Healing Spaces

A dear friend of mine recently requested a healing session – Reiki, Theta, Shamanic practices or whatever was needed to help her through an uncomfortable situation.  As I do with most appointments of this nature, I meditated to discover methods that may be used, topics I may need to read up on, and to identify underlying issues that might need to be dealt with in the course of our time together.  I make note of all I see & hear but realize ultimately this might all change in the moment.  This particular meditation was incredibly detailed – the herbs needed in the smudge mix, the underlying beliefs to be identified, tools to be used, the right time of day and, unexpectedly, the ideal location. And, just like that, a shift occurred in my practice.

I messaged my friend a bunch of information she needed to prepare for the session the next morning.  We both spent the remainder of the day preparing. I packed the necessary tools, I performed the necessary energy clearings for myself & her, sent out intentions, prayed, asked for guidance and slept.  The next morning we traveled to Palisades-Kepler State Park together.  We gathered our belongings and walked out to a sandy overlook in the river & established ourselves to face the East – to witness the rising sun that would usher in a new day & illuminate all we needed to see for the success of this session.

I’ve experienced some magical sessions & moments, but this was unlike any other.  It didn’t “sizzle & pop” with electricity like others.  The visions & messaging didn’t surprise me & I didn’t hesitate or question any of it.  This session was quietly & peacefully extraordinary.  I felt the spirit of many beings surround us to support the session, clear & compassionate messaging and a deep maternal love radiating from both our beings and the Earth around us.  I felt safe and protected despite our conspicuous location.

I like to practice without many physical tools – they are nice to have but I don’t want to become dependent on them.  This “purist” mentality prevents me from attributing properties or meaning to certain stones, oils, etc. which could get me stuck in a mindset.  This mentality helps me remain humble in the knowledge the work being conducted is coming thru me from the Creator – my role is only as conduit & witness.  As a physical being, messages guide me to use certain tools in specific areas for specific reasons that I may never receive an explanation for.  Frustrating?  Yes, at times.  But, I absolutely trust and honor this connection with the Creator and know that when healing energy is coming directly from the Big Guy no physical tools are needed.

In my ponderings on that day, I have come to realize I have been practicing out of balance.  While I may not have strong attachments to the tools I use, I was pigeonholing the sessions into my office space.  Not all session are the same – not all sessions require the same tools – and not all sessions need to take place within four walls.  In addition, not all energy need come solely from the Creator – what about the energy of the Earth Mother?  Her strength & energy is often overlooked and taken for granted.  The steadfast constant love of a mother often is.

What have I learned?  What has changed?  I have been reminded to be receptive and open to the possibilities – to honor the uniqueness of each person and session that is conducted.   And, in all ways & aspects of my life, to wisely use what is available & being offered wherever I am.  The sessions have become more reverent as more of Mother Earth’s energy and maternal love flows – it is gentle, gracious, and deeply moving.  It is love and compassion & it is steadily becoming familiar.  It is right where I need to be.

Transitions

Transitions.  All sorts of transitions have been taking place all around me…and within me.  I think I’ve mentioned a few times how difficult change can be for me.  My daughter’s high school graduation & her move away from home to attend college afforded me the opportunity to view change differently.  Change doesn’t have to mean an ending – how did that get in my head anyway?  I’ve started to think of change in terms of transition instead – a new phase, a new opportunity to experience a new season of life.  I think it’s been working – my daughter and I have both handled her transition surprisingly well (i.e., minimal tears & that’s a BIG deal for both of us!).

I began working part-time in July as a homemaker – going to people’s homes and helping with light cleaning and running errands.  Normally, these are elderly people who just need a little assistance to remain independent in their homes.  I absolutely fell in love with Bob (not his real name) the moment I met him.  And I fell further when he asked me an hour after meeting him if I’d ever seen a screw that had been taken out of a person’s body.  I see the humor in a lot of things & the fact that we recognized that quality in each other straight away was gratifying & hilarious.  This set the stage for my time with Bob – I would clean as fast as I could so we would have time to chat about life.  He lead an amazing life – deep sea diver off the shore of Japan shortly after Hiroshima was bombed, the life-long medical issues as a result of those dives, the death of his wife of 50+ years, finding his new wife on eHarmony, and on & on – always with a smile & humor.   I cannot remember the last time someone has entered my life and impacted me in the way Bob has – I loved the contrast of what could have looked like a hard life due to medical issues and the way he talked about it all & took it in stride & did not let those times dictate his life or change his disposition.  My time with Bob was energizing – he taught me how I want to live the rest of my life.  My weekly services are no longer needed as Bob has moved & even though his transition was not a death, it left me feeling empty for days.  Ugh – transition.  *sigh*

My grandmother has had a rough year – so many times close to her own transition…or so we thought.  She was afraid of death – of the sins she’d be judged for, the unknown & what it was going to feel like.  Grandma Fran journeyed home Sunday afternoon – her big transition!  As much as you expect the passing of a person you’ve seen decline, it’s a bit of a shock.  You get knocked off center a bit.  I’ve only known life WITH her in it…now, I transition & recalibrate to life WITHOUT her.  Granted, our time together in the last year wasn’t plentiful or of a quality ideal to either of us.  And while I think a part of me had already said goodbye she was still a constant in my life.  A rock for me in my early life – a source of strength and protection that I clung to as a child.  My sassy & stubborn confidant during my teen years – a “slave driver” when I wanted to earn some cash…and someone I could always laugh at & call on her ridiculousness.  We appreciated each other’s attitudes & stubbornness…but she always knew I would bend to her wishes.  And I loved that about us.  I love that I loved the qualities in her that were challenging & that I learned so much about life through our interactions.  I learned how to love the tough off of someone & not take offense at harsh words hiding all the love in a person’s heart.  I learned that what is said is often not what is meant & that sometimes you just have to know the heart of the speaker to know the meaning.  These unexpected gifts, that I had reserved for our relationship alone, are meant to be carried forward as I transition into life without her.

So, yea, change disguised as transition can still suck.  But, I am beginning to appreciate the aspects of self I become aware of & learn about when in this phase of life.  I’ve been wondering if change/transition happens more as you get older or if my extreme fear of change blinded me from seeing it happening in front of me?  How much did I miss by not honoring and appreciating endings as new beginnings & the opportunity for growth?

Triggered

Lately, I’m being triggered left & right – above & below – inside & out.  What the hell is happening to me?  Where did the Zen go?  Truth is there has been a heck of a lot of change around here & we are in the midst of waiting for the major change of my oldest child’s move to college.  Ugh – I’m sitting in my least favorite position of “no longer & not yet”. It’s a space I don’t tolerate well – it makes me spin out of control.  I would prefer to “rip it off like a bandaid” & proceed with life — none of this waiting shit.

Obviously, I’m feeling some (LOTS) of anxiety and I’m looking outside myself for the source.  And, holy shit!, there are a lot of people & situations I want pin this on.  I’m knocked off balance – and it’s YOUR fault.  It’s YOUR fault I feel like you are squeezing me into a corner, snatching up every opportunity, sucking the joy from things I was looking forward to & damn!, can you just be real?  Life is messy – why isn’t your life messy? Where’s the dirt?  Where’s the darkness?  Lay it out there – let’s examine that shit together.  NO – I don’t want you to tell me you are sending me “love & light”, I don’t want to read your “blessings” to me, and I sure as shit don’t need to hear that “everything happens for a reason” or any other meaningless platitude you are going to spew.  Blech! Let’s get real here – just for a minute, please.  It’s me – not you.

I’ve recently enrolled in a year-long modern shaman course.  Before I proceed though, let’s get this out of the way:

  • No, I don’t believe I will be a shaman at the end of this year long study.
  • No, I don’t believe I am a shaman in training.
  • No, I don’t believe I’m a native american.
  • No, I’m not living in spiritual fantasy land.
  • And, YES, this course is absolutely necessary for my personal & professional growth.
  • If you have more questions or assumptions about this, let’s talk.

So, yea, I’ve committed to this modern shaman course.  It ALONE has knocked me off balance.  It’s not all new – I perform some of these techniques already but there’s still a lot of new material to ingest.  I LOVE information & get mentally overwhelmed when I can’t consume & integrate it as quickly as I want.  (Notice how patience isn’t a virtue of mine?)  And then there are the other participants & their stories and experiences to sit in witness of.   I learn an absolute shit ton from them alone.  I absolutely appreciate these people & their willingness to share.  But….there’s that yucky sticky side of myself that doesn’t want to hear it.  Not because I don’t care – but because I don’t want to judge & compare myself.

We ALL have a core wound – an emotional/psychological wound that is at the heart of most our issues & struggles.  It’s not like there’s a “good” one to have – they all suck.  Mine happens to be worthiness. While I’m thankful, grateful & appreciative – I don’t always feel worthy.  Because I don’t feel worthy, I compare myself to others – what makes them worthy & not me?  They must be better, more gifted, more approachable, more and more … while I feel less and less.   And when I compare – I judge.  I hate that.   This spiral is out of control when I’m not centered & grounded – like right now.  The chaos in my life at this time is an abundantly fertile breeding ground for my judgment.

I often “joke” & compare myself to the ancient healer/crone that lives outside the village .. far enough away that it’s inconvenient to get to but close enough when it’s necessary. I’ve recently been challenged to examine this belief.   And examine I have.  This is my comfort zone – I like being an outside observer – I love my own space & energy – I don’t like getting caught up in other people’s stuff (I get caught up in my own just fine) – and I can’t compare when there is no one else around.  I’ve set myself up in the village so I can participate when I want & avoid the things that knock me off balance.  Ironically, I’ve set myself up in the physical space of “no longer & not yet” – even though it’s my least favorite energetic space.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m on the verge of a growth spurt- a breakthrough.  The anxiety portends this.  The extreme confusion, the spiraling, the defiance — the attempt to control & dictate instead of trust & release.  I’m not a fan of this space but I’m beginning to see the blessing of this place.  I need to make peace with it.  I need to come to accept & love this place – just as I need to learn to love & accept myself .. as is.  This is the space of possibility, creation, necessary endings, new beginnings, hope & faith.  It is the space of change….where growth happens.  It is messy & where life is fully lived.

I will probably remain on the edge of village – it’s where I go to recharge, it’s a boundary that protects us both, it’s where I’m am peace & my sanctuary.  However, I will begin the process of meeting people halfway between my house & theirs.  I will work toward living in my worthiness, without judgment nor expectation.  I will work toward this balance – that’s my word.

Standing Rock: Answering the Call

In the conscious haze before sleep, Raven Woman takes me by the hand and leads me to a beautiful vestige.  We stand on the bluff overlooking a distant encampment – I smile, knowing I’ve returned to my home.  I am at peace as I survey my surroundings.  Standing to my left is a familiar Native American elder – he is weathered, proud and full of sacred knowing; he is concerned but not afraid; but, more than these, he is relieved I have found my way back to this place – to him.  For a moment, I step out of my body and catch a glimpse of these two old friends from a distance – the older wizened chief & and the even older crone.  He acknowledges me with respect and a question in his eyes – a question he never asks but plainly states.  He explains his people are sick and tired – they need healing so they may continue their fight.  I nod my understanding and say I will come.  As I am making this promise, I awake into the present knowing I have been called to help the people – my people.

I experience the familiar tingly rush that follows a spiritual encounter.  The feeling washes over me and settles into my being as fear.  Crap – there is no denying what this means. Yet, I try.  I try to deny it.  I try to interpret for hidden meanings all the while knowing I have to go.  My weathered friend comes to me several times over the next months with the same request. I try to appease him with distance healings even though I know more is being asked of me – more is required.  During a sacred ceremony he comes and crowds the space around me.  He sternly exclaims “it is time to stand!  It is time to get up now!” and I can no longer pretend I don’t know what to do.  I have to listen to the call.  I have to travel to Standing Rock.

And still, I drag my feet.  I deliberate as the weather turns colder.  I have every manner of excuse.  And the whole time I know I just really need to stop making excuses.  I need to set the fear aside and move into action.  I need to realize I am worthy, I am skilled, I am full of spiritual gifts and power – even though I am white.  And there it is.  An unknown fear & hang-up appears.  I am white.  Huh…I am white.  I let this obvious truth settle within and realize I have to come to terms with the race & heritage I represent in this lifetime.  I have to come to terms with the guilt I feel for the color of my skin.  And I begin to wonder if THIS is part of the call – the need to heal from guilt and shame.

I acknowledge the shame I carry and move toward an understanding and acceptance of my whiteness.  I tell myself I have to be able to accept this without apology – especially, within and for myself.  I am reduced to tears many times in the days and weeks that lead to my departure. At some point I am reminded of the Rainbow Warrior prophecy and the validity I feel calms my Spirit.  I am reassured that I will be recognized by those who follow traditional ways.

When the Time of the White Buffalo approaches, the third generation of the White Eyes’ children will grow their hair and speak of love as the healer of the Children of the Earth. These children will seek new ways of understanding themselves and others. They will wear feathers and beads and paint their faces. They will seek the Elders of the Red Race and drink of their wisdom. These white-eyed children will be a sign that the Ancestors are returning in white bodies, but they are Red on the inside. They will learn to walk the Earth Mother in balance again and reform the idea of the white chiefs. These children will be tested as they were when they were Red ancestors by unnatural substances like firewater to see if they can remain on the Sacred Path.

I am also reminded of the medicine wheel and its representation of life – the seasons, stages of life, stages of understandng, and the different races – the black, red, yellow AND white. Remembering the representation of the white race in this sacred manner continues to empower and validate.  I know at this point I AM needed as a white woman to answer this call.  The white section of the medicine wheel is where I stand in my power – standing & approaching life from this place is my contribution to balance and harmony.  This is my place of power – this is what I bring to the communal table for the healing and benefit of all.

Do you understand?  We all come from and possess a place of power – the thing that makes us special, unique and needed.  The little aspect of self that is not duplicated or replicated in anyone else – the aspect of self that leaves a void or creates a gap if we are not willing or courageous enough to stand up and occupy the spaces we are meant to fill.  We don’t look to fill this space from our ego or for our personal gain or gratification.  We look to fill this space with humility and out of necessity to create wholeness in others.  Like a medicine wheel, giving is a circular process – when in balance, we are in a continuous process of giving freely and receiving openly…with no expectation.

The call, as it were, was not so much about what I would do once I got to Standing Rock but about receiving the message and acting on it without doubt or fear – acting out of blind faith and trust in divine protection. Of honoring my promise and verifying my commitment to Creator & Creator’s journey for me – the willingness to act for the highest and best of all involved and being comfortable with not understanding the reasons.

Months after the initial call & eventual journey to Standing Rock, I still reflect and gain further insight. The call and experience detailed above was just a practice run – I WILL be called again…and again….  Creator KNOWS my resistance, fears and need for explanation and reassurance.  This experience was not simply a test of the strength of my spirit and commitment to Creator – it was a journey of proof bathed in reassurances and evidence of divine love and protection.  I thank Creator for being easy and preparing me for what is to come.  I am grateful for the opportunity to torture myself, doubt divine communication, and the special kind of heartache and pain that only comes from willfully refusing to hear. And, finally, I am grateful for the sweet moment of surrender…

It begins as I drag my heavily burdened heart to the vehicle and strap into the driver’s seat with tears in my eyes.  It continues in the simultaneous moment my vehicle starts and my tears dry.  It gains momentum as I pull out of the driveway and feel a calm steadiness settle within. It accelerates with every mile traveled and every burden shed.  In the moment of total surrender the truth is illuminated – I am not in control.  My heart and Spirit are light and I tell myself to savor this moment – remember the feeling of release – the feeling of being Spirit-lead.  Soon enough the only heaviness to be felt in the vehicle is the weight of the items needed to establish and sustain me at Standing Rock.  

Oily spotlight on “Thieve’s Oil”

Early into my journey with essential oils and their **purpoted** magical healing properties, I decided I would create my own blends using the best individual oils I could find & afford.  I did not want to rely on a company for their blends or be a distributor for someone else’s products because I have had enough training to do this on my own.  I don’t know how it happened but I quickly became obsessed with Young Living’s Thieves oil blend.  I think it all began with a story…

During the Black Plague of 16th century, a small band of thieves had been caught and brought before the King.  The thieves had been entering the homes of plague victims and stripping the dead bodies of money, jewelry and anything else of value that could be found.  Although the plague was highly contagious and the thieves were in daily contact with the dead bodies of plague victims, not one of this morbid band of thieves ever contracted the plague.  The King, eager to protect himself and the Royal Family, demanded to know how the thieves had avoided contracting the plague.

Soon enough, the truth came out. The thieves were all members of the same family – a family from a long line of Apothecaries. Because of their intimate knowledge of the healing arts, passed down from generation to generation, they were familiar with a combination of specific plant oils that, when rubbed on the body, would protect the body from contracting this most feared and deadly disease. The King forced the thieves to divulge the specific plant oils used, and the formula for extracting them from the plants. With that vital information in hand, he was thereby able toprotect himself and his family from the deadly plague.

I cannot attest to the accuracy or credibility of this account, but the same source claims the specific recipe the robbers used can still be found in the Royal English Archives.  Young Living’s founder came to discover this bit of history, created a blend and aptly named it “Thieve’s Oil”.  Now, I’ve never actually used, tested or smelled YL’s blend but the story and the **purported** properties of this blend intrigued me enough that I had to find a recipe of my own.  Searching “thieve’s oil” will lead you down many paths – differing histories and recipes but most posess the same basic elements.

I have used this immune boosting blend for the last 4 years – I’ve even given it to friends who have poor immune systems for a little extra protection during the cold & flu season. My 10 year old has felt the effects & always ask for it when he feels under the weather.  I’m not saying it works (**) but when I feel my immune system getting weak, the start of aches & pains or a cold coming on, I slather my feet with this oil blend, put on my socks and let nature take its course.  I repeat throughout the day & once more before crawling into bed for the night. Typically, after a day of this treatement regimine, I’m back to my normal self.  And, if I’m not back to healthy, I can feel my body winning the battle & I repeat until I am 100% better.

What I use the oil blend for:

  • Immune support – applied to feet – when I feel weak & achy
  • Immune support – applied to chest – when I have a chest cold, bronchitis, etc.
  • Immune support – diffused in the air – during and after a whole family outbreak of some kinda bug or virus
  • Cleaning agent – added to vinegar

I’ve read accounts of people adding the blend to their washing machine or spraying door handles, stuffed animals, cell phones and pet bedding – these all seem like great ideas & easy enough to incorporate!!  But, I’ve also read accounts of people adding this to their toothpaste, orange juice or in a throat spray.  I absolutely do NOT recommend any practice of injesting oils (unless they are specifically marked as food grade – and I am only hesitantly ok with this).  In my opinion, I don’t want to expose my GI tract to highly concentrated and volatile essential oils.  I do realize this is a judgment from my own schooling and experience though.  You have to do what is right for you – not me.

I do detract from the basic recipe (shared below) based on the purpose & situation.  For example, if I’m using for respiratory ailments, perhaps I will increase the amount of Rosemary & Eucalyptus.  I really listen to my intuition when blending for myself & family – but when creating for sale, I stick to the original recipe.  I suggest you do the same until you are really familiar with the individual oils & how they act together.

~.2 Fl. Oz-  NEAT immune boosting oil blend:

  • 40 drops Clove
  • 35 drops Lemon
  • 20 drops Cinnamon Bark
  • 15 drops Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops Rosemary

A carrier oil must be used with this neat blend before applying to the body – the proportion is 4 drops carrier : 1 drop neat essential oil blend.  The advantage of creating the NEAT blend is that you are able to use it where and when needed – add to your vinegar as a cleaning agent, diffuse without carrier oil, or combine with your favorite carrier oil for body applications.

Purchasing the individual oils will cost a minimum of $35 – depending on the brand & quality of the oil, of course.  It is a small investment with a huge pay-off if it helps you & your loved ones have more well days than sick days.  If you are not interested in creating your own, or would like to trial the blend before investing in your own oils and supplies, I do sell this blend in small or large batches of NEAT or combined with a carrier.

Get your sample (.2 fl oz) of NEAT immune boosting oil for $5.35

For other options, please email me at randi@redwinghealingarts.com

 

** FDA regulations require I don’t make any claim essential oils derived from plants, flowers, herbs, trees, resins or anything organically produced in nature actually has healing properties

Do no harm

I have been composing this post for well over a week – both in my head, and pen to paper via the keyboard.  I have a multitude of words..yet, none feel right.  As a newer massage therapist, I am developing my philosophy of care and really learning about the broken healthcare system through experiences my clients have shared.  I have never doubted the atrocious care my friends or clients have received though; it has been hard to visualize the experiences.  Hard because a small part of me still bought into the myth that the healthcare system should make us well.  That healthcare providers are compassionate listeners without bias or judgment who will doggedly search for a diagnosis and treatment. That we, as patients – needers of care – could discuss our needs and feel safe, trusted and believed.  While I KNOW this isn’t the norm, I still hoped and believed it could be true. That is, until I witnessed the broken system in action…and continue to. I have journeyed beside one of my dearest friends as she has experienced all the brokenness our healthcare systems has to offer.  And I am angry.

I would love to share the details of these horrific experiences, but they are not mine to share.  I would love to present a timeline of the appointments, tests and condescending commentary of the healthcare workers that have “helped” her during her illness.  If I could share, you would not read about a single healthcare worker who listened to her, their patient – a patient who, by the way, has had an extensive patient care, research and health education career.  You would not find evidence of a single test run for the diagnosis she has handed them over and over and over again.  You would not see a treatment plan. Ultimately, you would see only judgment, neglect and abuse where care should have been. I am disgusted.

And, I am sickened.  Sickened that the healthcare system we, as Americans, are mandated to carry health insurance for has done nothing but ignore a visible illness or injury.  Has literally danced around the source of illness and skipped right to expensive treatment options that will absolutely not work until the problem is addressed.  Sickened that the healthcare system that is in place to take care of us when we are ill, injured or otherwise NOT healthy has created psychological trauma and depression because they refuse to listen, examine or investigate.  Sickened that each of the Hippocratic Oaths has been so shamelessly dishonored by the very people who vowed to uphold these ideals.

But, I am also saddened.  Saddened for the doctors and nurses who did care once upon a time.  Who saw each new patient with excitement and were ready for a challenge and a new learning opportunity.  Saddened that egos grew, spirits were broken, and apathy set in.  Egos grew to the point that the possibility that a patient knows THEIR BODY better than a “professional” sounds absurd!  Spirits shattered to the point that compassion for self and others has been driven out and replaced with apathy.  Apathy, the occupier of these now empty shells of caregivers.

Even through the anger, disgust and sadness, I pray for these providers.  I pray they rediscover what originally called them into the healing profession.  For courage to walk a new path if this one no longer calls or feeds their soul.  For humility, ears that hear and hearts that feel & lead.  But mostly, I pray for their patients to experience no harm at their hand or mouth.  I pray for the ability of patients and their partners to advocate for proper care and the confidence to squash neglect and abusive treatment in its tracks.  I am hopeful.

I will not forget my friend’s horrific ordeal.  As much as I can’t stand to witness the effects of this illness or the psychological abuse she has endured, I am infinitely more thankful I can be here for her.  I am meant to witness this and, in an odd way, I am grateful for the front row seat & all I have learned.  I have made the following vows to myself for the benefit of all current and future clients.  If I find myself in the position of not believing a client, I pray my friend’s face will appear in my mind’s eye to interrupt the judgment and push me back into my place as compassionate caregiver.  If I find myself in a position where I can’t understand or treat an issue, I pray my ego quickly steps aside so I may research or make a referral – because the care I offer isn’t about ME but those who seek it. If I discover apathy living where compassion once resided, I pray I recognize it before I cause harm to another.  I pray and strive to ensure compassion and love remains at the center of my philosophy of care.  I am prepared.

Essential Winter Oils

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It’s no secret that I love my essential oils & herbal mixtures.  It’s also no secret that I sometimes forget to rely on them as the medicine, first-aid kit and immune boosters they are.  I’m far from the only person that has been conditioned to use pharmacological & medical resources to “get well” (think: headaches, muscle aches, common colds).  I’ve been making a concerted effort to use homemade muscle rubs instead of grabbing the Advil, diffusing lavender to help one sleep instead of taking a sleep aid, etc.

My oils and herbs bring me so much joy that I don’t see this shift in perspective as a struggle but as a fun and exciting adventure.  In celebration of my oily journey, I would like to share my “go-to Winter oils” list.  I hope it helps you get started in using more natural products or to think about the products you are currently using.  Please read the list knowing I am not claiming essential oils WILL cure or prevent anything – rather, they MAY help with the conditions listed.

 

Randi’s Go-To Winter Oils

  1. Frankincense Essential Oil – My absolute favorite essential oil of all time!!  I love resin based oils and the warm woodsy scent they emit.  But, more than the fragrance, I love the fact that I can use it for so many reasons that align with my energy work & massage business.
    • Skin care: May soothe dry and sensitive skin; may rejuvenate and prevent wrinkles of mature skin.
    • Mental health: Promotes deep breathing, helping to allay fears, anxiety, nervous tension and stress.  May be useful for combating depressive thoughts common during the long winter months.
    • Respiratory care: May counteract respiratory problems and may be useful in treating colds, bronchitis, asthma, cough and sore throat.
    • Immune system booster – May help stave off pneumonia, GI flus, and other “bugs” common in winter.
  2. Peppermint Essential Oil – At another time in my life I suffered from frequent migraines.  I arrived at work one day to find a co-worker had bought me a peppermint oil roll-on with instructions to use it at the base of my neck the next time I felt a migraine coming on.  I did & it worked well enough that a full-blown migraine did not develop.  Since then, I have always had a few extra bottles of peppermint oil on hand.
    • Digestive aid – May help alleviate acid reflux, heartburn or stomach upsets
    • Respiratory care – May help prevent colds and flus
    • Skin care: May clean and decongest the skin.
    • Headaches & migraines – May ease the symptoms
    • Mental health: Uplifting and stimulating – may be good for staving off the winter blues
    • WARNING: Only use in small amounts on the skin or in bath; Do not use in conjunction with homeopathic remedies
  3. Lavender Essential Oil – I grudgingly add this to my list.  Not because it doesn’t work because it absolutely does work – really well – for so many conditions!  I don’t like how it smells at all.  While I don’t love the smell, I appreciate its wide-range of uses.  If you google “best essential oil” lists, I would guess lavender is on many of them.  And here it is on mine.
    • May alleviate muscle aches & pains
    • May assist with sleep disturbances like insomnia
    • Respiratory care:  May help treat colds and pneumonia
    • Headache relief
    • Mental health: Balancing and calming; may help with mood swings and depression
    • WARNING – Avoid in early pregnancy, especially if you have a history of miscarriage
  4. Rosemary Essential Oil – I love herby fragrances but sometimes the herbal oils are so concentrated that they are off-putting (kind of like lavender).  Rosemary does not offend me but I’m not going to be dabbing it on my wrists or behind my ears to use as a substitute for perfume any time soon.  When I need an antiseptic, I reach for my rosemary.
    • Mental health: May revive, refresh and strengthen the mind
    • May relax tight & overworked muscles (shoveling??)
    • May relieve fluid retention & detoxify the lymphatic system
    • Dispersed in the air, it may help prevent the spread of airborne infections
    • WARNING – Avoid throughout pregnancy or if you have a history of epilepsy
  5. Ginger Essential Oil – Mmmm!  I love ginger in my food, in the air and as a way to help break up congestion.
    • May warm and stimulate circulation – great for cold hands and feet
    • May loosen sore & tired muscles, particularly when they are cold and contracted
    • Warming to the respiratory system – may break up catarrh and congestion
    • Mental health – warms and strengthens the emotions to a degree that it may be useful for those with the Winter Blues or suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
    • WARNING: Do not use if you have extremely sensitive skin. Do not use more than 3 drops in a bath.

This is not a comprehensive list of the oils I use but this list does reflect my most used oils during the winter, cold & flu season, and whenever I need a little warming up.  You may already use oils and have your own favorites picked out & that’s great!  Use what works for you – we are all built different so it stands to reason, what works for you may not work for another.

If you are new to using essential oils, I encourage you to pick a few that feel right for you.  Don’t rely on scent alone though!  While I don’t care for the smell of lavender, my body lets me know it likes it by unconsciously choosing it and thinking about it.  Blend your oils to come up with a mixture that works best for you & your body.  I often use lavender and frankincense together – the lavender sweetens or lightens the heavy woodiness of the frankincense.  And the combination creates a powerful mood elevator and germ fighter.

As a last note, please research and use your essential oils responsibly.  Never ingest an essential oil unless it is labeled safe for consumption.   Essential oils may be added to lotions, shampoos, or soaps.  They may also be used in baths, cold compresses, misters, or humidifiers.  Get creative but please follow these general dilution rules for specific applications and uses:

  • 1-2% for body oils and other applications that are applied to large portions of the body (e.g. massage oil, lotion, cream, body butter)
  • 4-8 drops per bath: the essential oils should be added to the bath along with a product that will help is disperse like vegetable oil, whole milk, vegetable glycerin or bath salts
  • 3-6 drops for a diffuser (for a 12 ft x 12 ft room).
  • 1% dilution for children, the elderly and those with sensitive skin or compromised systems.

Happy & safe oiling!!!  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Winter Within

The beauty and magic of winter lies in the power of renewal and of the quickening of the spirit. It is the power of the Winter, when nothing appears to be growing, in which Mother Earth is gathering her energies for the new life that is to come.

It is the white snow of purity that brings the power of concentration and clarity of intent. It is the power that turns water to ice, the power that gives ice the strength to crush rocks.

It is the power of night when the physical is dormant but the spirit is active. It is growth wearing the cloak of rest, and new life attired in the shroud of death.

Excerpted from “The Medicine Way: How to Live the Teachings of the Native American Medicine Wheel” by Kenneth Meadows

I love living in the Midwest – I love the noticeable change of the seasons and the severity of the weather phenomena.  I am fortunate to be able to experience the extremes of the weather, to witness nature’s reaction to these extremes and be aware of the harmony that exists between these.

In all honesty, winter is my absolute favorite season.  The more snow, the better.  The colder, the better.  I look forward to this season of hibernation – the slowing down, the reflection, the gathering of strength and the clarity of intention that is born out of the quiet of this season.  I realize winter, snow and cold can drive a person mad – it frustrates, it denies and constrains.  OR, do we do that to ourselves by not living according to the season?  Denying the lesson of each season and just charging forward as if we are in control of the flow of life?

I spend a lot of time in nature just observing.  Observing the rush, the trickle or freezing of the waters and the relationship of the animals to these waters.  Observing the life patterns of the animals and how these are affected by the seasons, the weather and other animals. Observing the trees and plants and being aware that each has an optimal time for blossoming as another is becoming dormant and refueling.  I observe all of this and apply what I learn to my own life.  For me, it is very natural to slow down, hibernate and refuel in the winter – to come alive and feel energized in the spring as I’m planting new seeds – to take advantage of the long summer days in cultivating my gardens – and to feel the urgency of fall in the harvest.

The sickness of busy is a very real & dangerous ailment.  It disconnects us from our true nature AND nature itself.  A symptom of busy is not having good self-care habits – not granting yourself the time necessary to recharge and reflect.  Without recharging you are running on empty.  Without reflection you are running without a plan, needlessly expending your energy with no goal in sight.

In my darkest moments, the moments I’ve been most stressed and stretched to my limits, I have found peace, comfort and answers in the quiet of nature.  Time spent in nature connects me to all that is, reminding me I am not better than the plants I tend, that I am equal to the animals & birds I delight in and that, like the waters I am drawn to, my life will flow and cut away obstacles if I “go with the flow” and surrender to the currents of life.  My connection to Mother Earth is strong – it is one of my most treasured relationships.

If you have never tried it, I urge you to sit with yourself in a natural environment, if possible.  Reflect on the year that was & the year to come. Observe nature around you as you are reflecting – what is trying to tell you?  There is no right or wrong answer – only what you know to be true for you.  Use your observations to guide you through the seasons of life.  So, go!  Go within and gain strength of will. Gather your reserves. Let clarity of intention settle over you. Build a strong foundation for the year and seasons to come. Honor this season. Honor yourself.

Awakening & Healing Series

In the process of creating my website, I realized I needed to appeal to the people I want to help the most.  The spiritual seekers, freedom lovers, non-conformists and gypsy souls – those who go with their gut reaction instead of examining the facts.  Those who live life intuitively – beyond reason and rationale.  How do I attract the people I want to help? What are the right words to use?  The only answer I found was in the act of exposing myself and my story.  The act of vulnerability is both terrifying and exhilirating at the same time.

If you, like me, have felt alone, misunderstood, lost, and seeking something you cannot define, you may want to read the Awakening & Healing Series – a continuing story to be sure!