Tuesday, July 19, 2016

White pine: grounding and healing with earth and spirit

Recently, I was on a road trip when a replay of  Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” came on. As a child, my cousin Dana and I were devoted listeners, bringing our transistor radio down to a dock on Saratoga Lake in Saratoga Springs, NY over the course of many lazy summers. These were some of the happiest memories of my childhood.

When Casey Kasem died in 2014 at the age of 82, I remember feeling so sad over the death of someone who felt like a childhood friend. Each week, Casey signed off with the same words : “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” I thought about these words more times than I can count as I morphed into the metaphysical practitioner that I am today. It took some time to realize the true meaning and impact of that phrase, but once I did, I saw how it applies to the basis of a happy life. It is a concept I now use personally as well as in private practice, on a daily basis.

For years, health care practitioners have known the importance of helping the people we care for to ground, and also how critical it is to the success of the work that we do with them that we keep ourselves grounded as well. Grounding makes us more effective in our analysis of what we are looking at while diagnosing each individual patient.

But grounding down is only half of the story: the other half, the lesser known or talked about half, is the necessity for grounding up. There is a human need to be as solidly connected to whatever we think is out there that is bigger than we are, be that God or Goddess, nature, the moon, love, country, whatever. The idea is that we connect and then remain connected to a sense of order and purpose in the world, a sense of spiritual support that exists under all circumstances, even particularly difficult ones. When this sense of connectedness is nurtured and maintained, we are stronger, both physically and emotionally, in the face of whatever it is that we have to deal with.

"the lesser known or talked about half, is the necessity for grounding up"

The effect of this is very much like one of the indications for giving a person the herbal remedy of white pine. White pine takes one out of the chaos of the hurricane of life and puts her in the eye of the storm, no longer swirling around at the mercy of that storm. This does not mean, of course, that the circumstances of her life change, only that she can be clear in her evaluations of those circumstances.  She can catch her breath as she stands in the calm eye of the storm, able to make more clear and accurate decisions of how to deal with what is happening around her.

All healthy trees share the same physical presentation: they are firmly rooted in the earth, with a strong and healthy trunk, while at the same time stretching firmly toward the sky. This firmness, in both directions, ensures that they will remain standing through almost every storm, unshakable in the face of every challenge. White pine also is very good for strengthening the lungs and kidneys/urinary tract, which when strong, contribute to the  highly functioning trunk of a human.

To me, this is a visual representation of Casey Kasem's famous sign off: stay firmly rooted in and to your existence on this earth while reaching for and cultivating an equally firm connection to whatever it is that you believe in that is greater than you.

In this way, we can all achieve the most powerful existence possible in this lifetime.

Lots of love to you...    


Dr. Lisa M Avila

Notes from the Apothecary - 
bridging the disconnect

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