It’s the New Year… and I’ve been drinking…

teaHuh? Happy New Year and all that jazz 🙂 We made it to 2016, let’s hope this year is far kinder to us all. Or rather let’s be kinder to ourselves and each other.

Speaking of kindness, if you’ve been hanging out around here, you know I’ve been having a rough time 🙂 Since I’ve stopped taking 10 million tinctures in the morning, I’ve been tinkering with tea. I say tinkering because it’s contents continually evolve. Stinging Nettles and Lemon Balm seems to serve as a base. Other plant friends seem to keep popping up, but Nettles and Lemon Balm are crucial to the mixture and play the biggest part.

 

So here’s the current line up & ratios:

2 Parts Nettles

2 Parts Lemon Balm

1  1/2 Parts Rhodiola

1 Part Oat Straw

1 Part Elderflower

1/2 Part Marshmallow Root

Parts can be tea spoons, table spoons, oz, or whatever have you.

 

Each Plant Friend comes in with a purpose. Oat straw said I needed to add it to the tea, so I can be soothed by it’s presence.  So, now Oat Straw is involved. Rhodiola kinda came out of no where to become part of this tea. It seems to be here to help my adrenals  and support fertility. I feel Rhodiola has lots of wisdom to share. She likes to whisper secrets in your ear when you aren’t expecting it 🙂 She feels like  Mother’s helper, or something.  And most recently Marshmallow Root has made an appearance because it says my intestines aren’t happy about my gluten consumption. Even though I enjoy my ElderFlower tincture, she has requested to be included as well. Something about immune system regulation, being a Divine Orchestrator and helping me not over react to everything. The Plants Speak and I obey. Things seem to work best this way.

Any who, this is what I am drinking these days…

Update: Working through Terror, Panic and Anxiety

Now that I have been consciously working with grounding myself in the morning, enjoying a lovely combination of nettles, oat straw, rhodiola and lemon balm and doing my best to remind myself that I am no longer a kid (that’s a lot) things have eased up a bit. Well, kinda 🙂

I would not say that I am miraculously healed or something. But I would say that I have a few tools and coping mechanisms that help calm me when I am triggered. The entertaining thing is that I am triggered by quite a lot. However, if I can remember to stay here and now, while holding space for whatever feeling is surging, being triggered becomes useful. I can actually bear witness to why I hurt. In the past few days I’ve developed a great deal more compassion for myself and others. In one way or another, we are all working through something.

Here are a few other observations:

1.  Grounding is so much easier when I start with my third eye. We all  have a dominant (or a few dominant) chakras. The third eye is mine. She gets things done. If I start grounding by working with her, things usually go easier.

2. My adrenals are on strike. Somehow, I don’t really blame them. Even before my father died, I was constantly engulfed in some sort of heavy intense emotion. If I wasn’t overwhelmed by emotion, I was enraged at life for some reason or another. All that pushing; all that stress takes a toll on the body. For the past year or so, my low back has been off. Although some of the yoga  I did helped, nothing eased it like drinking the tea mentioned above. It did the job fairly quickly too!

3. My weight is an indicator of my mental health.  Since having my son, I’ve been my checking my weight regularly. At first is was because I felt anxious to lose baby weight. But as the weight slowly came off, I began to notice when I put on a pound or three. Sometimes it was because of my period, other times is was because I was making crazy food choices. I generally enjoy a healthy diet; at least when I am feeling sane. I only eat crazy when I am in pain. If I am pain, why and what can I do to fix it?

That’s about all for now. The more I commit to being in my body, the more I learn about what I can do to make my body a pleasureful place to be.

Take Precious Care,

Jeannette

 

The day I forgot to take my herbs…

Every morning, I wake up, grab a cup of steaming hot water, load myself up with tinctures and head to the shower. Except Saturday, I forgot to….

Nothing crazy happened. I taught my yoga class. I made dinner for the week. I talked to a good friend and texted another. Saturday was a productive day.

But Saturday was the first day I really felt myself in a long time.  While cleaning the collards I could feel my anxiety. I could feel my fear. I felt like I always felt; even before my father’s death.

I have an exhausting combination of fear and anxiety that constantly hums in the background. It’s always waiting for something to bust loose. Underneath the fear and anxiety is the feeling that I am a horrible, horrible, terrible, no good person. When everyone finds out, they’ll feel cheated by me. As I tore the collards along their veins, they asked me to be nicer to myself.

I sighed. I grounded. I breathed more deeply and wondered why the fuck I was on five different tinctures and whether it was all helpful; especially if I still feel like a piece of shit. Don’t I need to feel my own pain to heal it?

This pain, this old familiar pain, is different than the grief I feel over my father’s death. This shit, is the shit I’ve felt since… forever. However, it is because of my father’s death that I have space to heal it. His death has given me space to make new decisions about how I live life. I can face myself and life differently. Death can bring you life if you are determined to live.

Today, I am determined to live. I will ease up of the crazy amount of chill out tinctures I take. I will ground fully into my body. I will face my own fear and anxiety. And I will live…. at least for today 🙂 Tomorrow is always a different story.

Through the valley and the shadow of death

Sometime around September things started to slip. I slowly forgot to do the things that keep me sane. I started consuming large amounts of cheese. I stopped reading Grace Jones’s memoirs to read online gossip. My physical yoga practice shifted to meditation and I stopped making my little shatavri smoothies. It’s now November. I can’t make a clear business decision to save my life.  I’ve developed irregular physical pangs and stopped sleeping through the night.

For me this is what grief looks like. I go from a well oiled self-care machine to a surly mucus filled mother who doesn’t shower and hates talking in the morning. I want to sit here and say it’s important to know what your little signs that you are slipping into darkness, so you can stop. But sometimes, I wonder if stopping is really necessary.

Today, I welcome the darkness. During my sons naps and morning mediations, I welcome all the tears I haven’t cried and all the I love you’s I never got to say. I also find space to hear all my disappointments and frustrations why I feel this bottomless pit of longing I can’t seem to crawl out of.

Rather than trying to nourish or sweeten my way out of my pain, I think I will feel it. I know once I feel it, I can receive what it has for me and move on. I am learning that no matter how long I sit in child’s pose, no matter how much tincture or rescue remedy I consume, shit just hurts. It will continue to hurt until it doesn’t hurt anymore. That’s just life. We go through tough times. We only stay in the tough time when we deny our own suffering. Trying to stave off the pain of grief doesn’t help at all.

The only thing that seems to help is finding compassion to be where and how I am; knowing that in this moment I am doing my best.  My best is all I could ever ask of myself.

 

Herb of the Month: Rose

Why Rose in November? Rose is perfect for November because we all could use loving compassion to guide us through the darkness into the light of Spring. We all need help being loving to ourselves and each other as we enter a time of year that can bring great joy and great pain at the same time. It’s hard to remember that we are all struggling in one way or another, when you are in pain. Rose will help ease your pain so you can be kind to yourself and others.

Rose connects us to the divine love that lies within and all around us. Rose brings us back to center; where we can nourish and care for ourselves as we prepare for the dark, challenging times of life. More than any other friend, Rose helps me remember that there is more than enough love in every moment. The challenge is to open to it. As long as I am open, I will have all I need.

However, Rose reminds me that love does not mean being a sucker. It’s very important to have strong clear boundaries to remain safe whole and sane. Rose has a bigs strong heart, but also comes with very large thorns to protect herself with. I often ask for Rose’s assistance when I need to protect myself, in a loving yet clear way.

Hanging out with roses is a great way to connect with her. Rose hip tea is also a great way to reach the essence of Rose; although I am fond of taking a rose tincture first thing in the morning. If you are a fan of flower essences, Green Hope Farm has quite a collection to explore.

Be good to yourself and each other 🙂

Mourning through Motherhood

Here is a short list of the herbs that have helped me mourn my father while being Mommy. Please note that I didn’t work with all these herbs at once. I find that some plants helped for different parts of the process. However they all have and continue to support me as I grieve and raise my little one. Also, I breastfed while working with all these plants and had no problems. If you are very concerned, please contact your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathic Arnica: Homeopathic Arnica was great for when the death was fresh. It kept me grounded and present so I could actually remember to grieve. Arnica didn’t take the pain away for me. It reminded me that I had just gone through something very painful and that I should take precious care of myself.

Homeopathic Ignatius Amara: Ignatius Amara kept (and still keeps) me from being emotionally constipated. When I wouldn’t let myself cry or be sad, Ignatius Amara would hold space for me to cry or be sad as much as I needed to. It helped me to keep flowing  and helped me to feel without judgment or overwhelm.

How the homeopathic remedies worked with me: For the first 3 months or so, I would take either Arnica or Ignatius Amara (sometimes both) every 4 – 6 hours. I needed all the help I could get at the time.  After three months, I backed off a bit. Now, when I recognize that I am having a rough time, I take some Ignatius Amara. I love Arnica, but for me Ignatius Amara is more gentle.

Tinctures

Elderflower Tincture: I love Elderflower. Elderflower will help you channel your energy in the most beneficial direction. So instead of spiraling into the darkness of what had happened, Elderflower helped me keep one foot in front of the other; moving in a positive direction. Note: This does not mean I had an easy time. It means that in the midst of sorrow, I had a light pulling me forward. There was something that had confidence in my ability to make it through and was rooting for me. For me, this is what I needed most.

Rose Tincture: Rose Tincture helps remind me how my I love my father. No, the man was not perfect, but thanks to Rose’s help I can remember and celebrate what I love most about him. Rose’s love also helped me say all I needed to say to him before he passed, so neither of us needed to carry that.

Peach Tincture: Peach has softened any harsh left over feelings I held towards my Father. It’s allowed my heart to expand and feel compassion for things he did that hurt me. Peach has also been instrumental in keeping my anxiety from running wild. My anger and anxiety have vastly increased as part of the grieving process, Peach keeps things in check for me. (Sweet Violet is another tincture that’s great for anger and anxiety.)

Reishi Tincture: Together with Peach, Reishi has helped to heal old scars on my heart. It’s increased my empathy for Dad and helps me feel like he’s not too far away. Reishi is perfect for deep heart work, and I would play with it more, but it upsets my bowels if I take it for more than a month at a time.

How the tinctures worked with me: I love some tinctures. They are easy to work with. I would take a dropper full in my mouth every morning. Teas I would forget or get stressed out over. Tincture I would rarely forget. I find that I forget, it’s time to play with another tincture. They usually call to me in advance , so if I am being on top of things, I already have what’s needed.

Essential Oils

Frankincense Essential Oil: I started playing with Frankincense oil right before my father died. It has a soothing, calming presence that helped to ground me. Frankincense oil is a great go-to for working through Daddy issues.

Myrrh Essential Oil: Mourning my Father’s death, inflamed grievances I have with my Mother. Myrrh helped keep me steady, in integrity and grounded as I dealt with my Mother. Myrrh is great for working through Mommy issues.

Geranium Essential Oil: Geranium’s big bright spirit brought youthful joy and peace. It helped me to feel resilient and strong. She also has a way of helping you work through things in a simple, easy and almost playful way. Geranium is fun and uplifting, yet protective.

Bergamot Essential Oil: Bergamot kept me from descending into the abyss. He kept me light and fired up. There would be no way that I couldn’t find light to see or understand if he was around. If you are clinging to the edge and want something to bring you light and joy, Bergamot on your hands, belly or the bottoms of your feet can help.

How the Oils worked with me: The Essential oils wanted different things from me. Sometimes, they wished to be put into a diffuser and kept near all day. This was perfect for winter. Now a days, the usually like to be put on my skin in specific places. Bergamot loves my belly and the top of my head. Geranium wants to be on my heart, in the front and on the back. Frankincense and Myrrh go in various places on various days.

Here’s my list 🙂 There are plenty of other Herbal Allies that will support you through grief, but these are the ones I know 🙂 I hope this list has helped you in some way.

Herbal Ally of the Week : Peach

I have fond memories of Peach. When I was a little girl, there was a Peach Tree in our back yard. Peach Tree seemed a bit tiny in comparison to the tall graceful Birch Tree that danced in the wind beside it. Peach tree’s sap used to run, it’s leaves had brown edges and it’s fruit was spotted. I used to be so very angry at the Birch Tree beside it. I swore the Birch Tree was choking it out. Funny story, in the end that Birch Tree saved my life :). However, those two trees were just too close and I was so upset when my parents cut Lil Peach Tree down.

My memories of Peach tree are quite different from my current experience with her. She is a comfort when my nerves are shot, I am feeling stabby and I just can’t find my way back to calm. There is something soothing about peach. She softens hard the hard spots in your heart and gives stuck emotions space to flow. Suddenly what was stuck can move and you can finally discern the past from the present. You don’t have to hurt anymore, you can now move on.

Working with, or rather playing with Peach tincture has helped me clear my lungs and open my heart in a gentle sweet way. Because of Peach, I know that growth or moving on doesn’t have to be something painful. It can just be. If you have something stuck in your heart or have a knot that needs to be loosened, Peach will help sweeten things so you can let go. If you find yourself anxious in a sort of violent way, Peach will create peace , so there is no longer a need for war. She doesn’t want to see you suffer or harm yourself when you can forgive instead.

My favorite thing to do it enjoy Peach tincture in the morning. There is a distinct different in my patience levels when I don’t take it!! I’ve also played with peach leaves in tea, but nothing does me like Peach Leaf Tincture. Here is my favorite one 🙂 May the sweetness of Peach find you and slowly overcome the bitterness in your life!

 

Photo courtesy of Dreamstimes.com

I’ve been drinking: Tea of the week

I generally change teas like underwear, but for the past few weeks I have been struggling with  grief. So everything I have been drinking has been about processing my grief.

Some drink their way through grief. Others cry, journal or create art. Me, I like to eat. You can tell how I am feeling by what’s in my fridge. Look past what’s prominently displayed up front and you’ll see what’s lurking in my heart.

Given that, I’ve gone hard in the paint eating cheese, chocolate and candy corn, what am I drinking to balance it out?  A simple mixture of nettles and dandelion…

Stress & Sugar Tea IMG_3766

1 Part Dried Stinging Nettle Leaf

2 Parts Dried Dandelion Leaf

Parts can be teaspoons or tablespoons. Mix with the intention to love yourself more. Then put one heaping tablespoon into 8 ounces of hot water. Steep at least 7 minutes. Strain & Enjoy 🙂

If you are super curious as to why Nettles and Dandelion.. I find nettles super nurturing and nutritive. It’s like a sweet loving elderly relative who babysits you. They loves you so much that you don’t get into any trouble because you don’t want to give them any trouble. With anyone else you would cut a fool. Nettles (and Oat straw for that matter) love and nurture  me into being kinder to myself. Dandelion is to help my body process all the damn sugar and to help bring me back to reality. Dandelion often offers me a kind kick in the pants. I should be nicer to myself and my body. Life is tough, but let’s not make an even bigger mess than there already is.

My hope is to make a little peace with my body. If I helping it digest the crazy I’ve been putting into it, maybe I can come to digest the reality that my father is dead. We’ll see what comes up. In the meanwhile, enjoy your tea 🙂

They aren't happy with this picture, but they know I do what I can :)
They aren’t happy with this picture, but they know I do what I can 🙂

Edit: Since drinking this tea, I’ve added 1 part Elderflower and 1 part Licorice. Elderflower is helping me keep my energy channeled in positive directions. Licorice is adding the sweetness I crave 🙂

I’ve been drinking: Tea of the week

IMG_3705This week I have been enjoying a nightly combination of elderflower, elderberry, rose buds, rose hips and hawthorn. It’s calmed me down, helped me sleep and supported me in managing a recent barrage of grief.

Okay, a barrage isn’t quite honest. I just.. stopped… grieving for a few weeks. I had developed this little ritual of arriving early to my Sunday morning yoga class, so I could sit in the car, listen to the blues and cry. I cry because I miss my Dad. I cry because no one incarnate loved me and cared for me like he did. And even though I know in my heart of hearts that he is quite happy now that he’s passed on, there is a part of me that can’t let go of the fact that the human being who cared for me first, and most in this whole world ain’t here anymore. Every Sunday I teach prenatal yoga, I would drown in my own tears and then get ready for class.

Until, I got tired of crying and used that time to just enjoy quiet. And then I stopped getting to class so early because my son and husband are cute and I don’t like leaving them all the time.

I thought all the emotion I felt was frustration because lil boo (my son) has decided that screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour was preferable to napping. I mean yeah, that grinds my gears, but it doesn’t induce the levels of stubborn evil I was at.

When I stopped my nightly yoga practice, started waking up in the middle of the night and started hitting the bottle, I knew there was a problem.

So…..I ended up with this tea..

4 parts Elderflower

1 Part Elderberry

1 Part Rose Buds

2 Parts Rose Hips

2 Parts Hawthorn Berry

From my experience, Elderflower is great for directing and managing emotions. I also find that Elderflower is super soothing. It’s my Grandmothers combined in plant form. Hawthorn puts me back in touch with my heart and supports me in expressing my grief. Rose Bud and Hips allow me to be compassionate with myself and others as grief unfolds. This shit ain’t easy and it’s okay. Elderberry is there to keep me from getting sick and feels like it’s supportive to my heart as well. I have a tendency to get sick when emotionally overwhelmed.

Now, I haven’t gotten fully back into my evening practice. But I have been practicing more since I  modified both my morning and evening  practice. I changed which hip opening postures I was doing and eased off the standing postures a bit. I’ve incorporated more restorative postures  because restorative yoga creates space for me. I find that since I don’t always have space to connect with myself, it’s easy to skip out on grieving. Incorporating poses that relax me, help me feel safe and encourage me to be with myself have been super awesome. I also started giving myself more space to talk to Daddy in the morning and cry if I need to 🙂

So this my friends is the tea of the week. If you decided to enjoy some yourself, please let me know how it works for you.

Infinite Blessings

Jeannette