A few months ago, I took a weekend class entitled “Herbs for Stress”. It turned out that everyone in the class was an herbalist, so we actually didn’t talk about herbs much, since we all knew enough about different categories of herbs for different kinds/sources of stress.
What we did focus on was how our thoughts are really the source of all stress. We’re constantly making up stories in our heads about whatever we happen to be thinking about. Most of it is stories, unless the present is unfolding in front of us and that’s where our focus is. Amazing, really.
We talked of how people learn differently, as a way to appreciate where our clients might be coming from (and where we might be coming from). We talked of creating a “heart space” in us that we could go back to in times of stress– like a “happy place”. You envision a moment with a loved one (could be a pet) where and when you recognize that your heart is open. You go there in your mind. You breath into that space. When you feel calmer after breathing with that vision for a while, then you attempt to connect with others.
We did this exercise in class and the connections were amazing. For me, this is such a reminder of how we are able to choose what kind of connections we are having with others. I didn’t find this work easy. For me it took work to get into that space where I have an open heart and am ready to connect there. However, I am noticing that with this intention, every day interactions can be different. And quite lovely and loving.
So, upshot for herbs? Perhaps, although the instructor didn’t say this, we could focus on herbs for the heart. Herbs that protect the heart, strengthen the heart, and ultimately open the heart.