July 2020 reflections – Harvests and Healing

lemon verbena plant

To me, July epitomizes summer. 

June is a transition time. The Sun energy is vast, the plants take off, but the summer mindset sleeps until the end of the month. 

August is summer to the extreme – hot, restless, drawn out and dried out.

July is right in the middle, and it feels so nice. And now that it is done, July feels even sweeter.

In this post I am going to reflect upon July.

Do you reflect? If so, how? I’d love to know.

Since this is my first reflection post, I thought I’d talk a little bit about why this is a useful practice for me.

Lemon verbena
Lemon verbena
Catnip in flower

Reflection Practice

I can’t explain it fully, but I love to journal, write, think, reflect, review. Well, maybe it has to do having 6 planets in Air signs in my chart?

Memory is one of my super powers. I have kind of a good memory, partially because I purposefully nurture the making of memories through reflection. It’s part of how I cultivate my concept of my future selves and future life. 

Future Selves is kind of a big topic, it turns out. There’s a growing body of research (and a ton of books, of which I’ve read none) about how thinking of what our future self would do helps us have a more satisfying life. 

I didn’t know about future selves as being a term or a thing until recently. Prior to that, I felt strongly that the way to create the future is to create a past we are satisfied with.

Cyclical, Seasonal Experiences 

I also love systems that focus on seasonality. 

On a mundane level, the weather excites me. Tornadoes, thunderstorms, blizzards are my jam (probably from growing up in Wisconsin) but so do breezes, the shifting sun, mist and rain. This love of atmosphere and how it feels at a particular liminal moment of shifting ties into astrology and seasonal holidays, too.

Earlier this year I wrote about Astro Embodiment. The Astro Embodiment articles were a lot of research which necessitated holding books while doing a lot of typing. I had to take a break from that because of the problems I’ve been having with my right arm – joint pain and dysfunction is part of my Lyme picture.

For now the writing of it is on hold, but the experience of how changing astrology season feels in the body never ceases.

Organizing my experience by months, whether it’s by a calendar month, menstrual cycles, Lunar month, Solar markers (like Equinox, Imbolc, Beltane, Solstice, and so on) or astrological season helps me tune into my own creative and energy cycles. 

Herbalism as Time and Space Medicine

The most simple example of herbalism is time and space medicine is seen through the harvesting and making of medicines. During the harvesting of the body (or energy of a plant though a flower/plant essence), we capture a part of the essence of that very moment, that very day. It is a marker of time and location.

The main reason I wanted to begin a monthly reflections on my blog this month was to honor the harvests. July is an abundant month here in the Pacific Northwest, many plants are at their peak.

This year I have been able to grow and harvest so much (for me being home with two kids and recovering my health, at least). And I want to celebrate and honor this.

Reflection of Recovery and Healing

At the time of writing this, I am 16 months into my herbal Lyme protocol. I have come so far! And I still have a ways to go.

Reflection is a way to home into my current “new normal”. It is a way to see that I am indeed transitioning into feeling more well and functional as I recover from a chronic infection. 

The secret ingredient for that turns reflection into a tool of honoring how far I’ve come in my healing process takes an extra step. Ready for it? Re-visiting the past reflections. 

You don’t have to spend tons of time going through old journals, word for work, or paging (scrolling?) though photo albums to reap the benefit of reflecting. In fact, I generally do not keep my old journals or writings (except my dream journals – those are gold!).

A little bit of visiting with old material is all you need.

I take my health reflections one step further. I keep symptom scores when it feels valuable. Mostly, I write down my energy level on a 1-10 scale. That’s the practitioner in me – no surprise. I am my own patient and my own healer. 

There’s a very, very fine line with tracking and measuring health. It can go too far and send your entire limbic system off kilter. That is the entire premise of DNRS – to try to heal your limbic system so you don’t have to guard against threats to it through hyper-sensitive, systemized over-protection. (Someday I’ll write my Lyme healing story and detail DNRS. If you have questions before I do that, please feel free to send me an email).

More than keeping scores or records, I simply remember when I regained functionality where I used to not have it. 

I remember when I used to not be able to go upstairs or downstairs to the basement, because I was too debilitated with POTS or chronic dizziness and lightheadedness. Now I can, and whenever I do, I do a little happy dance while I walk up the stairs. It’s the little things, my friends!

Summer 2019 was the summer where everything I ate and drank except for water and tea tasted like rotten vegan cheese. Neuroborreliosis can affect the cranial nerves, the classic presentation is having vision problems or going blind. For me, it affected the cranial nerves dealing with taste (facial (VII), glossopharyngeal (IX), and vagus (X)). 

Remembering the rotten food flavor from last summer makes me appreciate picking blueberries that much more. 

While I’m at it I also have to take a moment to acknowledge that reflection can be morphed into a form of control and into an ABB stiving (Always be Bettering).

Reflection is not about trying to achieve anything. It’s really just how you felt and what you thought. 

white horehound
white horehound

Monthly Reflection Practice

Which plants caught my attention? Lemon Verbena, Catnip, Skullcap, Chamomile. Wild Carrot. Rose. Boneset, Poke, Echinacea angustafolia, Huang Qin.

What were my favorite walks? Found a new river to explore

What were my favorite things to eat? Ribs and white napa kim chi

What are my kids up to? W lost his first top front tooth! Ri into making picnics for her babies.

What was the favorite thing I created? Wild Carrot hydrosol


What is my favorite picture I took? A lacy basket of Wild Carrot

What was Rob playing on the piano? Imagine 

What was I listening to? Reliving the 00’s: Flaming Lips and Radiohead over and over. I had Wilco “Jesus ect…” in my head and that started it all.

Notable dream? I dreamt of an old woman that had dies with an amazing estate she was opening up to me. I swam in her pool that went to the very edge of a massive cliff. Mundane  dream that Rob would get a job in or after Virgo season. 

Every night there were Fed helicopters flying over. Feds infiltrated Portland. BLM protests still going on. It feels like at least in local area where I live, there are more and more and more signs and conversations about becoming anti-racist and preventing harm to black people. And it is being talked about that this is a long-term transformation that lasts beyond a single month.

I took July off of Instagram and was off most of June. It was absolutely decadent. It’s like medicine for my brain and my time away completely reconfigured my creativity and ability to give to myself.

It seems so obvious, but corona virus is the center of everything. Announced that there will be no in-class school. W is starting kindergarten. 

Rob is laid off month #2. It’s been hard.

All around long term couples are breaking up, people moving out. The stress of Corona virus on everyone is immense.

Lyme update – 16 months into treatment

I started July with a large-to-medium Lyme flare.

I hadn’t had one like that in a while, which think is due to the fact that the herbs I take for my treatment have had spotty availability at best since the start of COVID (so many of them are antivirals, too).

A big part of it was from diet. Ah, always a trigger for me. We went on a little road trip and I ate more breaded take out food than I should. Wheat really messes up my gut, and then immunity.

My lymphatic system was totally sick, and it backed everything up and got into my joints and spine. I had burning peripheral neuropathy that kept me up at night. Wow, that was not fun. I feel for people who have that sensation on the regular. Acupuncture totally helped – Ba Xie for the win!

Early July I started working on a home improvement project. I scrubbed the walls with a TSP substitute. Once the walls are clean, we do some plaster, and then paint. Two days in a row of 60 minute scrubbing sessions were too much. My shoulder, arm, neck completely locked up. This is a vague term, but my back “went out” and I was on bed rest for a day.

It was very discouraging, seeing how limited my mobility was. It’s much better than the past, which I’m thankful for. It was an emotional setback more than a physical one.

I made the investment and saw my chiropractor. She confirmed with I felt: my pain, brain fog and fatigue were all stemming from the lymphatic system. My spine wasn’t out like I thought, and the neuropathy wasn’t simply TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome). It was lymphatic backup due to Lyme overwhelm.

She helped get stuff moving, and I upped my lymph herbs. Red Clover and Calendula tea (plus others) and Poke tincture (plus alteratives and immune helpers). Wow! They got stuff moving and clearing.

Within a day I started to run a fever, which I supported with lovely, lovely Boneset (and others). Love that herb so much. Always there to save my feverish ass though all these years.

After I had the fever, I felt SO much better. Immune game ON. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

No, it was not COVID. The fever was exactly as I have had in the past, many times, same set up and feeling. Basically, the bacteria takes over, the vital force gets stuck and diminishes, then returns with a little healing help, which helps to fight the Lyme.

Overall I feel okay. Okay energy. I don’t want to rate it. 

Well… actually, I feel a little sad about it. At the end of the month I realized how tense and sore my body is. And that I have adjusted to this being normal. When I tune into my body, I feel like like it is experiencing trauma, especially my brain and spine. (Note: do more acupuncture.)

I’ve been thinking a lot more about the journey through Lyme. Here I write about it on my Facebook page. If you are on Facebook, say HI!

Garden, ect…

The garden was so giving this month.

Practically everyday I was harvesting, processing, making medicine. I love this so much. I could’ve done more weeding, though. 

The house was good. Slowly, I am getting back into cooking, cleaning, doing chores. I have a lot of grief about not being able to move projects ahead, but my body is just not into working like that right now. And that’s okay.

I cut out my afternoon cup of coffee about 50% of the time. It was hard, not going to lie.

I really miss my friends. I see some Portland friends occasionally, which is great. Feeling homesick though.

Work was good. A few home visits and calls, some herbs sent out, lots of super fun photos and content creation. It’s challenging because I actually want to work right now, but being home with the kids is very time and energy intensive.

The kids are great. I do wish I had more energy to do activities and take them out more. The heat really gets me when we go outside. We went to a river a couple of times, that was amazingly fun and easy. 

July 2020 blog reflections

I really enjoy writing about one topic at length, and I really enjoy taking pictures.

Through this month of writing I see that I am indeed a content creator when it comes to getting my voice out, and definitely not an influencer, which about getting your message out thought social media.

This whole time I thought blogging was dead and I’d have to learn how to be on IG or else. But it was never a good fit for me, and I thought it was was a flaw, or that I needed to figure something out, or just try more.

In order to have integrity, I need allow myself to do what I am guided and what I feel, and not do things that I think I should or are seem like the “way to do things”.

I love the people I follow on IG. But they are doing what is a good fit for them, obviously. I appreciate people who are following their own integrity and share in a way that mutually nourishes. We each can do that in our own way.

Learning this has been immensely creatively healing.

Thank you for being here! I hope you had a wonderful July.

Happy reflecting,

Celia 

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    lemon verbena drying

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