Dreaming What I Do – Making sense of the past three years

Time to be, time to re-evaluate where I’ve come from, and what I’ve done over the past three years since leaving university

So, last week, I did something I’ve not done since I left university and set up my practice. I went on a short holiday. A few short days in a Yurt in mid Wales, letting go and just being. With work far away, like a half forgotten dream. Now I’m home from that break I still feel partly in a dream like state – like I felt in the closing days of my university training. So it seems like a perfectly good time to re-evaluate. In letting go, and in terms of work, ‘going to sleep’ for a while, I have been processing and digesting the past three years of my professional life.

Spring retreat: a yurt in the mists of dawnA yurt nestles in the mists of a Welsh Sunrise. A prefect place to take stock of the past few years

So where have I got to in the past three years? And was it what and where I thought I’d be? In some ways, yes, in some ways, no.

Firstly, the goal of training to be a herbalist was to practice. So, how has that gone? Well, think as to be expected. The Clinic overall pays its way. While it isn’t my sole (nor could it be at the moment) source of income, it is a major one. I’d say that I have found quite a niche for myself in mainly treating men and particularly in treating ‘men’s conditions’. Often prostate, hormonal, and sexual function. Some cancer support. It feels great to be able to serve my gender in this way, and also develop my clinical and therapeutic skills while doing so.

Growing, foraging, and gathering herbs and processing medicines from them has been a huge part of my life, and possibly the biggest opportunity for learning, growth and development since I left uni. Originally, I became interested in the ‘muddy boots’ side of things because I wanted to be self-sufficient and ensure quality of my medicines. But what happened was that I learned. I learned a lot. And observed the year. And learned some more. I learned that being green-fingered isn’t a latent skill, but something learned – through factual learning, and experiencing and connecting to the plants themselves and nature in a wider sense.

Foraging became a way of life to me. The seed of this was daily walks with the dogs – I started looking – really looking. And the more I looked, the more I started seeing. Plants that I didn’t know but wanted to learn; mysterious new finds and ‘friends’ to learn about. This broardened my range of materia medica considerably. Then I started finding things that looked intriguing but I had no idea about. Namely fungi. An area I have heavily expanded my knowledge into. And every find and discovery has been amazing.

Spending time in the company of new finds and new friends - foraging helps build a relationship with wild medicinalsSpending time in the company of new finds and new friends – foraging helps build a relationship with wild medicinals

I feel it in my bones that the next thing I will similarly get excited about is seaweeds – medicinal and edible.

The thing that was possibly a bit arrogant of me is teaching. Barely a year after graduating, I wrote a course called ‘A year of herbs’ – aimed at laymen. The course was well received and developed a lot in my too. Now I’m in my third year of teaching, it and the course is better than ever! That has led to other opportunities, such as getting involved with projects for a local provider of forest school education.

I have always loved ot share what I’m passionate about, and found it rather hard to stop writing when I finished university. So I didn’t. Blogging was soon joined by writing for local newsletters and websites. Then I was lucky enough to be present at the birth of Tilia Magazine, which I help edit and regularly contribute to. I love every minute!

While I am not at all shy behind a pen, I’ve always thought I had a complexion for radio, and a voice for print, so surprised even myself when I set up MuddyBootsHerbalist – a YouTube channel pushing a DIY and Muddy Boots approach to herbal medicine and related subjects.

IFrame

Perhaps the closest thing I regularly get to a holiday is doing event work, both as a Medical Herbalist and as an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) at festivals and other events. This gives me an income stream in the summer months, which are always quiet in Clinic, and an opportunity to travel the country seeing cool things I normally wouldn’t get to. I’m also training as an EMT to take this kind of work further.

At an event, serving as an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder)On duty as an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) at an event. I’m not always found in clinic or out in the woods!

So, where do I see myself in another three years? I don’t know really – this past few years have brought so much that was unexpected!

I’d love to have a go at teaching practitioners, but there’s little chance of me doing that on my own!

I’d also love to travel, and see how Herbal Medicine is done in other countries, especially America and Australia.

I wait (and watch) with baited breath!

Categories: The Journey

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