Do we all have the power within us to totally let go of all the old “programs” and “belief systems” that control our lives?  Are our bodies simply able to heal themselves…physically, mentally and emotionally once we drop those old belief systems and old stories?

My friend Vicki and I lived in New Zealand in a small town at the top of the south island. We spent a great deal of time together studying medicinal herbs with an amazing teacher. As an offshoot of our herbal studies, we discovered the world of Nature Intelligence…working co-creatively with Nature in our gardens and everyday life…out of which evolved my book, Nature’s Creation – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants. But, that’s another story.

We both moved back to Australia over a decade ago and although we didn’t see each other often, we stayed in touch from a distance. Vicki decided to throw caution to the wind, pack up and leave her home south of Sydney.  She put a post on Facebook letting friends know she was open to housesitting. Synchronicity came into both our lives. I noticed her post immediately and booked her in for 5 weeks in June/July when I head to Europe (Scotland, Norway & Iceland)…but that too is another story.

It turns out that I was invited to go to Sydney recently for my cousin’s 70th birthday party and Vicki was on her way up north to Queensland…so stopping in Byron Bay for 4 days worked perfectly for her to come and housesit.

I have a small but lovable dog, however, Vicki has never had much involvement with dogs but she was willing to babysit Kashi (or maybe it was the other way around). Let me put the record straight. Kashi has always followed me everywhere and is always right by my feet or close by. He sleeps in my room on his bed every night and literally is my shadow.

Three weeks ago Vicki arrived. Instantly, Kashi deserted me and began to follow Vicki everywhere. Now, let me tell you, I was dumbfounded. I’ve had this dog for 5+ years and he has never instantly deserted me for another person, especially one who virtually ignored him, other than a pat or two to say hello.

That night we went out for dinner and Vicki was telling me about how she had changed her life. I’m not sure I can fully explain what she told me as I’m still attempting to understand the concept and incorporate it into my life. I’m a beginner but here is a brief synopsis. Believe me, there is way more to it than I can explain at this time as this has been part of Vicki’s life for several years now and has transformed her in every way.

It is all about knowing the body has the innate ability to heal itself in every way. It is about letting go of all the old programs & belief systems around what we’ve been told all our lives and believe as true…those programs that are ingrained in our minds and belief systems. It’s about knowing that many of these old programs don’t serve us and knowing/believing that we are able to change this… totally letting go of these old programs.  It’s about coming to a place of health, peace, happiness, balance and without stress.

I don’t proclaim to know very much about this process…yet! But…I do know that Vicki’s energy has changed and her life now flows. She is content and happy and not affected by negative things going on around her or old belief systems. However…what made me a believer is my trusty dog, Kashi. He literally deserted me to be right by Vicki and her balanced, peaceful energy. She didn’t do anything to encourage him. It was his choice. Animals will choose to be around pure, balanced energy and this was a light bulb moment for me.

Part of the synchronicity of what I’ve discovered is that I’m being led down this path almost on a daily basis in myriad ways…either via Facebook or through word of mouth. I continue to have “Ah Ha” moments. Recently, I discovered a preview of a new doco on my Facebook page. The doco is called, HEAL. It just happens to be showing at the Pighouse Flicks in Byron Bay…so I went to see it last week. The documentary revolves around the question, “Can the human body heal itself by changing one’s perspective?”

By the way…Vicki had not heard about the Heal doco until I emailed her the link just a few days ago.

Here is the link to Heal preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ffp-4tityDE


 

 

 

 

 



Natures Creation

NATURE’S CREATION – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants – Book & Cards

A wonderful book and card set for those who are passionate about medicinal plants. Use the book and cards to learn about over 40 medicinal plants, their history, myths and, most importantly, their healing properties. Discover how to utilise the plants’ medicinal qualities through a variety of herbal preparations. Tinctures, decoctions, flower essences, essential oils and herbal teas can be powerful tools in healing on all levels…physical, mental and emotional.

Each card has also been designed to provide insight and to aid in recognising an issue and facilitating its release or simply in using a particular plant for personal support. Choose a card daily or whenever you need guidance and support. Browse the corresponding chapter to get a feeling for the plant and what it’s offering you and to reflect on the gentle lesson it teaches.

Many of the insights in the book embrace spiritual practices for personal growth and balance. Yoga, meditation, fire ceremony and other modalities can be used to strengthen the plants’ healing abilities and assist in transforming, aligning and bringing balance.

Check out the book/cards set. The perfect Christmas gift!

Buy the book/cards on the website: www.naturescreation.biz

 


I’m beginning to gather my annual and perennial medicinal herbs to plant out in my garden and/or in pots. In the photo above (left) I have comfrey, viola, calendula, mint varieties, Herb Robert, yacon, and nasturtiums ready to plant. In the pots, I have strawberries and lavender. Below are pictures of my herb garden, comfrey, and Herb Robert.

I like to plant mint and comfrey in pots as both of these species can take over the garden very quickly if left to their own devices. Comfrey will re-grow from the most minuscule piece of root left under the earth. A trick I’ve used in the past is to plant them in good sized pots, dig a hole in my garden and put the whole pot, with the plant potted inside into the hole. This method prevents the roots from escaping and the plant taking over the garden. They then become part of the herb garden and stay within their boundaries.

My little herb garden has been fertilised, mulched and left over winter. It’s now ready to plant out. This garden gets lots of sun in the summer so I have another little garden space for shade-loving plants like Herb Robert (above). My climate is sub-tropical, therefore the herbs I’m planting grow well in this climate. It is best to do some planning and figure out which plants will be happy planted in your garden bed and which ones would prefer a pot outside or even inside on the kitchen windowsill. I planted my lavender in a pot so I can control how much water it gets. Lavender does not particularly like the humid, sub-tropical climate or wet feet. My strawberries are in pots on the edge of my garden bed as strawberries are another plant that spreads rapidly and takes over. I only have a small herb garden so I have to plan it out well. I like to have a low maintenance, easy to manage garden. Everything comes down to how much space is available in your garden and what you choose to plant. It is important not to overcrowd the garden and to leave space for each plant to stay healthy and to grow to its optimum size…especially if you are using the plant medicinally.

Companion planting is also something I like to do. I know that nasturtiums and calendula like kale so I will plant a few kale plants with them. I’ve learned that kale isn’t keen on strawberries so I will keep the strawberry pots well away from the kale. Mint is good around cabbage and tomatoes but not parsley or chamomile. Lemon balm is often called bee balm as it attracts bees that pollinate other plants in the garden. Check out companion planting as a diverse mix of plants that are compatible makes for a healthy and beautiful herb garden.

Nature’s Creation Book and Cards have lots of good information about many of the available herbs and how to use them medicinally. www.naturescreation.biz

 


Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum) or Saint Robert’s Herb is a European woodland geranium with an extremely long history as a valuable medicinal herb. It had all but disappeared from medicinal herb gardens. However, with its amazing healing qualities, this little herb is making a well-deserved comeback.

Very little information is written on Herb Robert’s healing constituents but this special plant has repeated time and time again, that it has supreme therapeutic qualities. It has proven that it has the capabilities to enhance the immune system. Research has established that the source of germanium in Herb Robert is a beneficial element in the body…having the ability to make oxygen available to the cells. This ability gives the body the opportunity to fight disease enabling the cells to regenerate and heal quickly. Free radicals cause a lack of oxygen in the cells and disease such as cancer can manifest.

Germanium’s outstanding effects on the immune system have been well documented in medical journals. As an adaptogen herb, it increases the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety, and fatigue. Adaptogens generally work by strengthening the immune system, nervous system and/or glandular system…helping to boost, balance and normalise functions in the body. Herb Robert has earned a reputation as a cure for cancer with testimonials to back up the claims.

This is a herb that can be of great benefit and used daily. The plant provides vitamins A and C, as well as B. It is full of minerals such as iron, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, and calcium. Fresh leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a tea or dried and stored to use throughout the winter months as a tea or tossed into salads as a nutrient booster. The root can also be dried and used.

 


If we can do one thing to benefit our overall well-being we should focus on maintaining vigorous gut health. I ended up with fairly severe gut issues because I ignored the obvious signs of food intolerances and allergies. I continued eating gluten loaded food (because I love crispy French bread) and dairy until my gut said, “NO MORE!” I began to listen after I was tested for food intolerances and allergies and clearly explained the dire consequences of continuing to eat these foods.  Most of us have an idea of what foods our gut likes and deep down we know which ones we are intolerant of. However, we tend to ignore the signs because we love our food and we really don’t want (or know how) to change anything.  I was aware I had gut issues with certain foods but I didn’t realise how much damage I was creating by continuing to eat these foods. When I developed arthritis along with my gut issues, I decided it was time to get to the root cause and make whatever changes necessary.

Researchers have discovered that a lesser known nervous system in our guts (our “second brain”) communicates with the brain in our head. Together, “our two brains” play a key role in certain diseases in our bodies and overall health.

If you have been having gut issues for a while and none of the recommendations below help, I suggest you look into having food intolerance and allergy testing. I recommend going to a Naturopath or Integrative MD to find out your options. Also, look into having an analysis that will identify parasites, abnormal bacteria, yeasts and other gastrointestinal issues, which will help you create a supplement plan.

Excerpts from Kris Carr’s – 7 Ways to Improve Gut Health

Your gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In fact, there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body! Balanced gut bacteria is fundamental to overall health. Since what you eat, drink and think affects the environment in your gut. Your daily choices play a critical role in whether those trillion plus bacteria help or hinder your wellbeing.

But when the harmful bacteria stage a revolt, all hell breaks loose. They totally gum up the works and cause painful problems like inflammation and infection, which can then lead to health issues such as constipation, candida, allergies, arthritis, headaches, depression, autoimmune diseases and more.

Medications (especially antibiotics and antacids), environmental toxins and chemicals, stress and illness greatly affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria. When bacteria is wiped out indiscriminately, the good guys get mowed down, giving the bad guys a chance to increase their ranks. Hello, chronic health issues.

The food you eat also affects the ratio of good to bad bacteria. Everything you consume is processed and either absorbed into your body or eliminated via your gut. Your gut completes the amazing task of digesting your food and pulling the nutrients, vitamins and minerals out of the food so that they can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Your gut is a major component of your immune system.

Did you know that about 60-70% of your immune system lives in your gut?

Gut

Meet your GALT, also know as gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Your GALT lies just below the mucosal lining of the gut wall. It’s very thin (only one cell thick!), and most importantly — it’s integral to your immune system. The GALT contains specialized immune structures called Peyer’s patches that are filled with immune cells, such as B cells and T cells, which are responsible for recognizing and neutralizing harmful bacteria. When pathogenic bacteria visits your gut via food or your environment, the Peyer’s patches trigger your immune response to prevent them from passing through the gut wall.

Another way your gut protects you from infection and disease is through an abundance of healthy bacteria.

To keep harmful bacteria from overthrowing your gut, healthy bacteria need to thrive and cover your gut wall — the only thing standing between everything inside your gut and your bloodstream. It helps to imagine that your gut wall is a parking lot. There are a limited number of “parking spots” along your gut wall. You want good bacteria parked in those spaces so bad bacteria is crowded out. Keep those spaces filled by adopting the following gut health.

Now that you know how important your gut health is to your overall wellbeing, how can you take care of your spectacular gut?

 1. Take a probiotic supplement: A daily probiotic supplement will help boost the good bacteria in your gut, keeping the bad guys under control, boosting your immune system and easing digestive issues. This is especially helpful when you’re taking a medication, such as an antibiotic that has wiped out a large amount of gut bacteria. Any health food shop can recommend a probiotic.

2. Eat probiotic whole foods: You can also eat whole foods that are fermented and contain large amounts of good bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, microalgae and coconut kefir are fantastic plant-based probiotic-rich foods. When looking for probiotic-rich foods, avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since these elements kill good bacteria. You want to pick up (or make!) lacto-fermented probiotic foods (FYI–this is a plant-friendly approach, no whey is necessary). If you’re interested in making your own probiotic foods, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz is a popular book on the subject. Word to the wise: Get educated on fermenting at home before diving in–it can be risky if you don’t know what you’re doing!

 3. Eat prebiotic whole foods: Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. By eating more whole, plant-based, fibre-filled foods, you’re fuelling the bacteria that support your health. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes, and bananas are some of the best prebiotic foods to add to your diet.

 4. Eat regularly, but not constantly (eat your last meal of the day preferably before 6pm): To give your gut a chance to clean up and clear out bacteria and waste, it needs a rest from digestion. Every 90 minutes to two hours, the smooth muscle in your intestines move and groove to keep bacteria and waste truckin’ through your digestive tract. But this process is put on hold every time you eat. Can you see why snacking constantly slows down digestion and contributes to bacterial overgrowth? I’m not saying that you need to fast for long periods — eating regularly helps prevent constipation and bloating — but it’s best to take breaks between meals.

 5. Stay hydrated: A good rule of thumb for staying hydrated is drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should drink about 65 ounces of water. That’s about eight 8-ounce glasses of water. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. When you’re dehydrated, these issues can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut and lead to inflammation. Give your gut a hand and drink more H2O!

 6. Cut out refined sugar and processed foods: When you consume processed, sugar-laden, refined foods, you’re giving bad bacteria an all-you-can-eat buffet, which increases the likelihood of developing gut issues and associated illnesses.

7. Reduce stress:  The brain and the gut are closely connected and communicate with each other. When you experience chronic stress, your brain goes into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down, the muscles that push along waste and bacteria to freeze up and the secretions for digestion to decrease. All of these stress responses equal a poorly functioning gut! Take care of your gut health by coping with stress through breath work, yoga, meditation, therapy, time in the outdoors and the countless other stress reduction techniques available to you.


Deep Ecology

The scientific definition of the term “ecology” relates to the study of the interrelationships and interactions between living things and their environments.  In Deep Ecology the central idea is that people are an essential part of the planet and not just separate and detached observers.  Deep Ecology emphasizes the interdependent nature of human and non-human life as well as the importance of the ecosystem and natural processes.

Definition of Yoga

The root of the word Yoga is yuj, meaning “to join, to yoke, to concentrate one’s attention”.  Yoga is a method of practice leading to a conscious union of the human being with universal existence, internally and externally. This includes practices, philosophy, and lifestyle to achieve peace, power, spiritual wisdom along with perfect health, a sound mind, and a balanced personality.

Practicing Yoga with awareness of Deep Ecology is working with the forces of nature, which are not just material energies but powers of consciousness.  Working with the forces of nature occurs at both internal and external levels.  Internally, we need to balance the forces of our own nature as body, mind, breath, and spirit.  Externally, we need to harmonize ourselves with the world of nature and with the Cosmic Spirit behind it.  Each one of us is a manifestation of the entire universe and only when we discover the universe within ourselves can we really understand our purpose in life.

Yoga is a way of harnessing the secret powers of nature within us to manifest our own higher natural potentials for a greater awareness. This requires a very deep connection with the world of nature in body, mind, and heart. It cannot be done mechanically or en masse, nor made into a franchise. It requires an individual orientation to the living world, which is not just human society but all that is.  We cannot truly think or live yogically without doing so in an ecological way as well.

www.naturescreation.biz

Check out Anahata Yoga Retreat NZ for their October 2018 Permaculture & Yoga course. Combine Yoga, Permaculture and Deep Ecology for an unparalleled experience.    www.anahata-retreat.org.nz

 

 


Yoga (inner ecology) & Permaculture (outer ecology) – A Foundation for a Healthy & Sustainable Life

The outer environment is in danger from global warming, pollution, and myriad chemicals. As our toxic outer world spins out of control we become aware of the environmental dangers of disturbed emotions, disease, negative and aggressive thinking.

The external environment is a reflection of the environment within our bodies. When the external environment and ecology is out of synch, our inner ecology is also affected. The mental and emotional pollution within us needs to be restored and harmonised just as the outer pollution does. Yoga practices can restore the inner ecology and Permaculture practices can restore the outer environment and ecology…bringing back harmony and balance internally and externally. The two are intricately connected.

For inner and outer ecology we have to consider the food we are consuming…the soil and how the food is grown. If the food we eat is impure then our mind and thinking will be impure also. Food has a tremendous influence on our mind. It forms the mind as well as the body. If our environment is sick and depleted, we will become sick and depleted also. Through yoga we realize that it is our duty and responsibility to look after the two gifts we have been given, namely, the environmental complex upon which we depend for our survival, and the body-mind complex in which we live.

Combining Yoga & Permaculture is a foundation for a complete approach to living a sustainable and healthy life. Anahata Retreat in NZ invites you to join us in November for a unique Yoga & Permaculture Design Certificate course to learn how to balance these two important aspects of a sustainable, healthy life.

The last Permaculture & Yoga Course held at Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand was such a huge success that we are offering the same course again this October.

Anahata Yoga Retreat
Yoga & Permaculture Design Certificate Course
4-22 October 2018 (18-day course)
yoga@anahata-retreat.org.nz
www.yoga@anahata-retreat.org.nz
+64 3 525 9887

 


When British explorer, Captain Cook landed in Botany Bay, Australia in 1770 the Gwyeagal people inhabited the land around Botany Bay at that time. The Aboriginal people had a deep knowledge of native edible and medicinal plants passed down from generation to generation over thousands of years. They shared some of their secret knowledge with Captain Cook and his party, including botanist, Joseph Banks. The British spent a great deal of time studying and experimenting with the native botanicals. Melaleuca alternifolia and Melaleuca quinquenervia were amongst the plants studied and sketched by botanist, Joseph Banks.

Approximately 230 species of Melaleuca are indigenous to Australia and vary, depending on the species, from small shrubs to 30 metre tall trees. Melaleuca alternifolia is indigenous to northern New South Wales and Queensland and now most of the commercial Tea Tree comes from this region and this species. Melaleuca quinquenervia is indigenous to the East coast of New South Wales and Queensland usually along watercourses and swamps.

Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) are members of the Myrtaceae plant family and are related to myrtle, clove, and eucalyptus. Although in the same family Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) should not be confused with Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia). Tea Tree has needle-like leaves whilst Niaouli is commonly known as broadleaf paperbark. However, both varieties have strong medicinal qualities and similar chemical properties. Tea tree oil has highly effective antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It is great for acne, athlete’s foot, contact dermatitis or head lice.

The Aboriginal people of Australia had multiple uses for Melaleuca quinquenervia. The bark was peeled off in layers and is used for shelter, bedding, containers, storing and cooking food, fire tinder, watercraft, fish traps and wrapping the deceased. In traditional medicine, an infusion from leaves was drunk, inhaled or used for bathing to treat coughs, colds, congestion, headache, fever, and influenza. Today…Melaleuca quinquenervia is known for its strong antiseptic and stimulating qualities. It is still extensively used to clear infections such as bronchitis, catarrh, and sinus, as well as acne, boils, burns, ulcers and cuts. It is known for its analgesic, antiseptic, bactericide, insecticide, decongestant and ability to treat intestinal worms.


We can all help the earth and make changes to live a sustainable lifestyle.

The outer environment is in danger from global warming, pollution, and myriad chemicals. As our toxic outer world spins out of control we become aware of the environmental dangers of disturbed emotions, disease, negative and aggressive thinking.

Permaculture (the word, coined by Bill Mollison…meaning permanent agriculture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

 

 

 

 

Permaculture studies and applies holistic solutions that are applicable in rural and urban contexts at any scale. It is a multidisciplinary toolbox including organics, agriculture, water harvesting and hydrology, energy (solar, wind and hydropower), natural building, forestry, waste management, animal systems, aquaculture, appropriate technology, economics and community development.

 

The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolution.

We can all do our part in helping the earth and becoming self-sufficient…one step at a time. Looking at installing solar, wind or hydropower, growing our own veggies, building earth-friendly houses, putting in water tanks to catch rainwater are just a few ways we can become sustainable.

Below is useful information put together by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. Becoming sustainable begins with the home.

What impact does your home have on our environment?

If each of us aims to run a sustainable household, which means thinking about the type and amount of resources we use, how we recycle and dispose of materials, the steps we take to manage and conserve the natural environment we all depend on, we are not only conserving energy, we are saving money too.

Little things like changing to a water-efficient showerhead can save hundreds of litres of water a year, and stop your dollars going down the drain.

If we build houses that are well insulated and designed, then it will cost less to heat and cool them. If we consider our purchases carefully, a lot less waste will end up as landfill and pollution. Every year, each Australian generates, on average, more than 2000kg of rubbish; in NSW alone, we throw away $2.5 billion worth of edible food a year.

Water usage remains a key environmental concern and there are many ways to use it sparingly, without compromising on comfort. Whether it’s fixing a leaking tap or installing a household greywater system, every little bit helps.

Lots of little actions by lots of people can help turn things around. We have compiled some simple steps and actions you can take:

Save energy

Tips to improve your  with better heatingcoolinghot waterinsulation and lighting.

Be water-wise

Save water in the home and garden.

Smarter choices

Choose more water/ energy efficient appliances and compare the running costs of different models.

Recycling and waste 

Avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste by living sustainably.

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Anahata Yoga Retreat holds Permaculture Design Courses yearly. www.anahata-retreat.org.nz

Nature’s Creation – Knowledge & Guidance through Healing Plants book and cards. www.naturescreation.biz