Exhaustion vs Being Tired and October reflections

garden sage in dappled light

How are you doing? How was October 2020 for you? I am circling around to the monthly reflections once again, but mostly I am rambling about many things, including exhaustion vs being tired.

Mars Square Saturn (by house)

The best way I can describe this month is that it felt upside down. The pointed Mars square Saturn situation (by house by this time, not at exact squares, but still felt in full force) pulled me so far back in all areas of my life that I felt like I was literally inside out or upside down

Every plan or hope or to-do was not only impossible, but I was forced to do intense work in the opposite direction. 

It felt like the playground myth that if you swung all the way around the top bar of the swing set your skin would turn inside out; your innards would be on the outside. That was always a wish of mine as a kid: I guess I was always viscerally oriented.

After a while of investigating how to be on the wavelength of this astrology, how to make the best of it and learn its lessons, I (kind of) got the gist. 

Just surrender, Babe. Throw your “plans” out the window and do what is presented to you.

yellow sunflowers and plantain seeds

New Lenormand Deck

Divination helped: I became acquainted with the Lenormand deck and had a Grand Tableau reading

Are you familiar with the Lenormand system?

It is new to me, but for some reason, I cannot put it down. Well, probably because the first card I ever had in a reading was “Clover”, as in Red Clover, one of my favorite herbs. And it was an herb I was very much working with at that time for medicine and teaching. 

lenormand grand tableau reading

I am a fan of Pixie’s artwork and the original Rider Waite tarot as well. Yet another reason to love this deck. Abstract two-toned symbols floating in space – I’m not really into those types of decks. I need grounding in the cards, like I need to see a horizon line.

Plus I feel that using older decks helps me channel some of the original meaning and intentions. I do not adhere to those meanings, but they help me learn. Astrology is like that, too – I like Traditional astrology, based in the earliest writings that we know of (although I like the modern planets like everyone else:).

Lenormand is much more tangible than the tarot. Mundane, and I like that right now. 

Today I stopped into the local crystal/vintage/tarot shop. I asked the shop person if they ever carry books or decks regarding Lenormand, and she says they do in their other location in Olympia, WA but not in Portland.

Simply because it’s not very popular. It’s so…literal. The traditional meanings are a little stuffy. 

She did say, however, that she has had excellent results with getting specific clues from Lenormand. Like one time she lost her keys and the deck told her exactly where to find them!

marshmallow leaves

Scratching a psychic itch

Lenormand is scratching my psychic itch. It is a bridge for where my intuitive abilities lie nowadays. This is because I am getting the most random hits of what someone is going to say or do a few minutes to hours prior to it happening. 

The other day I went for a walk. One block into my walk I had the thought of a pink jean jacket.

Hmmm…why am thinking about that? I wondered. Maybe it’s time for me to update my fall jackets? Maybe pink is my new color?

As I thought about it, I saw that this jacket in my mind was not a jean jacket per se, but a soft canvas type cloth. Like pink khaki.

I had no idea why or where these thoughts were coming from. I simply watched them play out. 

Less than 3 blocks away I found in a free pile a pink canvas fall coat. Too small for me, it was for a girl. But isn’t that interesting?

Another intuitive story tangentially involving clothes: I was listening to a podcast. As it was getting started, I was compelled to look on Pinterest for some odd reason. 

Before too long, a thought come in my head about Brandy Melville clothes (why oh why, I am not at all a fan. How did I even learn about this brand? I have no idea). It was persistent. 

On a whim, I started to type the name in the search bar, maybe there was something here for me? I don’t know, but I had to try.

Just as I typed the first word “Brandy”, the podcast host said the name “Brandy”. Completely in unison. Someone named Brandy was the guest on the podcast. 

And Brandy, the guest, talked about – guess – Pinterest marketing. 

Sometimes intuition holds the keys to healing. Important messages.

But mostly, it’s day to day living, folks. It’s about your day, you family, your neighbors. Dreams, too. And I believe that dreams and intuition come from the same source.

All this is to say that I am sinking into my daily life, and Lenormand cards are a great fit.

From Labyrnthos site:

“Lenormand Cards are an alternative system of cartomancy, similar to Tarot but also different in purpose, feeling and structure. Unlike Tarot, Lenormand is a much more practical deck – focusing somewhat less on psychological feelings and instead on everyday happenings. You’ll notice when reading with Lenormand decks, that these cards tend to focus on practical matters – Tarot focuses on the “why”, while Lenormand tends to focus on the “how”.”

yellow small sunflowers

Exhausted and Immobilized

The first two weeks of the month I felt totally and completely exhausted.

I tuned into my body and the main word and feeling I got was “immobilized”.

My form felt like cement. Sometimes I would try get up and move, but I just couldn’t move no matter how hard I mentally prodded myself. 

Immobilized… it is a familiar feeling.

I have felt like that in the past couple years since the three month Lyme flare. When I was early on into the herbal Lyme protocol, I had very low energy, about .5/10 – which is to say it felt like less than a “1”. 1 means can’t get out of bed. 

I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed and could hardly breath or simply be in my physical form. If I could, I would’ve stayed in bed for 6 months.

But that wasn’t possible, with having two kids, who were 1 and 4 at the time. So I spent a lot of time laying and crawling on the floor. 

The other times of utter exhaustion were when I was dealing with acute Epstein Barr/mono symptoms and/or actively fighting those symptoms (sore throat, stuck and stagnant lymph, malaise and so on). That virus will knock you down, for sure. 

Anatomy of a Lyme Flare 

I wondered…does this exhaustion mean I am having a Lyme flare?

I couldn’t tell for sure. My body was doing okay…kind of. I was having nightly headaches for about 3 weeks, however, so I sensed a storm was brewing.

Sure enough, I did end up having a Lyme flare.

On a Friday night, my right SI joint went out, followed with a migraine. Thankfully the migraine was short lived, with the use of SJW oil, Lobelia topically, lots of self crainosacral on my head and sleeping with acupuncture needles. 

I woke on Saturday with a raw painful sacrum and full spinal pain. Later a super painful spasmodic impingement developed around the left rhomboids (back of the heart area).

As it pinched nerves, blood and muscles on the back of my body, it was also did the same thing to my front body. Unfortunately that created a hugely painful stomach.

This is it, I thought, I have a bleeding ulcer

I stayed in bed for the next two days, with an aching stomach and back. Sunday night the impingement gave up it hold (thank you Lobelia!) and my back and stomach felt better at the exact same time. 

Luckily that was it for the most acute part of the Lyme flare.

But as Dr. Caroline, my functional medicine chiropractor says, Lyme flares leave a huge wake in me. When I saw her about 5 days later, my back was totally out, twisted and compressed. And it was all due to lymphatic congestion. It was not at all coming from the joints articulation themselves. 

With Lyme and any chronic infection, help the lymph, always! 

I do use alteratives during these times, but I didn’t use them as much or as often as I could. Red Clover, Poke, Wild Indigo, Stillingia and Red Root are some of my favorites. If I am fighting an infection, Echinacea is my friend for sure.

I was certainly not doing anything with my lifestyle to move lymph. Herbs are great, but all of the lymphatics in the world cannot replace regular movement of the body, like range of motion exercises (swinging the arms around, for example). 

green poke berries

But also…that Saturn- Mars astrology 

Feeling immobilized is the essence of a Mars square Saturn transit.

Mars wants to – needs to – go forward in pursuit of their goals, passions and destiny. Mars has a mission. 

Mars is retrograde. Their retrograde is from about July to Nov 2020.

After, it will continue to be in the shadow of the retrograde and the same house until Jan 2021. This means that we will have a slight sense of moving forward in November, but things won’t significantly progress on their mission until January. 

If that weren’t enough, Mars is squared Saturn

Saturn makes us slow down much more than we want to. It forces us to tend to details and execute the painstaking steps of plan, like it or not. Saturn values being responsible and mature in all things. They demand continual work and learning.

If you try to rush or cut corners, Saturn will come down and make you go back even further, belaboring the point in effort to teach a lesson.

When Saturn and Mars are squared, we feel even more thwarted than we do even under a Mars retrograde. It’s like a double whammy. Mars is forced to go backwards and hide, which it totally against its nature. And Saturn is making sure Mars is properly schooled in all the exacting details. 

Mars is pulled backwards against the wall and pushed into a tight corner. 

Literally, a square is a 90 degree angle, after all.

As I was feeling the tide of a Lyme flare wash in, I was also feeling into the immobilized feeling on all levels. Physical, emotional mental, energetic and spiritual. 

white arm and hand under a rose bramble

Mysteries of the 12th House

Another thing I was forced/instructed to work on during October was the shadow. There is a lot of shadow work out in front of me, this I have known for a while.

I’m not going to get into what the shadow is and hwo to work with it. I think many of you would be familiar with this. And it is easily researched.

I approach the shadow from a soul perspective and less of a Western psychological lens. Christina Pratt has a bunch of podcasts about the shadow and how to work with it.

The intersting thing I learned about the shadow this month is that astrolgically, it comes up when the 12th house is prodded. I have Aries in the 12th house. And Mars is in Aries right now, which is a especially energetic sign for Mars.

The 12th house is being VERY prodded right now, because of the Mars retrograde.

It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to keep parts of us locked in shadow. It’s a continual disownment of our soul.

But it’s not easy to get it out – it is very well hidden and requires some concerted effort to release and transform the shadow from enemy to ally.

So that’s the first drain of energy: shadow maintenance.

The shadow is also draining because there is a LOT of energy held inside the shadow itself. You are without that vital part of yourself.

Second energy drain: separating from the vitality of the shadow.

If you are interested in this stuff, check out Chani Nicholas’ monthly courses, and This article which talks about the daimon and how it resides in 12th house.

What is exhaustion? 

After 2 weeks of trying to live through the exhaustion, I was pushed to my limit. It was becoming too much to bear. I had to try to get to the bottom of it.

I made a practice to sink into my body to have some conversations. 

Where is the exhaustion located? 

What does it feel like? 

What is it trying to do? 

Why is it here? 

Where did you come from?

What do you need to resolve?

What are you trying to tell me?

At this point in my journey, I am not totally comfortable with everything about exhaustion.

Yet, I still gained some insight.

I found that this exhaustion was located within the midline of my body, centered around the upper torso and chest. 

The lovely thing is that if I could feel the exhaustion coming off my chest and lean into it, after a few minutes I felt a *lot* better. Sometimes I felt substantially better, I could get up and function for the rest of the day.

This is the same mechanism to bringing your consciousness to the exact point of pain, breathing into it, and then feeling some sort of shift, relaxation or resolution. Through being seen, felt and heard, the pain, and in this case the exhaustion, has an opportunity to fulfill its role and deliver their message.

The other thing I learned from exhaustion is that the main message it gives is “I don’t have enough” or “I’m not resourced”

This can be for many reasons. Perhaps the person is like a leaky bucket, being depleted more than they are filled up. I think that is the case with many chronic infections; the immune system has more work to do than the resources and periods of resting/healing available to them. 

Perhaps it is because there simply isn’t enough to help them feel full. A true lack of resourcing. Like if receptors are down-regulated. You are not going to get the things into the cell/system/person that is needed. 

It seems obvious of course: being exhausted is not having enough energy. Yet it is nice to hear this straight from the body. Hearing the body is half the medicine.

How I got out of being exhausted 

After a few days of tuning into my body and the exhaustion, I finally surrendered. I laid in bed as much as I could as frequently as I could. When I had time to myself, I simply rested in bed and did not try to do work, projects or chores. 

Sounds simple enough. But when I am exhausted, sometimes I stay in denial. 

Perhaps you can relate?

I try to keep on as normally as I can, even if that means it take me all day to do a chore or task that would normally take 30 minutes. Instead of listening to my body, I fight it. It happens to the best of us.

Resting is practically an act of protest in a capitalistic society. And even when resting is something I do very much value and embrace, it is hard to excuse myself from my family, leaving my husband to single parent two little kids. 

During those resting days, I continued to connect to the midline of my body where the exhaustion was emanating. I found that from the stillness and quietude, an opening up of vitality could occur. 

Later I recalled the books I have about Biodynamic Craniosacral and wondered if this was related to what is called “The Breath of Life”. 

Franklyn Sills describes the Breath of Life in his book and website in this way:

“Over time, I have come to understand that the Breath of Life is a divine presence only appreciated in a state of stillness and unknowing. It appears everywhere all at once and is sensed as a Presence that is numinous, non-linear and radiant. It arises out of a profound Stillness that lies at the heart of all form and is the fulcrum from which all form arises. Unlike the Tide it generates, it has no rhythm, yet is at the heart of all rhythms. It cannot be manipulated or used by the practitioner in any way. One can only humbly witness its creative action within and between human systems. Clinical work in its presence is about stillness, resonance and co-operation. This is a humbling and joyful process to witness.

“The direct experience of the Breath of Life is, however, difficult to describe. As Lao Tzu maintained, words fail in its presence. However, I can say that as the Breath of Life emerges from a depth of Stillness, one experiences heart-opening radiance and compassion, a sense of great spaciousness and peace, a depth of love and interconnection, and a perception of a Presence that seems to enfold, uphold and maintain life.

“For me, this can only arise when I am in a state of emptiness, open to the present moment in all humility. Even then, I can have no expectations of its presence. The direct presence of the Breath of Life is not an everyday clinical experience. It emerges as a state of grace and this cannot be controlled or manipulated in any way.”

There are many ways to approach exhaustion. It can be hard if the “diagnosis” is dubious. 

Personally, I didn’t know a Lyme flare was brewing because my immune system felt fine. That is new to me. Usually I feel an “infected” feeling in my lymphatic system.

My best guess is that the exhaustion was from something totally different (stress from the wildfire smoke and adapting to being “on” for distance learning kindergarten), and that led to the Lyme flare.

Tuning into my body and the exhaustion itself, doubling down on my herbs and supplements, resting more and frequently, and taking the time to journal and work through what I was feeling helped me so much. 

Exhaustion is not something we can “wish” or manifest our way out of. 

Well, maybe…I’m all for miracles. 

It’s just that miracles don’t happen as frequently as the good old fashioned healing ways of rest, recovery and restoration do. And mostly, they still happen side by side. 

We need to tend to all sides of ourselves. We need to listen to the exhaustion itself and hear its message. And we need to do things like feed our blood, fight infections, and simply get more rest.

tulsi harvested in a basket

Exhaustion vs being Tired 

A couple weeks after the exhaustion, I had a bout of intense tiredness. This was interesting because I could practically do a side-by-side comparison of what these two experiences feel like in my body. 

Tiredness is the feeling of needing more sleep. 

Exhaustion is being totally out of vitality, regardless of how much sleep you have had. 

Tiredness is dragging through the day, you move slower but can press on if you are engaged in a task you are motivated to do.

Exhaustion is when the feeling of being awake and engaged with the world is pain-inducing. You cannot press on to do tasks, even the ones you are most motivated to do.

Tiredness often leads to going to bed early or sleeping in late when allowed.

Exhaustion often leads to increased difficulty sleeping or getting less rested sleep.

Both tiredness and exhaustion led to increased pain and achiness. With exhaustion, it becomes chronic and marked, increasing in intensity and diminishing sleep quality and quality of life. 

Tiredness can be remedied with napping, rest, and more sleep or better quality sleep. 

Exhaustion is remedied over time and with bodily and personal support. Sleep does not improve exhaustion except very consistently and over much time, like after 3 months of sleeping a lot and doing very little. 

The consequences of pushing through tiredness are related to reduced performance, output or quality and/or continual diminishment of overall energy, leading to burn out. If being tired continues and one is living with lack of sleep, the threat of risky behavior, mental breakdown, being prone to accidents is possible.

The consequences of being exhausted are a decrease in overall immunity, which leads to more exhaustion. There threat of risky behavior, mental breakdown, being prone to accidents are much more pronounced.

The problem with tiredness

There is a big problem with tiredness: We tend to push through it. 

One more cup of coffee…or two or three more…just keep going…give me some of that sugar and carbs…or weed or alcohol…

It is like we are addicted to going, going, going. We start to get on an adrenaline high, or over the long term, survive off of increased cortisol levels. Stress becomes our fuel of choice. 

This may seem extreme, but here’s the thing I know you all know: If you stop going so hard and actually get good rest, the adrenaline and cortisol down shift. And then you feel *super* tired. 

Most people do not like that feeling: living off of your inherent, steady non-stress energy. I know I don’t, at least not at first.

You can’t get shit done like a workhorse anymore. You can’t seem to keep up with it all.

It’s the same feeling of being a coffee drinker and then going without coffee. You have about the same amount of energy all the time, although there are seasonal and daily rhythms to our energy. There is no more caffeine-induced periods of high performance, high focus. 

Another way to look at it is that many of us live with a sleep debt, and we stay that way. It is hard to make the switch out of a tiredness inducing lifestyle. Especially when the coffee is too tasty and the electric lights are so available. 

Productive and resourced

I don’t at all mean to moralize. I’m right there with you.

We are at a time when we are navigating the waters of what it means to be both productive and resourced, in ways that nourish us, our communities and the Earth around us. 

In a roundabout and not at all fun way, I think these Corona virus times are in part teaching us about this very thing, because it will prompt a major shift in our economic foundation. 

The idea of trading time for money based on worth, skill or expertise is losing its footing as jobs are morphed, eliminated or decreased. 

I am just praying that it will indeed be a future that is more just, more people have their basic needs met, and more resources are spread around and available for all. 

On a personal level, we all need to connect to our resources and continuously gather them and let them gain interest over time.

Then we can step into being a wisdom-keeper of our own vitality. We will become an effective manager of the distribution of our energy, hopefully on our own accord, with plenty of community support, and not based on a role forced on us by society.

During this time of year, the ancestors are very much present. The loving, kind, well and helpful ancestors are very much a part of that resourcing we have available to us. Another is the Earth herself. Another are helping spirits and other guides we connect to (or who try to connect with us). 

hazelnuts held in white hand next to houseplant and orange pumpkins

October 2020 reflections

On to the reflection part of this post.

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

Some things I thought about:

Plant: Hazel. Coll.

Hazel plant came through a meditative journey state and instructed me to do a cleansing ritual with them. 

I was to rub the Hazelnuts over my throat area, and think of all the words never said, all the writings never published, all the classes never taught, all the videos and courses never made, all the conversations never had. 

I have been carrying a lot of grief about desires never able to be dreamt into being since being sick two years ago. And since embarking on the motherhood journey 6 1/2 years ago. And since moving to Portland 10 years ago and not really fitting into the Western herbal scene. 

After emptying out my grief into the Hazelnuts, I cut straight into in my garden like I shown. I buried the nuts. It felt like a reverse birth. 

If I find myself despairing about those old things never said, I can connect with the burial spot in the ground. I will know that the Earth is holding these tender feelings, and composting them. 

I did not felt the need to do that, it was a very complete feeling ritual. It felt final.

Until…

I crept back on IG (to schedule an appointment) and did too much scrolling. (like one scroll. ANY scrolling is too much for me).

What did I see? 

All the beautiful things other people are creating that I am not.

The indignant part of me arose, too. Yes, I have that 😉 I saw that people were teaching things with just a fraction (this is the indigent part speaking in case you couldn’t tell) of the experience I’ve had. They probably didn’t have kids. Free to be and do.

This feels silly to speak about, but it was what I felt in a split second of a scroll.

And it was coming straight out of my throat. My throat wa buzzing and closing in on me.

Luckily, I had one Hazelnut left. It had rolled out of my hand and didn’t get buried with the others. I put it to good cleansing use, speaking into it grief AND anger this time. I had a lot to say. I spoke until it was good and out. 

Then, as anger tends to do, it came around second time and I had to repeat myself JUST TO MAKE SURE I WAS HEARD. Anger is such a funny one.

Since then, I have been reading about Hazel within the Celtic tradition. Coll was a plant of the otherworld and regarded as a plant of wisdom, discernment and communication. 

Hazel grew around the Well of Wisdom, and in the fall, they dropped their nuts into the well. The Salmon came to eat them. They too held the sacred wisdom within them. Egrets and Herons ate upon the young salmon, and they got a dose of wisdom as well. 

I do love the name Hazel. When I was a little girl, my grandmas’ neighbor was named Hazel Ing. She was 100 years old. Her house was like an antique shop, and I loved going to visit her. To this day I can still smell her house. That old smell of a different time. I wanted to name my own child Hazel for years, but that didn’t work out. 

After the Hazel clearings and rituals, my throat felt veeeery different. I had to be very careful with my cleared throat. Protection came next.

I think this is just the beginning with this plant, not the end.

What was my favorite creation?

I got into knitting…it has been about 6 years since I last knitted. It feels wonderful. I am knitting a doll sweater on size 2 needles. Beautiful, but it’s taking some time.

What was I listening to?

I am embarrassed but unapologetic to admit that it has been once again a month of Britney. The #freebritney playlist has grown.

It mostly stems from the intuitive messages from a song I seriously despised when it came out: Overprotected. This is THE song of the Pericardium, people!

As Jeffrey Yuen says, we can never be free until the Pericardium learns to let go and stop censoring/protecting the true emperor, the Heart. Connecting to the Heart is a life-long journey, and takes continual unlearning of what we were taught from our earliest childhood until now.

Health topics and herbs on my mind?

This month was focused on shadow work, soul retrieval and ritual. From that Lenormand reading, it was clear my work is nothing until I move through major soul healing.

small yellow sunflowers in blue light

Instagram break continues.

Last month I said I had a healing/detox reaction to being off of IG. This month it only deepened. 

It really is so intense, I can’t being to put words to it. I am the thick of it, for sure.

But imagine everything that you were pushing away or districted from while being on social media come back into your system and demand that it be addressed.

It feels like a purge. This is a visceral and gross comparison, but I feel like I have done a bunch of vomiting and now I am puking bile.

Bile is always shocking and surprising to me. I ask myself, where did that come from? How on earth can we possibly throw this stuff up? Is this really necessary?

It’s like ghosts from the past are calling. Fitting for this time of year, no?

And I am having to go waaaaaay back.

Somehow this was all re-membered after I discovered I an email account I never used connected to an ancient Tumblr account. It amassed thousands of followers as it sat, abandoned.

All those social validation indicators on a stale platform… It made me dig into what I have been seeking all these years from social media. And even from starting an herb blog in 2007.

The ironic thing is that I left blogging in return for Tumblr. I thought that a) microblogging and b) social blogging were the new evolutions of blogging.

But it turns out that Tumblr and all other social media platforms, except for maybe Pinterest, are about keeping you on the platform and NOT about bringing people to your creations or offerings off of the platform.

Not the sort of creative relationship I want to keep.

We will give you followers and social approval indicators if you keep users on our platforms so we can sell more ads. No, thank you.

As a blogger, I want people to go to my website, not simply be a follower or give a heart. Not that everyone needs to operate like that – you can do a lot from a social media platform without a blog or even a website.

So…I shut the accounts down and felt nothing return to me. The energy had gone years ago. On the other hand, it was nice that it was a very neutral experience. 

What a funny thing.

Reminds me of a quote I am going to leave you with:

“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” — D.W. Winnicott. 

Here I interpret “artists” as “creators”. This is a tension I think we all come up against. Through it we can create a new way of being.


Happy Samhain to you all.

Take good care,

Celia

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