Saturday, October 22, 2011

Essential Goals

Goals!  Okay, this is a new word for me.  I rarely use that term.  I usually say “I hope to…”, “I plan to…”, “my dream is…”.  I think, as part of living more MindFully, I need to be honest with myself.  Those statements all equal goals.  GOALS GOALS GOALS GOALS!  As a writer, I know words are very powerful and important, as well as often inadequate and clumsy.  I’m not sure why words like “goal”, “commitment”, and “I will” are so much scarier than “plan”, “loyalty,” and “try”.  
I will try (oops)...I plan to (oops)...I want to (oops)..  I am Committed to my new Goal of being firm in my confidence to succeed in whatever I choose to succeed.  I Will keep reminding myself of this one.
Someone in one of my classes half jokingly told me that if I were to ever run for office, he would definitely vote for me.  A few others chimed in with agreement.  I don’t want to run for office, but I do want to be more MindFull of how I influence people.  I want to be as encouraging as possible, and empower others with as many tools as possible to make their lives, and this world, better.
Years ago, I worked in a bookstore and in a fabric store.  I loved those jobs, not because I brought home a paycheck, but because I was helping others to find just what they needed.  I did that not our of obligation to sell to them, but out of a genuine human connection and excitement for them.  I learned as much from them as they did from me.  My best days were the days when someone returned to the bookstore, glowing with excitement over a book I recommended that was just the right one.  Or, the best days in the fabric store were when a customer enthusiastically brought in a finished project I had helped them plan.  Those were not moments of selling, but of genuinely touching another life in a positive way, and in turn, they touched mine.
That is how Deb and I feel about doTERRA Oils.  We actually did buy membership in another essential oil company once.  Those were good quality oils as well, and we liked them, but we didn’t love or believe in them enough to sustain our membership or share them at every turn with our friends, coworkers and strangers.  We knew they smelled good, and there were some remarkable stories of how various people were positively affected by this oil or that.  With doTERRA, we’re hearing the stories, but we are also learning about various scientific studies that support the anecdotal evidence as well.  And, even in our short time with doTERRA, I have already felt amazing, transformative results in my own life, with the application of a single oil blend.
I have had chronic neck and right shoulder pain for around five years.  Some days it is so bad I can’t fully turn my head or lift a gallon of milk or turn a key or a doorknob without excruciating pain.  I started dropping things and having trouble pouring myself a cup of coffee.  I found that acupuncture helped for about one to two weeks.  The one time I had a Thai massage, I was pain free for two weeks.  Doing yoga on a regular basis helps to lessen the pain, but if I am already acute, I can't get into position to stretch the right muscles and my shoulder and arm are too weak and painful to get into certain positions safely.  So I have lived with pain pretty much every day for five years.  (I forgot to mention that NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin give me nosebleeds and acetametaphine doesn’t touch the pain.  I take NSAIDs cautiously and they rarely work completely or for more than 2-3 hours at a time- after the 30-60 minutes that I wait for them to kick in.)
One night I was sitting at work, unable to turn my head very far because of neck, upper back and shoulder pain.  My trapezius muscle was so tensed that when I tried to reach back (with my left hand) and press on it for relief, there was no give.  It was literally as hard as a rock.  I had taken my ice pack out of my lunch bag to try to numb the pain a bit.  I was in so much pain that my stomach was upset, I was clenching my jaw from pain and I had a headache starting at the base of my skull and quickly spreading.
In the past, as I said, oral NSAIDs were ineffective and troublesome for me, but had always been my goto solution.  My doctor didn’t seem to care much that I was in pain, and all he did was give me a prescription for a topical NSAID, which had minimal effect, for a very limited amount of time.
This particular night, I was chilly (I work midnights), so I put on my fleece jacket.  In the pocket was a vial of “Past Tense” oil that our niece, Gini, had given me on her visit about a month earlier.  I had forgotten I had it.  I knew it was good for headaches, and, I reasoned, that I did have a headache from a reaction to pain originating in my neck and shoulders.  So I uncapped it and slathered it over the base of my neck and my shoulder muscles.
Within five to ten minutes, the ice pack came off, opening a door ceased to hurt, and I could turn my head without pain.  I was pain free for the first time in weeks.
Sounds like snake oil, right?  Well, after that experience, Deb and I were converted into essential oil believers.  Specifically, believers in doTERRA’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, which only get this designation after every batch in every bottle gets put through a “mass spectrometer” to make sure everything that is supposed to be in there is, and nothing that is not supposed to be, isn’t (herbicides, pesticides, contaminants from other plants or pollution, etc.).  Few other companies can make this claim.  With Deb’s multiple allergies and sensitivities, it is essential that in our household we be MindFull of potential contaminants of any kind, and we have faith that what is claimed to be in these oils is there, and that there is nothing else.
I have long combined natural remedies with allopathic medicine, but I have always approached natural and homeopathic remedies as slow-acting treatments that I have to be patient and wait for the results, keeping an eye toward easing pain and illness over time.  I have always paired them with over the counter drugs.  
I am beginning to realize that some natural remedies, like certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils, can have an instant, transformative effect on my quality of life.  I like it, and am excited to keep exploring the possibilities.  Let us know if you want to learn more!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


In every human life, there is at least one "AhHa" moment, a moment when something becomes clear.  At that point, we are often presented with a problem, an answer, an insight, or a choice.
When I say an "AhHa" moment, I don't mean a profound truth read on a blog or in a book, or learned at the feet of a guru, preacher or teacher.  I mean some moment when those things you may have known intellectually become infused with your whole BEING-body, mind and spirit.
Sometimes the truth of those moments lasts a lifetime, and sometimes that truth is as fleeting as a dandelion seed on a windy day.  Either way, those moments can be transformative.
We want to hear about your "AhHa" moments.  There can be great value in sharing our wisdom stories.  Someone else may need to hear about your "AhHa" to use it as a stepping stone toward their own.  (Even dandelion fluff has to land somewhere.)  The more "AhHa" moments there are in the world, especially those rooted in love, the better off we will all be.  (When I say rooted in Love, that means any Love-based feeling or action:  gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, laughter, hope, grief, generosity, peace, etc.)
We ask you to share YOUR AhHa moments in the comments section of this post.  (That’s where you will be able to read ours as well.)  
Share your wisdom.  Share your love.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lingering Scents of Peace

I promised to write a post about my first AromaTouch treatment, which I got on Tuesday.  I’m not sure whether to begin at the end or at the beginning.  I think, perhaps, the beginning.
Deb put on relaxing music.  Together, we chose the “zen” music channel on TV.  There were beautiful, yet soothing sounds made by unexpected instruments floating in the air, yet not so ethereal as to be distracting or intrusive.  Rather, the music seemed to ground and center me, getting me to focus on the moment.
Both dogs and the cat decided that this was a party for them as well.  As I lay face down on the massage table, wearing my pajama pants, I could see Biddy Kitty through the sheer headrest cover, looking up at me expectantly, waiting for a rub.       Indigo had positioned herself well out of the way, on the rug by the front door.         But Pippin laid right in Deb’s way and would not budge.  She had apparently decided she was a vital guest at this meditative party.        (If you ask Deb to do a treatment on you and you are at our house, rest assured that the animals will not be allowed to so freely invade-unless you choose to let them.  I did.)
Before beginning, Deb explained that she would be putting eight oils on me, one at a time, in a specific order.  The oils would be dripped along my spine and on my feet one at a time, and would be activated, also one at a time, through light touch- lighter than massage.  (I have to confess, I was hoping to get a massage out of this-but I think I actually got as much or more benefit from the Aroma Touch treatment, without the pain that comes from having muscles worked by firm hands, although I will always love getting a good massage.)  
Because my skin was so dry, in order to make the oil application go smoother, Deb began by preparing my back with a slick of fractionated coconut oil.  There is virtually no scent to this smooth oil.  She explained that depending upon the person and situation, the fractionated coconut oil is not always used.
Then, Deb got down to business and my complete sense of contentment in the moment rolled in as I relaxed into the smells and gentle, methodical movements incorporating the oils, one at a time.  With each layer, my groundedness, contentment and relaxation grew.  I realized, after the third or fourth oil, that all of my muscle soreness and chronic itchy back were resolved and dissolved.  I occasionally reached down to rub on Biddy Kitty purring below the headrest.  As I said, I was totally relaxed into the moment, and Biddy was part of that present moment, so her presence in the present seemed right.
With each layering of oil, I experienced new smells, but not overwhelming smells.  As each new drip drip drip splashed to my spine and each new scent wafted toward my nose, I felt a new layer of strain fall away, replaced by a sense of “settling”.  My breaths lengthened and slowed, but I maintained an alertness, aware of my surroundings (including Pippen on the floor at my feet and Biddy focusing those big yellow eyes on me).
Before the treatment, the bottoms of my feet had had been very tender and slightly swollen, making it painful for me to walk (I suspect plantar facetious, but I haven’t gotten them checked out).  As Deb moved to my feet with the combination of Wild Orange and Peppermint oils together,  she worked down toward each toe from the heel, along each of five lines, which stimulated various reflexology points to create a balance among my organs and bodily systems.  
As she methodically worked along those five lines, I pictured the plowing patterns made by the tractor in the field behind my childhood home, readying the spring Earth for sowing.  The plow went over the fields three times.  The first tractor pass was to break apart he compacted soil and to uproot the first growth of weeds.  The second pass was to break down the big, hard dirt clods and to uproot the second growth of weeds.  The third pass was to soften the Earth into a rich loam, perfect for a young girl to run in barefoot or for an old farmer to bring to life with seed.  Deb traced each row of my foot three times, like the tractor of my memory, gradually loosening the compacted pain buried there until it was broken up, perfect for a middle aged woman to stride barefoot without pain.
Once Deb had finished the final stage of the treatment, to create a state of homeostasis,   applying the final two layers of oil along my spine, she told me to take my time getting up.  I was aware of my surroundings, not tired, but very relaxed.  I began by rising up on my hands and knees, transitioning into a yoga position known as the child’s pose while still on the massage table.  I slowly sat up, dangling my feet over the edge before slowly and carefully making contact between my feet and the ground.  I felt relaxed, at peace, and pain free.
For the rest of the day, I kept getting different whiffs of scent at different moments.  Was it orange?  Was it peppermint?  Clove?  Lavender?  “Yes.”  Each time I experienced that aroma sensation throughout the day, I was again relaxed, alert and balanced.
The eight oils used in this treatment are available in an Aroma Touch Kit.  I highly recommend experiencing this treatment for yourself.  You can contact Deb if you have questions or want to schedule a treatment.  Allow yourself about an hour or so, about 35-40 minutes for the treatment and a bit of time to re-orient.