My journey with taking care of my body started with food, and slowly transitioned to the realization that everything that surrounds our physical body can be nourishing (or draining) to our emotional and bodily health.
The clothes I wear, the food I ingest, the water I drink and bathe in, the media I watch and the words I speak and listen all affect my body, and building gentle surroundings and rituals allows me to navigate the world with more ease and presence.
There is an extra layer of healing I have been integrating into my life through plants: the study of different ways plants nourish us and ways in which I can be in conversation with them. It turns out, you don't have to ingest a plant to feel it's healing effects. You can apply it (topically) to your body, you can smell it (aromatherapy), or you can simply be in its presence.
With the desire to deepen this awareness, I travelled to Acre, in the north western part of the Brazilian Amazon, to learn from the Yawanana and their use of plants to bridge body and spirit. It was actually through one of their main ceremonial healing plants that I first learned (or remembered) the importance of integrating nature back into my body and life, in order to live in connectivity with the world around me.
This journey that started almost 10 years back with my first sit with a plant brew known as Uni, and since them, I have been studying the way plants can be used for healing in our day to day, beyond known religious or ceremonial spaces. The Yawanawa taught me that the division of sacred and "physical" is a concept I learned in the West to keep productivity in our system separate from time for healing. But when both are integrated in every day-to-day activity, financial-driven goals and expansion-driven projects become irrelevant, as they don't speak the language of nature: presence, inner knowing, unity with everything else.
I am so grateful for having learned about some of their medicinal plants in this journey. Some are processed, fermented and drank in ceremony (Uni/Ayahuasca), others are extracted and used to improve vision being directed applied to the eye (Sananga), others infiltrate the bloodstream (Kapum), but there are also subtle ones like the Mapu (mud) bath and a plant bath that are applied to the skin to cleanse, heal and renew our bodies from the inside out.
I came back from a month journey in my home country, Brazil, more inspired than ever to continue my work at Circular Bodies. For every plant that I integrate into my recipes, I honor their spirit and celebrate their help healing us. I love making recipes that are used on our day to day, because they remind us to bring sacredness and presence to life, regardless of our spiritual and religious beliefs or ceremonial spaces we are a part of. And if we can bring awareness, presence and mindfulness to our days from when we shower, to when we wash clothes, to when we brush our teeth, then we can take care of our body and spirit every day, every moment of our lives.
Self care is beyond the skin: it is allowing ourselves to be present with the plants, people and places around us, inviting everything we encounter to become part of our healing journey.