I have been sick for the past three days, coughing and drinking lots of ginger tea –prepared from fresh ginger root and served with honey.
I have taken this time to watch a lot of Netflix –Cooked is fascinating by the way. Now on day three, restlessness is starting to creep in. I’ve taken up redoing my Etsy SEO from bed, which has been more challenging than I thought. I had no idea SEO was so complicated, let alone creating keywords for both Etsy and Google. I’m curious to see how the changes I have made today will play out in the future of my shop. My plan is to reassess this in a couple of weeks to see if an improvement in my views, favourites, and sales.
In addition to that, I photographed two samples of tarot spreads for my two tarot readings available in my shop. This is inspiring me to learn more about photography and photo editing. However, for now I am happy with my new photos.
The sky is blue, the air feels crisp and cool, but the temperature feels perfect in my anorak and thick work pants. I do not have work today, or at least not in the sense that I must be at a particular place at a particular time to do a specific set of tasks. I do have work today, however it is another kind of labour, one that inspires me to continue learning and making.
I started the day off with coffee and homemade yogurt served with apples and a variety of different nuts. As I drank and ate, I sat peering over into my neighbour’s sprawling garden, which includes a large rosemary bush that I’ve been eyeing for months. Rosemary is among one of my favourite herbs for it’s many useful applications.
After finishing breakfast, I moved outside to rough out the shape of a new spoon I am carving. I tend to do this on the days it isn’t raining. As I was hacking away wood with my small axe, I hear my neighbour call out my name. And finally, I was given the opportunity to ask if I could clip the rosemary bush. I was given the go ahead. I’ve been wanting this rosemary for cooking and baking, tinctures, and tea.
I quickly ran back inside, put my newly roughed out spoon shape and axe aside and picked up my scissors. The mere thought of holding bundles of fresh rosemary was invigorating.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region, but is now found in many other parts of the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest.
I have bound bunches of rosemary with twine, which I intend to burn later. Some could say this is a smudge stick, which I do not because I am not from a southwestern Native American tribe and don’t use the burning stick for cleansing rituals. While I can see the similarity, the smudging ritual comes from cultures I do not. My ancestry is European. I often wonder how can I remain respectful of other cultures particularly in a day and age when so much information is available to me and it can be unclear what to believe. I see so many articles online on how to make your own smudge sticks using white sage (a sacred plant to some southwestern Native tribes, such as the Chumash) for cleansing rituals and many of these articles fail to mention the origin of the ritual or use Native Americans as a blanket term, which fails to acknowledge the diversity of cultures within that scope. I avoid buying/using white sage smudge sticks because the quality ones are often made with wildcrafted white sage, which is depleting the source of white sage in order to keep up with the mostly non-Indigenous demand.
I also believe in using things that are locally available to me.
This is a topic that I want to continue to explore and research because I find it very interesting. I will be adding links to articles and online discussions about the use of smudge sticks.
My intention with the later portion of my post is not to shame anyone who has used white sage smudge sticks, but to provide some food for thought and to promote respectful practices.
This time last year my mental health was not good. With the help of Dr. Google, I diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Aside note, Dr. Google is not a real doctor and if you do have health concerns, it is best not to follow my example. Go see a real medical professional if you can.
I was sad all the time and eventually got to the point where I couldn’t leave my house because I had so much anxiety. I wasn’t doing any of the things I loved, no art, no tarot reading, no exercise, no reading, no socializing, just going to work –the atmosphere there was toxic– and generally feeling bummed out. I eventually saw a counsellor, who ultimately wasn’t the person for me, but she did make a great suggestion.
“Have you thought about colouring?”
At first, the skeptical side of my brain scoffed, then I started hearing people talk about colouring books. I saw them in stores. And suddenly, it seemed like they were everywhere. I didn’t have much spare money at the time, so I took to finding some freebies online. I put on some good music and coloured for hours. I not only lost track of time, but my stress levels decreased and I was starting to feel more positive.
Around that time, I decided to take a few weeks off work to go visit a friend, which was another saving grace.
When I came back, the seasons had changed from a wet and gray Pacific North West winter to a warm and dry spring. I was outside, playing softball, riding my bicycle, and doing all the things I loved again.
I stopped colouring because I had other ways of dealing with stress and other not so great feelings.
This winter has been easier. I have a toolbox now of great ways to be healthy in the winter. I still have moments when I feel low, but I know how to move forward.
This January, I decided to start making my own colouring sheets. Why not? I have a fine arts and design background. Much like colouring them, I really enjoy making the colouring sheets and getting to colour my own designs is an added bonus!