What started out as a search for “the true self” led me to herb school. I enrolled in a 9-month program called “Herbal Explorations” at Gathering Thyme, a small herb school in San Rafael, California. I wasn’t sure why. I was drawn to it, for sure, and wanted to have a deeper understanding of how plants can be used as medicine to support women’s healthcare needs.
I drove two hours during rush hour to make it to the 6:30 evening class on my first day. It felt great sitting amongst mostly women who sounded just as unsure as I was about why they were there and yet showed up to class. There was one theme you could hear from everyone’s introductions. They were tired of the stress associated with living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were all ready for a change.
Herbal School instructor Cheryl Fromholzer gently guided the class throughout 9 amazing months of classroom lectures, making medicine, tending to an herb garden, foraging, botany walks and even two nights of camping out at the Pinnacles National Park in Central California. The class ended with a four-day camping trip to the Sierras at the end of June, 2018.
While working to change my life, I struggled to make it to class and the course’s weekend activities. The tough demands of my video production business and a lowered resistance to illness meant missed opportunities to learn more and a slower process of embracing herbalism fully into my life. I wanted more and wished there were more than 24 hours in a day. My work days started at 6:00 am, or earlier. Running a small but intense service business catering to enterprise customers meant working with clients who needed help early and late in the day. I got sick often from the grueling daily schedule.
It was ironic learning about how plants can support your health while missing sleep and rest. At the end of the program, I realized how much rest and sleep I needed to sustain me as I transitioned to a better life. I also learned that plants can only do so much. You need to help yourself.
Every step I take in search of the life I want brings me back to the one great life lesson I need to learn. Love yourself.
A woman’s journey towards finding herself never ends. We change– everyday and we continuously adapt and reinvent “the self.” Today, I am a struggling herbalism student who is hopefully learning to pace herself as she takes on new opportunities for a life she is dreaming about.