Can silence be a superpower? What is the potential of slowing it all down and diving into the practice of listening? Poet and researcher Olga Lehmann has studied what silence can do to us, our multi-layered health and everyday wellbeing.
« Where you tend a rose my lad, a thistle cannot grow. » Francis Hodgson Burnett. To awaken your imagination, I’ll begin this piece with a brief recount of the story of ‘Mary Mary Quite Contrary’ in Burnett’s 1911 children’s classic The Secret Garden. The protagonist, Mary Lennox, is a sickly, ill-tempered young orphan who is sent to the Yorkshire countryside to live with her estranged uncle, Master Craven, a reclusive hunchback who is paralyzed by grief after the loss of his wife.
My love for wild plants as food and medicine started when I worked as a budeie, or a milk maid, at a sæter (summer pasture) in Hemsedal in the middle of the mountains. There I stayed in a small cabin without any electricity, water or toilet. I would wake up early in the mornings to milk the cows with the owner. We would make heavy cream and sour cream with a hand-powered milk separator and we would repeat the process after dinner.
« Can you hear the birds talk », Veronika said and took me by the hand. We paced up and down the corridor, our hands intertwined. At the end of the corridor we took a break and looked out the small window that smiled of autumn. I was hoping the iron bars could melt away in the smile, but the bars resisted there was not enough space for the birds to fly in through the window to our locked ward.
According to Ayurveda — the world’s oldest, uninterrupted system of medicine — svastha is the healthy, living individual — one who is embodying svasthya. And according to the Charaka Samhita, one of Ayurveda’s foundational, extant compendiums, “An individual is the epitome of the universe, as all the material and spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual, and all those present in the individual are also contained in the universe.
We waste food enough to feed one billion people, yet growing your own carrots can get you in jail. The very first EAT Food Forum in Stockholm this spring gave us some spicy mouthfuls.