Written by Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA
I was having a conversation with another parent of a little one the other day about the importance of community. Community is crucial to new parents in too many ways to list, but it's also a necessity to all humans. I think we're all still reeling and recovering from the shell shock to the soul that has been the last few years. Because what is a milestone in life without others to celebrate it with? What is difficulty without others to lean on? There's a residual heaviness many of us carry on our hearts for want of community. It comes and it goes, but sometimes it feels too great of a challenge to shake.
So I started wondering on the drive home if you could bottle community. Now we're all well versed in the knowledge there's no real substitute for a group of people coming together in person in a common space to share something of life. But if herbs were like people (and many of us herbalists believe they are, in a way), who would be in my little teapot community?
I'd always invite lemon balm round. Lemon balm is that person who always brings the sunshine, not in a grating, over the top way, but more in a - the wind will blow, the clouds will part, and the sun will come again - way.
Rose is the friend who gives the best hugs - those massive, squishy, solid hugs that make physical all the joy in times of celebration, and that hold you firmly when you just need to collapse in a puddle of tears and exhaustion.
Ashwagandha - also known as 'strength of a horse' - is the friend who gets you through. The one who hooks you by the arm and says, 'Come on, now. We just need to get from A to B. Lean on me. I'll be with you every step of the way, even if you fall.'
Chamomile is the caretaker of the community - anything you need, chamomile provides from an openness of giving. Do you need to rest? Chamomile will make a calm space. Do you need to be nourished? Chamomile will take you to a lovingly laid table and say, 'Relax. Enjoy. Take what you need. I'll do the washing up.'
Hawthorn is the wise one. The community member who's been there the longest, who has seen the turning of so many seasons. Hawthorn knows when to be light-hearted and florescent, when to be full and fortifying, when it's time to rest and time to grow. Hawthorn reminds you wherever you are in this moment, it only ever lasts for a moment.
My herbal community is so supportive (and tasty!), they've become a longstanding tea blend in my own apothecary, as well as in my shop, all year round. Because it makes a difference to know our community is always there when we need it.