Past Homework Assignments

202120202019

2021 * 2021 * 2021 * 2021 * 2021

For October

Final Project

If you haven’t settled on a final project, please do so ASAP! Your main homework for the October class is to get started on your research and planning! Get in touch if you want input or help.

Gender-Expansive Health Care

Whipping Girl chapter 7: Pathological Science: Debunking Sexological and Sociological Models of Transgenderism by Julia Serano (32 pages)
A note — this piece was written in 2007. The language used to describe trans experience has changed somewhat in the last 15 years. Still relevant! But we apologize for any word choices or ways of framing gender that rub the wrong way in the light of the intervening time.

Why We Need To End Gatekeeping, The GenderGP Podcast (audio – 46 minutes)

How to be a Girl Podcast, Episode 6 (audio – 8 minutes)

How the Nazi’s destroyed the most advanced transgender and queer health clinic of it’s day: The Godfather of Gays from Queer Story Podcast, Episode 2 (audio – 31 minutes)

Also recommended: Finding our Way Podcast, S2 E8: Breaking Binaries and Intersex Justice with Sean Saifa Wall (audio – 45 minutes)

Anatomy, Physiology and Energetics

Based on the assessment of your tongue, pick an herb that you think would help balance your constitution. Take the herb daily for the month, noting any changes in your body and check your tongue every day to see how it fluctuates. Keep a journal or log of it all!

Botany and Plant ID

Optional: Use Newcombs to key out another goldenrod.

For September

Racism in Health Care

This Racism is Killing Me Inside, Code Switch, 1/10/2018 (podcast – 31 minutes)

Blue Pill (on MDMA-based therapy for black folks for healing racial trauma and PTSD), The Nod, 2/4/2019 (podcast – 39 minutes)

Rest as Reparations with Tricia Hersey of The Nap Ministry, Irresistible Podcast, episode 40 (podcast – 1 hour)

Why Racism, Not Race, Is a Risk Factor for Dying of COVID-19, interview with ​​Camara Phyllis Jones in Scientific American (7 pages)

Dr. Rhea Boyd, The Safety Net-work: An Anti-Racist Imperative for Public Health Data, 2019 All In National Meeting (video – 64m)

Roots of African American Herbalism, From the Herbal Academy (21 pages)

Body Practices

From My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menkem, pages 63-65 and 77 and 78

Readings for White People in the Class (Optional for People of Color)

The Sugar Coated Language of White Fragility, by Anna Kegler (12 pages)

Writing Prompts to use if you’ve been accused of white fragility, spiritual bypass or white privilege, by Leesa Renee Hall (12 pages)

Reflection Questions

  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

Topic for the end of the year presentations

• Finalize your topic and how you want to present it.
• Start working on your project!

Plants ID & Botany

• Take some time to do some garden care at the MLK Community Garden or a garden close to you

Key out one plant while you are in the garden and tell us what it is!

Anatomy & Physiology & Energetics

Respiratory Revelations- Check in with your lungs, with the oxygen in your body.  How is it feeling?  What kind of energetics are present?  Are there any imbalances?  What might you shift to bring your body more into balance?  If you want, try something out and see how your body responds.

Look at all your pods’ tongues. Try to notice color, shape, coat, and other features, and think about what these could mean energetically, and what would make the tongue look that way. Don’t make mean comments!

Optional: read Erin Poirier’s short article about tongue reading (11 pages):
https://minnesotaherbalist.com/2013/09/11/introduction-to-tongue-assessment-for-the-western-herbalist/

Medicine Making

Do a plant sit with the Flower Essence we made in class (Poke). Let us know what you experience taking it. If you feel inspired do some research afterwards to learn more about pokeweed flower esse`nce and what it is used for.

For August

Patriarchal Medicine

The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret by Bethy Squires (8 pages)
Alternately, a past student made an audio recording of this piece for us – 12 minutes

Optional (if the first reading was surprising for you and you want to be more upset)
The ‘Father of Modern Gynecology’ Performed Shocking Experiments on Slaves by Brynn Holland (7 pages)

The following two writings on the history of the American Medical Association and how it strategically destroyed women’s roles in healthcare and healing. The first writing is very Eurocentric and doesn’t include a comprehensive history around practitioners and healers of color in the USA. We’ve included the article about race and the AMA to add some parts of that history, but haven’t found a comprehensive resource covering both. The brief history that the Witches, Midwives, Nurses covers of the destruction of lay healers and witches in Europe, can also be traced into any culture around the globe that was colonized by Europeans — one of the first tactics in colonization is to destroy healers and their knowledge. (Also note that the writing is a booklet and you follow the pages starting on the right cover to the diagonal left, then right etc. once you get to the bottom, you read it right to left moving back up. Sorry for how annoying that is!)

Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Barbara Ehrenreich (68 very short pages, plus a 25 page introduction you can read if you want)
Or listen to this (77 minutes) or this (92 minutes) audio recording

The American Medical Association and Race by Robert B. Baker, PhD (10 pages)

Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics: African Spirituality in American Cinema by Kameelah L. Martin (2 paragraphs)

The culture war between doctors and midwives, explained by Ranjani Chakraborty
(6 minute video)

Where did all the granny midwives go? (4 minute video)

Not required, but if you want to watch Mary Coley’s 1953 film it is on the youtube:
All My Babies- A Midwifes Own Story (54 minute video)

As one example of healing work outside the patriarchal model:
Plants are our ancestors: Bespoken Bones Podcast with guest Atava Garcia Swiecicki (audio – 47 minutes)

Reflection Questions

  • To prepare for our class discussion, where are places you see people practicing health care in contrast to the patriarchal model?
  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

End of Year Presentation

In November, we’ll have time to present on a topic of our choosing to our classmates! This can be in the form of a powerpoint, a lecture, an experiential activity, a reading, a writing, a demonstration… the list is endless. We want you to engage in a topic that peeks your interest and to share that with each other in some form. Your homework for this month is to come up with a topic that you’re interested in and email it to us — we’ll give feedback and suggestions and help you narrow down your topic if needed!

Plants ID & Botany

Take some time to do some garden care at our community garden.

Materia Medica

Pick one herb that we are growing in the student garden.  Research this plant! Use the research tools we’ve discussed.  Is it easy and fun to research medicinal herbs?

For July

Media – Ableism

Reflection Question

  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

Materia Medica

  • Try a tea, tincture, or snack on a plant that we’ve talked about in class – using the grounding and listening techniques we’ve been practicing. Spend an hour with it (or at least 15 minutes), and write down any notes about your observations.

Plants ID & Botany

  • Find six new plants you don’t know! Key them out!

Anatomy & Physiology

  • If it feels welcome, bring some mindfulness to your digestion this month. Some ways you might do this are:
    • For one or more meals a day (or a week), eat slowly and mindfully, without talking, reading, watching a show, driving a car, etc. Try to slow the experience down as much as possible, noticing the smells and sights of your food, the feeling in different parts of the mouth, the nuances of the flavor, the feelings as you swallow the food, the impulses to take another bite or not to, the ways the food continues down your alimentary canal, and so on.
    • Inspect your poop every day. Notice the details of the texture, consistency, color, etc. Notice how it changes. Track it. Write about it. Paint it.
    • Keep a food journal, noting what you eat for each meal/snack, as well as other salient qualities of the meal (eg. how you ate, how you were feeling when you eat), as well as tracking certain other symptoms (eg. indigestion, gas, mood, body pain, sleep quality)
    • Experiment with eating certain foods or not eating certain foods for a week, several weeks, or any set period of time. See what you notice.
    • Try taking a bitter or aromatic bitter before or after meals, and see how your feel. Or try an enteric nervine. Or try different herbs every day, every week, etc!
    • Or find your own way to pay closer attention!
  • Share a reportback with us in whatever you want!

Change Work

  • Wild tending observations: identify a wild space you want to care for and develop your relationship with close to where you live. Spend time observing and exploring this area, connecting with the plants and other living beings there. Decide on and write down ways that you want to support the wild life of this space.

For June

Readings – Fatphobia

Video/Audio – Fatphobia

Reflection Questions

  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things to you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • What have you internalized from growing up in a fatphobic culture? How has this affected your relationship to your body, to food, to exercise, to clothing/style? How has it influenced your relationship to other peoples bodies?

Fresh Air

  • What do you observe about the interviewer’s/host’s unconscious bias in her questions to Lizzo? What was being revealed?
  • What do you observe in your body when Lizzo responds to the questions?
  • At the beginning of the interview, the host asks Lizzo about her album cover and Lizzo responds, you’re asking that because I am fat.  And the host responds defensively making an excuse for why she asked the question.  What do you think would have been a better response?  Or what would you have liked the host to say instead?

Materia Medica

  • Spend more time with skullcap. (In Pittsburgh, you can get some at the East End Food Coop.) Do another “plant sit” like we did in class, starting with a body scan (there are a couple of links below), then quietly and slowly feeling the effects of the tea or tincture in your body. How does it feel similarly, how does it feel different? How do you feel different if you take it more casually?
    —- AND/OR —-
    Do a plant sit with a different nervine herb. See how that experience feels different or similar.

Plants ID & Botany

  • Key out five more plants that you haven’t keyed out.
  • Pittsburghers: Take some time to do some garden care at the MLK Garden. The garden needs to be watered and weeded, and it’s also a space for you to learn about how these different plants actually grow from seed or seedling to full-size plants. Please visit the garden at least once before our next class. And please send us all pictures of our babies!

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Last month we talked about mental and emotional health. Before our next class take some time to examine how your mental and emotional health interacts with your other body systems. At least one time this month examine how the way you’re feeling in your head/heart affects your respiratory system, your immune system, and one other system of your choice. Do you have physical feelings that result from your emotional health? Where do these feelings reside in your body? How can feeling the physical sensation of an emotion help us work with that emotion?

Change Work

  • Do some kind of anti-capitalist care event for your community. This can be anything — giving extra care to someone in your life, writing or making art and sharing it online, showing up for demonstrations, making medicine or resources to help people in this moment. We’re leaving it very open ended. We’d love to hear about what you do!

For May

Capitalism, Mental/Emotional Health

Reflection

  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things to you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • How has capitalism shaped how you think about your own health?
  • How do your ideas about health perpetuate health stigmas?
  • How do we build anticapitalist care networks?
  • How do the stigmas around mental illness affect your relationship to your own emotional health?
  • Make a “Mad Map” of your mental states and the supports that are helpful in different states. (You can do this by/for yourself, or do it with people who you are in relationship with.) You can use this guide, Mapping our Madness: A workbook for navigating crisis, extreme states, or just foul moods, as a worksheet or as a starting place, or the practice from the healing justice podcast, in English or Spanish

Materia Medica

  • Seek out dandelion or violet — finding it in the world, observing, keeping it company, eating it, using the medicine, meditating with it, daydreaming about it. Write about your experience.
    • If you pick the flowers or leaves, notice how it feels to do so. Notice the impact you have on the spot the plant is growing. Also be mindful that you’re not eating plants from a location that’s not likely to be polluted with lead or chemicals!
  • Make a tea from fresh violet flowers! Add a little lemon, and watch the color change! Cool! Take a video of it and post it to the slack!

Plants and Botany

  • Key out five plants. (Turn in a sample or drawing of the plant, plus the steps you took in newcombs and your id.)

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Make a real or imaginary first aid kit for a situation in your life (eg. workplace, backpacking, child care, etc.). Draw or write a description of your kit and why you included the things that you did.

Change Work

  • What does care look like in your life, and the lives of people you care about? How can we give and receive the best care possible? What are the barriers? What are the resources we have for our care or to share with other people?
  • What role do you feel more comfortable in: a caregiving role or a care-receiving role?  Reflect on that. How could you feel more comfortable in both roles?

For April

Change Work

  • Revisit the intentions you wrote in class. Spend some time with them, daydream about them, change them or add to them if you desire.
  • Tend to your class altar.

Wildcrafting

Cultural Appropriation

Reflection

Write ½-1 page about a family healing tradition you grew up with.

Pick two or more questions from these suggestions that you feel drawn to to answer:

  • What parts of these articles/recordings feel painful for you?
  • What parts make you want to act differently?
  • What parts left you with more questions and things to you want to think more about or spend more time with?
  • Are there parts that you had a hard time with or disagree with?
  • Wildcrafting:
    • What ways do you strive to or want to practice a culture of gratitude?
    • What are ways you want to have relationships with wild plants that don’t involve gathering them?
    • The “Leave it for Native People” video talks about why non-indigenous people shouldn’t harvest white sage. Are there plants in your area that you think should not be wildcrafted, for ecological, spiritual or ethical reasons?
  • Cultural appropriation:
    • Write ½ to 1 page about a family healing tradition
    • What are the impacts on us when our cultural practices are appropriated? What healing do we need around that?
    • What are the impacts on us when our cultural practices are lost, and what healing do we need around that?

Materia Medica

Seek out wild cherry! Spend time with this tree, visit it, sit with it, smell it, hug it, make a tea of it, climb it, run your fingers over its bark. What do you feel and notice when you spend time with it? What features do you notice? What other creatures do you notice interacting with cherry? What role does it play in its interspecies community?

Energetics

  • For one a whole meal, think and write about the energetics of each food in your meal –
    • What are the flavors you notice, thinking about the five basic flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent/spicy), and any others you want to describe
    • Is the food hot or cold? Dry or damp? Does it seem slow or fast?
    • If it feels ok, spend some time noticing how the food feels in your mouth.
    • Where do you feel the food in your body? How do you feel 15 minutes after eating? An hour? (Set a timer!)
  • (Optional) Do this for a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner, a snack (it doesn’t have to be all in one day)

Plants and Botany

Go look at trees, choose two trees and spend 15 minutes with each tree.  Observe. Write down all the observations you make of the tree so that someone else could go find that tree.  

Anatomy & Physiology

  • In april we’re talking about skin! Think about:
    what is the energetics of your skin?
    what does your skin do for your body?
    what are ways your skin gets injured?
  • Do something nice for your skin! (eg. oil it, lotion it, soak it, appreciate it, say loving things to it)

Miscellaneous!

  • Get on the slack! Find the #introductions channel and post an introduction!
  • Try connecting to the google drive

2020 * 2020 * 2020 * 2020 * 2020

For October
(do readings and audio by November 7th)

Racism in Health Care – Podcasts

This Racism is Killing Me Inside, Code Switch, 1/10/2018

Blue Pill (on MDMA-based therapy for black folks for healing racial trauma and PTSD), The Nod, 2/4/2019

Rest as Reparations with Tricia Hersey of The Nap Ministry, Irresistible Podcast, episode 40

Body Practices

From My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menkem, pages 63-65 and 77 and 78

Readings

Roots of African American Herbalism, From the Herbal Academy

News Pieces

The Inhumane Treatment of Migrants Is Not New. It’s a Key Part of a Decades-Old Bipartisan Policy, Democracy Now!, July 10 2019

Four Immigrants Have Died at Stewart ICE Jail in Georgia. Advocates Want It Shut Down, Democracy Now!, July 30 2019

“Somebody Is Going to Die”: Lawyer Describes Chaos, Illness & Danger at Migrant Child Jail in Texas, Democracy Now, June 24, 2019

Readings for White People in the Class (Optional for People of Color)

The Sugar Coated Language of White Fragility, by Anna Kegler

Writing Prompts to use if you’ve been accused of white fragility, spiritual bypass or white privilege, by Leesa Renee Hall

Topic for the end of the year presentations

• Finalize your topic and how you want to present it.

• Start working on your project!

Plants ID & Botany

• Take some time to do some garden care at the MLK Community Garden or a garden close to you

• Key out one plant while you are at the garden and tell us what it is!

Anatomy & Physiology & Energetics

• Based on the assessment of your tongue, pick an herb that you think would help balance your constitution. Take the herb daily for the month, noting any changes in your body and check your tongue every day to see how it fluctuates. Keep a journal or log of it all!

• Optional: read Erin Poirier’s short article about tongue reading (11 pages):
https://minnesotaherbalist.com/2013/09/11/introduction-to-tongue-assessment-for-the-western-herbalist/

• Look at all your pods’ tongues. Try to notice color, shape, coat, and other features, and think about what these could mean energetically, and what would make the tongue look that way. Don’t make mean comments!

Materia Medica

• Find mushrooms! Practicing Id’ing them by making a spore print- you can find instructions here: https://namyco.org/spore_prints.php

• You can also try id’ing them by using a mushroom guide, website such as https://www.mushroomexpert.com/ or https://www.inaturalist.org/ 

• Collect seeds from native plants you recognize when you are out and about (Key out the plant in newcombs if you need too!). Put the seeds into envelopes and label them. Bring them to our October class.

For September

Cisheteropatriarchy in Health Care — Readings

The ‘Father of Modern Gynecology’ Performed Shocking Experiments on Slaves by Brynn Holland

The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret by Bethy Squires

The following two writings on the history of the American Medical Association and how it strategically destroyed women’s roles in healthcare and healing. The first writing is very Eurocentric and doesn’t include a comprehensive history around practitioners and healers of colorin the USA. I included the article about race and the AMA to add some parts of that history. I haven’t found a comprehensive resource covering both. The brief history that the Witches, Midwives, Nurses covers of the destruction of lay healers and witches in Europe, can also be traced into any culture around the globe that was colonized by Europeans — one of the first tactics in colonization is to destroy healers and their knowledge. (Also note that the writing is a booklet and you follow the pages starting on the right cover to the diagnal left, then right etc. once you get to the bottom, you read it right to left moving back up. Sorry for how annoying that is!)

Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Barbara Ehrenreich

The American Medical Association and Race by Robert B. Baker, PhD

Homogenizing Verses Holistic View of Gender and Sexuality by Julia Serano (excerpt from Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive)

Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics: African Spirituality in American Cinema by Kameelah L. Martin

Audio/Video

Health Care System Fails Many Transgender Americans on All Things Considered, by Neda Ulaby (watch the videos included on the link)

How to be a Girl Podcast, Episode 6

How the Nazi’s destroyed the most advanced transgender and queer health clinic of it’s day: The Godfather of Gays from Queer Story Podcast, Episode 2

The culture war between doctors and midwives, explained by Ranjani Chakraborty

Where did all the granny midwives go?

Not required, but if you want to watch Mary Coley’s 1953 film it is on the youtube:
All My Babies- A Midwifes Own Story

End of Year Presentation

In November, we’ll have time to present on a topic of our choosing to our classmates! This can be in the form of a powerpoint, a lecture, an experiential activity, a reading, a writing, a demonstration… the list is endless. We want you to engage in a topic that peeks your interest and to share that with each other in some form. Your homework for this month is to come up with a topic that you’re interested in and email it to us — we’ll give feedback and suggestions and help you narrow down your topic if needed!

Plants ID & Botany

Take some time to do some garden care at our community garden.

Anatomy & Physiology

Pick one system that we’ve talked about (immune health, digestive health, sexual health, first aid, etc) and use ”Focusing“ with that system.  Try it 1-3 times. Take notes. Do you notice shifts? (You can refer to the Focusing book if that’s helpful!)

Energetics

Make some kind of visual representation for yourself representing the four energetics we’ve discussed (hot, cold, damp and dry), incorporating the information we’ve discussed about how herbs and our bodies relate to these energetics!

Materia Medica

Pick one herb that we are growing in the student garden.  Research this plant! Use the research tools we’ve discussed.  Is it easy and fun to research medicinal herbs?

For August

Ableism – Readings

The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino (6 pgs)

Disability and the Dilemma of Accessing Quality Women’s Healthcare by H Lee (10 pgs)

Radical Visibility Zine — Rebirth Garments (excerpt – 6 pgs)

Ableism — Video/Audio

My Body Is a Prison of Pain so I Want to Leave It Like a Mystic But I Also Love It & Want it to Matter Politically by Johanna Hedva  (86 minutes)

How to Survive the End of the World Podcast
Disability Justice for the Apocalypse: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha Gets Us Together (58 minutes)

Pick one (or more) to listen to from:
http://geekygimp.com/the-digital-crip-wave-podcasts-by-disabled-people/

Ageism — readings and media 

American Society on Aging: Not for Doctors Only: Ageism in Healthcare (17 pgs)

Reflection Questions

  • In what ways are spaces in your life accessible and to whom are they not accessible?  (home, office, stores, yoga studios, libraries, restaurants, places of worship, public transit, friends’ homes, neighborhoods)?
  • How does the current pandemic make  spaces and places more accessible?  Less?
  • In reflecting on the ‘End of the World’ podcast, Leah talks about how one of her goals is to get people to think about how they are disabled.  Why do you think this is important? How can this help create accessible spaces? How do you view your own ability to access spaces/places/activities?  
  • Johanna Hedva talks about how our societal attitudes tie our sense of self-worth to feeling like we don’t need care from other people and our ability to be productive in a capitalist lens. When do you notice this coming up in your life, and what are the emotions you tend to feel (eg. fear, panic, determination, shame, defensiveness)?
  • What is your relationship like with seniors?  Are there elders in your family or community that you are close with?  Are there ageist attitudes that show up in your family or community?

Materia Medica

  • Try a tea, tincture, or snack on a plant that we’ve talked about in class – using the grounding and listening techniques we’ve been practicing. Spend an hour with it (or at least 15 minutes), and write down any notes about your observations.
  • Write a thank you note to Ola at olawellofwisdom@gmail.com!

Plants ID & Botany

  • Key out six new plants.

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Pay attention to how your digestion is this month.  What is your hunger like? What foods do you crave? What foods do you eat?  How do you prepare your body for eating and digestion? How is your digestion as you eat?  After you eat? What patterns do you notice about your digestion? What is in balance? What feels out of balance?  Pick an herb or practice to help your digestion and apply it for at least one week. What changes? What feels better?  How do you think this herb or practice affect your digestion? What mechanisms of action does it have?  
  • For extra credit: keep a food journal for the month.

Change Work

  • Wild tending observations: identify the wild space you want to care for and develop your relationship with. Spend time observing and exploring this area, connecting with the plants and other living beings there. Decide on and write down ways that you want to support the life of this wild space.

For July

Readings – Fatphobia

Video/Audio – Fatphobia

Reflection Questions

  • How were bodies, body image and fat/thinness talked about with family or peers growing up? How are they talked about now?  
  • Where do societal expectations around bodies stem from? How do these expectations affect your relationship to your own body? Are there parts of your body that don’t like or avoid, and how does this affect how you care for your body? How does it affect your emotional health?
  • How do these expectations about bodies affect your relationship / judgements about other people?

Fresh Air

  • What do you observe about the interviewer’s/host’s unconscious bias in her questions to Lizzo? What was being revealed? 
  • And what do you observe in your body when Lizzo answered questions from the center speaking truth to power.  
  • At the beginning of the interview, the host asks Lizzo about her album cover and Lizzo responds, you’re asking that because I am fat.  And the host responds defensively making an excuse for why she asked the question.  What do you think would have been a better response?  Or what would you have liked the host to say instead?

Materia Medica

  • Spend more time with skullcap. (You can get some at the East End Food Coop in Pittsburgh; does anyone in Cleveland have a recommendation of a good place to get herbs these days?) Do another “plant sit” like we did in class, starting with a body scan (there are a couple of links below), then quietly and slowly feeling the effects of the tea or tincture in your body. How does it feel similarly, how does it feel different? How do you feel different if you take it more casually?
    —- AND/OR —-
    Do a plant sit with a different nervine herb. See how that experience feels different or similar.
  • Pick an herb you’d like to know more about. Look in books and/or on the internet for “monographs” or “profiles” of that herb. Compare the information and style of different monographs. Here are some recommended sources. You can tell us about anything you want from your research!

Energetics

  • Having talked about cold and hot conditions in the body, we’ll be moving into dampness and dryness next month. In preparation, try to notice phenomena in your body that you might describe as damp or dry.

Plants ID & Botany

  • Key out five more plants that you haven’t keyed out.
  • Take some time to do some garden care at the MLK Garden. The garden needs to be watered and weeded, and it’s also a space for you to learn about how these different plants actually grow from seed or seedling to full-size plants. Please visit the garden at least once before our next class.

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Last month we talked about mental and emotional health. Before our next class take some time to examine how your mental and emotional health interacts with your other body systems. At least one time this month examine how the way you’re feeling in your head/heart affects your respiratory system, your immune system, and one other system of your choice. Do you have physical feelings that result from your emotional health? Where do these feelings reside in your body? How can feeling the physical sensation of an emotion help us work with that emotion?

Change Work

  • Do some kind of anti-capitalist care event for your community. This can be anything — giving extra care to someone in your life, writing or making art and sharing it online, showing up for demonstrations, making medicine or resources to help people in this moment.. We’re leaving it very open ended. We’d love to hear about what you do!

For June

Readings: Capitalism, Mental/Emotional Health

Videos & Podcasts

Questions: Capitalism, and our personal experiences within

  • How has capitalism shaped how we think about what health means?
  • How do our ideas about health perpetuate capitalism?  
  • How has it shaped how we care for each other?
  • How do we build anticapitalist care networks?
  • What parts of my life exist inside the capitalist system?  What parts exist outside of it?
  • How does capitalism affect the relationships in my life?

Questions: Mental/emotional Health

  • How was mental illness discussed or dealt with in your family growing up?
  • What are the stigmas around mental illness?
  • How have you seen that in your own attitudes?
  • How does it affect your relationship to your own emotional health?
  • Make a “Mad Map” of your mental states and the supports that are helpful in different states. (You can do this by/for yourself, or do it with people who you are in relationship with.)
  • Life in Quarantine
    • What have you noticed about your mental health since the pandemic started?
    • What have you been struggling with, what have been your strengths?
    • What have you observed about other people around you’s mental health during the pandemic?
    • What do you think would be helpful for your community for people to feel supported during this crisis.

Materia Medica

  • Pick a medicinal plant to spend time with for the month, in the same way we did with dandelion and violet — one that calls to you. Find it in the world, observe it, keep it company, eat it, use the medicine, meditate with it, daydream about it. Try out some of the research tools we talked about to learn more about it.

Energetics

  • Think of two foods or spices that you think would be cooling and two that you think would be warming. Try them, and use the tools that we’ve been practicing in and out of class to see what they feel like in your body. Write a paragraph or two for each about what you notice.

Plants and Botany

  • Key out five plants. (Turn in a sample or drawing of the plant, plus the steps you took in newcombs and your id.)

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Pick a first aid skill that we covered in class – burns, cold/flu care, cuts and scrapes, food poisoning, sprain care. Practice this in a real or pretend first aid situation.
  • Make a real or imaginary first aid kit for a situation in your life (eg. workplace, backpacking, child care, etc.). Draw or write a description of your kit and why you included the things that you did.

Change Work

  • What does care look like in your life, and the lives of people you care about? How can we give and receive the best care possible? What are the barriers? What are the resources we have for our care or to share with other people?
  • Reflecting on times that your (or someone you care about) access to health care has been limited — feelings, impacts. Imaging those situations having been different — what would that be like?
  • What role do you feel more comfortable in: a caregiving role or a care-receiving role?  Reflect on that. How could you feel more comfortable in both roles?

For May

Discussion Topic: Wildcrafting

Wildcrafting – Questions

  • How do we practice a culture of gratitude?
  • How might our herbalism affect our ecosystem?
  • In what ways can herbalism be a form of environmental activism?
  • What do we do if a plant is at risk or endangered?
  • How do we balance the use of plants/herbs/food with the protection of them?
  • What are ways to have relationships with wild plants that don’t involve gathering them?

Discussion Topic: Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation – Questions

  • Write ½-1 page about a family healing tradition you grew up with.
  • What things do you participate in that are from a culture beside your own? How do you benefit from that? What harm might you be causing with your participation? How can your participation counteract cultural appropriation?
  • How can we disrupt cultural appropriation?
  • Myke Johnson asks: What does it mean for an earth-centered spirituality, that the particular land on which we live is stolen land? What about the grief of the land for her original people? Are there ways to be welcomed here? This is the land of our birth, perhaps for many generations. I believe we do belong on the earth, she is the mother of us all. But how do we live here with honor? Is it the responsibility of all of us who love this land to restore her original people?”

Materia Medica

  • Seek out violets! Spend time with this plant, visit it, sit with it, eat the flowers, eat the leaves, make a tea of it, make a jelly of the flowers. What do you feel and notice when you spend time with it? What other creatures do you notice interacting with violets? What role does it play in its interspecies community?

Energetics

  • For one a whole meal, think and write about the energetics of each food in your meal –
    • What are the flavors you notice, thinking about the five basic flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent/spicy), and any others you want to describe
    • Is the food hot or cold? Dry or damp? Does it seem slow or fast?
    • If it feels ok, spend some time noticing how the food feels in your mouth.
    • Where do you feel the food in your body? How do you feel 15 minutes after eating? An hour? (Set a timer!)
  • (Optional) Do this for a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner, a snack (it doesn’t have to be all in one day)

Plants and Botany

  • Try out Newcombs with some flowers in the world! Note where you get stuck, what questions feel hard to answer, where you feel uncertain and where you feel more confident!
  • Find two different opposite and two different alternately arranged trees.  Draw them.
    AND/OR
  • Go look at trees, choose two trees and spend 15 minutes with each tree.  Observe. Write down all the observations you make of the tree so that someone else could go find that tree.  

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Write one fantastical or real scenario where you could use first aid. (Extra points for hilarity. Like lots of them.)

Change Work

  • Revisit the intentions you wrote in class. Spend some time with them, daydream about them, change them or add to them if you desire.
  • Tend to your class altar.

2019 * 2019 * 2019 * 2019 * 2019

For July

Ableism – Readings

The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino (6 pgs)

Disability and the Dilemma of Accessing Quality Women’s Healthcare by H Lee (10 pgs)

Radical Visibility Zine — Rebirth Garments (excerpt – 6 pgs)

Ableism — Video/Audio

My Body Is a Prison of Pain so I Want to Leave It Like a Mystic But I Also Love It & Want it to Matter Politically by Johanna Hedva  (86 minutes)

How to Survive the End of the World Podcast
Disability Justice for the Apocalypse: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha Gets Us Together (58 minutes)

Pick one (or more) to listen to from:
http://geekygimp.com/the-digital-crip-wave-podcasts-by-disabled-people/

Ageism — readings and media 

American Society on Aging: Not for Doctors Only: Ageism in Healthcare (17 pgs)

Reflection Questions

  • In what ways are spaces in your life accessible and to whom are they not accessible?  (home, office, stores, yoga studios, libraries, restaurants, places of worship, public transit, friends’ homes, neighborhoods)?
  • In reflecting on the ‘End of the World’ podcast, Leah talks about how one of her goals is to get people to think about how they are disabled.  Why do you think this is important? How can this help create accessible spaces? How do you view your own ability to access spaces/places/activities?  
  • Johanna Hedva talks about how our societal attitudes tie our sense of self-worth to feeling like we don’t need care from other people and our ability to be productive in a capitalist lens. When do you notice this coming up in your life, and what are the emotions you tend to feel (eg. fear, panic, determination, shame, defensiveness)?
  • What is your relationship with seniors like?  How can you be an advocate for elders in the healthcare system? 

Materia Medica

  • Try a tea, tincture, or snack on a plant, using the grounding and listening techniques we’ve used in class. Spend at least 15 minutes with it, and write down any notes about your observations.
    (Or come to our next Plant Sip — our monthly donation-based gathering where we spend a couple hours with a plant. July 24th, from 7-9:30ish PM!)

Energetics

Plants ID & Botany

  • Take some time to do some garden care at Garden Dreams. The garden needs to be watered and weeded, and it’s also a space for you to learn about how these different plants actually grow from seed or seedling to full-size plants. We’ll be dropping off a milk crate with jars in for tincture making.  Stay tuned for updates about that and harvesting details! (Please visit the garden at least once before our next class.)
  • Key out five more plants that you haven’t keyed out.

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Pay attention to how your digestion is this month.  What is your hunger like? What foods do you crave? What foods do you eat?  How do you prepare your body for eating and digestion? How is your digestion as you eat?  After you eat? What patterns do you notice about your digestion? What is in balance? What feels out of balance?  Pick an herb or practice to help your digestion and apply it for at least one week. What changes? What feels better?  How do you think this herb or practice affect your digestion? What mechanisms of action does it have?  
  • For extra credit: keep a food journal 

Making Medicine

Change Work

  • Wild tending observations: find a wild space you can go to in your neighborhood. Spend some time there observing in the ways we practiced on Sunday.

For June

Readings: Fatphobia

Videos & Podcasts

Reflection Questions

  • How were bodies, body image and fat/thinness talked about with family or peers growing up? How are they talked about now?  
  • Where do societal expectations around bodies stem from? How do these expectations affect your relationship to your own body? Are there parts of your body that don’t like or avoid, and how does this affect how you care for your body? How does it affect your emotional health?
  • How do these expectations about bodies affect your relationship / judgements about other people?

The memes

  • Dissect these memes! What do they tell you?

Fresh Air

  • What do you observe about the interviewer’s/host’s unconscious bias in her questions to Lizzo? What was being revealed?
  • What do you observe in your body when Lizzo answered questions from the center speaking truth to power?
  • At the beginning of the interview, the host asks Lizzo about her album cover and Lizzo responds, you’re asking that because I am fat.  And the host responds defensively making an excuse for why she asked the question. What do you think would have been a better response?  Or what would you have liked the host to say instead?

Materia Medica

  • Pick an herb you’d like to know more about. Look in books and/or on the internet for “monographs” or “profiles” of that herb. Compare the information and style of different monographs. Here are some recommended sources.

Energetics

  • We went through two tissue states from the tissue state worksheet in class. Complete the worksheet for the other four tissue states. A helpful way to think about it is to think about different systems in the body: what might dampness in the digestive system look like? What about dampness in the lungs/respiratory system? What about in the lymphatic system? What about in the nervous system? (Use your creativity and make educated guesses!)

Plants ID & Botany

  • Try a tea, tincture, or snack on a plant, using the grounding and listening techniques we used in class. Spend at least 15 minutes with it, and write down any notes about your observations. (Or come to our next Plant Sip — our monthly donation-based gathering where we spend a couple hours with a plant. June 20th, from 7-9:30ish PM! We’ll be sure to send out more information about this by email.)
  • Key out five more plants that you haven’t keyed out.
  • Take some time to do some garden care at Garden Dreams. The garden needs to be watered and weeded, and it’s also a space for you to learn about how these different plants actually grow from seed or seedling to full-size plants. Please visit the garden at least once before our next class.

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Last month we talked about mental and emotional health. Before our next class take some time to examine how your mental and emotional health interacts with your other body systems. At least one time this month examine how the way you’re feeling in your head/heart  affects your respiratory system, your immune system, and one other system of your choice. Do you have physical feelings that result from your emotional health? Where do these feelings reside in your body? How can feeling the physical sensation of an emotion help us work with that emotion?

Change Work

  • Do some kind of anti-capitalist care event for your community. This can be anything, from giving extra care to someone in your life, to a community event of some kind. We’re leaving it very open ended, but we’d like to hear about what you do.

For May

Readings: Capitalism, Mental/Emotional Health

Videos & Podcasts

Questions: Capitalism, and our personal experiences within

  • How has capitalism shaped how we think about what health means?
  • How do our ideas about health perpetuate capitalism?  
  • How has it shaped how we care for each other?
  • How do we build anticapitalist care networks?
  • What parts of my life exist inside the capitalist system?  What parts exist outside of it?
  • How does capitalism affect the relationships in my life?

Questions: Mental/emotional Health

  • How was mental illness discussed or dealt with in your family growing up?
  • What are the stigmas around mental illness?
  • How have you seen that in your own attitudes?
  • How does it affect your relationship to your own emotional health?
  • Make a “Mad Map” of your mental states and the supports that are helpful in different states. (You can do this by/for yourself, or do it with people who you are in relationship with.)

Materia Medica

  • Pick a medicinal plant to spend time with for the month, in the same way we did with dandelion — finding it in the world, observing, keeping it company, eating it, using the medicine, meditating with it, daydreaming about it. Try out some of the research tools we talked about to learn more about it.

Energetics

  • Think of two foods or spices that you think would be moistening and two that you think would be drying. Try them, and use the tools that we’ve been practicing in and out of class to see what they feel like in your body. Write a paragraph or two for each about what you notice.

Plants and Botany

  • Key out five plants. (Turn in a sample or drawing of the plant, plus the steps you took in newcombs and your id.)

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Pick a first aid skill that we covered in class – burns, cold/flu care, cuts and scrapes, food poisoning, sprain care. Practice this in a real or pretend first aid situation.
  • Make a real or imaginary first aid kit for a situation in your life (eg. workplace, backpacking, child care, etc.). Draw or write a description of your kit and why you included the things that you did.

Change Work

  • What does care look like in your life, and the lives of people you care about? How can we give and receive the best care possible? What are the barriers? What are the resources we have for our care or to share with other people?
  • Reflecting on times that your (or someone you care about) access to health care has been limited — feelings, impacts. Imaging those situations having been different — what would that be like?
  • What role do you feel more comfortable in: a caregiving role or a care-receiving role?  Reflect on that. How could you feel more comfortable in both roles?

For April

Discussion Topic: Wildcrafting

Wildcrafting – Questions

  • How do we practice a culture of gratitude?
  • How might our herbalism affect our ecosystem?
  • In what ways can herbalism be a form of environmental activism?
  • What do we do if a plant is at risk or endangered?
  • How do we balance the use of plants/herbs/food with the protection of them?
  • What are ways to have relationships with wild plants that don’t involve gathering them?

Discussion Topic: Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation – Questions

  • Write ½-1 page about a family healing tradition you grew up with.
  • What things do you participate in that are from a culture beside your own? How do you benefit from that? What harm might you be causing with your participation? How can your participation counteract cultural appropriation?
  • How can we disrupt cultural appropriation?
  • Myke Johnson asks: What does it mean for an earth-centered spirituality, that the particular land on which we live is stolen land? What about the grief of the land for her original people? Are there ways to be welcomed here? This is the land of our birth, perhaps for many generations. I believe we do belong on the earth, she is the mother of us all. But how do we live here with honor? Is it the responsibility of all of us who love this land to restore her original people?”

Materia Medica

  • Seek out dandelion. Spend time with this plant, visit it, sit with it, eat dandelion, drink tea of the roots or leaves. Learn about it by spending time with it, or spend time researching traditional uses of dandelion. Connect with it in whatever way feels good to you.

Energetics

  • For one a whole meal, think and write about the energetics of each food in your meal –
    • What are the flavors you notice, thinking about the five basic flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent/spicy), and any others you want to describe
    • Is the food hot or cold? Dry or damp? Does it seem slow or fast?
    • If it feels ok, spend some time noticing how the food feels in your mouth.
    • Where do you feel the food in your body? How do you feel 15 minutes after eating? An hour? (Set a timer!)
  • (Optional) Do this for a breakfast, a lunch, a dinner, a snack (it doesn’t have to be all in one day)

Plants and Botany

  • Get a Newcombs
  • Find two different opposite and two different alternately arranged trees.  Draw them.
    AND/OR
  • Go look at trees, choose two trees and spend 15 minutes with each tree.  Observe. Write down all the observations you make of the tree so that someone else could go find that tree.  

Anatomy & Physiology

  • Write one fantastical or real scenario where you could use first aid. (Extra points for hilarity. Like lots of them.)

Change Work

  • Revisit the intentions you wrote in class. Spend some time with them, daydream about them, change them or add to them if you desire.
  • (Optional) Celebrate spring by building or renewing a personal altar, or make one specifically for this class