Wednesday, 18 February 2015

My Shiny Life + Biz Secrets - Part 1

At the start of 2014, I closed my eyes and reflected on what I would choose to focus on as my word of the year. The word that bubbled up from within was SHINE.

It had been a tumultuous few years... decades... lifetime... An ongoing roller coaster of highs and lows, experiencing grief over sad losses, great joy over personal achievements, family reunions, new additions to the family, heart ache, confusion, mixed emotions over friends who have come and gone, and blissful celebrations.

I felt fortunate already to have created the conditions to share my passion for natural herbal health and holistic medicine with my community through workshops, wild remedy walks and holistic clinic sessions, but was still feeling the limitations of playing a smaller version of myself than I know in my heart is my potential. 

At the start of January 2014, I was feeling so ready for transformation, grateful for how far I'd come in recent years, ready to transition even more into alignment with expressing and sharing my true voice with the world. I wanted to say "YES" to a higher, brighter, more courageous, loving and generous version of myself, to let my heart shine. 

I am amazed at the incredible events, groups and people that have manifested to help me do exactly this! I'd love to share my secrets with you in this series of blog posts, some lessons I've learned, and to introduce you to some key members of my dream team who support me to shine my light.

I received a facebook message not too long ago from a friend which read: "Hi Fiona. How are you? Looks like you're a flourishing on FB :)" I thanked her for her kind message. What she didn't know was that I had been derailed that morning and feeling emotional after an angry attack from a person I had once considered a friend. I replied in appreciation of her support.

She went on to assure and encourage me: "Your happy inspiring time is shining through. I love your work, you are amazing and an inspiration. Shine on."

Well, that was truly confirmation that my word of the year had been an inspired choice, as you will see in the synchronicity that follows in the secrets I have to share!

So what about the secrets? I hear you wonder...

I will be sharing them one by one over the coming weeks. Here's number one to start off with...

Secret No. 1 ~ Follow Your Heart

Many years of listening to my inner and outer critics' voices had forced my inner child and true heart's desires into hiding. It felt wrong to have desires at all, my head full of shoulds and shouldn'ts, feeling powerless and paralysed.

As a teenager and young adult I felt intensely cynical, distrustful and lonely. I lacked any real purpose and direction. If someone had suggested I followed my heart back then, I'd have had to breakthrough the barbed wire fence I had encased it in. Not an easy feat!

I experienced betrayal, confusion, pain and despair. I found it hard to open up or trust others, especially those closest to me. Although I did have good friends who I hid most of my dark feelings from, I didn't feel safe to share these with them, I craved for and felt safer in my own company.

I have been blessed to have had various encounters in my life over the years. Encounters with people and events I now perceive to be my soul guides and angels, that planted seeds of self-worth and encouragement in my heart. Gradually the layers of protection around my heart started to melt away.

More and more I have been guided to listen to my heart and nurture these fragile seeds to take root and grow, to give them love, attention, and light to flourish, to bear fruit and spread these seeds of love to the hearts of others.

I followed my heart to give up my place on a Business Studies and Languages degree course against the wishes of my parents. I took a year out to work and travel, before taking my first degree, an MA in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

For me, the practical business & languages degree I had originally signed up for out of 'should' grated against my heart's pull. Back then, I felt that money and job security was the enemy of wisdom and a life of freedom and adventure. "How will you get a job with a degree in Philosophy!", my critics would say, but my heart's calling was so strong, I ignored them and did it anyway.

As a idealistic young lady, I took the word Philosophy literally, Philo, ancient greek for 'Love of' & Sophos, meaning 'Wisdom'. Love of Wisdom - what learning could surpass that! My romantic notion of Philosophy was short lived.

My course was based firmly on western ancient and modern philosophy, rational mental analysis, logic and science. Although a interesting dive into the history and method of modern day thinking, there was not even a nod to asian philosophies, world cultures and religions, which I would become increasingly drawn to.

The only female philosopher we studied explored heavy themes such as violence against women. Could women philosophers have anything to say other than defend themselves against their male oppressors, I wondered? 

To me, Philosophy felt limited, exclusive, male dominated, heady, top heavy, out of balance, and little space for the heart to speak. Perhaps this was a mirror of what we consider to be wisdom in the modern world? I didn't like what I saw. 

Today, however, I have no regrets. My heart's calling helped guide me to where I ultimately needed to go. Perhaps to the detriment of my university studies but to the flourishing of my heart, I had valuable time to discover the wisdom teachings of symbolism, mythology, world cultures, traditional herbal medicine, tarot and astrology through my extracurricular personal explorations. I overcame my aversion to the colour pink and painted my bedroom the colour of love.

During this time, I met my first buddhist teacher and learned to meditate, start to develop a mind of love, effort and concentration, to allow thoughts to come and go without strong attachment or judgment. He happened to have trained in philosophy and psychology in his pre-buddhist days, so was able to teach me in a language I understood. I discovered a very different experience of love and wisdom than I had encountered in my academic learning.

My mind shifted and my heart softened. My rigid beliefs became more relaxed. As a lifelong devout atheist, I learned loving-kindness, compassion for others, and a tolerance to religious and spiritual expression that has transformed my outlook completely.

Since then I have continued to experience a heart opening that blesses and supports my journey through life, especially when I nurture it with love and attention. I've discovered that the best way to move forward is to notice when I am overcome by mental chatter, and distracted by voices in my head that are not my own. Then I create the space to drop into my heart, my spiritual guide, and listen to what she has to say.

Habits of lifetimes can be hard to break. I'm still on a eternal but now more conscious journey of returning back to my heart. I now know that when I do, I can trust wholeheartedly that I'm on the right path. Every encounter and obstacle become part of my spiritual development and empowered life journey.

If I had not allowed myself to listen to those early heart whispers and dared to follow them, my story could have been quite different. I would not be where I am today, having travelled to so many parts of the world to learn and work, becoming a herbalist and holistic health practitioner, on a life adventure married to my soul mate. I've met so many inspiring fellow travellers on the way, and supported by an incredible network of friends and mentors who encourage me to live my highest potential.

My life has been an amazing dream, a journey of awakening, growth and development. I'm so grateful for every part of it. Out of the tragedy, trauma and challenges that is an inevitable part of life, like yin & yang, cycles of transformation continue to occur giving way to incredibly magical celebrations, beauty, serendipity, and synchronicity.

Do you listen to and nurture your heart often? Do you have examples of times you have followed your heart whole-heartedly?

Go back there in your mind for a moment... What did you do? How were you feeling? What was the outcome? Is this how you are feeling now?

If not, what do you need to do to realign with your heart's purpose to recreate those same feelings? Who or what do you need to bring into your life to help you move forward and bring you back on track?

Remember that you can tune into and fully trust your heart of love and wisdom anytime to ask for and receive guidance. Following your pure heart never fails.

Here are some questions you can ask your heart to help break the ice and get the conversation flowing...

What are my true heart's desires? What can I do this week to bring one of them to life?

What's on my bucket list of 100 things to do before I die? Is it time to create one? 

Who did I want to be when I grew up? How can I integrate similar activities into my own life today?

What are the skills and qualities of the people I most admire? How can I cultivate these in my own life?

What dreams and passions have I put on the shelf, labelled, 'one day'? Could 'one day' be today?

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Feel free to share any thoughts and insights in the comments below. 

For an update of my next Shiny Life Secret hot off the press, and other nourishing news, you are welcome to sign up for my Nourish and Flourish Love Letters, subscribe to my blog, or bookmark my page to check in as your heart desires.

From my shining heart to yours,
Fiona Morris 

Medical Herbalist, 
Massage Therapist 
AstroTarot Reader

Herbal Wellness Plans | Courses & Workshops | Wild Remedy Walks 
Holistic Body Massage | Indian Head Massage | Tea & Tarot Readings

Let's connect: Facebook l Twitter Blog Instagram Pinterest
Click here to receive your Nourish & Flourish Love Letters 

Welcome to share with anyone who might appreciate it!

Love Potion No 1 - Rose & Pomegranate Elixir

This Valentine's Day I decided to get my family in the mood for love by treating them to pancakes for breakfast smothered in Love Potion No 1. aka homemade Pomegranate & Rose Honey Elixir. Here's how I did it so you can recreate it at home if you wish...

The first thing I did was to gather the most heart warming ingredients I could find in my kitchen cupboard. I offered them to the goddess, a reflection of our higher self, infusing them with heartfelt intention, extra potent love energy, and healing blessings.

My Love Potion ingredients included: pomegranate, rose petals, honey - a homemade gift from friends, lemon, water, cinnamon, cardamom, and the most important ingredient, LOVE.

Each item chosen for their sweet or citrus aromas, heart opening colours and emotional uplifting benefits, I first arranged the ingredients on a beautiful blue platter with some special stones lovingly gifted to me and bought myself, including rose quartz and ruby fuchite.

I sprinkled a handful of dried rose petals in to a half cup of water, adding a teaspoon or so of cardamom pods, couple of lemon slices, a stick of cinnamon and brought the magic pot of love to a simmer.

Reducing the gently simmering liquid to about half for about 10-15min, I used a masher occasionally to press and stir the concoction to release the juice from the pomegranates and break open the cardamom pods to release their flavour. I added a few more rose petals for luck.

I then poured the mixture into a bowl through a fine sieve, pressing the liquid out of the herbs and squishing any remaining pomegranate fruit with the back of a wooden spoon.

This left me with a ruby red infusion which I poured into a measuring jug to add honey to (for a vegan option you could try maple syrup, or get it back on the hob to melt in some unrefined sugar).

I added the warm ruby liquid with honey in equal parts, and stirred with spoon until completely blended, adding loving thoughts, wishes and gratitude for the people it's intended for.

And voila! A rose and pomegranate love potion concoction for St. Valentine's day. 

We enjoyed it as a syrup for pancakes. It was delicious and went down a treat...

There was even some left over to enjoy on Pancake Tuesday, and to add to smoothies to make them taste just heavenly! It's a lovely way to get a late winter immune boost with the lemon, cinnamon and honey too.

All the extra smells, colour and texture of the cardamom and cinnamon spices also added to the magic of the potion concocting! The lemon made it really good on the pancakes. The pomegranate gave the elixir a richer red colour than the rose petals do alone.

Although there is something to be said for the simplicity of pure rose syrup. I might try to keep it simple next time to get the full flavour of rose, but I personally can never resist adding a pinch of spice to give it a special twist.

Hope you enjoy giving it a go yourself. Feel free to make it your own with your favourite ingredients. A vanilla pod or star anis, for example, would give it a certain je ne sais quoi.

I'd love to hear what you come up with and your own creative ways to serve it to your dear ones.

Rose petals and cinnamon sticks,
Fiona Morris 

Medical Herbalist, 
Massage Therapist 
AstroTarot Reader

Herbal Wellness Plans | Courses & Workshops | Wild Remedy Walks 
Holistic Body Massage | Indian Head Massage | Tea & Tarot Readings

Let's connect: Facebook l Twitter Blog Instagram Pinterest
Click here to receive your Nourish & Flourish Love Letters 

Welcome to share with anyone who might appreciate it!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Happy Love Day to You...

Whether you celebrated Valentine's Day or not, I'd like to remind you that you are loved and that you are lovely every day of the year. 

Every day is a good day to reflect on the true meaning of love. Let's make every day a Love Day!

a garden of roses especially for you...
photo by Fiona Morris copyright 2015

Love is not about your sweetheart treating you to fancy flowers and chocolates on a memorial day for christian martyrs (though these things are pleasant indeed), but more about all the many little everyday acts of care and consideration that we give to one another constantly.

Even strangers show us love when they step aside to let you on a bus first, when they meet your eye with a smile when passing in the street.  Loving actions and expressions of gratitude send ripples of warmth and kindness cascading through the hearts of others and encourages others to return the favour.

Love is truly all around when we tune into it. Start noticing and appreciating these gestures and soon you find that there is an abundance of love everywhere.

Where attention goes, energy flows... So you may want to start to noticing and appreciating these gestures not only in strangers, but also in your nearest and dearest. 

When you feel lonely and unloved, a sure way to shift these feelings is to start committing acts of love and kindness to others. Write a letter to someone you'd love to hear from. Offer a meal to someone who would appreciate it. Give an unexpected gift, big or small. Open a door for someone. Give heartfelt compliments to people you encounter. Call your parents, grandparents, or other relatives for a chat out of the blue!

These kind actions made consistently over time will ripple back to you ten fold.

For more inspiration, check out this wonderful page full of ideas by The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:

I'd love to hear your tried and tested tips for amplifying love in life. Please do share your thoughts in the comments below :)

Loving wishes,
Fiona Morris 

Medical Herbalist, 
Massage Therapist 
AstroTarot Reader

Herbal Wellness Plans | Courses & Workshops | Wild Remedy Walks 
Holistic Body Massage | Indian Head Massage | Tea & Tarot Readings

Let's connect: Facebook l Twitter Blog Instagram Pinterest
Click here to receive your Nourish & Flourish Love Letters 

Welcome to share with anyone who might appreciate it!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Healing with Hibiscus

This is a Hibiscus flower, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, of the Malvaceae or Mallow family, one of an abundance growing near my parents' home in Penang, Malaysia, where it is loved as the national flower.

Its five petals represent the five Malaysian principles, and the red colour symbolising courage. They remind me of the billowing, twirling, flamenco dancer's skirt, with the red hot colour of passion to match.

Hibiscus grows widely in tropical and warm temperate countries all over the world. So different to the wild flowers I have growing around my home in Edinburgh, these are not only gorgeously beautiful but also edible. The flower is used as a garnish and ingredient in many Pacific Islanders' salads and cocktails.

I used to pick these as a child and suck the nectar out from where the flower meets the stem, honey sweet, in the same way I show folk to do with white deadnettle flowers in Scotland, although hibiscus nectar is sweeter.

If you find these growing plentifully near you, pick and collect them to dry or use fresh, foraging with consideration for the environment, aiming for less than 10% per plant to ensure plenty left for the plant to thrive and wildlife. To dry, hang them upside down in a dry shady place for a few days (depends on humidity) when crisp to touch, store in airtight container in cool, dark place.

It makes a lovely uplifting iced tea with honey when in hot countries or on a hot summer's day, with its tart taste and vibrant red colour. As a student, I used to work in a Sudanese cafe called The Nile Valley who serve hibiscus tea hot or cold, called Karkaday. It's a popular refreshment in North African countries.

As a healing herbal remedy, the leaf, flower and bud is used traditionally in many Asian, Ayurvedic and Chinese Traditional Medicine formulations. This flower is rich in Vitamin C with its well known benefits on boosting immunity, skin health and organ repair. 

Its astringent properties are helpful for women's health, excessive menstruation, some gynaecological issues and menopausal symptoms, such as sweats and flushing. 

Hibiscus has been shown to have high antioxidant value, benefits on reducing high cholesterol, supporting the liver and cardiovascular systems, and even anti-depressant properties in research studies. 

The leaves and flowers infused in oil, rich in hyaluronic and linoleic acids, are used as a nourishing hair and scalp tonic, particularly with coconut oil in Ayurvedic herbal practice.

When I make up herbal blends for my Herbal Medicine and AstroTarot clients, I consider not just the nutrient properties and therapeutic actions, but also the effect of the colour and taste on the mind and more subtle body. 

Red is indicated where a root chakra imbalance and related emotional issues are manifesting, such as lack of grounding or security, feeling unstable, lacking firm roots, a sense of fear and anxiety due to lack of safety.

Hibiscus flowers are offered regularly in the spiritual practices of India and Hindu communities, particularly sacred to Lord Ganesh, the elephant headed deity, remover of obstacles, as his favourite flower.

There are also surprising practical uses of Hibiscus. Nicknamed Shoe Flower, its petals have a moist texture that are used by some to shine their shoes.

To me, simply gazing at a hibiscus flower, or the instant exotic glamour of wearing one tucked behind the ear, is a magnificent to uplift the spirits. 

Do you have any hibiscus tips, stories or memories to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments below :)

Hibiscus blessings,
Fiona Morris 

Medical Herbalist, 
Massage Therapist 
AstroTarot Reader

Herbal Wellness Plans | Courses & Workshops | Wild Remedy Walks 
Holistic Body Massage | Indian Head Massage | Tea & Tarot Readings

Let's connect: Facebook l Twitter Blog Instagram Pinterest
Click here to receive your Nourish & Flourish Love Letters 

Welcome to share with anyone who might appreciate it!