Rest is hard, and other fights I lost to the moon.
I couldn't tell you what all happened in my day to day this week, other than the incredible amount of pain and a desire to physically rip the moon out of the sky and fight it. I spent most of it in a fog of pain and exhaustion, little sleep, and devastatingly uncomfortable days. You see, my body isn't always well, and when it's weakened it takes on so much more than the physical. Spiritual and mental trauma manifest physically for me. It's undeniable, unquestionable, and in the moment can feel insurmountable.
Explaining this to doctors has never gone well, and I've often been dismissed and/or re-traumatized when seeking medical help. I've learned to turn to myself, and other sources of healing knowledge. Which helps, except for when the pain and exhaustion are too far gone for me to actively be a part of my healing. So much of my remedy requires me to be just well enough to create or implement.
Today was a better day. I still had pain, but it was manageable. I could make nervine and antispasmodic decoctions and even clean up a bit. I could rest. Really rest, and do so in a way that was geared to recovery and not just succumbing to being damned tired. I couldn't sleep all day, though (I tried!), but I knew I wasn't meant to just dive back in. I've been away from my healing work through this time (if you've been waiting on something from me, this is why) and while the urge to get back into it and do some good work was there, it would have been a solidly bad idea. I was still tired, and with the kind of energetic hit I'd taken, would be tired for some time.
Obligations must, however, and I plan on easing back in tomorrow. I can't really afford to be gone so long, and it's not fair to those I work with. My wellness, however, can not be ignored so I am working out a solid framework for rest and nourishment to help bring me back. One of those tools in the framework is to set rest goals for myself when I do have the opportunity. A to-do list, or not-to-do list as necessary, for the rare days where I have more control over what I have to do.
Today's Anti-To-Do List:
-- Take time off. No tarot for others. No work for Asali Earthwork. No making tea for others. No housework.
-- If you must, consume nourishing media. Listen to your woo podcast subscriptions. Read a book on healing modalities.
-- Drink water. Eat well.
-- Nap. Irreverently and completely. Surround yourself with soft, fluffy blankets and just go to sleep in the middle of the day with no alarm set to wake you up.
I didn't do so well at first, I cleaned up around the house and mailed some packages, but I did finally submit to rest for the afternoon. It was difficult to suddenly have less pain and free time and not do something with that. Also, social media got me when I found out that Justin Timberlake might bring out a Prince hologram for his Superbowl show and urgh just urgh- can Black musicians rest in peace without being trotted out for mass white entertainment?
I did try to fit in some good things while I was up and about: like drinking water, making green juice, listening to tarot and herbalism podcasts, and eating well, but as soon as I finally stopped moving I realized my mistake. I was shaking with exhaustion- the kind that sets in when your body and mind understand that they can stop fighting the fatigue and don't understand why they're still going when they could just take the permission to stop. The good thing about being so tired was that it made my napping easier, and goddess wasn't that delicious. Napping is awesome. We should all nap more. I totally get why my cats do it so much. I also have my bolster tincture ready for me to start making a part of my daily routine.
I'd score myself about a 5 out of 10, for my restwork today. Which is not hopeless, but it is still pretty bad. So what the hell is going on with my relationship with restwork?
I needed to really get into why I have such a hard time being good to myself in this specific way when so much of my spiritual practice is based on caring deeply and intentionally for myself and others.
The last time I really dove into this work was a bit over a year ago with my Four of Swords inspired Restwork tarot spread. Back then, stagnancy was the main issue but so much has happened since then that I know this relationship to rest has shifted. I threw the spread again.
- What is my sleeping path? TWO OF OYSTERS (Two of Cups). Fun fact, last year, the Two of Pentacles held this position. Reciprocity, balancing the energy exchange, seems to be my particular weakness.
- What is your nightmare? NOVICE OF OAKS (Page of Wands). I cackled a bit because wheeewww boy! The figure in this card is literally sawing through the branch they are sitting on and hoping those play wings they've got strapped to their back will save them. Patterns of self-sabotage and self-destruction ahoy! Oh, and I see you Page of Wands. Again.
- What is your dream? FOUR OF CAST IRONS (Four of Pentacles). Security, but obviously in this card, that security has got some serious holes in it and comes with a nightmarish cost.
- What is your waking path? WARRIOR OF MOTHS (Knight of Swords). Cutting through the bullshit and trusting my instinct, not just what is right in front of me.
Obviously, there's so much more to be mined here, but that will be going in my personal tarot journal rather than on here so I can more properly avoid any urge to self-censure or pretty-up any hard truths.
I'd be interested to know how y'all deal with rest, though!
What is your relationship to granting yourself rest? Is it a space of joy or does it get dominated by guilt and shame and the urge to make-up for it?
And of course, who gets to rest? I'm not talking about lavish vacations and not having to go to work (which, okay, would be pretty dope) but more about who gets to have peace and nourishment in this world? It's certainly not the ones who need it most. Being black, poor, disabled, and/or queer, for example, almost guarantees no rest, no peace, no spare moments to gather us back to ourselves. I hold privilege and oppression here too.
There's so much to excavate in this space. I know I will be working through this for a good long while.
But first, tea.
Oh, and sleep. Sleep is good.