Mimosa Magic on the Summer Solstice
The energy on the solstice has been building over the past week, and I’ve certainly felt its expansive nature, feeling compelled to just keep going, even when tired, along with the daylight and its abundant offerings of enjoyment! Summertime means swimming, hiking, hammocking in the wilds, rowing, gardening, eating salads, and being with friends and family for me, and I feel all those sorts of urges towards fun and living easy even when I’m working, or cleaning, or doing the things that life requires of us to continue getting to enjoy ourselves. You know, adulting.
Ah, but this awesome summer solstice energy invites us to luxuriate in summer’s cauldron, enjoying the abundance of life all around us. (All work and no play makes us all dull boys and girls.) So it invites things like a spontaneous pre-sunset mountain lake swim after a long day of working with clients. Because sometimes “a long day” includes a lot of heavy lifting, literally or metaphorically. Sometimes long days include helping to relieve suffering around grief and learning to live life more fully even with a life-changing long-term mental health diagnosis. So when you receive such an invitation for fun from your impulse of spirit, please do yourself a favor and answer that call! Go ENJOY a spontaneous urge to do something FUN for yourself when you can, as often as you can!
When I followed last night’s spontaneous swim urge, it led to me seeing lots of rabbits and blooming mimosa trees everywhere I looked as I drove to and from the lake. I was just delighted, like a small child, really, because bunnies are cute, of course, and mimosa trees, especially when blooming, make the whole world start to look like Dr. Seuss drew it, which just makes my heart smile. Mimosa is also called the “silk tree,” and the “trash tree,” which I feel like actually increases its Dr. Seussian street creds. I mean, mimosa is the real tree most like his famous Truffula Trees from The Lorax, and it’s often used in such environmental *clean-up efforts as landfill soil remediation, having been discovered to do an excellent job cleaning up damaged soil due to its nitrogen affixing properties. Therefore, I was really attuned to the mimosas and how gorgeous they were so that when I turned into my driveway, I immediately saw a bunny and noticed the mimosas along the creek and near the cottage were absolutely in full bloom. I was overwhelmed by the volume of their sweet smelling pink tufty blossoms, bursting out on tree after tree everywhere along the creek side and base of the mountain. I knew that it was time to make time to harvest some mimosa and capture its magical medicinal properties of helping to relieve depression, specifically depression related to grief.
Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as He Huan Pi or collective happiness flower, mimosa is said to “calm disturbed shen” to relieve symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and bad dreams. Mimosa is also a very effective mood elevator, and is used to treat irritability, depression, mood swings, poor memory, and anger in TCM. In addition to these traditional uses, a simple mimosa flower and honey mix helps relieve the deep pain of grief. Mimosa also has a long history in traditional Appalachian folk medicine, which is where I first encountered using it for grief.
My personal journey through the stormy seas of grief, again and again through the loss of so many loved ones, and my professional journey of helping others keep moving through the never-ending waves of grief that accompany losing those we love deeply, has left me acutely aware of grief’s signature sadness. Grief’s sadness shows up sometimes years after we think we’re okay, and some days it just sits, heavy on our chests, like a weight pressing down over which you have no control. On some of those days, I am comforted with thoughts of days like yesterday, when I can think of the mimosa trees and their magical, silky flowers, and their honeysuckle-like sweetness, and how they heal our hearts.
Summertime begins on this longest day of the year, offering easy living as the old song says. May we all find some peace and joy on the solstice breeze, and if you see some mimosas, go ahead and pick those fuzzy looking flowers and make yourself a nice flower powered drink with some honey. Your heart may lift and your mood may follow it up, into a sense of ease and relief from the deep sadness that accompanies grief, often long after a loss. It is my wish that this solstice and this summer bring you magical, healing experiences with nature and your own abundance.
Practical bits: Mimosa is easy to harvest and easy to use. But it is also an invasive species and shouldn’t be introduced to new areas without special consideration. For more about mimosa and its uses, I suggest these sites as starting places. Also, be smart with any plants you may use, and do your research before ingesting anything you read about on the internet. J
*NOTE: Please do not ever consider harvesting mimosa from any used for land remediation due to high levels of toxins, including mimosas alongside highways.