I have stinging nettles in my back yard (and some in my front...oh and on the side!).
They grow here without me needing to plant them. They are REALLY good for you. Nature's medicine! They also hurt like mad if you touch them a certain way. One day when we first moved here, my boys and I were on a hike and we went off the beaten path and I fell into a patch. I was shocked at the instant, harsh burning on my legs and arms...then the deep itch that felt it couldn't be itched. Then the many swollen bumps. Then the achy numbness for a few days. I will admit, right when it happened, I cried like a baby. I am totally okay admitting that. ; ) Because of my physical reaction, I stayed away from my nettles for a few weeks...even though I was hearing of friends making soups and teas and intentionally touching them to feel the sting, to build an immunity, to listen to the pain and connect to it...or to help soothe their arthritis. I felt stubborn for a bit. I was actually a bit angry with this plant. It hurt me! Although when I would walk outside, I felt a pull to them. I would stare at them for a long while...and watch them sway in the wind. I felt like my fear of them was teaching me something. That there are always messages in the pain. Messages we need to hear in order to grow. The pain does not come from the root. Am I rooted?
I decided to get up close. I studied them. I felt less afraid. I knew they were fierce plants and in their fierceness, offered medicine that we needed. I went back to the house and grabbed my basket. And my gloves. I can still receive their medicine, with a bit of a boundary to protect myself. I still felt the sting but ever so lightly and just enough to connect to that pain. To feel alive. To help remind me that so much wisdom comes from pain. I talked with them when picking each one. I thanked them for what they had to offer. I got a sense that they softened towards me. That they felt understood. In those moments, I truly felt the heartbeat of life from the earth. Those moments of clarity and connection that come to us when we are quiet in nature, away from the noise. I want more of those.
I dried some leaves for tea. I used the raw ones for a soup. The soup tasted like pureed artichoke dipped in butter with a dash of salt. Yummmm. I used this recipe but I substituted blended soft tofu in place of heavy cream and nonfat greek yogurt in place of sour cream. I also included crushed garlic along with the onions when sauteing in the beginning.
I am so grateful that being here, surrounded by so much lushness, has me connecting deeper to what nature offers us beyond just solace. I am so inspired by Susun Weed these days...among a few others in my life, that take care of themselves and those they love with what comes from the earth: Nature's medicine cabinet of healing and love. Its in my back yard! Mmmmm.