In Chinese medicine, it is said that if you want to heal, you must return to the Mother — Mother Earth. Our mother, the earth reminds us that the medicine is everywhere. I learned this 14 years ago when my husband, Joel, and I vacationed in a tiny, third-world country island in the Dutch Caribbean.
The island of Saba is relatively untouched, un-primped and feels like going back in time. There’s no crime, no mosquitoes, and not much tourism due to being treacherously mountainous. It’s so mountainous that they couldn’t build a road there until the 1970’s. The island is so small that this road is called “the road.” You can still hitchhike safely on the road, which winds up and down the mountainous terrain. I used to call the road a thigh burner because of how hard we’d work just to walk it.
When we arrived for our vacation in Saba, I had just completed the first round of one of the most difficult sales in my company’s history. The stress was through the roof. The driver took us from the airport to our rental cottage, the only address was “Flamboyant Cottage.” If you were to watch people’s faces through the van window as they arrive for the first time, you’d always see the same thing: jaws parted, eyes wide and just shy of terror as they take in the sharp elevation and sheer cliffs around them.
The Flamboyant Cottage sat high on the mountain with 180-degree views of the ocean. For the first week, burned out from all the work stress, I’d sit on the porch staring. Taking in the rainforest, the ocean. Nature’s version of quiet — the birds, goats, roosters, the loud wind — became my medicine. Every day, sitting on that porch where Nature was bigger than everything else, I began to heal.
After that first week, I felt strong and energized enough to walk the thigh burner hills on the road. And then my next level of healing came: hiking in the rainforest. With no crime, I was safe enough to walk alone among the trees and bush. I saw leaves bigger than my head. I felt deep respect for all this life and recognized that it was healing me.
From that first day on the rainforest trail, I didn’t know that within one year, this island would inspire me to leave my corporate life behind and trust the process of building a business from my heart. I couldn’t have known all the lessons this island, it’s people, and Mother Nature would teach me. I spent 8 years in this place where Nature was the biggest presence. All the water for our home came only from the sky. I learned to grow food, honor the animals and trust Nature’s storms. With “substandard” technology and lighting, I learned how my body flowed with the rhythm of night and daylight. I learned to be patient as everyone flowed at a non-scheduled pace.
Somewhere, among all of this, I learned to hear my own inner voice — the Mother Nature within me. And this was my deepest healing.
We keep looking for fancy answers. For the cure. For something fast and easy. We want it right now. And often, we forget that sometimes, the answer lies in the unexpected, the back-in-time, the unsexy, slow surrender to what we already know inside…to what is always here for us…and just needs to be reclaimed.
May you always remember — the medicine is everywhere.
Kunolùkwa. I love you. May we share our good medicine with each other.
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