LIKE MANY NEW BEGINNINGS IN LIFE THIS ONE STARTED WITH A LONG PATH OF CONFUSION AND THE SENSE OF FEELING LOST.I moved out to Colorado from North Carolina to go to school at CSU in 2009. I yearned for something new, something unknown, and that is exactly what I received. It was adventurous and scary all at the same time. I spent a year in a half in school and loved every moment of it, but I never felt fully satisfied. All the classes I took were interesting but they never enthralled me, they were never able to grasp my attention to the fullest. So I decided to take some time off, to really focus on myself. Fast-forward five years; I was nowhere closer to finding out what I wanted to do in life. I felt okay about where my life was but I also felt very stagnant. I was beginning to crave knowledge and education. I wanted to be back in a learning environment where everyday there was a new challenge to overcome and something exciting to discover. My first experience with herbs started when I got a pet bunny and decided from the moment I got her that she would not live in a cage. She is a house bunny and in the summer time is able to go in and out of the house whenever she pleases. One of the most important things for me was making sure I wasn’t using chemicals to clean the house; because she has free range her paws touch all the floors. I ditched the bleach and started researching alternative cleaning solutions I could use. I couldn’t put the computer down! I knew I was just brushing the surface but I was finding so much amazing information about how to use herbs in so many different ways. I was convinced I needed to learn more. I searched for places in Fort Collins that sold herbs, essential oils, and bulk supplies for body care products and came across Golden Poppy. I walked into the store and knew immediately this is where I needed to be. I wasn’t sure how that was going to happen but I knew it needed to. Before I left I asked if they did any kind of internships and if so how do I become and intern. A week later I started my first day interning. I found out about Equinox Center of Herbal Studies by interning at Golden Poppy, as I was around when the program directors Laura and Sarah were dreaming it up. When it came out that the school was definitely happening, not one cell in my body hesitated to say “I am doing that program!” I knew it was the path I needed to go down and in that one second I stopped regretting some of the routes in life I had turned down, because I knew now that I was going to start a journey that would challenge and excite me everyday.
I really had no idea what to expect from the program. I knew it was going to be nothing like I had ever done before and that made it really exciting. I guess I didn’t expect it to be as intense as it was but I am so thankful that is was difficult. Every class was challenging in a different way. Some classes required my undivided attention while others required spiritual openness. The program felt very well rounded, delving deep into each class we took.
ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVED MOST ABOUT THE PROGRAM WAS THE DEEP CONNECTION THAT WAS FORMED BETWEEN EVERYONE IN THE SCHOOL. I HAVE NEVER FELT A CONNECTION THAT DEEP WITH SO MANY PEOPLE. EVEN THINKING ABOUT IT NOW BRINGS THE BIGGEST SMILE TO MY FACE.
That sense of community didn’t just extend to the other students; it was also shared with the teachers. I have never felt so cared about by teachers in any schooling I have ever been through. If you don’t understand something, that’s okay, they will do anything in their power to help, whether creating study sessions, retracing the lecture until you figured out just exactly where it was that was confusing, to completely restructuring a unit to make it more clear.
IT IS HARD TO PUT INTO WORDS HOW INCREDIBLE THIS PROGRAM IS. ALL OF THE CONNECTIONS, LOVE, SUPPORT, AND KNOWLEDGE I GAINED THROUGH THE PROGRAM WILL FOREVER BE CHERISHED AND NURTURED.It’s hard to say where this herbal knowledge will take me. One path that I am very interested in is zoopharmacognosy, the study of how animals self medicate with plants. I love animals and part of the reason I became interested in herbalism was to create a safe healthy home for my bunny. However, before I decide on much more I am really excited for the potential of an advanced program through ECOHS.
Risa is now one of our dedicated staff members and we love her!