Lessons from Nettles

Here’s a post I wrote about nettles over on my other blog.

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Nettles flourish on disturbed ground or highly fertile land, liking high levels of nitrogen, so they grow in abundance where human activity such as intensive farming or waste dumping has enriched the soil. The more we artificially fertilise the soil, the more nettles will grow. Every child quickly learns to recognise nettles through the experience of being stung, and is taught to seek out dock leaves to rub on the sting for relief. This is a lesson that nature provides comfort as well as pain, and that beings that complement and balance each other are found in the same vicinity. It reminds me of what has been said about disaster situations, ‘look for the helpers’- a life lesson that reminds us to see the hope and the connection when we are in despair.

Nettles are also highly nutritious once cooked or dried out to neutralise the toxins, providing iron and…

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My new book ‘Growing with Gratitude: a poetic journey of healing’

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At last my new book is out! ‘Growing with Gratitude: a poetic journey of healing’ is available in paperback from Amazon.

Growing with gratitude

Gratitude is a most powerful force for healing. Whether it brings physical healing or not, it can be truly transformative in our lives. This book is the story of a healing journey told in poetic form. Janey shows us how her cultivation of gratitude transforms her experience of disability. Gratitude for the simple things in life carries her through the challenges of chronic illness and helps her to find the courage to face surgery. It is possible to find the source of inner healing, irrespective of the state of our physical health, and we can begin with the daily practice of gratitude. This book is intended to inspire you on your own path. Look around and see the gifts you have. The more you look the more you…

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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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