Spirituality Information - John Harricharan's Interview With Terri Marie (Q4)


 Spirituality Information - John Harricharan's Interview With Terri  Marie (Q4)

When John Harricharan approached Terri Marie of the Wildcrafted Wellness Group, they were both in an odd state of confusion. "I think I'm burning out," he said. And she replied, "I don't know what to believe anymore." This interview with Terri Marie and her thoughts on spirituality is a must-read for anyone struggling to make sense of today's world and their place in it.

Terri Marie, talk about your own personal spiritual journey and where it took you before you found wildcrafting.

I agree that the current social and political climate is not just confusing, it's disorienting. As a Buddhist, my spiritual quest has been for answers to deep questions about how we can live in harmony with each other and what is important in life. My journey beyond simple answers had me questioning, inverting, and awakening to a deeper awareness of/than what I experienced as "moment to moment. " I was constantly climbing new mountains so I could see farther, go deeper and find answers to my life's questions.

I began teaching yoga in the early '90s during a time when the "spiritual" aspect of yoga took a back seat to the physical/health benefits. However, it was at that point that I delved deeper into books, philosophy and Eastern religions while continuing to practice and teach all styles of yoga from Hatha through Tantra. I also earned a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University, did extensive clinical studies with Dr. Andrew Weil for his new book on anti-inflammatory foods (Immunity Syndrome) and continued learning about Eastern Philosophy.

This led me to explore my own spirituality and eventually to find "wildcrafting" which was the term I used for my (non-clinical) studies in plant-based nutrition and herbal medicine. My first encounter with wildcrafting came in the mid '90s when I began experimenting with different foods that we normally don't have access to such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans and squash. I also learned how to make my own organic soaps and lotions out of natural oils. At this point I had explored much of the Eastern philosophy along with Western Medicine so it was a natural fit for me to combine both world views via "wildcrafting. "

From there, my spiritual journey continues with further explorations of new plant ingredients, how they can be best utilized and which medicinal effects they have on the body and mind. I have also worked hard at cultivating the art of "present company" - appreciating that all our time on this planet is important and should be honored with gratitude for what we're given. So, I do not understand why society has such a need to fill our minds with every possible bit of information at any given time! And frankly, I don't care what it is as long as it's from the heart...intentionally by caring about others.

During my time as a nutritionist, I have also studied many other forms of "spirituality" including Buddhism, Shamanism, Esoteric Studies and yoga philosophy. So, although I had no preconceived notions about spirituality before I became a student of Terri Marie's work, I was quickly challenged to make sense of all these disciplines.

How would you summarize the essence of wildcrafting? In what ways is it different than mainstream herbalism?

There are two ways that mainstream herbalism differs from wildcrafting. First, mainstream herbalists tend to be more of a "one size fits all" approach while wildcrafters tend to be more holistic and customized patient care plans depending on each patients needs. The second way mainstream herbalism differs from wildcrafting is that mainstream herbalists tend to focus on a single herb or formula while wildcrafters tend to use plant ingredients for their synergistic effects.

What are the challenges of being a woman in this line of work?

There are challenges on many levels! My experiences with going against the grain include questioning what I read, my own personal interpretation of herbs and the lack of structure that most herbalists have adopted. It's been very challenging to venture outside what is taught without fear of being criticized if I don't fit into the mold expected by others.

Not being a "mainstream" physician (trained in conventional medicine preferably associated with a university or medical school) has also been challenging especially because some of the consultants and various "experts" I have interacted with lack expertise in this area. Because many of these people are also spiritual, they interpret herbs and nutrition information in a "spiritual" manner at times. At this point, I feel that mainstream medicine is well on it's way to losing its credibility as not only does it not provide the correct answers to many health related issues but the structure set up for conventional treatment often makes the whole process more about money than about healing or wellness.


At the core of Terri Marie's work is a determination to bring the wisdom of ancient plant allies into contemporary use, specifically for women. She also believes that the wisdom of our ancestors is what we need right now as this is where we can find refuge and inspiration both personally and collectively as a people. I would recommend her book Clearing The Path to Healing to anyone seeking this kind of creative renewal in their life journey. I would also strongly encourage you to see Terri Marie in person if she has a speaking engagement near you; she is a truly authentic guide in whom we can trust our hearts, minds and hands. Visit her website at www.clearingthepathtohealing.

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