Last weekend I was able to participate in the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference. This would have been my first year to attend the live conference which normally takes place annually in Almond, WI. But with 2020 happening it was moved to a virtual event. None of us knew how the events following the death of George Floyd would effect us and the world. But I am so thankful for the opportunity to really connect with an amazing group of women who really thoughtfully planned what turned out to be the perfect event.
What struck me as particularly timely was the poetry of Dominique Christina at the Saturday night keynote event. Conference founder Linda Conroy said of Christina that she embodies the goal of “living on purpose,” and she is “using her poetry to change the world.” Conroy went on to say “I don’t think you will ever see the world the same way,” after hearing her poetry. For me that has been the case.
I am attaching the link to the recording. Christina comes first so you don’t have to watch over an hour of herbal goodness to hear the poetry. The first poem she shares struck me. Even listening to it again I didn’t catch the title but she said that the poem, “reveals me.” She describes, “the hologram I created. . .in the attempt to survive my experience,” and how the poem was a conscious effort to peal back those layers to bring a level of “integrity with myself. . . be entirely myself–the magic of it but also the mess of it.”
What is particularly striking is Cristina’s experience is so different from mine. But by sharing it you see a glimpse into an amazing woman’s past pain and how she is turning that to beauty. Throughout this time of racial tension I am reminded how important stories are. Of course it is nice and healing to share our own (first we have to be really honest with ourselves about who we really are and why), but it is equally important (if not more so) to listen others stories. Especially the stories if those who traditionally haven’t had a voice.
Listening and sharing was the subject of Cornelia Cho’s Friday night keynote. So I highly recommend you listen to that in its entirety. And the invocation by Brooke Medicine Eagle is amazing!!!
My hope is that you will take the time this week to really examine yourself and the feelings this experience is triggering and honestly look at why. And then take that new found experience and listen to someone’s story that is completely different from yours. Listen from a place of love and understanding.
And for those of you who would like more herbal goodness There is another virtual conference coming up next weekend. I got and email from another herbal teacher of mine Tammi Sweet. She says
It’s critical that we connect our learning with a greater purpose of creating a society where people have access to healthcare and are safe in their communities.
There is also a 50% off solidarity price for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and some scholarships are available. You can find all the information about this on the registration page.
This event will help you find other people with similar interests, connect with teachers around the topics you care about, and give you 32 classes to choose from.
Links to Dominque’s books.
This is Women’s Work. This is the book Conroy talks about in the introduction.
They Are All Me.
Anaracha Speaks. I am particularly interested in this one which chronicles the historical experiences of Anarcha, a real woman who was experimented on and tortured in the name of modern science.
The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl’s Hymnal. This one is not available new and is pretty expensive but if you love Christina it might be worth it.