“Come on let’s go” Dandelion said. The sun was just coming over the ridge as we set out on the trail. We
were looking for Clary Sage.
“It’s best to get an early start before it gets too hot. The sun burns the oils right off the leaves," she said.
“How did it get the name Clary?” I asked.
“It comes from the Latin word Clarus. It means clear. In ancient times they used it to help with vision and eye
fatigue. Sometimes they call it Clear Eyes Sage.”
“What’s the matter with your eyes Dandie?” She didn’t answer. We walked on in silence through the meadow.
“The wild flowers are so beautiful” I said. “So colorful”.
“I can’t see the color” Dandie said. “Ever since Ben was shot.”
The Deep Red Blood
On his Dark Brown Skin
Turned Dull Gray.
She turned to me and stopped. “The wild flowers are all gray” she said. She turned and started walking again. We passed a stream and some wild blackberries.
“Wait a second” Dandie said. We stopped next to a Sassafras tree. She reached out one hand and laid it on the tree. She put her other hand on her heart. Her gaze turned toward me. I put one hand on the tree and one on my heart just like she did.
“Sassafras says we should slow down” she said.
“Yeah” I said.
We both took a long deep breath, with an even longer exhale.
“I think we’re finally here” I said.
“Maybe” Dandie said as she looked at me. She turned back to Sassafras.
“Are we in the right place?” she asked.
“That depends on why you’re here”, Sassafras said.
“We’re looking for Clary Sage”
“Look in your heart” Sassafras said. “If your heart is clear you’re in the right place.”
“I can’t see my heart”, she said.
“Your eyes are not the only way to see.”
Dandelion kept her focus on Sassafras. She didn’t move a muscle. And her eyes. They didn’t blink. She reached out, searching with her hand.
“We all have blind spots” Sassafras said. “You can’t escape them.”
“It started when Ben was murdered” she said.
“It started long before that” he said. “Before you were born.”
“What’s your favorite color?” he asked
“Yellow” Dandelion said.
“What color are you afraid of?” he asked.
“White” she said.
“Would you kill it if you could?”
“Would that bring Ben back?”
“Ben is here” she said.
In the purple flower of the Milk Thistle
With its sharp prickly leaves.
In the Black Oak tree
The way he walked
Strong and tall
I feel his wisdom rising
From the soil
A light breeze rolled across the meadow. Just a little puff, here and gone in the time it takes to breathe.
“I can smell the sage”, Dandelion said and started to dance. Moving toward her, my body agreed.
“Ben loves sage, don’t you Ben?”
“Yes, Ruby Slipper is my favorite,” he said.
“We’re looking for Clary Sage today.”
“What is it you want to see?” Ben asked.
“A color blind world.” she said.
“Why would you want that?” he asked. “Without color the world would be a very boring place.”
“Yes, and you would still be alive.”
“Don’t worry about the end Dandie. Look for the beginning.”
Ben stood in the shadow of the tree with patches of sunlight slipping through, landing on his chest. The leaves of his heart unfolding to the day.
In the fields
And the cracks in the stone
You can find me
Looking for the sun
To some I’m a Flower
with secrets to discover
To others a weed
Unworthy of life
Come see me in the morning
Gives way to light
And be a fearless lover
Especially in the shadows
Slivers of the night.
“Where are we?’ Dandelion asked.
“We’re In the meadow.” I said. “You, me and Sassafras.”
“Why are we here?” she asked.
“To find clary sage.” I said.
“Yes, my brothers and sisters,” she said and started walking down the trail.
“I thought I was your family” I said.
“You are my family. You can have more than one family, you know. A family of friends, a plant family, an animal family, a family of enemies.”
Her voice trailed off as she spoke. She stopped and held out her hand to me. Her little pinky finger was curled around like a hook. I reached out with mine. We curled into each other and smiled at the the clear, bright flowers of the sage. From lilac to blue they danced with us in the morning sun.
“Have you ever seen a Dandelion crying?”
“No I haven’t” I said. “They always seem so happy.”
“I know” Dandelion said.
On March 17th the world got a call to lock down. An imminent threat of a super spreading virus, unknown to man has hit our continent. Two weeks turned into three weeks which turned into months. The world was set on pause. Many Americans scrambled for jobs, food, healthcare needs, clarity. Some of us just went comatose.
A half a year later we awaken from our slumber. We’ve had riots and looting, murder and treason, we are under psychological attack from our government and media, the silent radiation field of 5G, vaccines with microchips.
Interruption to our routines, our way of life and liberties along with financial depression cracks us open. We become faced with death and loss and it’s influencing our cerebral cortex. Grief, depression, anger, fragility, compassion and humanity become magnified. Like the story of Humpty Dumpty, we can all use a little help putting us back together again.
For me, I have applied the concept of Argentine Tango dancing during uncertain times. In Argentine Tango, we pivot and change directions. The follower never knows when it is coming and must always be prepared. The leader is guided by the music and the music they hear dictates the pivot.
Today I feel alone, separated by social distancing from the people I love. The dance has ended because the music has stopped; the partner is gone. But this change of direction is full of surprises and silver linings.
Forced to step away from a world dissolving quickly, I am called to rise and ascend the current narrative, uproot a story of a world I made up. With gratitude and love for all of you, I get to plant new seeds and create the change I want to see in the world.
As human beings we are all being called to rise, adjust and calibrate and to see that in every crisis lives new opportunity!
Ojas is a Sanskrit word in Ayurveda which means the state of one’s immune system. Your physical health is a product of ojas.
Ojas permeates the whole body and is infused with life force and radiance. It creates stability in the heart and the brain which allows for calm and poise in an individual. A person with strong ojas is resistant to disease. Ojas gives lustre and strength to the body. It is shiny, sweet, and slightly yellow in color.
Now more than ever we need to be responsible for maintaining our own healthy immune systems. In this article I will offer techniques to build Ojas by using its beautiful essence of yellow color in your life. Below is a list of several foods with deep yellow colors that contain phytonutrients. These are essential to keeping the plant alive by protecting from insects, fungi, and the sun.
(Clarified butter), revered as one of the most precious oils in Ayurveda, a tonic slightly golden yellow in color it is known to help build ojas with healthy fats in the form of omega-3’s or 6’s, it is lactose free and helps keep our joints lubricated, skin and hair lustrous, insulate our bodies, provide protection for our internal organs, power our brains, lower cholesterol and prevent acute and chronic disease.
Loaded with vitamin A, B6, C, folate, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium it has ample amounts of calcium, iron, and beta-carotene.
During summer when the body loses water and vital electrolytes through sweating these are an excellent way to hydrate. This sweet pepper is drenched in vitamin C.
Botanically considered a berry. Bananas are a rich source of carbs, high in fiber and starchy pectin which makes it great for cultivating gut health. Be careful not to eat too much as banana’s are high in fructose and therefore high in calories.
Give flavor to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, and desserts with lemons. They are also a good source of Vitamin C which is essential for health. The early explorers knew this and took lemons on their long voyages to help prevent or treat scurvy, a life-threatening condition that was common among sailors.
These flowers are more than a stubborn weed that grows in your yard. This blood purifier is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The flower itself opens with the morning sun and closes in the afternoon. The dandelion flower is full of polyphenols which are micronutrients that improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases. Put a few flowers in hot water with golden honey for a healthy blood tonic.
This blend of turmeric, honey, ghee, cinnamon, and warm milk (vegans can use almond milk) strengthens the immune system by reducing inflammation, preventing cell damage, improving mood, supporting brain function, and preventing heart disease. It also reduces the risk of cancer and lowers blood sugar levels.
Another way to boost Ojas is to strengthen your 3rd chakra. Chakra means wheel in Sanskrit. This wheel can spin at a rate that is harmonious with the health (ojas) of a person or it can spin out of control wreaking havoc on the body. Strengthening can be done with yellow sapphire, gold jewelry and pastel yellow clothing or gaze upon a yellow flame for meditation. The 3rd chakra is where we draw our will-force from and is considered our power center. It also harbors the health and strength of our pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and small intestine. Our power center dictates our mood, our self-esteem our self-discipline and our instinct. It also is what gives warmth to our personality.
Lastly, I want to impress the importance of yellow Sunshine. When natural sunlight hits the skin, it triggers the body's production of vitamin D aka the “Sunshine Vitamin”. It is a crucial ingredient for overall health; protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function. Sunshine reduces depression by increasing serotonin and bathing in the sun in the morning hours is best.
There is so much more to share about yellow, gold, and ojas. For now, my hope is to strike your curiosity about what it means to have a strong immune system and that every time you reach for yellow or gold your intention is strength, stability and Ojas. The point is we must seek to be aware of the strength of our immune system. You can bet that if your angry, tired, malnourished, dehydrated, feel anxious and unloved your immune system is low. On the flip side if you feel joyous and grateful, shiny, and bright with stamina, calm, radiance, and light you are blessed with health and a strong immune system.
Blessings on your yellow journey!
One in four American’s will die each year of heart disease. Over 1 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. Studies show that people who live in Urban America suffer from higher levels of stress and inflammation, and now Coronavirus has upped the anti on our immune systems.
It is my opinion that Mother Nature has provided us with all we need for health and resilience. Through our five senses we get to taste the flavors of wonderful life-giving food. Smell the fragrance of fresh cut flowers in springtime. We get joy from seeing those we love smile and feel the heart-warming sensation of a tender touch and a hug.
Find time to pause, several times in a day and listen to your breath, the sound of nature, or chimes in the wind. Did you know that the hum of a crystal bowl can rearrange the molecules in your body? Responsibility for what we take in through our five senses is our best attribute as human beings. When we invite nature in and in fact realize we are not separate from it we can claim our birthright of homeostasis.
As a society we are waking up to the limitations of our medical institutions as providers of health and realizing their role as emergency care, pharmaceuticals and surgery. Now we can awaken to the truth of prevention and how it literally is up to every one of us to believe in our bodies' innate wisdom for health and resilience.
With my best wishes for your continued health,
It is March 15, 2020 and the Corona Wind is blowing crisis around the world. I choose the metaphor of the wind because like the wind, Covid-19 can seem uncontrollable. It’s an unstoppable force. It also primarily affects the lungs. Air is the common denominator in our lungs and the wind. Maintaining some sense of normal life in the face of such a threat is the challenge we all face. How we respond is the key. I believe the first thing to do is to realize that we do have a choice. We could succumb to the fear and panic. Or we could be creative and look for opportunity. This simple yet powerful change in point of view can have a profound impact on our quality of life. It puts us back in the driver's seat of our lives. This in turn reduces stress which is directly related to a healthy respiratory system. Stress causes the lungs to contract which restricts the airflow. This in turn causes major imbalance in our system. Just like a car with a clogged air filter, our bodies will not function properly. If we allow this to continue it will have serious consequences to our health.
Given that “Social Distancing” is recommended for all of us here are some suggestions for creative opportunities as we find ourselves spending more time at home. Catch up on reading. Start a journal. Take a class online. Explore the world of crafting. Spend time with loved ones. Dance. Play games. Go for walks. The outdoors is still not off limits even during the time of “Social Distancing.”
Regarding food and other natural remedies, it’s important to eat well to maintain a healthy immune system. At this stage of Covid-19 the best defense we have is our immune system. Soups are simple, easy, delicious and many of the ingredients are full of antioxidants that boost the immune system. Sweet Basil, also known as Tulsi is an adaptogen, fever reducer and immune-system builder. You can also make tea with Tulsi. Turmeric with black pepper help keep the blood clean. Cooking is also a source of creativity. Find new recipes. There are lots of groups online centered around cooking. Entering the Spring season, it’s recommended that we eat light as our lymphatic systems can get clogged. Using a Eucalyptus diffuser in the house helps keep the airways in the lungs clear.
Covid-19 is fostering chaos around the world. Another choice we can make is to create order and routine in our daily lives to help maintain health. Proper sleep, exercise, yoga and meditation all work in subtle yet powerful ways develop resiliency, so that like the bending blade of grass in the wind, you’ll bend but you will not break.
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Wellness Coach as well as a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.