As practitioners, people will be drawn to us for the unique gifts we have created from our own life experiences. Sit quietly and view your life to see what your unique gifts are. What are your occupations, schooling, family life experiences, and personal experiences with health issues, therapy, life changes, and belief systems? What other experiences have made you who you are? Are you a serious person? Is laughter a big part of your expression? Singing? Physical therapy? Nursing? Mothering? Movement? Does science excite you?
Value the work you have done and what you know. Do you just want the facts of the current complaint or do you enjoy the life stories of clients? Is your gift sitting for twenty minutes and knowing the right herb? Are you a single-herb practitioner or a mixer? Be who you are, don’t play a role. It is you that your clients are drawn to, so be yourself! Clients are drawn to you for your unique blend of knowledge and gifts.
All issues of health seeking and coping with disease, “being out of ease,” enter through the doorway of experience. That’s where the term “Practicing Herbalist,” came from. [The Practicing Herbalist is the name of my book) I practice as I learn each issue, each herb, each constitution, and each spiritual effect. And I have had overlapping careers. I have always loved to teach. I taught Head Start back in the sixties and early seventies in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, MA. I loved those children and spent hours after school gathering supplies for them. I soon realized I was incapable of detachment. Teaching Head Start taught me to recognize the great potential in all people. It also opened my eyes to the great injustices in our world. Teaching in middle school and high school taught me to learn not to peg people by appearance or by other teachers’ opinions. Every human is capable of growth and the expression of joy. I began to feel the power of thought being the absolute greatest force we can call on.
I started creating my life with intention a long time ago, and am still doing that, now making more time for play and playfully being. I now have a number of advanced classes and clinical programs for herbalists. One day a month herbalists who want to hone their skills come to participate in “Practitioners Circle.” Even when one of us cannot attend the energy of the circle is strong. Clients are able to attend for free or at a reduced rate. In this way we weave in the community and they in turn allow us to practice on them. It is a blast to come as a client; they receive the loving energy and focus of great herbal practitioners, my instructors’ comments and the wisdom of the circle. This allows the client to go home spiritually supported and perhaps able to put more tea or a supplement into their budget. At this point in my life, I feel my energy is best spent teaching advanced classes.
Each of us has a background. And each of us has a present self, hopefully full of energy to help clients realize their health. Do you make sure to bring yourself to your clients? It’s not the time for hiding away, it’s your time to shine, to be your colorful self, to know that you can bring together your other passions and the plants and create a healing practice that is home to you and a threshold of welcoming to others.
Margi has been working with people and herbs since she began her herbal studies in 1974. Her clinical practice evolved through continued study with admired herbalists. Influential herbalists have been Rosemary Gladstar, David Winston, Matthew Wood, Christopher Hobbs, Kate Gilday, Mindy Green, Chancel Chabrera, Annie McIntyre, Jeffrey Bland, the late great William LeSassier, David Crow, Karyn Sanders and many more. Learn more at EarthSong Herbals.