Another beautiful morning in these Wee Woods. I have so much that I am reflecting on and so much I wish to share.
I feel the humidity has risen and we just might return to proper sticky and hot August weather. Our furry children ran after the bunnies in the yard straight away as they bolted out the back door but not to catch them, just to chase them :D There's some symbology in the rabbits that have visited us in the last 2 years but the time to tell that story isn't now. One day, probably sooner than later but not now.
My first post this morning was for our son, Aidan. This one is dedicated to his great-grandmother whom he never met but who he shares a birthday with.
Today I am consumed by the memories of what today is for me and this family. We celebrate our son, and I remember and quietly celebrate my grandmother. As I said, today was my maternal grandmother's birthday. She raised me while my parents worked to provide what they thought was necessary and I was nursemaid to her, at an age much younger than should ever be expected of any child to be placed in that position. But I knew no different and the truth of the matter is that it didn't bother me half as much as it did when I got much older and revisited the childhood I never had or had very little of. I am much more grateful than I am resentful but that took a great deal of time, understanding, and the ability to let go of what I felt should be, as opposed to what actually was. And no matter how I understand it to this day, what actually was, was a gift of epic proportions. Boy was she cranky though, and at times, downright mean.
Still, this powerful, proud, strong, wounded and physically ill woman taught me so much. My first stew, made by me with her watchful eye and arthritic hands to guide me, I was 3 years old. Spanish Rice at 4. Baked apples in between. Keeping a house, Spring and Fall cleaning, organizing, what some would call 'women's work, I was fluent in all of that by the age of 5. She taught me things about the world that school would never touch upon and expanded my awareness of life in itself. She walked me to my swim lessons while she could still walk, to the corner store for a strand of licorice and maybe a pop, but very rarely. The walk to the store for the licorice was rare enough but to add a pop to it was almost unheard of.
She was healthier in her ways than I ever understood before. As a child I just knew that snacks were always apples and the bread was always brown, something my father chagrined every time he thought about it or whenever I asked if we could switch to brown bread in our house.
Particular about what bread she bought, having fresh fruit always in the house and honestly, absolutely no junk food. That woman ate clean! Except for those horrid cheese slices, I can't stand to this day. Worst sandwiches ever! Looking back today I see that it was all to manage her pain and the horrifying rheumatoid arthritis she was riddled with. I've said in the past that my family and their trials, wounds, and illnesses made me what I am today in the capacity I choose to walk this road I have been shown. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and tell her all I know so that she could not suffer as she did. But that was not the point to the journey now was it?
Growing up she was in pain all of the time, she was strict, she was moody and she was fierce. I found her to be wholly unfair and quite often, downright mean. I was 4 years old and so frustrated with her once that I actually kicked her in the shin :( Honestly, in her condition, she should have never been responsible for a 4-year-old as much as no 4-year-old should have left to care for her. Not that it shouldn't have been at all, but more than we should have BOTH had help, a buffer, someone to help us both that was in between. But we didn't, we just had each other. Which, no matter what should or shouldn't have been, was exactly the way it was supposed to be.
She taught me so much. She dropped out of school to work in a factory with her own mother at only eight years of age. She reared and raised her sisters. SHE grew up too fast. She spoke 8 different languages and was as smart as a whip, I'd never seen a more agile mind. She taught me how to play several of the card games I know, she sat and watched all of the episodes of Sesame Street that you could possibly view. She had survived a drunken abusive husband somehow and another who had used her until he was done then thrown her and my mother away as if they were trash. I wish I was exaggerating, I loved my grandfather so very much, but truth s truth.
She wanted me to be smart so she nurtured my intelligence and fed me books and facts. She wanted me to use my intelligence over my beauty so she never pandered to ideas of how cute I was or how pretty I looked in a dress. She wanted to praise me for my substance, not my packaging. She wanted me to never be needy, never weak, always and fully capable. I didn't realize all of that then, how could I when I was so very young? But I know now, I know so much more than I thought I would ever understand.
Because of her guidance and because of the duties set upon me, I am better able to serve others. My True North Node points at Virgo and my mission here in this life was reinforced early in life, being in service to this woman. Serve and heal...the words branded on my path reinforced so strongly in my childhood...serve and heal.
I lovingly and compassionately look down at the child that I was, such a little mother, I could never do enough, not because I ever wanted something in return, but just to help, just to share and just to hopefully bring love and relief to a person's eyes and heart as they realized what I was doing. I never did anything to gain more than love and that still drives me today. Appreciate my efforts and I will continue strongly, moving forward each day, through every single breath I take.
Now, you may notice a little check mark up there beside this page's name? After 6 years of studying my books, and 4 years after my Spirit Plant (plantain) was introduced to me, after 4 years of foraging for plants, creating healing salves, lotions, tinctures, elixirs and so much more I finally took responsibility for who I am and what I am here to do in a way that more than a few were shocked by. I registered Cari-Lee's Recipes For Alchemy as a legal business.
I refuse to hide in the shadows, worried about things that I have no control over or that I won't be taken seriously. I don't have these fears or insecurities any longer. I know my worth and I am very particular about my craft. The products I am producing and the clientele will speak for me, where my mouth needs not utter a word.
I have grown this small business from the ground up, slowly, patiently, not rushing a single movement in this journey. I am in no rush to get wherever it is that I am going. I've done this on my own and with the loving support and encouragement of my incredible family and dear friends who have been my guinea pigs and testers all along. Every single item of my creation has been made out of love. Every single pot that's been poured, bag that's been filled, container that is labeled and wrapped to speck, is done so lovingly by hand, with the most resourceful knowledge of any one plant before I even dare attempt to utilize it. I will sit and stare at a plant for an entire season before I harvest it, it will call to me in my dreams before I read up on its magic and I will take my time before I ever rush to some imaginary finish line. All things take their time and I will never rush ahead of what I am guided towards.
But honestly, I did this for myself, and the memory of my grandmother stands strong with me in my decision. I wish I had my 'Mend Me' to rub lovingly into her feet, her knees, her back, shoulders, neck, and hands. I am in no way exaggerating or pulling at your heart strings when I tell you that I am crying as I type this. I wish I had the Diatomaceous Earth and could teach her why it works and how. I do what I do, in honour of her, in honour of the gifts she nurtured in me no matter how mean I found her to be. I know why she had so little patience at times...just imagine a constant pain running all throughout your body, tightening, crippling and deforming you. Not being able to brush your own hair, clip your own nails, dress yourself or move around with any ease. Imagine every position you rest in hurts, all of the time, not just once in a while, all of the time, getting worse with the weather, getting worse and never better. You might be a little short tempered and miserable too.
All of her ways of preparing me for this life. I will also add that I do this for my parents who were and are also lost in the ways of modern Pharmacia and what they offer up as medicines these days, over the last 50 years and more. But truly, yesterday, when I filled out the paperwork, and I sat with myself, thinking, 'why am I doing this?', it was for her and for me.
In life, we all suffer, suffering is unavoidable at times. But we can mend and heal so much and that is my mission here. To assist in this. My dear grandmother Caroline, who I am named after, she is one of my guiding lights, inspirations, and even somewhat of a hero. A hero who's foibles and missteps I see quite clearly and don't need to put up on a pedestal to admire. She was oh so far from perfect, like me. Strong and stubborn Leo woman, oh how you prepared me for this life and these ways. How my life has unfolded for me continues to amaze me and teach me more about myself than I could possibly understand all at once. It will truly take a lifetime and I have never been so grateful for the honour of this life and its offerings.
Happy birthday dear woman who I know walks with me still, you and all of my ancestors supporting me, still nurturing and guiding me. I dedicate my work, my passion to heal and to help, to you in gratitude for all that you taught and prepared me for .
Author: Cari-Lee Miller
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I am a seed burst forth from its shell. I have mingled and fought in the dirt. I am ready to kiss the Sun. *CLM
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Your medicine is in the woods.
Your pharmacy is in your kitchen.