Lessons in playfulness from my garden weeds

‘What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered’- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although I didn’t realise it at the time, one of the most playful things I have done recently is to sign up for a course called ‘Weeds and Wild Medicine.’  Once a month I spend the day with a group of like-minded souls, roaming local parkland gathering samples of wild-growing plants, in readiness to transform them into healing balms, lotions or tonics. We have to be prepared to experiment with different tastes and sensations as we discover the unique properties of each plant- bitter, astringent, warming and soothing, opening up our narrowed senses. We are encouraged to be creative with our plant combinations for each concoction, using learned knowledge and felt intuition to make our choices.

Much to the amusement (and sometimes annoyance) of my family and friends, I can no longer walk past a weed-covered grass verge without pointing out something that I recognise and describing its multiple uses. Dandelions, nettles, cleavers and daisy are no longer seen as nuisances, but as entities in their own right having endless potential! This course is a great reminder of how we can sustain ourselves through valuing the resources we have already got- it may just be that we have never really acknowledged those things as having a use.

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Seeing things with new eyes- like the grass verges- is my way of cultivating a more playful attitude towards the things around me that I previously took for granted.

When did you last look at something familiar with fresh eyes? What resources do you already have in your life that you may be taking for granted? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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