Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rest with Great Diligence

This past two weeks I have been starting with re-mineralization. Which means, hey your body is so completely out of balance, you have to take targeted supplements for several months to several years to restore it. If you want to learn more about this, please take a look at what Maria has made clear on her Restco blog.

My own test results were below the lowest of the normal range for all but one vital mineral -- and the ratios between vital minerals confirmed adrenal burnout (not really a big surprise).

One of the things the ARL lab is clear about in their materials is that you will feel better, and have more energy, as you embark on the program. And this has been my experience. Just like Maria, I have found I am at least 40% better already. Which, when you have been absolutely flattened, is a huge improvement.  But what ARL says immediately after "you will have more energy" is "don't spend it."

You body heals mostly at night, and it needs energy to heal. Your cells have only so much energy, and if you're starting from behind the eight-ball you need to guard and preserve what you can scrape together.

This whole process is making me reconsider the wisdom of Daoism, which I had studied in graduate school but mostly disregarded in favor of Buddhism. Well, now that I see an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist twice a week, I'm coming to understand all the Daoist emphasis on spiritual vitality as an operating metaphor for everyday energy management.
Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity.
Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest.
From the union of these two non-doings
All actions proceed.
All things are made.
How vast, how invisible
This coming-to-be!
All things come from nowhere!
How vast, how invisible
No way to explain it!
All beings in their perfection
Are born of non-doing.
Hence it is said:
“Heaven and earth do nothing
Yet there is nothing they do not do.”
Where is the man who can attain
To this non-doing?

-- Chuang Tzu

What does this look like for adrenal recovery in the modern era? For the first time since grade-school I have been going to sleep at 9 or 9:30pm and I have to say the difference in sleep and the feeling upon waking is remarkable. Also, a self imposed curfew of no electronic screens after 8pm.  I find that helps my bodymind come down from the frenetic energy level we carry throughout the day.  Eating more meals more frequently. Keeping a food journal and being clear about the effects of when and what I eat. Eating only whole, unprocessed foods.  Reviving my sitting practice. Beginning to do artwork again. Letting go of the feeling that I must achieve this or that in any given 24 hour period.

I feel sheepish that a science writer at ARL had to be the one to raise this particular aspect of burnout to my attention.  So much focus on the medical side, anxiety about will I recover from this and not enough on:
What could possibly be positive about burnout? Burnout is often a wake up call. For those who can hear, it can be a signal that one's life is out of balance. It can provide a stimulus to re-examine where and how one lives. Maybe one's attitudes need adjustment, or one has set unrealistic goals. Often one has not loved the body enough and has in fact ignored or mistreated it.
    Burnout can be a opportunity for a person to reevaluate priorities in order to bring one's life into greater harmony and happiness.
The sound you hear is the sound of one Zen hand clapping myself on the forehead.


  1. I can empathize here. I was diagnosed with "adrenal fatigue" several years ago when I was "flattened." It took several years and seeing a Naturopath to actually figure out what was going on. At the time I read a book called: "Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome" by James L. Wilson N.D. PhD. Sounds like it has similar approaches to yours. But I am also going to check out your link to the Restco blog. I find my stamina levels still fluctuate, and there are many triggers. For me doing any kind of manual labor for a period of time can knock me out for days, or, of course, a lot of stress will do that too - which has opened the door to really looking at my chronic anxiety disorder. Still working on that one :)

    It also re-oriented my approach to life - as you mentioned - a more Daoist approach, as there are a lot of things I am unable to do anymore - which is also probably aging as well :) But it does take the focus off what I can achieve and accomplish in any given day; to stop pushing myself, and focus on what really matters. And, it has given me the opportunity to learn about just Being - and being okay with that :) On the good energy days, however, I still try to make up for the previous days where being horizontal was the order of the day :)

    "In the not doing, everything gets done" Lao Tzu

    BE Well :)

    1. Thanks so much, and to you as well.

      It feels like this adrenal burnout issue, something I'd never even heard of before, now keeps coming up. I totally hear you on entire days horizontal -- for this type A person it's been a really abrupt adjustment.

      The big relief in finding this diagnosis is to understand all the heart-related sensations and dizzyness I've been dealing with for years were actually adrenal, so that's great. (If I had to do one more Allopathic medical test that came back fine or inconclusive...)

      But in terms of understanding the adrenals, the implications, and the appraoch to healing, the learning curve has been steep.

      I had heard of the James Wilson book as I was researching the past month or two, though I haven't read it. He apparently has specific supplement formulas he sells that go along with his approach.

      There is a different one by a Larry Wilson (I secured a used copy from ABE.COM) specifically about nutritional balancing which I just finished.

      But the ARL site alone has enough overview articles that you shouldn't have to read that book in order to get a sense of the approach.

      Both Maria and I work with an acupuncturist who specializes in the nutritional balancing approach named Theresa Vernon. She also has some great overview articles on her site:

      Hope it's all helpful to you!

    2. Yes, it is all helpful, thank you for all the links to the additional resources, which I will follow up on.

      My experience was that the blood work did not reveal high enough levels of anything to flag a problem. And even some alternative practitioners did not know what to look for and just wanted to load me up with expensive supplements. I did not "buy into" James Wilson's "formulas" because I found that my body and nervous system were way too sensitive for "standard protocols" ie: multiple supplements. I had to basically find a way to customize a program, but am always open to different options and programs. Initially it took me 2-3 years to get past the acute phase. I seemed to be in remission, and then was slammed again and again...

      Wishing you all the best in your recovery! Christine

    3. Christine: Maria just posted part 1 of an interview with Theresa Vernon I think you might find informative, check it out on the RestCo blog.

      Very best to you as well and thanks!

  2. wow, that Lao Tzu piece is just amazing. What a concept and a good reminder to center ourselves around.

  3. oops, not Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu:).