Rewiring Our Brains With a Plant Ally

DCIM100SPORTIn the past few decades, neuroscientists’ understanding of how our brains develop, change and impact our lives has exploded. Their findings support what herbalists and plant lovers have always known, implicitly and explicitly, working with plants is a positive healing experience. We can change our lives; we can and will rewire our brains by establishing an intimate relationship with a Plant Ally. Neuroscience now knows what the Divine Feminine in each of us has always known; the brain develops, changes and rewires in relationship. And yes, when the brain changes, we as humans, change.

What is an Herbal Ally? Or Plant Ally? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an Ally is “(n) one who is united with another in some formal or personal relationship or, (v) to unite or connect in a formal relationship or bond, such as by treaty or other agreement.” It means choosing a Plant, or allowing yourself to be chosen by a Plant, and then getting to know it, over time, by being with it. This is similar to meeting a new friend and cultivating a relationship except that many of the normal social rules of are not necessary and in fact are detrimental. We don’t need to filter who we are; how much or when to share personal experiences; if it is OK to reach out again; if we are worthy or good enough or too needy… None of that matters. What does matter, to a Plant, is that we, in all our glory and human messiness, show up, with respect, honesty, and an openhearted desire to be in relationship. It is that simple.

How do we do that? We spend time with our Plant Ally, we experience her/him in different settings and ways. As the brain folks say, “what fires together, wires together”. Let’s do it, let’s rewire our brains with Peppermint, Mentha piperita., who has given me permission to use her as an example.

The first step is to ask permission from the Plant. Sit with her, still your mind, breath in, breath out. Let her (I’ll use her, but it may be a him, neither, both/and) know that you would like to be in relationship, that your intentions are sincere and then wait. You will know the answer. It may be a thought in your head, a felt experience in your body or if you are really lucky, you will hear her true voice. Honor what she says. Ask her what she needs from you. Listen. Offer her a gift. It may be a song, water, tobacco or corn (traditional offerings), spit, a hair from your head…. Begin your journey with her.

Back to our Ally Peppermint: Make and drink a daily infusion (web page link) of her, saying to yourself, “I nourish myself deeply” or “I invite the essence of Peppermint into me today” or “I welcome your guidance and nutrients today” or even better – your personal message to her. Peppermint is nourishing! It contains: Magnesium, Phosphorous, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Potassium, Protein, Sodium, Vitamin C.