Upon traveling to Byron Bay, Australia, I had a few artists on my list to connect with! One of them was Jennifer Michelsen who is the author behind the Natures Creation book! Amongst being an author and working with plants in a creative way, she is a yoga teacher, as well as a permaculture teacher! Having traveled to many countries in this communion with nature, she has many stories to tell and an exciting new project underway! It was a stormy afternoon when I had a cup of tea with Jennifer and we talked all about what I am going to share with you today! You can find Jennifers book, Natures Creation here at Heritage Supply in Carpinteria as well as on our online store!
Have you always had a deep connection with nature? If so where do you think it came from?
I've always had a deep connection with Nature. I left Australia when I was 20 and traveled worldwide. From that time on, I've always been a country girl with a love for the outdoors. I lived in Colorado for 28 years and rode my horse up in the mountains every day (in summer) and I skied most days in the winter. One of my passions was cross country skiing in the mountains with nature. When I moved to our property in New Zealand in 1996 I jumped into Permaculture studies...learning about organic gardening and setting up Anahata Yoga Retreat sustainably. It all came full circle when I began studying medicinal plants and how to connect with Nature Intelligence...first in the garden and then during the writing of my book/cards. From there, my connection with organics, nature, energy, and awareness developed and expanded over time.
What called you to create your beautiful deck of plant medicine cards as well as your book?
Nature Intelligence. I connected with specific Nature Intelligence co-creatively (using Kinesiology) in the setting up of the organic gardens at Anahata Retreat in New Zealand and then as coordinator of a very large organic garden at Rocklyn Ashram, Victoria where I lived for two-plus years while doing yogic studies. During these connections, I kept getting messages from Nature encouraging me to write the book on medicinal plants and design a plant tarot deck. I was very resistant at first...not having much confidence in my writing skills. The enormity of the project was overwhelming. Eventually, I was told (by Nature) to approach it from a different perspective...and...to do one plant at a time rather than looking at the BIG picture and feeling frustrated. I started with lavender and the rest is history.
You had mentioned your connection to yoga and Ayurvedic medicine, how has that influenced your life?
Once I completed my yogic studies and teacher training...yogic philosophy and yogic practices became a big part of my daily life along with my work in the organic gardens... assisted by Nature Intelligence. Learning about Ayurvedic Medicine is a part of Yogic Studies. I wasn't surprised when Nature infused Ayurveda into the lessons (Insights) that the plants teach as Ayurveda is all about healing with medicinal plants. Since yoga and Ayurveda have been interconnected for over 5000 years it seemed synchronistic for Nature to include both in the book.
Do you have a bookends to your day? (a morning practice or an evening practice)?
I wake up in the morning and do what is called, the yogic joint exercises (or asanas) to loosen up and stretch. Often I pick a Louise Hay card and/or one of my own for guidance. I have a daily 'ritual' of thanking the Universe (and other beings) for all the blessings, abundance, and direction in my life before I eat breakfast.
I like to do a wonderful practice called, Yoga Nidra (description is in my book) sometime during the day. I often do a guided meditation while in the sauna before bed.
Is there something you are currently working on that you are excited about?
I had started a children's version of my book/cards but I found that a company in the USA had already done exactly what I'd envisioned so I've let that go. I'm now part way through a new (unrelated to plants) book called, "From Debutant to Yogi". This is basically my life story but not intended as an autobiography. I have to say I've done a lot in my life and it will all be in this book...hopefully with a lot of humor.