Growing wellness. Healing with HeART.

Growing Wellness. Healing with HeART.
Exploring Aromatherapy, Earth Medicine, and the creative process of Art Journaling as paths to healing and wholeness.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Being Brave

I recently returned from a gathering called the Brave Girl Symposium in Boise, Idaho. This was a loved-filled inspiration-growing spirit-fest of over 500 beautiful souls. 
Brave Girls Club is an organization dear to my heart as the work that I've done through them has literally saved my life.  When I thanked Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins, the sisters who founded the organization, and told them that they and their work saved my life, they both said, " *You* saved your life"...just an indication of the love and grace that goes into everything about Brave Girls. 

So, how does an introverted, intuitive empath manage to leave her house to travel alone across an International border and two states to gather in a room with 500 women?  It wasn't an easy decision.  I was filled with doubt and anxiety and thoughts of everything that could go wrong, and when my first flight was delayed and there was a chance that I might miss my connection, I nearly gave up.  But, the Universe had my back. I made my connection and arrived in Boise on time and at the same time as a flight from Portland, so I met a group of fellow Brave Girls at the airport.  Funny how the Universe conspires when we are on the right path! 

What ensued was an incredibly powerful and life-changing experience.  I sat with complete strangers and we had the most beautiful and deep discussions about life and love and what it means to be a woman in our crazy world. We sang, we danced, we hugged, we laughed, and we cried -  together - surrounded and supported by our love-bubble.  Amazingly a number of us found each other in the crowd, repeatedly.  We formed friendships that are bound by a mutual love of life and learning and wanting to be true to ourselves, in spite of the pressures of the world.  We have found a sisterhood and a tribe to carry us forward in this work and support us in sharing all that we are with our worlds.  

There is an army coming, and we are Brave Love-Warriors! 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Fresh-smelling compost

If you are like us and have a little container for organic waste in your kitchen, then you may be troubled by some odour from that compost. We use a stainless steel bucket and a biodegradable bag, but we still find that some food waste causes odour. I was playing around with some ideas for trying to neutralize the odours and came up with these cute little baking soda and essential oil pucks.  

I used inexpensive ice cube trays from the dollar store (since I am not using these for food, I am not as concerned about the quality of the plastic).  If you can find silicone trays, I think they would be ideal as it would be easy to remove the pucks, but the ones I have are solid on the sides and have silicone on the bottom and they worked just fine. I will now keep these exclusively for cleaning products and will not use them for food!

Baking Soda Fresh-Pucks 

*Safety notes* 

  • Be sure to wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves to avoid getting concentrated essential oils on your skin.  This is especially important if you are using citrus oils.
  • When making cleaning preparations with baking soda and essential oils I prefer to use glass or ceramic bowls to avoid reactivity with metal, and plastic or wooden spoons (craft or popsicle sticks work).  Plastic bowls can absorb the essential oils, making them unsuitable for food use afterwards!

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp essential oil (about 100 drops) - I used 60 drops Lavender and 40 drops Lemon
  • 1/3 cup distilled water
  • Combine the baking soda and essential oils and stir until they are well mixed and no big clumps remain.
  • Gradually add the water, mixing as you add.  Stir until the mixture forms lumps that stay together.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit more water.  It is important that the clumps are not falling apart at this stage or your finished pucks will not stay together. 
  •  Scoop out the mixture and press into ice cube tray.  Allow to dry for 24-48 hours.
  • Once dry, pop the pucks out of the tray and store in an airtight container.  
  • Place one puck in the bottom of your organic waste bucket, under the biodegradable bag, and replace when you change the bag and empty the bucket.
  • Once used in the bucket, the puck can be put into the sink garbage disposal to freshen it!
  • These would also be suitable for putting in your kitchen garbage pail, either taped to the lid, or in the bottom under the bag.
  • Other essential oils to try: Tea Tree, Palmarosa, Orange, Eucalyptus, or Lemongrass.
I hope that you have fun making these and enjoy fresh-smelling compost buckets!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Aromatherapy: What's right for you?

It is easy to find information online regarding aromatherapy and  essential oils, but unfortunately not all of it is good, and some of it is downright dangerous! I have seen numerous posts and memes with clearly uneducated directions for use ranging from applying undiluted essential oils to young children to using essential oils that are just not safe in untrained hands.  We all want to use more natural remedies to improve our health, and the suggestions look impressively easy and healthy, so how do you know what is safe and what is not?

To begin with, consider the source of the information you see online: is it from a trained professional aromatherapist, or is it from a sales representative of a company mainly concerned with selling?  This is a vital distinction.  A professional aromatherapist has a minimum of 200 hours of training (many accredited schools offer 400+ hour programs), and will have a professional designation indicating their training.  Designations vary by country, but checking a professional aromatherapy organization such as the NAHA, AIA, BCAPA, or CFA can help you find a trained and licensed aromatherapist in your area. In the US, there are professional designations which include "Certified Aromatherapist" and "Clinical Aromatherapist".  In Canada, we carry the designation of "Registered Aromatherapist and Essential Oil Therapist" (abbreviated RA, EOT). In addition to the minimum level of training, we are required to maintain ethical standards of conduct, carry professional liability insurance, as well as have ongoing professional development education.  The primary concern for a Professional Aromatherapist is the wellbeing of his/her clients; sales are secondary. 
The next thing to do when seeing information online is to ask questions.  A professional aromatherapist will usually answer questions about information seen online.  While they are not able to provide help with individual issues without a full and private consultation, they are usually happy to provide general information as to whether something seen online is in fact true (particularly if it is something they themselves have written). 

So, what does a professional Aromatherapist do?  There are numerous applications of aromatherapy education, ranging from retail and spa environments to private practice. Generally, an Aromatherapist who has a private practice will create essential oil blends specifically for the client.  These blends are created after a private consultation where complete medical history, issues, and goals are discussed.  Being a holistic health practice, Aromatherapy takes into consideration all aspects of an individual's life and seeks the underlying cause of health issues rather than trying to 'fix' the symptoms. Holistic healing is based on the premise that bringing the body into balance will lead to wellness, and that given natural support the body has the ability to find its balanced state of wellness. A full consultation gives us the opportunity to really understand the issues and lifestyle of the client and is the key to providing safe and effective support. An aromatherapist will take the information from the consultation and create a personalized essential oil blend and application plan for the client to follow.  Some Aromatherapists provide massage or other healing modalities, while some provide the blend for the client to use at home, along with ongoing support. 

The question now is why would you consult an Aromatherapist when you can go into a store and buy essential oils off the shelf?   While it is true that you can walk into a health food store or specialty shop and buy essential oils, do you really know what to do with them?  Do you know which essential oils to choose?  Do you know which are safe for you, and for your family?  Do you know how to apply them? How to dilute them? Any contraindications or precautions that apply to these essential oils?  Chances are that the sales associates in the stores don't either!  You might be thinking that "essential oils are natural, so they are safe", but natural products have the potential to do harm just as easily as chemical products.  Think of Opium - a natural product, but one we know is not something that we should use without great care! 

While it is tempting to follow that nice-looking and perhaps well-meaning online advice, our health is vital and must be protected. Investing the time and money in consulting a professional is a wise investment in yourself and your health, and one that will pay dividends for a lifetime.