Slowing Down at the Apothecary and the Art of Rest


As birth-time nears…I continue to find ways to simplify. At the apothecary, my calendar looked like this on any given month (I am still a paper planner person). Markets to go to. Workshops. Garden clubs to speak to. Tinctures to strain. Things I needed to formulate or make. A reminder to harvest something in the wild.

I just put this in the recycle bin. I’m calling time out!

As well…for four years…two collapsing tables, an apothecary sign, and a couple tablecloths were ALWAYS in the back of my vehicle. Ready to go. I just took those out and put them in the shed.

Shed is actually a good word for this time, albeit the other definition.

Even though I am still humming along at the apothecary, the pace is very different right now.  I have a deep urge to simplify and slow down.

This is also something I regularly teach.

The other week, I received a beautiful, hand-written letter from one of my interns.  She had been running herself into the ground.  She was tired and exhausted.  She remembered my words about not letting our over-productive and fast culture dictate her own personal rhythms and life habits.

Recently, she finally let those words in and digested them.  She relaxed more this summer and decided not to push herself to do more.

It warmed my heart to think that she was getting the rest and care she needed.  And, I’m so glad my gentle encouragement finally spoke to her.

I do think that rest, a slow and organic rhythm to life, and patience are almost relics of the past.  There is dis-ease of not-enough-ness going around.  It makes us do more to feel like we are enough.

Some people are just busy.  I get that.  But, if the busy-ness does not come from a place of feeling worthy and feeling enough…we will suffer (and so will those around us).  We have to fill our tank first.  We have to go on the windy and surprising journey of finding enough-ness in ourselves…just as we are.

This is not conjecture.  I speak from experience.  Slowing down and really listening to what is at the root of our needs and desires can change our lives.

That way, the rather bizarre culture we find ourselves in cannot profit from our not-enough-ness or feeling that we lack something all the time.

An article on the German art of “winter rest” or winterruhe speaks to this:

However, in a culture founded on a Protestant work ethic, that values extreme productivity, progress and the accumulation of wealth and goods, concepts like second sleeps, convalescence and bed rest are dismissed as impractical or impossible in the face of daily demands and responsibilities. We especially see this in pharmaceutical advertising. “Pop a pill and get back to work!” is the stoic battle cry that precedes many a congested, sneezy, drippy, achy, run-down worker’s contagious day at the office. Moms are encouraged to ‘power through’ their sick days with medication to keep going. Masking symptoms so we can ignore them and get on with life is the expected approach to all that ails us. Personally, I have a hard time finding much of value or common sense in that approach, and I fear the consequences when we diminish our capacity for deeply restorative rest.

I do hope that the art of rest finds more people.  A lot of times, the clients I meet with need just this…more rest.  More water.  More nourishing foods.  More positive touch.  Time to just be.

All of this is food for the soul.  I wish for us all a bountiful soul-food table that we can feast at and offer to others.  Let this be contagious!


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