It’s a funny thing, not speaking up. We’re really taught, explicitly and implicitly, that the loudest, fastest, and most forceful opinions are the most intelligent. (Read The Myth of Charismatic Leadership: Harvard Business School and Beyond in Susan Cain’s Quiet for more on that!) And we know listening is important, but that transition from I-listened to now-you-listen-to-me is a funny thing.
When I graduated college, I took a “temporary” job that lasted 2 years. I worked as the live-out, full-time housekeeper in a wealthy home. I always say that job taught me a LOT, first and foremost being how to shut up. My input was NOT requested. And I got to experience a small slice of life in all its glory and mess, mostly as an observer. Yet, somehow, I still have trouble shutting up.
Finally I answered a Craigslist ad and somehow became a pilates instructor, then the owner of the pilates studio (more on that story another time.) 7+ years on, literally thousands of classes later, and I still run my mouth too often. It’s fitting that “motormouth” was a nickname I carried well as a child.
I’ve found myself doing it again this week. One woman describes her post-workout dinner options: scrambled eggs or PBnJ. She also talks about the veggie burger sliders she had in the freezer, that became a quick lunch. I describe mixing together a sweet potato and quinoa patty, with yummy spices and a nice crisp from the pan, and talk about plastic-wrapped food and BPAs. Why?
Why can’t I shut my pie hole? How ‘bout this, smarty-pants: ask her about WHY she doesn’t like to cook. Ask her IF she wishes to alter her food choices AT ALL. Let HER tell me what she wants. I see what she may need- better quality fuel for the body she’s trying to have at her
Exposure, like everything, is good in moderation. A southern exposure gives your home good light in the winter, but maybe too much heat in the summer. Seedlings need fresh air and changing temperatures to germinate and grown strong, but they can freeze, dry out or rot. I need to build an online presence, let you meet me, learn how I think and what I think. If I resonate with you, we may both get something positive out of it. If you hear something dumb, or wrong, or difficult, I may have ruined that chance. The very exposure I try to create may destroy something. Where's the moderation?!
We don’t have to be perfect, we can’t be everything to everyone. But it’s scary, contemplating topics, ideas, opinions, and knowing that the way I present them can make or break me. I have ruthlessly culled blogs from my own Google feed when they just don’t mean that much to me. Did that hurt the owners of those blogs? Why can’t I be as coldly logical to myself? THIS is what I have to say, THAT is what I wrote, IF you don’t like it don’t read it.
Once it’s written, it is there forever, and that sort of permanence, that commitment is a big part of what holds me back and makes me reluctant. Yet I’m unwilling to hide behind a pseudonym or a company name. This IS
Why would someone visit an herbalist?
I don't know! I'm not an herbalist yet. But my guess follows, and is based on my personal history, tales I've heard, and the practice clients our class has seen.
Because you have a health concern, and are somehow uneasy, unwilling or unaccepting of conventional medical treatment for it.
I have a feeling it compares to my experience at my fitness studio. It's a small "boutique" type space. Many people feel compelled to go to the gym, by guilt or judgment or societal pressures or whatever. However, when people come to me, I often hear, "I have to do something but I hate the gym," "I heard about Pilates and wanted to try it," "My friend/doctor/physical therapist/chiropractor/vet/somebody suggested it." People are urged to Pilates, drawn to it, not forced. You have to be willing to try it, willing to have a mental and physical experience, willing to do something that will take your concentration and will depend on your efforts for your results.
Similarly, I think many people are compelled to visit a doctor, through worry or fear or duty or even insurance requirements. The phrase, “I have to go to the doctor” feels like a common one, and sounds like an unwelcome chore. It’s not a pleasantly anticipated activity, although it only requires you to show up, since the doctor does all the work.
To visit an herbalist, on the other hand, you have to choose. Choose to spend your own money, and choose to find value in paying for your health. Choose to spend time with the intake process, often with a lengthy paper form and then with the herbalist. Choose to talk about what you need, what you want, why you’re there, what you’re hoping for. Choose to follow the suggestions you’re given, to take an active role in your healing, not just take two and call in the morning. You are involved from the minute you make the appointment. There is no unseen system to carry you along, another statistic, another number in line, another set of symptoms on a flow chart.
There is a primal force that draws people to seek out activities, endeavors, and events that make their soul feel good and whole. There is a resonance between people and what heals them. Some love the energy of a live concert or game, some love the satisfaction and excitement of volunteer firefighting, some need to stand on a mountain top and breathe the clear air. These are interactions between you and the world that recharge your energy, tune your internal antenna, and make you feel entirely part of something bigger.
This force, this resonance will draw some to heal a disturbance inside them, to shake a life-long pattern of illness, to reach a state of ease they couldn’t have imagined after a long, close familiarity with dis-ease. Many attempts, many referrals, many healers may be necessary before the right combination happens, before an unspoken exchange happens between two people that both recognize as right and good. There is an ability to heal that we all carry, and unleashing it may require only a little guidance or maybe a deep journey, but it starts in that same place inside that reaches for that bigger connection and finds one in the right healer for you. You may not know why you’re visiting an herbalist, but chances are it was a good decision to make.
Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
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This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition. Working with us is not a guarantee of any results. Paula Billig owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.