It seems that the things that are most important in life (and in your herbal practice) are also the things that challenge you the most. Walking my talk has been and will probably always be a challenge for me. Do I always work out three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes like I suggest to my clients? Nope. Do I always remember to take time out for myself and my personal hobbies and the things I love? Nope. Do I always eat organic whole foods that are nutritious and healthy? Nope.
If I don’t do these things how can I expect my clients to? I remember I had this doctor I saw when I lived in Victoria, B.C. She always looked dishevelled which was actually one of the things I liked about her (people who look too perfect on the outside worry me… makes me think they’re hiding something). She was never late because she used to work in the army as a physician and the one thing that the army doesn’t tolerate is tardiness. During one of my physicals she came into the room with her trusty egg timer in one hand (another reason why she was never late) and the largest turkey sandwich I’d ever seen in my life in the other. She did the usual things including checking my weight and height. With crumbs still on her face she turns to me and tells me that I could stand to lose a few pounds. While I knew she was right; I did have about 10 or so pounds to lose, I was super annoyed because of the messenger. On top of her dishevelledness, she was about 50 or 60 pounds overweight (with bits of turkey sandwich on her face). Now if this advice was oh so important, then why wasn’t she following it?
It’s been years since I’ve seen that particular doctor, but the feeling I had when I left her office that day still remains with me. People, practitioners especially, need to walk their talk. When I say walk their talk, I don’t expect people to be perfect all of the time, but I do expect practitioners to believe the message they are spreading. In the end that’s the most important thing to remember. If you truly believe what you tell your clients and you try your best each day to live up to those values, then you are walking your talk. I never tell my clients they have to do something. I ask them to make their health a priority and to do their very best each day. We’re all human and humans make mistakes.
As a herbalist I think one of the most important ways for me to walk my talk is to remember my herbal allies. If I turned to over-the-counter cold medication every time my nose dripped, I wouldn’t be a very good herbalist now would I? I remember my herbal friends when I’m ill, when I’m not ill, when I’m walking in the woods, when I’m making medicines, when I’m meditating or praying and when I’m studying, researching or writing. The day I turn my back on my herbal allies, is the day I’ve truly lost my way; the day I’m no longer walking my talk.