Poetica Botanica

Medicinal plants inspire me to write.

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I submitted a poem to the Poetica Botanica page of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.  It’s a lovely idea, inspired by the Physic Garden at Hellens Manor, and anyone can join in. It’s not a competition. Just pick a plant from their list, write a poem, and they will display it on their page.

Here’s the link:
Poetica Botanica

And here’s a screenshot of my poem about Plantago, along with some of the other entries,  on the Poetica Botanica site:

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Compassion and #Healing

My latest thoughts

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I think compassion is right up there with Gratitude as one of the most important attitudes to cultivate in life. It is a form of love, a form of kindness, that is non-discriminating, yet is neither overly emotional. It is both detached and caring. In that sense it is like empathy, which is a component of compassion. In fact it is the only way to maintain a caring attitude in a professional capacity without causing oneself to burn out. Empathy is a tool which can be used to cultivate compassion. It is the capacity to put oneself in another’s shoes, to imagine how they might feel, or see the world, whilst maintaining our own sense of self as a separate being, so that we are still able to act rationally. Sympathy is where one identifies with the other’s feelings; we know how they feel because we feel it, or we…

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Burnout: A collective responsibility

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Burnout. It happens even to the kindest, warmest hearted people. In fact they are possibly the most vulnerable to it. Those in the caring professions: nurses, doctors, teachers, social workers. Those with caring responsibilities at home. What do I mean by burnout? When your energy is sapped and stretched to the limit. When demands exceed your capacity. When you have no time for you, to replenish yourself. When you put others before yourself so often you are in danger of making yourself ill. When you feel that you have no choice but to carry on, everyone else’s needs are so important. You might not see the early warning signs. You build a hard but brittle shell around your psyche. You begin to get impatient, irritable. You begin to not care. The shell starts to crack. When you’re surprised to find you hate your job that you once put your heart…

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To those who fear labelling: on diagnosing neurodiversity

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A “label” is not a diagnosis. Not having a diagnosis does not protect a child from labels. They are already labelled, “Weirdo”, “Nobody likes you”, “Cry baby”. Denial does not make a thing go away. What about later in life? Does a diagnosis hold you back? That depends on how you use it. Knowing yourself leads to better choices in life, working with your strengths and accepting your own nature. We do not have to be limited by a diagnosis, in fact it can be liberating to be acknowledged. It is a starting point for meeting your needs. The diagnosis does not have to define your entire being, it is a “label” in the sense that it is a generalisation, but in reality individuals are infinitely varied. Diagnoses are convenient umbrella terms to help us categorise and describe particular issues that people have. How it affects someone depends on…

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Awakening to the Power of Plants

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I have always been in love with green nature. As a herbalist I am in awe of the power of plants. I feel a deep connection to their energy, vitality and transformative power. Over the last few years my work has evolved towards a written expression of this, on my other blog at heartseer.wordpress.com and through my published book “See with Heart”. I want to inspire the awakening to healing and connection at this level. I have been writing poetry, which is often centred around plants and nature, and also philosophy with a focus on emotional healing. If you’d like to know more, please have a look heartseer.wordpress.com

Janey Colbourne 2016

What is neurodiversity?

I campaign for the recognition of neurodiversity precisely because it is a spectrum and I think society needs to be more accepting and accommodating of the breadth of human traits. In some ways I think it is the structure of society is pathological, not people’s brains, through being so narrow in expectations. Even dyslexia has positive attributes that have an evolutionary advantage.
The terms neurodiversity (ND) and neurotypical (NT) are popular in ASD (autism spectrum disorder) circles. Neurodiverse means not the “normal” average or typical type of brain function and perception, such as someone with ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia etc., in other words a neurodevelopmental disorder. Neurodiversity is a nice word for it because it is broad and doesn’t have negative connotations like the word “disorder”. Neurotypical is the majority of the population that has a “typical” brain structure. Obviously we know everyone is an individual and people can having varying degrees of NT or ND in different areas of function, which is why we talk about a spectrum. Neither term is meant to label a person in terms of value. Diagnosis depends on how much impact it makes on a person’s life.