Wise Transition
Coaching and Spiritual Guidance for Women in Transition






The Gift of Garbling Lavendar

The Gift of Garbling Lavender:

"Garbling" is the term used for picking the flowers and leaves from the stems of plants, in order to store them properly, to sift and sort your herbs into useful contents, removing the bits that are just taking up room or will damage your final result.

I have many lavender plants in my yard – it is a plant that grows well in my home of the pacific northwest. The smell is heavenly, and it makes me happy to see the bees joyfully moving from stem to stem filling up with nectar. I have grown lavender in the yard of whatever home I live in for most of my adult life. It winters well, it flowers, and then I have let the flowers dry and drop to the ground.  To make the plants look neat and tidy, I have always chopped off all the bare flower stems in the fall – until this year.

This year I have been cutting the stems and making lavender wands, and I am garbling the drying blooms off so that I can use them to make sachets and heating packs for sore muscles. Garbling is an easy thing to do. You rub the drying flowers between your hands and they drop off. Before long you have a pile of lavender seeds, just like you can buy in an herb store. It is a soothing task. I am enveloped in a heavenly cloud of lavender scent. The process feels familiar, like removing peas from the pods. But it also feels different. There is no food gained by this process. It is for pleasure, and even for healing. I love the smell of lavender, it soothes and softens my mood and it relaxes me. It is not a conscious thing, but I have become more and more aware of it as I have garbled my lavender this year: garbling allows me to be in a simple state, and to allow thoughts and feelings to flow in and flow out. It takes me to a simpler way of being. The gifts that I gain in the process far outweigh the seemingly humble task.

If you had asked me a few years ago if I would find pleasure in garbling lavender, I would have told you that you must have mistaken me for someone who has time.  I was at the end of my child-raising years — that time in life when we are constantly busy, always doing, and without a spare moment. When we do have a spare moment, we are planning how we will get everything done that needs to be done in the time that we have to do it.   

What has changed is more than the fact that my children no longer live at home. The biggest change has been that I am able to do what I want to do, not what I need to do. The gift of this time in life, these Wise Woman years, is the freedom to choose to spend my most valuable asset, my time, in a way that feeds my soul. I get to create my life, day by day, week by week and year by year. I can choose to serve others, to play, to be in prayer and contemplation, to heal myself, to share my gifts in helping to heal the world. When women first come to WiseTransition, I often hear the refrain, "I like to be busy!  I get up in the morning and I am moving all day long. I could never meditate; I can’t sit still for that long! I have too many things to do!" My version of this statement is that it is part of the process of transition, this giving up of what I call The Mantle of Busy-ness. We have been convinced by our lives and by our society that being busy is good, and that it is something to be proud of and to aspire to.  I challenge that thought day in and day out, with myself as well as my clients. My background as a yoga teacher has taught me to seek balance in all things, and this is often my mantra. How can we find balance, and how can we find peace with not being busy all of the time? How can we find joy in garbling lavender and seeing the gift of humility? Food for thought…

Karen Herold