I had a dream the other night in which I was picking the last of the season's fruit from my neighbor's dragon fruit tree. It does not exist there in waking life. In waking life they've taken down a lot of their trees and no fruit trees live there. Not even the rose hedges anymore. But in this land, there was sweet, sweet late summer dragon fruit. We were all together and they were dressed in Native Central So-called-American garments with top hats. The lighting was beautiful. It must have been a bright day that was narrowing toward evening. Maybe around 4 o'clock or so. I went inside their home and into a room in which I sat down with a man who I feel must be part of my Shadow. He was a very critical man. He lived inside a room with no windows, the only light being the blue light that beamed from his laptop. Maybe a lamp too. He sat on a black couch that was against a painted black wall, red accents. He was critical, as I said, and more than that, he thought that this made him real, made him safe. He was criticizing everyone--for their band names, for their, what he thought were, shitty essays, for their lack of self-awareness. He was always running some sort of commentary, some sort of facetious joke, always running, running, running. Yet still, there he sat, running so far away, yet going nowhere, yet staying so tethered and so isolated to his dark imprisonment while the rest of us poised together amongst the dragon fruit trees, sucking the juices out of them with the first bite.
In my dream I went along with his narrations as he painted everyone and everything so drab and with so little context, except for that of his own projections which were fueled by his miserable isolation of which he unconsciously oppressed himself. Isn't that what constant criticism is? Castration? He did this to help himself feel secure in his vacant and chosen exile. His darkened and dirty room was just a symbol of how cluttered and unprocessed his thoughts and emotions were. He thought somewhere, in the hidden places of his mind--hidden even to him-- that it would set him apart from everyone else. A self-aware individual, he thought. And intelligent too. His elitist attitude reminded me of white supremacists stomping through streets with torches. His self-alienation was no different than theirs. He was aggressive. And yet, through it all, I think he just craved the light. He had forgotten how sweet the fruit from the dragon fruit tree was. He thought his remarks would replace the sun kisses and the caress of the wind, the sound of his own unassuming laughter in chant with another's. Indeed, always having some gnashing remark, acknowledging all of the slights always shuts the door to any light. And they both need one another, light and dark.
The dream continued with a giant blow up roller-coasters in the driveway, designed in the shape of a My Little Pony cartoon, which was actually quite a terrifying ride. Since awakening form that dream, I've been inviting this part of my shadow into the light. My thought is that he showed up in my dream because he too is tired of all the shit-talking.
So this all to say that I've felt pretty critical lately. Like, wearing criticism as my shroud. I've been doing this for years, actually when I've not been careful, thinking it will save me somehow. But it wont. It'll just isolate me further, put more locks on the door, more chains in my chair--or couch, rather. So this, with all the hurricanes and all the political violence, the earthquakes, the fires, the constant environmental destruction, which gives way to these massive hurricanes like Irma, causes me to feel so, so tired. Goddamn, isn't it all just way too much? I feel the vat for our collective emotional life has sort of cracked the roof and is bubbling onto the floor. Now we're all just looking at it like, "Oh my god, I can't anymore", yet still trying to help one another pick up the pieces, all of us so exhausted from one thing after the other after the other. There is so much to process and so much to feel, even if we don't want to, from within and without. The trick is remembering to stay in your body, within your immediate experience, and to stay grounded to the earth. It isn't always easy, but it's doable if you practice. And it doesn't mean turning your face from another, it just means putting your oxygen mask on before you help someone else put on theirs. No one's asking you to be their martyr.
I understood my current lethargy in congruence with all of this just a few days ago after wondering why the heck I was feeling so drained and exhausted. I'm moving across the country in a week, I'm finishing up a job, making jewelry, and also experiencing a lot of weight from so much collective trauma. Feeling tired makes absolute sense. So on that day of illumination, I toasted some sesame seeds, made some tahini, and cooked honey, cacao and maca in with it. I made a paste this way, added a dab of milk to the skillet to make it runny, and added more milk and ice. It was bomb. A little pink salt on top finished it off like adult sprinkles or something.
The featured Didn't It Rain Herbal Coffee Blend by Villagers does the trick of supporting your nervous system as well. Something that very much needs to be supported these days. The tea is a grounding mix of chaga mushroom, chicory root, burdock root, dandelion root, eleuthero root, carob, orange peel, and cinnamon chips. It's one of my absolute favorite teas and I highly recommend it if you are able to purchase something like this to aid you. A recipe for a latte with this tea can be found below. If you're like me though, and all you've got is $65 until the next time someone buys something from you because you're moving next Wednesday or something like that, then also listed below are some of my favorite ways to decompress, without buying a thing.
Ways to feel more supported without buying something:
-Make something: food, crafts, love, a poem, a song, clothes, a wall hanging
-Burn incense--hell, even make them yourself with foraged tree resins, sticks, and dried cedar, pine, and roses
-Take a hot bath and read a book
-Call a friend and laugh or cry or do both at the same time
-Write in your journal
-Draw a picture
-Cuddle with your dogs and pay attention to all their little details
-Go on a walk, barefoot if you can
-Lay in the grass and watch clouds, name their shapes
-Allow all of your feelings without reacting to any of them--even the warm ones, even the cold ones
Didn't It Rain Herbal Coffee Blend Iced Latte:
-Approx. 1/2 cup of the Didn't It Rain Herbal Coffee Blend
-Honey or your preferred non-refined sweetener of choice, to taste
-Whatever milk you fancy. I use local or Organic Valley, sometimes nut milk if it's around. Any will do, just be mindful of where they're sourced.
-Steep about 1/2 cup of tea with your preferred sweetener in about 1.5 cups of hot water for 5-10 minutes. The longer it sits, the more extraction, the stronger the flavor. Be careful not to over-extract though. Stir here and there.
-Into a drinking vessel of your choice, strain the tea until your glass is about one-fourth to one-half of the way full. Add your milk and some ice.
Enjoy! It tastes like a chaga mushroom, cinnamon cookie.