Have you ever had a traumatic experience that colored how you see the world?
Trauma can put our nervous system on high alert that lasts for far longer than it should. Over time, we can start to see the world through a distorted lens of that trauma.
Sometimes it takes a kind heart, a thoughtful action, and the smile of a friend to bring us back to seeing the beauty that also exists in our world.
That is exactly what we needed a few weeks ago.
It’s no secret that we’ve had a hard summer in particular during a year that’s been hard on all of us. After Dad passed and my husband and I relocated to live with Mom, we began to make ourselves at home. For us this meant making ourselves some gardens because growing food and flowers is at the heart of our self-care practices.
There’s a strip of grass on the side of Mom’s house that gets amazing morning sun and was like a blank canvas to us gardeners. My husband worked hard during the hot summer months to create the beginning of what we were calling a “food forest” stocked with papayas, yucas, edible hibiscus, moringa and more.
We enjoyed getting to know the neighbors by sharing with them what could be eaten, inviting them to grab a few leaves of moringa for some soup. A few were waiting to get some yucas when they were ready to harvest.
But then one day we went out to check on it and well … apparently someone on the street had a problem with what we were growing.
Walking out to find your garden has been poisoned was heartbreaking. Especially after our hearts have only started to mend from our great loss this summer.
I felt violated. I felt unsafe. I felt like I couldn’t remember what it was like to live in a world where there is goodness.
After sharing about this on social media, which is unusual for me since I prefer to send light and love in the world, I received an incredible amount of support. Some wrote comments, sent me messages, called, and a few decided the best medicine was more plants.
One of the messages I received was from a woman who had been a regular in my meditation and aromatherapy classes over the past few years. She found me not too long after she lost her husband and was deep in the grief process. I actually had thought a lot about her over the past few months, having been someone I knew that “has gone through it,” someone I got to watch heal from one of life’s hardest experiences.
In her message she wrote that she was making healing garden for me and she’d let me know when it was ready. So a few weeks ago I stopped by her place to pick it up. It’s got lavender, chamomile, and rosemary (two of which were from cuttings she grew!), all aromatic herbs that I can use for tea when they get bigger.
Now everyday I go out to check on it (safely located within our fence line) and rub my hand over the soft and feathery chamomile leaves. I pinch a little of the lavender if I need to calm down, the basil or rosemary if I want to perk up.
Everyday it reminds me of her thoughtful action and the gratitude she expressed for finding me and my business during a dark time.
There’s something so beautiful about not only that she’s returning to me what I gave to her but also that the roles have reversed — she’s the one giving ME aromatic plants for my healing.
It’s a small garden but it’s made a huge impact.
It’s a visual reminder that the world is bigger than just the plant-haters that apparently live on our street.
It’s a reminder that healing can happen.
It’s a reminder that the plants are here for us and though they can’t move themselves, they have human angels who can deliever them to where they are needed.
So, I want to know:
Have you ever had a plant come into your life in a time that you needed healing? Have you ever been the bearer of plant gifts for friends going through a hard time?
I’d love to hear your stories. Leave me a comment below.
Many of us are at home right now with lots of time on our hands. You might be wondering, “How can I best use essential oils during this time?” Well, we’re using them daily through diffusion, and we suggest that you do that, too.
Each month in the Inner Sanctum Membership, we publish four recipes for our members featuring the oil of the month. This month, we decided to do something a little different and a little more versatile.
As I continue to teach others about essential oils, I’m reminded how much people need step-by-step instructions on how to make and use aromatherapy products at home. With this month’s recipes, I want to challenge you to get creative and feel confident in making the best decisions for yourself (even if they stray from the given recipes).
As I thought about the four ways I’d like to recommend using Bergamot (our featured essential oil for April), I realized one of the strengths of this oil.
When talking about the basic psychological effects of an oil, most oils can fit into one of four categories: sedative (helps you go to sleep), stimulant (wakes you up), euphoric (makes you feel good), and balancers (will enhance the other properties of the oils used with it).
Bergamot is a balancer, which means it blends well with stimulants, sedatives, and euphorics. It’s a versatile oil and can work in many different blends.
So that got me thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we all had a few blends on hand for anything we might need over the next few weeks?
With all that in mind, here’s my suggestion for the four types of blends that you can create at home to use throughout this time:
Sedative Blend: Let’s start with helping you sleep better. It’s all over social media, “Prioritize your sleep!” “Get rest” “Sleep helps your immune system.” But with all that’s going on, I’m willing to bet that for many, getting to sleep isn’t the easiest thing to do at the moment. So why not try making yourself a sleepy time blend that you can use at night?
Oils I’d consider for my sedative blend include: Bergamot, Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Vetiver, Frankincense, Petitgrain, and Roman Chamomile.
Wake-Up Blend: If going to sleep isn’t the easiest, then chances are that neither is waking up. Since many of us are staying in the same place most days, changing scents throughout the day can help you feel like you’re changing your environment. There is immense power in the way scent affects our well-being, and I’m not just talking about killing microbes (though essential oils can help with that, too).
Oils I’d consider for my wake-up blend include: Bergamot, Rosemary, Peppermint/Spearmint, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Black Pepper, and Cardamom.
Purifying Blend: Something to keep running in your diffuser for most of the day—or when you want a general clean air blend. This wouldn’t have any strong sedatives or stimulants in it but would instead focus on oils with properties that are anti-infectious, anti-microbial, and antiviral (I’m not saying it will kill coronavirus, just that it’s what we usually turn to during cold and flu seasons). If you use oils that are safe on the skin (avoid strong oils like Cinnamon and Clove, or use in very small amounts), it can double as a chest rub when diluted.
Oils I’d consider for my purifying blend include: Bergamot, Spruce, Pine, Cedarwood, Fir, Ravensara, various kinds of citruses, Thyme, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, and Clove.
Anxiety Blend: Though you might use oils in this blend that qualify as stimulants, sedatives, and/or anti-infectious oils, the purpose of this blend is for you to turn to it when you are overwhelmed by what’s going on. Perhaps you use it in a diffuser, an inhaler—or our favorite way—as an anointing oil. This is a blend that you find so lovely, you can’t help but exhale with a smile. It’s your happy place blend, the blend that helps you feel like everything is going to be all right.
Oils I’d consider for my anxiety blend include: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Jasmine, Neroli, Patchouli, Cypress, Grapefruit, Myrrh, and Frankincense.
So, here’s your assignment:
Create a version of each of these blends for yourself, and start using them stat!
You can use Bergamot in all of them, or any other oils you like, are familiar with, and know the safety of.
If you’re not sure what to do, leave me a comment and I’ll advise you the best I can.
Did this help? I hope so.
Are there more topics that you’d like to see me write about over the next few weeks?
I’ve got some time to share and want to make sure that you have the information you need to be able to move forward using good scents with good sense. If you’d like to try out the Inner Sanctum Membership and gain access to our recipes this month featuring Bergamot and so much more, join today for a free trial month with the coupon code GIFT. Hope to see you in there!
I’m so in love with Cardamom essential oil right now. Have you ever tried it? Like so many other essential oils, it has several different properties, so there are many different ways you can use it.
But learning about essential oils isn’t just about knowing how to use the oils themselves. To really get to know an oil, we also need to learn about the plant it comes from. Recently, Cardamom taught me a very important lesson (another example of how plants can be such great teachers).
Have you ever thought you knew a plant or oil pretty well—just to find out you were mistaken?
It happens all the time, even to those of us that have studied essential oils for years!
I even took a video of it to show it off and commented that, “I don’t know if it’s placebo or what, but I feel like I can smell something in the leaves.” Some part of me knew that this was a bit curious, but I brushed it off because hey, it’s a “Cardamom” plant.
There are two lessons to this story.
One is the importance of identifying plants using their Latin names … and the second is that you should always listen to your mother.
I have to joke because she had just gifted me this mug for the holidays. And it turns out, that’s exactly what happened a few weeks later while I was studying Cardamom.
(Side note: My editor also told me that she had to correct the spelling of Cardamon a million times. She finally told me, “You mention in the Deep Dive that Cardamom has a maternal energy, so just remember that it ends in “mom.”)
You love learning about essential oils. You know that they have amazing healing properties, and you can even share a few of them when asked.
But when a friend goes through a traumatic experience and you want to see if aromatherapy can help, how do you decide what to turn to?
If you’re looking for a soothing blend that can help with inflammation, calm the nervous system, and help the body heal from trauma, I’ve got just the blend for you.
A few years ago, a customer asked me if I could make something for her friends who had been in a traumatic car accident. They escaped without major injuries, but they were bruised, sore, and shaken up by the whole experience.
This customer knew that essential oils could help, but she wanted her friends to have a special blend, and she didn’t feel equipped to make it for them.
I explained that it can be tricky to make a blend for another person when they aren’t there to smell samples and tell me what they like, but I’d try my best.
So I turned to the Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual and looked up inflammation in the clinical index. The list was extensive, so I looked for a few oils that would be calming, have universal appeal, and smell nice together.
Put drops in 1 oz. of carrier of your choice (cream, oil, lotion). Try it out and let me know what you think! And listen, you don’t need me to tell you what blends to make and how. You can also learn to do all this yourself.
Join us in the Inner Sanctum to learn the basics. Or if you’re ready to dive deep into the study of aromatherapy, there’s room in our Aromatherapy Practitioner Course. There’s no time like now to start learning how to use your essential oils.
Before you know it, you’ll be the one in your friend group who everyone comes to and asks, “Can you make me a blend for this?”
Now, I want to know, have you ever made a blend for someone else and were then inspired to use it yourself? Do you have go-to combinations for helping someone heal after a car accident? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know what you’re blending up.
It’s true. There is a tendency to blame unsafe practices and the overuse of essential oils on these kinds of companies, and that’s not without cause.
But it’s also not the whole story.
In 2013, Sylla wrote a series of blogs she calls, “Confessions of a Vintage Aromatherapist,” and one of those confessions was “I LOVE MLM Companies.”
Given some recent experiences, she decided to write an update on this post. Here it is:
I confess. I’ve said many negative things in the past about the multi-level marketing (MLM) companies that have sprung up in the last 20 years. I don’t like the way they operate using “pseudo” science, promoting extreme undiluted use and daily doses in water or capsules. I’ve accused them and judged them and called them names, and I’ve walked around with my feathers ruffled for some time. But I realized that this toxic anger actually harms me, and I’ve been learning how to release it. In doing so, I’ve come to understand how important this process is to my well-being. I’ve also discovered a few good things about these companies who I’ve treated like enemies, and it feels so much better to think about them in this light. The truth is, I’m actually thankful for them for several reasons.
First, they have been the single most influential factor in the exponential increase of people using essential oils throughout the last 15 to 20 years. I thought we did a good job after 9/11 of spreading the word on how helpful oils can be daily, but these companies get the award for inspiring the most widespread use in the masses. In a way, they’ve stolen my dream. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to help the world through aromatherapy, and these companies are so big now that my education has become a drop in the bucket. I still don’t agree with their methods, but they’re able to appeal to and introduce aromatherapy to people who may not have ever tried it, and thus they have opened a new population up to the oils that we love. This has had a huge impact worldwide, and oils are no longer considered “taboo” or “new age”.
Secondly, I have met some wonderful people who got started with these companies but moved on when they realized something was missing. Many people learned basic introductions from these companies and then became deeper seekers of truth and knowledge without the hoopla and sales pitches. This makes “IPCs” or “wellness consultants” tremendous sources for new students and customers for the educators and essential oil businesses in our field. Sure, some of these beginners may never move forward from where they start, but plenty will, and they are going to need the quality education and products that we already provide. Ideally, we should let go of the idea that it’s “us” against “them” and see that we’re all in this together. One by one, I’ve helped so many students see that education is empowerment, and that we make good choices once we realize what we don’t know!
Thirdly, I’ve found that once these new students have some knowledge to work with, they begin asking great questions. They make us research and look into their claims, and that process can impact all of us in many healthy ways. The whole industry has experienced a growth of knowledge and information in the last few years because of this. They also keep me on my toes. Now, whenever I hear a new claim, I go look at the research for myself, which gives me a good mystery to follow up on. In fact, one company created a fabulous research database that includes many oils and is freely accessible to all.
Another great result is that our students are challenged and intrigued by the things these companies and their associates put out, and they end up following rabbit holes and producing some fabulously-referenced papers that shake things up—something I love to see happening!!!
Finally, because of their financial power, they are able to donate to hospitals, including large donations for wellness centers, so more oils are available to those receiving care. This is a great leap forward into helping aromatherapy become more mainstream in integrative care. And this is big in my book.
More recently, I found the most wonderful set of books that I now use exclusively. And guess what, they are by Dr. Scott Johnson, who is now with DoTerra. I have enjoyed using his earlier book Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Application of Essential Oils. Scott and I connected over a Facebook post, began conversing, and I realized that I totally missed this book Medicinal Essential Oils: The Science and Practice of Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy because I had my blinders on. Once I reviewed it, I saw what a valuable resource this is for our community. Then I discovered even more, a book called Supercritical Essential Oils: A Companion Resource to Medicinal Essential Oils, which covers all the CO2 extracts and more, including herbal therapy. These two giant books are fully-referenced and are my new go-tos, especially because of the safety data including medication contraindications in detail.
So you can see why I do love these companies and maybe they didn’t steal my dream after all. It wasn’t mine to begin with, and they have helped create my dream by spreading the love of these oils. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to slow down, so perhaps I could congratulate myself for having that dream so long ago, and others who also had that dream, who helped enable this spread. So yes, I am grateful for these companies afterall.
Here’s the one thing I know for sure: If we can find common ground, we have a place to stand together. I believe it’s that act that makes all the difference.
So I want to know, do you find yourself on one side of the aisle or the other when it comes to MLMs in the aromatherapy industry? If so, what do you see as the benefit of coming together, no matter your perspective?
Leave us a comment here to tell us where you stand on this sometimes controversial issue.