Friday, March 25, 2022

Mars Hill author merges love of nature, self-healing and writing with new book – Citizen Times

MARS HILL – Mars Hill resident Asia Suler has a passions for nature, self-love and writing.

Suler’s book, “Mirrors In the Earth: Reflections on Self-Healing from the Living World,” will be available June 28. The book is available for preorder now through Amazon and publisher Penguin Randomhouse

“It’s a series of nature essays, and nature essays that really revolve around this theme that self-compassion is a force for ecological healing,” Suler said. “Each essay in the book focuses on a certain ecological process, or plant, or part of nature. It really looks at the parable of the process and the way it reflects back to us the journeys that we go through in our life, and helps us to see the ways in which those journeys are just as natural as these specific ecological processes that we experience here on Earth.” 

Suler points to one example, marcescence, where a deciduous tree retains its leaves through winter and drops them at the start of spring. 

“A lot of scientists aren’t sure really why this is a process that these trees undergo, but they know it’s evolutionarily advantageous for a certain reason,” Suler said. “So, that chapter of the book explores that concept for us on this emotional level of these things we hold on past ‘their due date’ or past the time when we’re supposed to let them go – that they have their own ecological advantage. Even though it’s mysterious, there’s a reason why we hold on to things the way that we do.” 

Each chapter can be viewed as an “affirmation from the living world,” the Mars Hill author said.

“For folks who are sensitive and empathic and who struggle with what they can bring, how they can help change the tide on this planet, the book gives this one answer: learning self-compassion and self-acceptance is actually a way to bring our gifts to the world, and through bringing our gifts help shift the tide in this time of ecological hardship.” 

“Mirrors In the Earth” is Suler’s first book and is the product of 10 years of work, according to the author. 

“It took that long just in terms of collecting the stories and knowing that I had a book to write, but at first I wasn’t exactly sure what it was,” she said. “I basically had to go on the journey myself to kind of realize what was the thesis or the main message that was trying to come through in the book. It’s very much like a personal journey, but it also feels so connected to my relationship with this place and these mountains. So, it’s a little bit of a love song to these mountains as well.” 


Suler, who lives with her partner, John, and their daughter, Iona, in Mars Hill, said she first developed an interest in self-healing after being diagnosed with a chronic pain condition in her late teens. 

“One of the ways that I dealt with this pain condition was to go outside for walks,” she said. “It was kind of my solace and my safe space. I started to feel on these walks, like even though in my daily life I felt kind of invisible – which a lot of people with chronic pain do, because normally chronic pain is often quite invisible – I felt so seen by the living world. I felt like there I could be myself. I felt like the natural world reflected back to me. I felt hope and possibility. That’s really where it all started for me. I fell in love with nature because it was a place of solace for me.”

After graduating from Vassar College in New York, Suler said she aimed to take any job related to plants, including as a “plant technician,” someone who waters and tends to other people’s plants, while in New York City. 

“From there, I decided that I wanted to go to school for herbalism, and that’s what brought me down to Asheville,” Suler said. “I came down here to study with the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine (in 2011). I just fell in love with the mountains. These mountains claimed me and I have not left since.”

During her time in Western North Carolina, Suler, who formerly was an herbalist in a private practice, has further cultivated her passions for nature, self-healing and writing and merged them.

“Over the years, I really sort of learned more about not just herbalism, but also ecology and minerals and other aspects of nature, and really with my knowledge of herbalism combined my love of writing, poetry and metaphor,” she said. “I started noticing that when I went out for these walks, which began in those early years of chronic pain, that I would often get what felt like a message from nature and the living world: of hope, perseverance and acceptance. Those messages and experiences that I had are all in the book.”

Suler said many of the experiences detailed in those chapters took place in the mountains of Western North Carolina, as well as Florida, and some on the West Coast. Currently, she teaches what she calls “intuitive plant medicine” online, and has reached more than 70,000 students throughout 70 countries across the world. 

“It’s really learning how to connect with nature and plants in an intuitive way, in a way that brings emotional learning and personal growth to your life,” she said. 

One chapter of the book spotlights the Revere community and its rich musical ties.

“Part of that chapter is about reflecting on the ballad singers of that region, and the history of the songs that they held there,” she said. “(The chapter also deals with) looking at that through the lens of a really fascinating fact, which is that the birds we hear singing and sending out calls when we walk into the forest, we think they’re just going about their business. But the birds are so aware of everything that’s going on in the forest, that often those calls are about you. They will alert other birds to your presence. I was just learning this fact when I had moved out there. That whole chapter is about this concept that the world sees you.

“For me, I reflected on this idea that in the wider world, they look at a place like Sodom and think that was an isolated place, and they kept these ballads alive for so long and no one had heard them. But the reality is that those songs had been heard and cherished in this community, and they had probably been heard and picked up by the birds.”

The chapter was an “homage” to the isolation of Sodom and “the self-isolation that we can feel,” the author said. 

“(It’s an homage to) this awareness that the world is actually always seeing us, and that we’re never truly alone,” Suler said. “Living out in nature, you’re always seen and naturally accepted as a part of the landscape. We’re the ones who develop these stories as feeling like we’re isolated or alone. Yet, you step outside your door, and you’re automatically seen and accepted by the natural world.” 

“Mirrors In the Earth: Reflections on Self-Healing from the Living World” is available for preorder through Penguin Random House here. It will hit bookstores June 28. 

from WordPress

No comments:

Post a Comment