Participatory Epistemology

Bernadette Judaea
4 min readJun 30, 2023

I think I am on day four without coffee.

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

It has apparently reached the point where I don’t need to keep count. It wasn’t a conscious decision to quit, I just didn’t drink it one day and then another and now I just don’t crave it anymore. I’m allowing myself to stay in what some may call a low-energy state.

I believe this change came about so naturally because I have changed a lot about the conditions within my body by using supplements regularly. We are what we continue to do everyday. I know people will say supplements just give you expensive urine (yes they say this all the time while shopping at my store), but if you are consistent with taking them, you really can alter your internal world. At this point I take way more than I would pay for myself. I have the luxury of free samples that brands want me to try because it makes me a more convincing sales person. If there was a way to hack the healthcare system, this is it. I take Host Defense Mushrooms, several herbs for my hormones, fish oil, borage oil, a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, probiotics, I drink plenty of water and kombucha and coconut water. Physically, I would say its like I am 25 again.

I am interacting with people that are much younger than me on a more regular basis too. Also with people much younger than my grandparents. Somehow it changes my overall perspective on life in ways that I can’t fully articulate. On average, I feel like I can kind of see how life goes on here without my folks. I’m settling in to that. When I first moved here, there was an urgency to see them off so I could go live my life, as I saw it then. It occurs to me more and more everyday that I was just rushing through life. Every time I would achieve I would find a new goal. With every upset, I would move on to the next thing. I never took the time to process grief, relief, stress, anger, sadness, any of it. I was running through life like I had to get a bunch of things done before a literal deadline. That’s what progress mindset has us believing. “Drink your coffee, kids, you need to produce”. Its one of the main things people stop at my desk for: bottled energy, “I need more energy!”

Meanwhile, I am running around in the “natural” land of abundance feeling more energetic than I did at 30 (feels weird to say that thirty is an age I can reference in the past but… here we are). My body is getting the proper nutrients and this time around I know what I am doing. In my twenties I was experimenting with vitamins and herbs. I was hardly consistent, but I did manage to take enough supplements to give me a good foundational springboard. I became familiar with which products suited me best.

Here in my thirties, I am establishing my insurance policy. It isn’t a fiscal one, it's a health plan. Its deviously clever (as I tend to be): I spend as much time as possible learning, experimenting, and getting feedback about supplements, particularly herbs. Over the course of years I learn and collect invaluable information, thereby making myself less dispensable. We all have ways in which we are indispensable, we just have to find the many ways. Then keep adding variety. The other objective I have is to teach people to design and keep their own medicinal herb gardens. I am getting together my collection of flavors, but it doesn’t need to come together over night.

I was gifted the opportunity many years ago to fatefully change my life forever by walking into a health food store for a job application. I learned to listen to plant spirits. Now I am working with a variety of plant spirits. I have allowed some space between myself and the spirit of the coffee plant. My shaking has subsided quite a lot, not completely but enough to see that I do not pair well with my dear caffeine. I know that I was also not in right relationship with the medicine of the plant. The plant allies that assist me today are intended to heal some of the damage I may have caused to my nervous system.

One of the big takeaways so far has been that this calming of my nervous system has allowed space for me to grieve. I have been expelling deep gunk from the depths of my emotional crypts and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am not in fight-or-flight mode. That’s an interesting reflection, sometimes we are too stressed to process our emotions, especially if the body feels that it would be unsafe to grieve. Imagine what that does. As a dear friend of mine often refers to it: calcified grief.

Originally written in Collective Journaling