Winter Wildcrafting

I’ve made a new commitment to my soul.  I’m going to spend one whole day EVERY WEEK outdoors.  Whether it’s hiking, at the beach, riding bikes, gardening, or a combination of many things, my heart is happiest when I spend A LOT of time outside.  When I can breathe in fresh air, bury my hands in the dirt, walk through sand and water with bare feet, feel the wind on my face.

view from ortega

This commitment was inspired by the words of an 11-year old homeschooled boy who I saw interviewed.  When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, answered, “I want to be happy.  What do I want to do?  I don’t know yet.  I need to try a few more things.”

As a dear friend of mine pointed out the other day, we’re taught in school how to make a living, not how to live.  And then we wonder why so many adults are on medication for depression, anxiety, and heart conditions.  This isn’t to say that some people don’t have a real medical condition that requires treatment, but how many health conditions are really illnesses of the soul?


Motherwort: Heart Medicine
Motherwort: Heart Medicine


I also noticed something interesting…

Some chronic back pain (at the back of my heart…big surprise) that has been bothering me for years COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS when I’m outside doing something I love, usually involving romping through forests or tall grass, talking to trees, listening to plants…the usual.

mushrooms on a dead tree

So this Sunday I informed one of my friends and fellow adventurers that we were going hiking and harvesting plants for new potions to be sold here.  Of course we “accidentally” got lost and ended up spending all day climbing up trees, wandering off the trail (which we were specifically told NOT to do), getting covered in mud, and gathering some beautiful plants.  I returned home smelling like sage and pine, covered in dirt, with twigs, thistles, and bits of grass stuck in my hair.  And blissfully exhausted.

inside a tree


7 thoughts on “Winter Wildcrafting

  1. “we’re taught in school how to make a living, not how to live” Oh so true! And sadly with modern technology kids are learning to live and experience life even left. I love that you’ve made this commitment to yourself to get outdoors. Keep that mud on your boots and the twigs in your hair, and enjoy every moment of life!

  2. Oh my god, I totally hear you! I did so much hiking this summer, it felt almost as important for me to do as the yoga practice–I actually started referring to it as my outdoors yoga 😉

    Every time I go out hiking/walking in a wilderness area (even just a small wooded section in JP), I am reminded of how much my soul needs to be outside and have access to nature–not trees on the sidewalk nature, trees in the woods away from the city nature. And sunshine! Oh my god, when I went back to Arizona last month I couldn’t believe how good it felt! It felt so deeply nourishing, I actually got a bit teary, I don’t think I realized how deprived I was feeling of it until I was out there (guess that’s what happens when you work for 6+ hours a day indoors).

    One thing that was always amazing to me about hiking during this summer, was that I always thought that going on 7 hour hikes every week would make my body feel really tight and aggravate the issues that I have in my knees, but it didn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. My knees actually felt better after long hikes out in the woods and the practice actually felt easier and more connected than during any other time I can remember, specifically to my legs. They just felt more alive and engaged. Especially during drop-backs and deep back bending! It felt easier to back bend because I felt more connected to and supported by my legs. Going on long walks throughout the city does not have the same effect–my legs just feel exhausted and my knee tends to hurt more. The surface I am walking on could definitely play a big part, but I swear there is something about being out in nature that just wakes me up and gives me that feeling of really being connected to myself that is hard to find anywhere else, outside of the yoga (asana) practice.

    Always makes me wonder, why I choose to live in a big city…

    1. Tara, I love the connection you make between your yoga practice (specifically back bending) and the support you feel in your legs! It’s a beautiful reminder of how we need to be grounded in order to open. And I absolutely agree that being outside in big open expansive nature versus the city gives us such different medicine. I’m the same way…I need forests and mountains. The city leaves me feeling depleted and a bit suffocated when I spend long periods of time there.

      Thank you for your beautiful response to my post

  3. Very true about the comment on not learning how to truly live. About a year or two ago, I really started to realize that a lot of my personal anxieties and depressive thoughts could at most times be fixed with not medication, which modern America stresses as such a regular treatment, but instead, finding an individual outlet more suitable to what really releases your strife. For you, it is being outdoors, which I definitely agree with because that is mine as well. Unfortunately, this winter weather deters me from that leisure and I find myself finding my happiness in the heated comfort of my kitchen cooking.

  4. …how many health conditions are really illnesses of the soul?
    I so agree with this. I think so many illnesses are caused by not listening to your soul, your inner voice, the one that we ignore when it tells us what is really wrong or what we might do to feel better – like spend the day outside. Or quit that job. Or leave that toxic relationship.It may not always be convenient or easy to follow our soul but it’s certainly the path I’m on as well.
    p.s. I love talking to trees too 🙂

  5. Absolutely beautiful! I love that you made a commitment to your soul and can share the physical and emotional benefits with us. Remembering to live and play is so necessary. So often it leads us to exactly where we want to be. Thank you for the inspiration, Katie. ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s