There are so many places we can go from here. At this stage, the temptation is to say, “Where ARE we going? How are all of these random topics going to come together?”
Don't worry about that just yet. We are still just assembling our tool box. When we get into phase Four and abandon ourselves to our art practice for ten days, we'll spend the beginning of that time assembling our art supplies, in whatever form.
And that's an apt metaphor for the way we are assembling these ideas, these paths to self-knowledge, right now. My aim is to provide you with a complete palette of the main colors you need, but it will still be up to you to decide how to mix those colors, choose where to place them on the canvas, and do the work of finishing your metaphorical painting: a self-portrait of the decolonized you.
In this metaphor, if life was a palette of paint, plants would be the white in the middle. You simply cannot make a painting without some form of white paint. And you can't make an independent, self-actualized life without some form of intentional relationship with plants. That's an assertion I will stand by until the day I die.
I'm personally a crazy obsessed gardener, but even just growing a few flowers in some pots is such a nourishing, positive experience. If you aren't growing anything, and especially if you ever spend any time wishing your life was different, then plant some seeds...today!
I cannot emphasize this enough: if your life is not how you want it to be, there is a high likelihood that you are not spending enough time barefoot in the dirt. But this isn't a gardening course. This is a personal transformation course.
Decolonize your Diet!
It would make sense to go now into a discussion about diet, since eating a “plant-based diet” is such a good decision for your body. I mean, honestly? It's a no-brainer. Plant-based? What the hell else are you supposed to base your diet on? Animals? They eat plants. Chemicals? They come from plants.
But yes, I know, and I agree: vegetables, fruits, whole foods (not the store! I mean foods that you know what they are just by looking at them) are what we should all be eating. But I don't find that carrying on much about diet really goes very far with people.
You can't tell people what to eat. They already know. Everybody reading this right now knows when y'all eat crap food. I know it. You know it. The problem isn't that we don't know what to eat or what to avoid. The problem isn't even that we don't know WHY we should eat or avoid those things. We do know why. And if we don't know, we can just google it, so easy.
The problem is our will.
Unless you can firmly and happily stick to the choice to be healthy, then no amount of information about the pros and cons of eating a plant-based diet is going to matter.
That being said, I find it super valuable to have a good working knowledge of plant-based nutrition, as in what edible plants contain which amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. (Fun fact: it's all about the COLORS!) Again, that's not a topic we're going to cover in this course, but I'll add a couple of links at the end of this class.
What we ARE covering, in this course, is how to gain control over your will. And plants can help us with that too.
In the interest of example, my own study and experience tells me that certain plants will definitely help me get clear, focus, and control my behavior. These would be gingko, pedicularis, lemon balm, certain strains of marijuana, and coffee (in moderation, of course).
Alternatively, plants that seem to inhibit my will (meaning when I ingest these plants I seem to end up doing things and eating things that I know I don't want to do and eat): sugar, hops, wheat, and certain strains of marijuana.
See where I'm going with this? OH yes, we are what we eat! And not only does that affect the shape of our bodies and the luxe of our skin, it also affects our brain chemistry and, directly, our ability to control our own behavior and thus, our capacity for helping others.
Also, like plants, if we don't get enough water we wilt and wither. Allow me to take this opportunity to remind you that not drinking enough water is self-abuse. Go drink some! Your brain and body need it!
But it's a bit of a Catch-22, isn't it? That's why we're going to do our cleanse together. To try and clean the slate so we can gain the upper hand in the situation. That starts in six days, on day 15, when we will talk more about diet and will. For now, let's have some fun with a couple of the more obscure ways plants can be our allies.
Challenge #9: Dirt and Tree Therapy
First, go find a place where you can dig a small hole and sit down and bury your bare feet in it. That's it. So simple. If you live near the beach, you can go do it in the sand. But a garden is better, so you get rich soil. If you don't have a place where you can do this, go find one. I don't care what you have to do to get there. Dig the tiny hole, sit down, take off your shoes, and stick those feet in there.
Now, do twenty breaths. Let it happen. Relax. The soil will heal you. The absurdity of this act; it will heal you. Promise yourself you will do this at least once a year until you die.