In which my space-cadet brain rambles for a few paragraphs. Lightly touching on a number of subjects but, in true Blaire fashion, never delving completely into them. Like the midheaven-stuck Capricorn I am, I jump, from rock cliff to rock cliff, staying only long enough to almost get grounded, before I jump to the next. An exercise in writing just to write. To creating content for no other reason but to create it.
A recipe for an anxiety and panick-reducing tincture formula is at the end of this. It's rooty and aromatic. I recommend it.
If no one's going to read it, you should still write it.
If no one's gonna see it, you should still do it.
You're not measured by how people react to you."
It was a warm 55 degrees this afternoon, I was sprawled out on the lawn chair booking my flight to LA for Expo West (scREAMing - so excited), soaking up late February's sun and watching a flock of Robins hop across a muddy yard. Before that, I was walking in the woods at my favorite local spot: a walk that takes me past an oyster-ladden tree that I ashamedly don't know the name of, through a hemlock grove, past a sacred deer carcass that I sit with each time, up a hill and to a log that overlooks a creek where I finally layed down, alongside jelly fungus and fallen leaves. As I rest on the tree, I realized how exhausted I am. And then I got panicked - because exhaustion just isn't productive. Was I being productive? Could I justify laying down after such a short walk? Was it "okay" to lay down? "Should" I be laying down? As I tried to quiet my anxious mind, I closed my eyes, dug my hands into my sweater pockets, sighed deeply and just gave gratitude that it was warm enough to take myself and my monkey-meth mind on a walk in the forest.
Winter is, supposedly, a time for rest. But it really isn't, at least not in the United StatesTM. The holidays come through, disrupting business as usual, throwing you you into a cocktail of 2 pt family, 2 pt old friends and 1 pt of food you usually don't eat and booze you don't drink. Then you have to recover. From your vacation, which is supposed to be a recovery from your job. I've been thinking a lot about time outside of the office and what we as humans do with the precious hours we aren't under the clock. The slimy shame we feel when we aren't creating, being productive or working. How so many of us can't relax (in general or without substantial guilt) unless we have some sort of substance in our bodies (alcohol and cannabis being the most common, with the former being almost a stable of working-life).
I've been thinking a lot about what it means for me to be an herbalist since I'm not currently seeing clients or putting energy into selling my potions. How is herbalism an active part of my life? Where is my life saturated with herbalism? The one thing in my life that has given me a stable sense of identity... Am I giving it enough attention? It's te one thing I haven't given up within a few months. The force/wave that gave and gives my life meaning and made me feel connected to something larger than myself... Am I dedicated enough to it? Is something really your passion if you aren't capitalizing off of it and making a brand out of it?! (That's a whole other discussion, on economic systems and the way they shape our lives.) (Which brings me to another topic - I don't know enough about economic systems, despite how much they shape my life. Which leads me to the common theme of my anxiety lately: I don't know enough. There is so much to know.)
At 24, I am no longer young (6 years ago I was 18, 6 years ago I thought I knew who I was, or at least who I was becoming. 2 years ago I was 22, just graduating college and about to move up North. There was a glow to my eyes when I lived in Florida that I'm not sure is there anymore. Photos as ways to remember who you used to be).
I'm almost 25. I'm in my mid-twenties. I should be more accomplished. I should be more educated. What herb is there for the feeling that I am never enough? What would a psychiatrist give me for that? Something to take away the anxiety - would that delete the fear of never being enough? Does that fear (which I guess could be categorized as a 'feeling of inadequacy') motivate me? Or does it just hold me back? I've spent a lot of time in the past year thinking about how much more I could accomplish (i.e., produce, create, write, do, DO) if I wasn't constantly plagued by anxiety and other extraneous mental challenges. It keeps coming back to the fact that being honest about my mental hurdles is what will free me. It isn't something you can just bring up though. Even in herbal circles. There is a lot of education to be done on mental health, mental illness and cultivating a society in which we fucking nurture our individual and collective mental health. (Who is going to do it?) (How do we do it?) (Herbs are a part of this - but they are supplementary in comparison to things like community, freedom from oppression and access to clean and healthy food and water).
I've been thinking a lot about how so much emphasis in the wellness community is placed on diet as the fix all. Well, I've been conducting an experiment, on myself, with an N of 1. I've come to realize that diet is a piece of the prevention puzzle, but it's just a piece. I mean, I knew that. We all know that. Let me rephrase: a perfect diet program (whether it's bulletproofTM or paleo or vegan) won't give you the sense of identity that you're looking for, nor will it magically cure your depression or anxiety (if only I could remember this), nor will it solve the deep rooted fear of inadequacy that has spent 24 years brewing inside of you and making a home between your ribs. The perfect diet won't turn you into the perfect person. There is no perfect person. And if there was, they wouldn't have gotten there by eating a magical set of foods. Your diet is only one part of getting your ducks into a row.
…and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.
— Emily Dickinson
I wanted to write more in 2016. To express myself. To what? This void of the internet? For what? Recognition? The feeling of doing something. The feeling of being a "maker" or "creator." There is so much garbage content on the internet, and in the world, am I just adding to it? Where does all this digital data fall in regards to the global crisis of pollution and trash. What am I going to do with all my STUFF when I move into a place of my own?
I think I came here to write about herbs for adaptation. I think I came here to be heard. Isn't it bizarre how we cultivate different identities on different social media platforms? There is no one way to run a blog, is there? I do know a blog post is supposed to culminate in something you, the reader (if you exist), can take away with you. A recipe of sorts, a link to purchase something else we think will add to our identity (like the fact I bought $40 worth of protein bars today?!!?!).
I don't know what I have to offer the world - and maybe that is why I feel incomplete. It isn't because I'm single (it's been 6+ months, but after 3.5 years, it still feels new, and horrifying), or because I have no idea where I'm supposed to be living. It's because I know that I need to be doing something that makes the world a less shitty place, and if I can be honest with myself, I am not doing that right now. I love my job in the food and beverage industry, but in all honesty, we know that this industry isn't saving the world. Until I am doing something selfless, something to pay rent for living on this world in the cushy position that I do, I will feel inadequate. And it would behoove me to remember that no person is going to solve that for me except for myself. The mantra "people are not destinations" continues to loop in my head.
Anyway, here is your takeaway:
Some links to content I've been enjoying lately:
- The Entrance Band - "Lives" (thanks Jesse!)
- Ulrich Schnauss - Never Be The Same
- This easy, 20 minute cardio + ab workout (short, lower impact and endorphin inducing)
- A reproductive system/liver&hormone-supporting tea blend of Vitex berries, Raspberry leaf, Partridge Berry, Orange Peel and Stevia from Florida based Mama Jo's Sunshine Herbals
- Starting my day with a pinch (1/4ish t) of pink himalayan sea salt (via Bulletproof forum)
- Avocado-oil based mayo (combines well w/ steamed red cabbage, parsley, chopped celeryand celery leaves and tuna)
A tincture formula for when you feel like the world is caving in, that the environment is doomed and that you can't make a decision with what to do next (in short or long term) because there is SO MUCH to focus on
- 2 pt ashwagandha (withania somniflora)
- 2 pt passionflower (passiflora incarnata)
- 1 pt lemon balm (melissa officinalis)
- 1/2 pt kava (piper methysticum)
- 1/8-1/84 pt cardamom (elettaria cardamomum)
- 3 drops wild oat flower essence
Follow 2 dropperfuls of this tincture with 3 sprays of rose water to your face, a cat-that-just-got-sprayed-with-water body shake and a grunt. you'll get through it. there is always tomorrow. The trees don't grow leaves overnight and neither will you.
(If you actually read this - let me know. As a fishgoat floating through the transition of Winter to Spring, reminders of connection to the outside world are welcome)