All of the photos are from my weekend at the NW Herb Symposium, which was pretty fantastic. You may notice that I don’t have any photos of the the other participants, or teachers, or classes, or even the beach walk. Instead, and rather predictably I might admit, I have pictures of the sky, and the moss in the grain of the wood of the picnic table where I ate my lunch, and more sky.
I went into the weekend a little uneasy – I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into, just what a symposium on herbalism would look like. And I was very much unsure if I would belong. I had no reason to worry. The other participants were overwhelming inspiring and the teachers were amazing. I felt completely outclassed and utterly welcome.
The thought I had most frequently over the weekend was how exhilarating it is to be learning. I absorbed so much that I don’t know when or if or how I will ever use, but it was thrilling to take it all in. And there is no substitute for face-to-face learning. I’ll never stop teaching myself random things from library books and internet videos, but for things I really want to know, it’s a pale substitute.
And in retrospect, I can see that the thing that allowed me to get so much out of this weekend is that I have recently become much better at listening and noticing and managing my needs. Being around that many people, out of my element… it was a classic recipe for getting overstimulated and crashing. And I did get overstimulated, every day. But I also packed knitting and a novel and spent a hour or two every day sitting under a tree re-charging. Only have 10 minutes? Great, walk in a beeline for any viewscape that is as natural as possible, do a bit of stretching, and take 5 slow breaths. So much better. And 5 minutes to spare. And when I reached my fill, I let myself off the hook and went home to rest instead of squeezing one more session into a long, full day.
All of which seems really obvious, but I need regular reminders of the obvious.