarrow tincture on your clean face morning and night. Leave it on. Let it dry on your face. Do not put soap on your face. Cleanse it with witch hazel extract on a washcloth. Use a new spot on the washcloth each time.

    Second, take burdock root tincture, 15-20 drops twice a day for at least four months. (do not take capsules, tincture only)

    Third, avoid all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats. If possible use only olive oil and butter.

    Last, eat at least a half a cup of yogurt a day for at least six weeks. (best to get plain and add fruit if you want)

    Hope this simple remedies can help you.

    Green Blessings, Susun Weed


    Help with Ringworm


    Dear Susun,

    I have been an avid reader of your books for some years now. I thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with me through your books.

    I have had ring worm since March of last year. For the longest time I thought it was eczema and treated it as such. I finally went to the doctor and she said it was ringworm. I have been putting tea tree on it (it is by my elbow) but is getting so red now and slightly painful. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Several years ago I went and saw you speak about nutrition and herbs in Seattle and I changed by perceptions of health and healthy food irreversibly for the better.

    Thank you so much,
    Angie

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Angie,

    I am not surprised that you are having a reaction to tea tree oil; it is very damaging to the skin. Try this: coat the ringworm with olive oil then sprinkle on some powder of yellow dock root or goldenseal root. Repeat several times a day. Usually kills the fungus in 7-10 days. Good luck.

    Green Blessings, Susun Weed


  • Wednesday, January 08, 2020 11:31 AM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    Cronewort (Artemisia vulgaris)




    The little leaves of my friend cronewort (AKA mugwort), minced, will add a savory, slightly bitter bite to our salad. Just a few will do the trick. Yes, you can still make a cronewort vinegar, with leaves or roots and leaves, if you can find young growth, which is generally easy.



    ~ Learn more about Cronewort Vinegar Here ~



    ~ Cronewort Root Vinegar Recipe ~

  • Monday, January 06, 2020 5:09 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

    How to Lead a Joyous Life
    by Susun S Weed


     



    I aspire to be a joyous human being. As with most aspirations: It is easier said than done. Easier imagined than put into practice. Easier to search for than to have.

    I want joy to roll like thunder across the hills and valleys of my life; I want surging winds of joy to carry me through loss and disappointment; I want joy to be an electrical rush that lights up my entire body when I succeed. What does it take to create a joyous existence? Is it possible to experience joy daily, not just in special circumstances?

    Joy, I was taught by my mentor Elizabeth Kubler Ross, is one of five primary emotions. (The others are fear, anger, grief, and love.) Joy is not the absence of pain, just as yellow is not the absence of blue. Joy may bubble up out of grief. (“What wonderful times we had together.”) Joy may underpin true anger. (“I am so thrilled to be able to stick up for myself.”) Joy may sneak into fear, at least I presume so, otherwise what are people watching scary movies? Or is fear’s joy the relief of discovering fear was unjustified? To lead a joyous life, one must be willing to see joy in every emotion and every situation.

    Joy is sisters with happiness, gladness, and cheer, the niece of ecstasy, rapture, and bliss, and the mother of satisfaction and delight. Joy is lovers with beauty and order, abundance and harmony, safety and security. Joy adores spontaneity. Joy is gay. Joy dances. Joy sings a lively song in a major key. Joy rises up; it is elation. Joy spreads out; it is inspiring. Joy is hard to contain, and difficult to suppress. Delight is a bubbling spring that tickles the funny bone. But we must go to the spring; it will not come down off the mountain for us. One must court the joyous life; one must conspire with joy, entice joy, set a place at the table for joy, commit to joy.

    Gratitude precedes and follows joy. When I am grateful for the gifts of life and a precious human body – even if it hurts – joy finds me more easily. When I am grateful for the presence of others in my life – even when they annoy me – joy considers staying for a spell. When I am grateful for my problems and recognize the blessing in adversity, joy signs the lease. Then it is up to me to see to it that joy wants to stay.

    Joy is always an option; we must choose it to make it reality. When I took a three-year residential course – The Development of Human Capacities – with Jean Houston, I lived in a dorm with a shower that dripped unless tightly turned off. The first few times I went into the women’s washroom, I turned the drip off with a muttered curse. (“A pox upon those who waste water.”) The third time I did so, I grabbed myself by the shirt front, got up into my own face, and laid down the law: “You may ignore the shower, or you may turn the drip off with a smile on your face and goodwill in your heart. No other choices. Get your attitude together girl!” This is how one lives a life of joy – by choice.

    I am an ordained High Priestess of the Goddess. She says: “All acts of beauty and pleasure are in honor of me.” I am the priestess of joy. I have taken refuge in the black hat lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which reminds me that I create my own suffering by the stories I tell myself. (And suffering is the true opposite of joy.) I take refuge in joy. And I sit ZaZen, which confronts me with the ultimate truth: It is how it is. Smile. This is how one lives a joyous life: by being its priestess, by taking refuge in it, by acknowledging it.

    Joy is often killed by degrees. Comparisons. Assumptions. Expectations. Joy’s murderers. Routine. Inertia. Exhaustion. Joy’s poisoners. Self-pity. Envy. Contempt. Joy’s abusers. Leading a joyous life, like growing your own vegetables, requires consistent daily tending to the small details.

    Joy is like a butterfly. It is not meant to be grasped, only experienced.  It is sturdier than it seems, but unexpectedly fragile. Often fleeting, yet eternally present in memory.  And, like the butterfly, joy may emerge after a seeming death, it may start out as an ordinary, unremarkable, many-footed thing. Never underestimate joy. It really is all around you, right now. To lead a joyous life is simple. One simply starts from the premise: “Life is bliss.”

     

    Helpers for leading a joyous life.

    •  Joy is warm and sunny; so are the places where St. John’s/Joan’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) grows. Dropperful doses of the tincture of the cheery yellow flowers, taken 2-3 times a day, cures the blues, banishes pain, and engenders easy joy..
    • Joy likes swings and slides. Take a child to the playground and see if joy doesn’t come along for the ride. Repeat frequently.
    • Baby goats are the embodiment of pure joy. Spend as many days of your life as possible in their company. Be really present, so you can relive their capricious capers with vivid memories of joyous abandon. Learn a thing or two about kicking up your own heels while you’re at it.
    • Cultivate your inner smile with the help of Mantauk Chia. Following his suggestion, I began my day with five minutes of out-loud laughter. Though I found it difficult at first, I persisted, and was delighted when my laughter echoed throughout my day.
    • Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing remains one of the best testaments to the joy of living simply. Peace Pilgrim is another favorite for roadmaps to joy.
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