On old friends and newness
*****First published February 11, 2019*****
Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear. - George Addair
We moved here 6 months ago. We came for the nature, the beauty, the chance to grow into ourselves. We wanted rustic, open space, friends, and a community.
What we found was a lot of tarnish and stains beneath the surface.
It's been a challenge, to say the least. Visiting a place does not always prepare you for living there. Seems obvious, right? Not so much. You get used to the way things were - where you shopped, the restaurants you ate in, the traffic, the friends you never saw. Moving rips that all away. New places to shop, new restaurants, new traffic, new friends you never see. Should be great - isn't that WHY people move in the first place? To start fresh? But you need a little bit of that consistency to help the transition.
I began getting the shakes about a month before we moved. It started happening in the mornings, when I would be coming out of sleep. And then it started when I was going to sleep. And then, waking me up out of sleep. It's astounding what your body does when it's stressed. This was a new one to me. It wasn't happening all the time, and so I just did what most people do - I ignored it and just kept plodding through packing and getting ready to uproot everything we knew.
The moving itself was the easiest part of it all. We had my bestie and her husband come on the drive with us to unload, one of N's co-workers drove the truck, and a local pal put me in touch with one of her friends since she couldn't make it herself. The whole truck was unloaded in less than two hours.
We set up living quarters fairly quickly. We learned where the supermarkets were. We explored the local parks. I started a new job within 3 weeks of moving. Things were falling into place.
But I still couldn't get rid of these shakes. With all my training as an herbalist and aromatherapist, and I was at a loss as to what to do. (How much easier it is to recommend a protocol for another being than it is to do so for yourself!) Did I really need some complicated formula? What was my gut telling me?
I wound up throwing together a tea blend, and I made a vow to drink it every. single. morning. My basic go to formula became oat tops (Avena sativa), calendula (Calendula officinalis), and linden (Tilia cordata; T. Europaea). I drank almost a quart of this every day for about a month and a half before I realized I wasn't shaking as much. I'm still drinking it everyday, and my shaking is almost non-existent.
Oats tops are often overshadowed as a nervine for their more known brethren like chamomile or lemon balm. But they are soothing to the nervous system, are rich in minerals and nutrients, and moistening to the body (both inside and out). Harvesting oat tops is a study in sensuality. When they are ready, you can run your hand gently up the stalk and the tops literally just fall off. Barely a touch, soft and yielding. An analogy for what they do to you - they make you softer and more able to yield to the challenges around you. Don't think that this gentleness makes them weak - oh no! Over time, oats can nourish your nervous system and help you better cope with emotional stress, inability to focus, exhaustion, heart palpitations, and insomnia. (All this, and pleasant tasting to boot!)
I had started to think that my shakes were originating in my gut. I was realizing that I was so worn out and worn down that I was wreaking havoc on my gut. Add in that we were not eating the best food during the whole moving process, and we had a recipe for disaster.
Enter in calendula.
Calendula is such an unassuming flower. She's got such a simple beauty to her. With seeds that look like little aliens, you'd never think they could produce such lovely blooms. When you pick calendula flowers, your hands get sticky with resin, reminding you of their tenacity and stick-to-it-iveness. One lone flower can give you a wealth of new seeds, so you will never, ever have to go without this little love. Calendula has an affinity for healing wounds, both external and internal. It is also slightly bitter in taste, and can help aid in digestion. So, I chose these sunny little blossoms for their ability to help with my digestion, and and to heal any damage to my gut tissue. (The fact that they turn my tea a delightful light shade of yellow is a bonus!)
And lastly, we come to linden. Ah, linden. I had dried linden flowers and leaves in my home apothecary for ages. But I didn't use it often. I knew it was good for the nerves, but it was never a go to. Then I started encountering it everywhere. I saw it in a park before we moved, and I knew the tree without ever having seen it in person. It kept coming up in a podcast I had begun to listen to. I felt drawn to this herb. Into the tea it went, without really knowing why.
Linden is sweet, moistening, cooling. It has a mild sweet flavor (although, I found I prefer T. cordata to T. europaea) that blends beautifully with oats and calendula. It is considered a relaxing nervine, meaning it calms and sedates your nerves, but not to the extent of making you sleepy or groggy. Linden has been said to lower blood pressure, but as this was not my intent for its use, I can not attest to that aspect of it. (Although with stress usually comes elevated bp, so it may be helping more than I know.)
We are still settling into life in a new place. Some days are harder than others. But I remember my old (herbal) friends, and together we face the fear.