Just Breathe…

breathe

Living on Canada’s west coast surrounded by trees, I was more concerned about daughter’s year-round hay fever and the air quality in my home. I thought about outdoor air quality in the abstract, but never about how it directly affected me or my family. It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives.

This past summer was a wake-up call.  “Summer 2017 has been B.C’s  worst wildfire season on record, & as of Sept 28, more than 100 fires are still burning.”  Many communities have been impacted, like Williams Lake, 100 Mile House & the Elephant Hill fire, near Cache Creek & Ashcroft. The smoke affected the air quality near the fires but it also affected air quality in different areas throughout the province.  One day this past summer, I was outside in the middle of the afternoon, everything was hazy, the air felt thick, & it was hard to breathe.

I have never thought much about breathing other than if I had a chest cold or sinus congestion. From the moment of our birth, our body’s  “autonomic nervous system” controls our breathing; we don’t even have to think about it. Adults breathe anywhere from 12-20 times per minute. If you do the math, (which I did), that adds up to 17,280 – 28,800 breaths per day (depending on your fitness and/or stress levels). While we can’t-do a lot about outdoor pollution personally (well other than voting in governments that have strong environmental protection plans, writing letters/ petitions to your MP or MLA, and recycling! Sorry that was just a little rant), we can do something about the air quality in our homes.

Things you can do:

  • Get rid of chemical cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric refreshers, and Synthetic Room Sprays/ Plugins.
  • Avoid using Incense & candles with synthetic fragrances, or at least limit their use and get some ventilation into the room. (I am finding that these 2 things really bother me.)
  • Go more natural with your Personal Body Care Products. There are a lot of products available, but educate yourself & read the labels to find the best ones. (No one in my house is allowed to use a certain type of Body Spray because it affects my breathing.)
  • Air out your home frequently. Many manufactured items in your home will continue to off-gas to some extent. Older homes were drafty so this wasn’t as much of a problem, but newer homes are more airtight so it is important to open some windows periodically, especially during the winter months.
  • Consider getting some plants in your home. NASA calls plants part of “Nature’s Life Support System”. Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, English Ivy & Weeping Fig plants are a few to consider; they are fairly hardy & are thought to help with air quality due to the photosynthesis process.

And you can also use Aromatherapy in your home. When using essential oils, cheaper isn’t better, quality is. It is important that you find a reputable supplier that sell pure, hopefully, organic &  unadulterated oils; that your suppliers know where their oils come from & they share all the important information with you. (And if someone wants to sell you “100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils, know that this is a registered trademark of the company. There is no organization that oversees the quality of essential oils.) At a minimum you need to know:

Continue reading “Just Breathe…”

Small Magics & Essential Oils…

First Posted October 2016

This is what Rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place – Elizabeth Gilbert….                                                                 

The wheel of the year continues to turn, and in our busy world, many have lost touch with the small magics in life. We need to take a moment, take a breath, observe a perfect canstockphoto16014219tulip in April or the geese flying south in October. These small moments become our daily reflection or our daily rituals.

Humans have been doing rituals for thousands of years. Whether it is in a temple or in the forest, it could be honoring God, the Goddess or Mother Earth, it’s still a ritual. Taking time to connect to your own inner wisdom and belief system helps to make sense of what is happening in our lives. It can be something as simple as lighting a candle.

Essential oils have been used in rituals and ceremonies for close to 6000 years by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Persians. They have been used to celebrate love, fertility, the changing seasons as well as honoring the dead. 

You too can use essential oils in your daily rituals. You may want to: 

-Add Essential oils to a ceremonial bath before starting a ritual or meditation. (Use milk or a carrier oil to properly dilute them first)

-Make a space clearing spray to cleanse and bless a new home, or to clear the energies in your room before shamanic journeying, meditation or doing yoga.

-Diffusing essential oils when you are setting your intentions, during meditation or prayers. (Using a candle diffuser would work for the ambiance as well as diffusing the essential oil).

-Make an anointing oil. A blend diluted with Jojoba oil could be used for your body or for anointing candles for your altar when doing a ritual to honor the changing seasons or a special moment in your life…

When using essential oils for spiritual practices it is still important to check the contraindications. Essential Oils have many different properties; some you may want to consider:

canstockphoto4680461Honoring our Ancestors: Essential Oil: Cypress, Frankincense, Myrrh, Sandalwood.

Mediumship/ Connection to Afterlife: Essential oil: Cedarwood, Cypress, Fir, Myrrh, Myrtle, Oak Moss, Patchouli, Rosemary, Sage, Yarrow. Candle Color: Purple,

Connection to the Angelic Realm: Essential oil: Angelica, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Sweet Basil. Candle Color: White or Lavender

Spirit Guides: Essential Oil: Lemon, Mugwort, Sage, Sandalwood.

Elemental Magic: Essential Oil: Geranium, Lavender, Palmarosa, Rosemary.

Dream Work: Essential Oil: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Orange, Rose, Ylang Ylang. Candle Color: Blue.

Psychic Abilities:

canstockphoto1274262Clairvoyance: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Birch, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Nutmeg, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary Spruce. Candle Color: White & Yellow

Clairaudience: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Grapefruit, Star Anise
Intuition: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Birch, Chamomile, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemongrass, Pine, Rosemary, Yarrow, Ylang Ylang. Candle Color: Lavender, Purple & Brown.

Divination: Using Pendulums, Tarot Cards & Crystal Balls: Essential Oil: Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Frankincense, Lemon, Patchouli, Thyme.
Candle Color: Violet or Gold

 

Continue reading “Small Magics & Essential Oils…”

All Hallow’s Eve…

First Posted October 2015

Dispel the darkness. transcend between the worlds and journey beyond the veil’s edge.  ~ Unknown

All Hallows Eve or Halloween and Samhain are both celebrated on or around October canstockphoto468046131st, and while there are a lot of similarities, like wearing costumes, and Jack-o-lanterns, there are also some differences.
Samhain (Irish pronunciation: SOW-in) means “summer’s end”. For our ancestors, it was a time to celebrate the 3rd and final harvest. They would preserve and store fruits and vegetables, and dry herbs before the onset of a cold and dark winter.

In Celtic traditions, Samhain is the start of the New Year. Celebrations included dressing up, partying, and feasting to “defy” the coming winter. Other celebrations tended to be more private as it was also a time to honor our ancestors; as well as our loved ones who had died during the past year. It is said that thecanstockphoto10979303 veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest on this night. It is a good time to connect with loved ones on the other side. People used to put food offerings on altars and doorsteps. They would also leave a lit candle burning in the window to guide our departed loved ones as they moved beyond this physical world. It was also a night when the fairies were said to have caused all kinds mischief.
Samhain is also a time to look inward, to reflect on all of the changes, the beginnings,  as well as the endings that have happened in your life in the last year. Changes and transitions can be very stressful; especially the “not knowing” what comes next. Meditation can be very helpful at times like this, it can quiet your mind, slow your breathing, ease your stress and any anxiety that you may be feeling. Meditation helps you to be “in the moment” and to get in touch with your inner wisdom. It also gives you perspective. It  gives you a chance to feel whatever it is you  are feeling, and “take charge of your own emotions and nervous system.”

The nice part about meditation is you can start right now. Take a couple of minutes, do Candle diffusersome deep breathing, and find that stillness inside you. Don’t worry if the mind chatter starts up. This is common. We live in a busy world and it may take some time before the chatter starts to decrease.
You may wish to meditate to start your day to be more centered, or at the end of the day so you can relax and unwind. Just dim the lights, grab a fuzzy blanket, and get cozy and comfortable. When I meditate, I  like to add a few drops of essential oils to my candle diffuser.I like to use a candle diffuser because it’s quiet and because I can focus on the candle flame to still my mind. The earthier, grounding essential oils have relaxing and sedating properties so they can add a lot to the meditation experience.

Some essential oils to consider are:

Sandalwood-  this smooth, balanced exotic oil is a base note with grounding properties, that is helpful with reducing stress & getting in tune with yourself.

Patchouli- an exotic fragrance, that is both calming & grounding; it helps to relieve stress & anxiety.  It is a good alternative for the more expensive Sandalwood.

Cedarwood- a deep woodsy, earthy scent, that helps to relieve stress, ease anxiety  & appeals to the senses.There are many varieties of Cedarwood, but I personally like the Atlas variety.

Vetiver- an earthy essential oil, that smells, well like wet soil. It is calming, relaxing and is helpful for anxiety, stress and especially insomnia. When using Vetiver, it is better to use it as part of an essential oil blend and use very small amounts due to its stronger scent.

Frankincense- long been used in churches due to its calming and meditative qualities. It quiets the mind and calms anxiety by helping you breathe easier.(Frank is really useful for respiratory issues).

Myrrh-  a thick resinous essential oil that has a spicy, warm scent. Like Frankincense, Myrrh has long been used in churches as incense and it has similar qualities. Myrrh can help to calm your anxious mind and is helpful for insomnia.

If you like a lighter scent, or if you want to sweeten the earthier essential oils, you may want to consider adding Mandarin, Bergamot, Sweet Orange or Geranium essential oils to your blend.As always it depends on your scent preference.

With meditation, don’t be hard on yourself; there is no right or wrong way to do it, there is only your way. This is a time of self-care, not self-judgment. As always, take baby steps and do what you can…
I really like this Pema Chodron  quote,” Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are…”

My blog is for information only & is not meant to replace medical advice. Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

References:
Battaglia Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition,  The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy,
Australia, 2003   (3)
Lawless. Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Thorsons, 2002
http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_wheel_of_the_year/samhain.asp
https://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/samhainlore.htm
http://www.cherylrichardson.com/store/the-art-of-extreme-self-care/
http://pemachodronfoundation.org/
http://www.artofliving.org/meditation/meditation-for-you/benefits-of-meditation
http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-history-of-meditation
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/19/meditation-benefits_n_5842870.html

*** You may want to use guided meditation CDs or downloads. Some of my favorites are
Kelly Howell’s “Guided Meditation for Healing”, Cheryl Richardson’s “Tuning In, Listening to the voice of your Soul.” and of course Pema Chodron Books and CDs.

I couldn’t find the author of the quote that I used at the start of my blog. If you happen to know who it is please message me. I always want to give credit for authors and artists work. Photos are from http://www.canstock.com – CP

Diffusing with an “Open Heart”

First Posted October 2014

500_aromasens14K__33346.1429820271.1280.1280 (1)While I love the ambiance of a candle diffuser, my favorite way to diffuse essential oils is with an ultrasonic diffuser. In the water bowl of these diffusers, there is a small metal disc that vibrates by “ultrasonic frequencies,” which break up the essential oil and water into tiny particles, which form a fine, cool mist, that is then dispersed into the air.

It is also important not to run your diffuser for long periods of time because:

  • The molecules of essential oils diffuse through the air fairly quickly and you are still getting the effects. even though you’ve gotten used to the scent and you can’t smell it anymore.If you diffuse all day long you may be exposing yourself to too much essential oil. It is also important to change it up and not use the same blends all of the time.
  • The first few times that you that you use your diffuser, use 3-6 drops of your blend and diffuse for 15 – 30 min, to see how you like the scent, but more importantly, to see how you feel. When using your diffuser, Author Robert Tisserand (2014) says,  “Don’t diffuse for long periods of time, 30 – 60 minutes is good, or 30 minutes on and 60 minutes off”. Check the timer setting on your diffuser to find the best one for you and your environment.
  • If you have a baby or small children in your home, please use caution when deciding which essential oil to use in your diffuser (check the chem. type). You will also have to adjust the number of drops that you use in your diffuser & adjust the time, 15 – 30 min depending on the age and health of your child. With aromatherapy, less is always more.

I prefer to diffuse essential oils for about 20 – 30 min, 2 -3 times throughout the day. This way I can use an uplifting blend in the morning, and a more relaxing blend later in the day to help me unwind…

One of my favorite blends that I like to diffuse later in the day is called “Open Heart”. I 100_6389discovered Fragonia essential oil a few months ago, and I knew right away what I wanted to blend it with. Open Heart is a blend of Fragonia, Clary Sage, as well as Rosemary, Cypress, Tangerine, Lemon & Ylang Ylang essential oils. And while I love the blend, it’s the Fragonia essential oil that I want to rhapsodize about:

Fragonia is relatively new essential oil from Western Australia. It is actually trademarked by  “Paperbark Oils”, a small family run company. Early studies were done by Dr Daniel Penoel, a well-known French physician who studies the therapeutic uses of essential oils. He believed that Fragonia was able to release emotional blockages and bring balance to the emotional and physical body.
In her clinical study ‘Agonis fragrans and the Female Menstrual Cycle’, Aromatherapist Karen Wallwork found that Fragonia’s balancing effect is helpful for regulating hormones.And even after learning all these interesting facts about Fragonia, the thing that inspires me the most about this lovely oil is how it heals your spirit. Robbi Zeck N.D. said it best:
“Fragonia carries a unique energy pattern bringing the gift of the power of love. In each of us, love is already in place. Perhaps you can simply, let love, love you.” Now that to me is the best form of Self-Care…

My Blog is for information only &  replace medical advice.
Essential Oils are not for ingestion & should always be diluted before topical use.

If you are using a candle diffuser, never leave it unattended.  “Open Heart” diffuser blend is for ages 6 & up.

References:
Zeck, R. (2004). The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for healing and transformation
(pp. 80 – 81). East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours.pp. 80 – 81). East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours.

http://www.abundanthealth4u.com/Diffuser_Comparison_s/52.htm
http://www.massagemag.com/the-differences-between-nebulizers-vaporizers-and-diffusers-10632/
http://www.100pureessentialoils.com/aromatherapy-diffusers/ultrasonic-nebulizer-atomizer.html
http://www.wcia.com
http://roberttisserand.com/essential-oil-safety-book-second-edition/
http://www.abp.com.au/news/feature_fragonia
https://www.naturesgift.com/product/fragonia-essential-oil-5-ml/