Fall Mushrooms?

I grew up hunting spring mushrooms … the mantra  around here is “May is Morel Month in Michigan.” My grandpa has an eye that’s like a magnet for morels. I did not inherit that part but I did inherent a love of all things nature.

Yesterday I was enjoying my Sunday the only way an introvert can enjoy it … reading, playing a computer game, taking a walk with my dog, brushing my horse, watching a movie. The reverie was broken when a strange car entered the driveway. Two men were inside and hesitantly I approached them. One asked if he could get a mushroom off the property by one of our pastures. I said, “yes” and asked if it was a puffball. (I’ve harvested and eaten puffballs before.) He said, “no, it’s a Hen of the Woods” and he showed me some that he had already collected.

I saw one of the men carrying the mushroom and it was the size of a bushel basket. After they left I went to the gather site and noticed it was under an oak tree. I looked up “hen of the woods” and found that it’s a safe edible mushroom, it’s also know as Maitake Mushroom, and it has medicine properties. According to this website, studies are ongoing into its action against:

  • cancer (especially breast, liver, and lung)
  • diabetes (may control blood glucose levels)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure

I love to learn new things about nature and so I went back to what was left of the mushroom and took some pieces. Time to experiment! I washed the pieces and cooked a small piece up … it’s a good idea to test mushrooms in small amounts to see if you have a reaction to them.  Several hours later, no reaction, so I cooked up the rest of the hen of the woods. I cooked the pieces in butter with steak seasoning and they rival the taste of morels … just delicious. What a perfect surprise addition to a great fall Sunday.  Fall mushrooms, yes!

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Light in the Darkness

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The full moon October 16th was bright and beautiful, burning through the surrounding fog. Black and white. Even though it’s just a photograph, it almost hurts your eyes to look at it.

We need more light in the darkness. The moon often represents the feminine and politics are heating up around women … about objectifying women.

If you google objectify, this is what comes up …

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Things that objectify women are pornography, prostitution, abortion, contraception, sleezy clothing, suggestive dancing, catcalling, the use of certain words such as tits to describe breasts or cunt to describe the vagina, inappropriately brushing up against certain body parts, and more.

To objectify a person is to make them into an object to use rather than considering their full personhood … and it’s most often in the context of sexuality. Women objectify themselves by their dress and actions and by inviting casual sex, and men objectify women. With men it’s a bit different though … they can be protectors of women or they can be predators. Why? Because most men are biologically stronger than women and can forcefully take a situation past objectification. People who go past objectifying commit actions like rape, sexual abuse, implied or actual violence, and other types of cruelty towards others … those people are the predators. Unfortunately in current society, many are objectifying women but thankfully most do not cross the line and become predatory.

Since the subject of treating women with respect has come to light in this election, it’s a good time for women to strengthen their personhood. Do not objectify yourself and do not allow others to objectify you. Expect men to protect the feminine. Demand that those who are predatory be punished. Become strong in your self-worth, act with dignity, learn assertiveness, and understand the value you bring to society. This country needs a strong feminine presence to bring light in the darkness.

Then and Now

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I almost titled this post “You’ve come a long way baby!” or “The slow path to healing.” And a number of other title ideas came to mind trying to summarize what I’ve experienced … because it’s hardly recognizable as a road to change until you look back at where I’ve come from.

Most of you know the path to wholeness that I’ve chosen is a holistic one. That means offering the body a chance to heal itself … supporting natural healing through ongoing bodywork (bringing the body into balance), using natures medicines (herbs and essential oils), detoxing (healthy eating along with using zeolite and pectin), and by practicing various stress management and self-awareness activities (time-management, breath work, tapping, assertiveness, hobbies etc.).

It’s been such a slow road to health but I just thought back to how my health use to be … ever since childhood I’ve had asthma issues and allergies (dogs, hay fever, mold, dust) … those lead to often being ill with sinus issues … I mean constantly. I also had been in several car and bike and horse and falling out of trees type of accidents as a kid that led to whiplash and severe limitation of neck movement. Emotionally I was the type of person to keep to myself … not speak up, stay in the shadows.

I’ve been working on health and healing holistically for about 15 years … yes, a long time. And it hasn’t been an overnight miraculous type of change (even if I wished it were). But when you measure the past by a type of simple 1 (not a problem) -10 (very problematic) scale type evaluation that takes into account Frequency, Duration, and Intensity of past ailments … then I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed with where I’ve come from then and where I am now.

Allergies Breathing, Sinus Issues: Then – Frequency 9, Duration 7, Intensity 7; Now – Frequency 1, Duration 1, Intensity 2-3.  Yes, I still can get sick (everyone does) but it’s not very frequent and it doesn’t last long and the intensity is greatly reduced).

Stiff Neck Movement: Then – Frequency 10, Duration 10, Intensity 6-7; Now – Frequency 3-4, Duration 4-5, Intensity 2-3.  I still have a ways to go but my neck movement is greatly improved with normal range-of-motion but still lingering pain.

Hiding from Others: Then – Frequency 10, Duration 10, Intensity 7; Now – Frequency 3-4, Duration 1-2, Intensity 3-4. Just by evidence of this blog and writing books and the business courses I’m teaching … even though it’s uncomfortable and I still angst about being judged, I’m putting myself out there.

Living holistically has made a mind-body change for me in many areas.  It does take a sustained effort but the changes are real and lasting and worth it. Have you ever evaluated yourself from then to now? You may be as surprised as I was! If things haven’t changed for you over time or if they’ve gotten worse, are you willing to try something new in your lifestyle to facilitate positive change?  Will you remain committed even if you know it may take months or even years to accomplish a noticeable but lasting difference? Can you trust in your own body’s ability to heal itself?  I have and I’m happy to report on these subtle shifts in overall health from then to now.

 

Trees in Autumn

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Were you expecting a colorful scene of oranges and yellows and reds? That’s what I think of too. But this is a black walnut tree and they don’t offer much of a color display. They are one of the first trees to lose their leaves … even when they are still green with life, they give up and fall off and finish turning yellow on the ground. The limbs are quickly bare with just a slight breeze.

Oak trees rarely turn pretty colors either. Oh, sometimes they get a dark burgundy but most of the time they just turn brown and hang on and on throughout the winter. It’s not unusual to see deep snow on an oak tree that’s still full of it’s dead brown leaves. Those dry leaves have a tight hold on the branch.

And then there are the maples, sassafras, and hickory trees … the reds, yellows, and oranges … all beautiful with their bright colors. They are the ones that make the autumn show around mid-Michigan.

Fall is transition time and some trees transition differently than other trees. I think that’s a lot like people. Change is inevitable … menopause, health, work employment, finances, and relationships. And people all handle transitions differently … some are colorful and set a beautiful example through the change. Others dig in and resist the change, clinging to sameness. And others are vulnerable and succumb to change early … even before it seems like they should be giving up.

Does your personal transition time feel less than beautiful … are you letting go too soon or holding on too long?  You wouldn’t be the first one. Embrace your unique way of handling change and flow with the cycle of life like the trees in autumn.